Testing a cymbal in person; Do you stick a finger in your ear?

Ruok

Silver Member
In this picture from a 1979 Paiste catalog, the man in the red sweater appears to put his finger in his ear while testing the hi-hat at the Paiste factory. I think I heard someone tell me many moons ago that blocking one ear is a good way to test a cymbal because it supposedly gives a sound that is closer to what it will sound like mixed in with other instruments. Was I dreaming this, or is this true?
Paiste-04.jpg
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It could be a way of hearing through the overtones? I'm guessing. Maybe he was getting a bad reflection. There's a lot of factors to consider evaluating cymbals. The room and what's in it is a gigantic factor. Maybe Mick knows some kind of trick lol.

It also looks like he could be on his flip phone.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
That's an old announcer/vocalist trick to help hear your own voice/intonation better. But in terms of cymbals etc., I've never seen that done. I'm not sure how that would apply anyway since the sound is external to your head (as opposed to your own voice which resonates in your head.) As long as the audience hears my cymbals with both ears, then that's how I'll choose them. :)

I think the guy in the photo was on his phone to a buddy - "Hallo Rolf, check this out, zehr gut!"
 
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Jasta 11

Well-known member
1979, no flip phones. most likely a question of " what do I do for the pose in this picture with my left hand".
also the hell with safety glasses while shaving that cymbal!?!?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Also interesting that the guy lathing the cymbal has shavings that flew up on his shirt, yet isn't wearing safety goggles! 😮

(beat me to it!)
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I don't stick a finger in my ear when testing cymbals in person. Instead, I close one eye and stand on one leg. Being partially blind and off balance helps me focus my hearing.

Just kidding.

I wouldn't place too much stock in the above photos. Bermuda is probably right about the wax.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
When mic'ing and evaluating a sound, you want it to be mono, so that you aren't bias'ed by the room. I often do this when mic'ing guitar cabs.

I imagine that this would be useful in the same way for critical cymbal evaluations.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
As well as crashing it, I hit it softly and hold it to my ear listening for cracks. If it's cracked you can usually hear a rattling sound that way.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
When mic'ing and evaluating a sound, you want it to be mono, so that you aren't bias'ed by the room. I often do this when mic'ing guitar cabs.

I imagine that this would be useful in the same way for critical cymbal evaluations.
This is one of the things I was taught do when placing mics on a kit, piano or guitar for recording. Listen with one ear moving around the source to find the sweet spot, then place the microphone there.

I’ve never done it when choosing cymbals, but it could theoretically reduce comb filtering in the 2K to 8K region. Except that when we play live we hear with both ears and we’re used to it.

Maybe the guy just had an infection in his left ear, or hearing loss or an unusual resonance? (eg. My own left ear hears less bass and more midrange than my right.)
 
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