I agree with the recording thing, but as far as live sound goes that's a completely different topic. You can tell many distinctions even if an artist just switches series, he doesn't even have to change companies for a completely different live sound. In studio you won't notice but live you certainly will.I do agree with Dennis here a bit. I bring this particular post up because for some reason, regardless of how different we all feel towards different cymbals from different manufacturers, I have to say that I think Zildjian laid down that "base sound" that every cymbal gets compared to, decades ago. If all the manufacturers were so different, why is it on every recording I listen to, I can't tell whose cymbals they are? Like drums, it all sounds a bit generic. Cymbals ride, crash, and hats are tight or sloshy, regardless of who made them. Bozzio again comes to mind for interesting uses for his china cymbals, as does Steve Jordan for experimenting with large hi-hats, but those are the only two that kinda' come away with a different sound. Maybe Billy Ward by putting thin cymbals against his big rides to get this crunchy sound (Bozzio had already done this too), but leave the cymbals alone and they all tend to sound alike. Or is it me? Pick a favorite album (preferably newer when we know there are many different cymbal brands) and tell me if you can tell who made the cymbals. It's like photographers and name-brand lenses - after you see the image, how can you tell what he used?
We can be loyal to our favorites, but in the end, I doubt anyone listening cares