Friday, July 26, 2013

New Equipment: Sabian B8 Crash-Ride Cymbal

I'm back at work on the soundtrack I began producing in the winter of 2011. The script has been rewritten from the ground up and thus all my carefully-timed cues no longer fit the scenes. It was always my intention to extend the cues into album-length pieces, so it's not a huge deal. In fact I'd made a start last year, so it's now a case of finishing the process. I also had several new scenes to write cues for so it will now be a much longer 'record' when at last it sees the light of day.

Without going into details, the music is inspired by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's science fiction output from the 60's. I'm using a lot of the same techniques to create it, but with modern tools. It occurred to me that the sound of cymbals, processed by various methods, would lend itself to the new material. Initially I was going to buy a crash cymbal, until I discovered the 'crash-ride.' It has a much longer decay than a regular crash, and can be played as a ride as well. I wanted the sound of both, so it worked out perfectly.

As well as using it in the conventional manner, I've done some close-micing experiments that yielded good results. Putting a microphone right at the edge picks up deep wobbly bass tones that are great for 'spacy' atmospheres. Playing it with rubber mallets produces a nice dark shimmery tone. The decay is indeed long. I wouldn't say that the 'crash' is particularly bright on this cymbal, but I've never owned one so I can only compare it to samples. This is also a used cymbal and has a degree of tarnish to it, which I'm told darkens the sound. It actually suits my work so I won't be polishing it.

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