I think you have a very valid theory.This sheet versus cast thing kind of confuses me because whenever i see a video of how cast cymbals are made, they have a cast lump of whatever secret alloy they like that is about the size of a small pie. Then they put them through rolling mills to get the general thickness they need to make whatever specific cymbal they are making.
That's pretty much how sheet metal is made, too, which is what is confusing. If they start with a round piece they cast and rolled themselves or a square sheet that came from a rolling mill, what is the difference? Especially if they both get hammered, tempered, lathed etc after? Those subsequent processes must change the grain and work harden the material. Is the casting only to get their 'secret' alloy mixture?
There aren't a lot of secrets in metallurgy and it would seem that sending a chunk of a cymbal to a lab could yield the make up of these secret alloys and the process necessary to get there. Anyone have any insights into this? Just curious really. Because it seems to be a point that some people hold up as an indicator of quality.
I might guess that Paiste starts with consistent weight discs to continue uniformity thruout the process and Zildj presses the bell into an oblong disc which was weighed before rolling to achieve uniqueness.
I know that UFIPs are cast into shape in a mold and then hammered, so it might just be the combination processes unique to each manufacturer which makes them sound good, not the metal as much. Maybe the lower tin cymbals in the other brands are also made with less steps to make them sound crappier on purpose.
I went with Paiste 2002's in the early 80s because at that time I couldn't find any Zildjians that had bright sparkle to them. They have since improved so much.