Cymbal Companies and Consistancy

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Its time cymbal companies started manufacturing consistancy. I know Paiste does. That's it.

Just off the top of my head, I can't think of another company, or industry for that matter, that is as wildly inconsistent as cymbal manufacturers.

When I break a cymbal, say an AA thin crash, I should be able to buy another AA thin crash and it sound like the cymbal I just replaced. And don't try to sell me on "oh it's the mixture and the artisan", other areas of life need consistent mixtures with different operators, and its achievable. Paint comes to mind, as does concrete, food, explosives, lubricants, fuels, cleaners, medication, blah blah blah. As an example, Gordon Ramsey and Martha Stewart can both make a red velvet cake that both looks and tastes like a red velvet cake by following a recipe. One doesn't somehow taste like a carrot cake. Furthermore, I know if I buy a cake that is labelled red velvet, it's going to be a red velvet cake, not a pork chop.

Having to search out and find a suitable replacement/match is a huge, time consuming pain. One could spend days pinging and dinging on thousands of cymbals and never find the right one. Its aggravating.

Cymbal companies want to pigeonhole their products, good for jazz, good for rock, good for YOU! They label them as such. Yet, if there is no consistency to product lines, why bother even have product lines? Just put your company logo and size on it and let it be. If I have to test drive every cymbal because there is no consistency and some expensive cymbals still suck, the series label means nothing. If it's an AA thin crash, why does it sound like a Wuhan china? What's the point of labeling it? There isn't one.

Cymbal companies, get with the program. Some of you have been around for centuries and still can't make a consistent product. If you don't wanna make a consistent product, fine. Stop labeling and categorizing a product that you can't reproduce on a consistent basis. It makes absolutely no sense.
 

Trip McNealy

Gold Member
Interesting thoughts and I do side with you on being able to find replacements that sound like the original. Also good points about consistency with fuels, medication, etc. I'm no Metallurgist but I can't imagine there's some things during manufacturing that contribute to the inconsistencies, at least probably in the proprietary way Sabian, Zildjian, and others make their B20 bronze. Maybe it's not as apparent with B8, B12, B15, Signature bronze?

Paiste does really make great product. I've learned that anything made by Swiss/German people is excellent. :p
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I'm no Metallurgist but I can't imagine there's some things during manufacturing that contribute to the inconsistencies, at least probably in the proprietary way Sabian, Zildjian, and others make their B20 bronze. Maybe it's not as apparent with B8, B12, B15, Signature bronze?
It should be repeatable. Other industries do it with other metals. Look at all the different types of aluminum. If it was that hard to be consistent, the auto industry would be plagued with melting cylinder heads.

Copper and tin are both elements. They can be rendered down to pure. This should allow for a greater consistancy, not no consistency.
 
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Benthedrummer

Junior Member
There are just SO many variables with cymbal manufacturing isn't there?

Pappa Joe whacks his hammer on a Friday afternoon, making his last cymbal for the week. He's got his seniors party that night and is all excited about bingo later on.

He's tired, so his hammering is lighter and more haphazard.

Meanwhile the new 20 year old cymbalsmith recruit is hammering away with full, powerful strokes of his hammer.

Yet both may be making the same exact line of cymbals......yet 2 completely different sounds.

The precision and accuracy of machinery is really the best way to go for consistency I guess.....if that's the ultimate desire.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I would say that this is the area where the stamped cymbals would come in...like B8's and Zildjian ZBT etc...

I am in the opposite camp in that I want my cymbals to have a unique character that is within a range, but not exact as the next. Probably because it is what I am used to, and i do believe that the high end cymbals are a piece of art, and not a "McDonalds burger" situation. I love it that my 90's era Zildjians don't sound like my 2000's era ones, or my 50's era ones.

again, it is subjective I think, and what you want is not wrong. The drummer for my thrash metal band always is looking for the same thing. He cracks cymbals occasionally. So far, he feels that Sabian HHX's are fitting that bill the best...but he is always searching and changing...
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
There are just SO many variables with cymbal manufacturing isn't there?

Pappa Joe whacks his hammer on a Friday afternoon, making his last cymbal for the week. He's got his seniors party that night and is all excited about bingo later on.

He's tired, so his hammering is lighter and more haphazard.

Meanwhile the new 20 year old cymbalsmith recruit is hammering away with full, powerful strokes of his hammer.

Yet both may be making the same exact line of cymbals......yet 2 completely different sounds.
which to me, is where the mojo comes into play...I like that human side to it
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
For cast cymbals, IMO that's a big ask, given the nature of the different steps of the whole cast cymbal making process.

To me that's like saying why can't 10 drummers play a money beat and sound exactly the same? It's a big ask.

Or 10 different bakers with identical ingredients and their cakes all taste/feel a little different. Big ask.

Sheet cymbals, different animal. They can't be compared to cast. Cast cymbals are all unique, like people.

You're like a cast cymbal. I like you they way you are, but I wouldn't want a whole country of just you lol.

Then there's the room. Room A will make the cymbals sound a little different that room B. It's a wild goose chase.

I really shouldn't compare it to a wild goose chase, as I've never chased a wild goose.

Maybe it's not as hard as they make it out to be. I mean there's nothing that says I can't use a motorcycle to chase them down with.
 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
There are just SO many variables with cymbal manufacturing isn't there?

Pappa Joe whacks his hammer on a Friday afternoon, making his last cymbal for the week. He's got his seniors party that night and is all excited about bingo later on.

He's tired, so his hammering is lighter and more haphazard.

