What is the difference between a regular cymbal stand and suspended?
July 17, 2018 7:43 PM   Subscribe

What are the differences in sonics and practical uses of a cymbal stand in a rock drum kit vs. a suspended stand with a boom arm like you'd see in symphonic music?

I've been doing some home recording. A lot of it has a quiet, moody, minimal sound. I'm looking to add some really subtle textural stuff like bowing a cymbal with a cello bow or using soft mallets to do rolls on a cymbal of some kind.

The problem is I've never been drummer and I don't know which cymbal would give me that spooky dark sound or what the real difference is in cymbal stands. I do mostly want to use mallets and I don't want it to sound very bright at all. I do like the idea of a suspended cymbal so nothing is damping it.

Can anyone give recommendations on how to get the sound I'm looking for? If I get a boom-style suspended cymbal stand, can I match it with any cymbal or does it have to be a suspended/orchestral cymbal? Thanks!
posted by deern the headlice to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
 
I should mention some of the ones I've looked at are:

• Sabian 20" HH Suspended
• Zildjian K Custom Dark Ride
• Meinl 18" Symphonic

For that long dark resonant sound, should I be aiming for the biggest and thickest cymbals?
posted by deern the headlice at 7:45 PM on July 17, 2018


Even more important than thickness and quality of the cymbal is the tool you’re using to bow or hit it.

For bowing, a bass bow and bass rosin will get you MUCH more sustained and rich sounds than a smaller bow. And don’t be discouraged if it takes some time to get sounds you like – even pros can’t predict exactly what they’ll get from bowing cymbals.

For quiet rolls, soft yarn mallets (but also try rolls with many different objects - since of course you can create whatever sorts of artificial attacks/envelopes you want later)

I’m not a percussionist so I’ll leave it to others to advise re. specific models, but I know cast is better than sheet, and heavier is generally better (for the kind of sustained interesting sounds you want).
posted by kalapierson at 8:12 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


For that long dark resonant sound, should I be aiming for the biggest and thickest cymbals?

For that long dark resonant sound, you want cymbals from Paiste.

Zildjian is great if you want something that shouts. A Paiste can be made to sing and scream.
posted by flabdablet at 8:48 PM on July 17, 2018


Oh, and the major difference between a rock kit cymbal mount and one of those hanging ones is that the hanging one lets the cymbal move about a lot more after a single strike, which can get you some interesting Doppler phasing effects. For bowing or just pulling out resonances with mallets, you'll probably find it easier to use a rock-style stand that fixes the instrument's position a bit more precisely.
posted by flabdablet at 8:53 PM on July 17, 2018


If you use a rock stand with a boom arm you can make the the whole cymbal/boom assembly bounce resonantly if you get the strike rate right, which gives you more Doppler tremolo than you would get from the cymbal alone while still controlling its position fairly tightly.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on July 17, 2018


If you use a rock stand with a boom arm you can make the the whole cymbal/boom assembly bounce resonantly if you get the strike rate right, which gives you more Doppler tremolo than you would get from the cymbal alone while still controlling its position fairly tightly.

Is there a photo or video of the setup you're describing here?
posted by deern the headlice at 9:04 PM on July 17, 2018


Another benefit of the suspension stand is that the cloth hanger isolates the cymbal from (most) anything happening on or via the floor. Here's a dude speaking pretty directly to your question

In general, it sounds to me like you should look at the China variety of cymbals. They have a specific sound that might meet your spooky-darkness requirements.
posted by rhizome at 9:20 PM on July 17, 2018


For that long dark resonant sound, should I be aiming for the biggest and thickest cymbals?

The heavier and wider it is, the longer it'll ring. Physics!
posted by rhizome at 9:21 PM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is there a photo or video of the setup you're describing here?

These, as contrasted with most of these.
posted by flabdablet at 10:11 PM on July 17, 2018


I disagree with the china cymbal recommendation, by the way. Chinas are built to make a sound like a short sample of a drum kit falling down a concrete stairwell while being cut to pieces with a sawzall, not to give you the kind of extended spooky resonant almost-but-not-quite-in-tune almost-but-not-quite-a-theremin stuff that can be pulled out of a decent ride cymbal with mallets and patience.

I am completely in love with my older Paiste 402 20" ride. Here's a guy playing one with a stick, which gives you some idea of what can be got from it. If you play it with mallets instead, you can get all those lovely singing resonances without the bright sharp strike tones. It's also capable of a much more extended bass range than the sticks get from it here.
posted by flabdablet at 10:35 PM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


You can suspend a cymbal from a boom, but mostly it's used for reach. For almost anyone there is no real difference in sound even if you're belting the hell out of it (which you shouldn't be). You can remove felt dampers or just go with the rubber ones if you want sustain at low volume. You can play anything you want with any stand.

Major manufacturers make ranges of cymbals with different properties. Some are for walloping, some gently scratching. I've loved Paiste Signature Series a great deal, but still missed the Zildjian K Custom Dry Ride I had to give up to get them. Some Zildjians a brash, some are not. Go to a shop and see if you can play a few different cymbals. I'd guess you're looking for a big (20+") crash ride to give you lots of sustain and interesting overtones. Istanbul is another good choice for that sort of thing. Don't discount second hand or repaired cymbals (I've had lovely ones with rivets to stop propagating cracks).

I would also avoid China types.
posted by hawthorne at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2018


I think the reason why you only see those hanging boom stands in symphonies is that they're impractical for any application except one person playing one (maybe two) cymbals exclusively. They do allow more of the sound to come through, since less mass is touching the cymbal, but I don't have a good sense whether that extra sound is high or low frequency. If you're recording just the cymbal by itself, you could try a hanging cymbal setup and see whether you like it. But if you're planning to be playing other stuff at the same time, chasing a swinging cymbal to hit or damp it seems like a losing proposition.
posted by wnissen at 8:58 AM on July 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


This was enormously helpful, thank you folks!
posted by deern the headlice at 7:26 AM on July 19, 2018


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