Meanwhile the new 20 year old cymbalsmith recruit is hammering away with full, powerful strokes of his hammer.

Yet both may be making the same exact line of cymbals......yet 2 completely different sounds.
Sure that's a good example of human intervention, but what about machine hammered cymbals? AA stands for automated anvil. A machine isn't consistent? I dont buy that, that's why we use machines in manufacturing, to remove the human element. Yet AA cymbals vary wildly across the same cymbal. What gives?
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
Sure that's a good example of human intervention, but what about machine hammered cymbals? AA stands for automated anvil. A machine isn't consistent? I dont buy that, that's why we use machines in manufacturing, to remove the human element. Yet AA cymbals vary wildly across the same cymbal. What gives?
Absolutely! Yeah, machines have that consistency..... sorry mate, I added a few lines to my post after you may have quoted it.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
There is that element isn't there?

I sorta wonder if that human "inconsistent" aspect could actually uncover an even BETTER cymbal than the one you are replacing.......kinda exciting.
But what if you could go to any store and buy that better cymbal every time because it's exactly the same as the one you broke?
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
But what if you could go to any store and buy that better cymbal every time because it's exactly the same as the one you broke?
It would make life a HECK of a lot easier eh?

So I wonder what the answer is to this?

Could precision machinery replicate the warmth of those big jazz rides and crashes?
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
It would make life a HECK of a lot easier eh?

So I wonder what the answer is to this?

Could precision machinery replicate the warmth of those big jazz rides and crashes?
I dont see why not. Everything has a formula, and once you find that formula you repeat it. I see no reason cymbals should be any different.

Room A will make the cymbals sound a little different that room B
I dont think that matters. That's the result of the room, not manufacturing. That's like saying your car is different in Colorado than Pennsylvania. It might act different due to altitude change. It's still the same car. And if you crash it and buy the exact same car, everything will be exactly as you remember it, as you like it, as you want it. Consistancy. It might smell different, or have the previous owners butt print, but that's the human part. The car itself is still the same.
 

Justinhub2003

Well-known member
Im an All Paiste Guy and like you said, they are consistent. My Paiste 2002 Crash I bought last year Sounds like the Paiste 2002 I had when I was 22.

I get people wanting each cymbal to be unique, but the reality is, we buy a lot of stuff online now and consistency is a big deal when you can't hit the cymbal before you buy it.


I initially played Paiste because my favorite drummers were all Paiste Guys (Bonham, Copeland, Danny Carey, Josh Freese) but I quickly realized it was more than that. For me they were consistent and never seemed to let me down.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
I for one fail to see this supposed inconsistency as a problem. What you want is a perfect structure at the atomic level but that’s not how metal behaves or casting works.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That's like saying your car is different in Colorado than Pennsylvania. It might act different due to altitude change. It's still the same car.
Agreed, the same car. But like you said, it acts different (parallel with "sounds different") in a different high altitude place (a parallel with "the room")

You're a Paiste guy so you're in the clear.

Are you saying that if Zildjian could be perfectly consistent, you'd be boarding the Zildjian ship?
 

EricT43

Senior Member
I feel your pain, MrInsanePolack. I just bought a 17" Zildjian K Sweet Crash that turned out to be lower in pitch than my 18" Zildjian K Sweet Crash. Precisely what I didn't want. Variation in sound is desirable by some drummers, so they can have something truly unique, but I honestly don't think this appeals to most of us. It would prefer to know what I'm going to get when I buy something. Many of us order online, and it would be in the cymbal-maker's interest to help their customers know what they are going to get when they order something. Maybe they should find some way to grade the cymbals in terms of pitch, attack, sustain, and so on. Some online retailers have videos, which are great, but even then I've gotten cymbals that don't sound like what I was expecting. I've thought of switching to Paiste for this very reason.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
To me the only brands where a recommendation means anything-- like someone could buy them blind and they would probably get the expected cymbal, with a low chance of it being weird-- would be Paiste, I guess Meinl (not a ton of experience with them), Sabian AA/AAX, and Bosphorus. The others you have to play them.

The brand I sell, Cymbal & Gong, is consistently excellent by the way-- on par with Bosphorus, except the quantitites are small, so the weight ranges for each model are not precisely defined. But I got myself a new jazz ride recently, played 15 cymbals in 10 minutes, and really could have just ordered it over the phone by weight, because they were all fantastic-- like the best 3% of Agops I've ever played.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Agreed, the same car. But like you said, it acts different (parallel with "sounds different") in a different high altitude place (a parallel with "the room")

You're a Paiste guy so you're in the clear.

Are you saying that if Zildjian could be perfectly consistent, you'd be boarding the Zildjian ship?
I'm not on any ship. I have Paiste, Zildjian, and Sabian on my kit.

As for acting differently in each room, that's fine. As long as it sounds the same in the room I practice in.

I for one fail to see this supposed inconsistency as a problem. What you want is a perfect structure at the atomic level but that’s not how metal behaves or casting works.
Paiste.

And at the atomic level, it is all consistant. You dont get any more pure than at the atomic level.

And I'll used the cylinder head analogy again. They are cast. They are consistent. It's the purity of the mixture, controlling temperature and cooling. Repeating the process over and over produces similar results. There is no reason the cymbal industry is an anomaly in this regard. If they wanted to stand out and be in the forefront, one would think consistancy is the path to take.

Zildjian has been around before automated manufacturing and processes. It makes sense old cymbals are wildly different in sound when all other variables are the same. But its 2020. They can be consistant.
 
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