Programing Cymbal Swells

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GuyaGuy
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Programing Cymbal Swells

Post by GuyaGuy » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:27 pm

One thing I that I'm never satisfied with is cymbal washes and swells, whether working with samples or electronic drums. They can really add a lot to a part as color, transition, etc. I usually cut off the filter then open it up on the repeats to mimic the increased velocity and vibration--either by changing cutoff or by increasing the filter envelope amount or both.

Any other techniques you all have for approximating swells? It could be naturalistic or quite different but filling the same function of a cymbal swell.


For reference, this is generally the type of thing I'm talking about.

[video][/video]

Just posting it for reference; I'm not trying to nail this guy's sound or anything.

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what gives?
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Post by what gives? » Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:39 pm

Backwards playing reverb. Good stuff.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:22 am

what gives? wrote:Backwards playing reverb. Good stuff.
Ooh yeah not a bad idea! Will try that out.

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Post by naturligfunktion » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:28 am

It's not the same, but in a pinch I record noise and have a long fade in, with some reverb and what not. It's a more syntetic swell, but it (kind of) works
A new track for your enjoyment

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Blingley
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Post by Blingley » Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:12 am

Samples and electronic drums are not going to work. The way the cymbal swell sound builds is tied to the physical characteristics of the drum itself. Essentially it's adding small bursts of energy to excite it, but there's a lot of things that come into play like the relative phases of the partial vibration modes of the object and the timing that you hit it - you might actually reduce some of the energy on some strokes in the swell.

The only way to simulate this electronically with any accuracy would be to model the drum itself. Unfortunately, cymbals are also very complicated in terms of their overtone series which makes them very difficult to model. There are some drum modelling softwares out there I'm sure, but I'm yet to come across anything that'd sound realistic.

It truly is easier to buy a cymbal and a pair of drumsticks and record it.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:20 pm

naturligfunktion wrote:It's not the same, but in a pinch I record noise and have a long fade in, with some reverb and what not. It's a more syntetic swell, but it (kind of) works
Yep I do this and run the noise through a filter with subtle modulation on cutoff to add movement and shimmer.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Oct 22, 2019 1:26 pm

Blingley wrote:Samples and electronic drums are not going to work. The way the cymbal swell sound builds is tied to the physical characteristics of the drum itself. Essentially it's adding small bursts of energy to excite it, but there's a lot of things that come into play like the relative phases of the partial vibration modes of the object and the timing that you hit it - you might actually reduce some of the energy on some strokes in the swell.

The only way to simulate this electronically with any accuracy would be to model the drum itself. Unfortunately, cymbals are also very complicated in terms of their overtone series which makes them very difficult to model. There are some drum modelling softwares out there I'm sure, but I'm yet to come across anything that'd sound realistic.

It truly is easier to buy a cymbal and a pair of drumsticks and record it.
Yeah there’s a lot going on physically even though it’s a simple technique. But I’m open to approximations and replacements too—in the same way that an 808 snare doesn’t really sound like a snare but serves the same basic function.

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Post by poppinger » Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:46 pm

This sounded like a fun exercise.

I'd try something granular. I started with a recording of a VCV rack patch with all sorts of oscillators tuned inharmonically with ring modulators all over the place (first part of the clip below).

I put the clip into a granular VST with a very small amount of randomness to pitch, randomness to position in the file, each individual grain with a longish envelope, and then set the grain rate to something that sounded good — I think I had it set to around .138 seconds. Then finally a slowly opening lowpass filter on the sound as a whole (second part of the clip below). I put a little bit of reverb on there, but the decay tail isn't quite right. I also could probably work a little bit on the individual grain envelopes to make the "hits" more distinct.

https://soundcloud.com/poppinger/cymswell

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Post by dubonaire » Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:12 pm

Roland Integra 7 can do cymbal swells.

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Post by naturligfunktion » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:42 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
naturligfunktion wrote:It's not the same, but in a pinch I record noise and have a long fade in, with some reverb and what not. It's a more syntetic swell, but it (kind of) works
Yep I do this and run the noise through a filter with subtle modulation on cutoff to add movement and shimmer.
Another classic technique is to reverse a piano chord :)
Have you tried to sample sounds or videos like the one you posted in the first post? Might also be an alternative
A new track for your enjoyment

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Post by Soy Sos » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:07 am

This is gonna sound crazy....... but get a cymbal, stand and mallets.
Cheapest one you can find, or borrow something.
Record it with whatever mic you have or can borrow.
Pocess it and play around with different effects.
There's nothing wrong with adding acoustic sounds to your electronic projects.

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Post by jorg » Wed Oct 23, 2019 1:40 pm

I did some pretty satisfying sounds like that in Reaktor years ago. I took 9 saw oscillators, and strung them together in 3 groups of 3. Each group was a string; the first oscillator FM'd the second one, and the second one FM'd the third. Then I summed the outputs of all the 3rd stages.

By adjusting the modulation index (all 6 at once) I got a nice swell that became more metallic and "white" as the index went up.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:14 pm

poppinger wrote:This sounded like a fun exercise.

I'd try something granular. I started with a recording of a VCV rack patch with all sorts of oscillators tuned inharmonically with ring modulators all over the place (first part of the clip below).

I put the clip into a granular VST with a very small amount of randomness to pitch, randomness to position in the file, each individual grain with a longish envelope, and then set the grain rate to something that sounded good — I think I had it set to around .138 seconds. Then finally a slowly opening lowpass filter on the sound as a whole (second part of the clip below). I put a little bit of reverb on there, but the decay tail isn't quite right. I also could probably work a little bit on the individual grain envelopes to make the "hits" more distinct.

https://soundcloud.com/poppinger/cymswell
Nice. It needs some of the deeper tones to fill out the space but otherwise it does the job well.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:17 pm

Soy Sos wrote:This is gonna sound crazy....... but get a cymbal, stand and mallets.
Cheapest one you can find, or borrow something.
Record it with whatever mic you have or can borrow.
Pocess it and play around with different effects.
There's nothing wrong with adding acoustic sounds to your electronic projects.
My projects are almost always electronic/electric/acoustic and I use claves, tambourine, and a shaker pretty frequently. But sometimes you want synth brass or strings or an analog clap rather than the real thing so I was just looking for ways of doing synth cymbal swells.

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Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Oct 23, 2019 2:19 pm

jorg wrote:I did some pretty satisfying sounds like that in Reaktor years ago. I took 9 saw oscillators, and strung them together in 3 groups of 3. Each group was a string; the first oscillator FM'd the second one, and the second one FM'd the third. Then I summed the outputs of all the 3rd stages.

By adjusting the modulation index (all 6 at once) I got a nice swell that became more metallic and "white" as the index went up.
Sounds like FM and granular synthesis are the way to go for a richer or more naturalistic effect. :tu:

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Post by spilthyfred » Wed Oct 23, 2019 5:20 pm

Blingley wrote:The only way to simulate this electronically with any accuracy would be to model the drum itself.
The new WMD Crucible seems very intriguing. You can even modulate the size of the cymbal. My guess would be you could create some pretty awesome swells with it.

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Post by Soy Sos » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:21 am

That's good to hear GuyaGuy,
I sometimes find folks so narrowly focused on modular/electronic
that they will take the most complicated path because it has to be modular.

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Post by Arneb » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:30 am

spilthyfred wrote:
Blingley wrote:The only way to simulate this electronically with any accuracy would be to model the drum itself.
The new WMD Crucible seems very intriguing. You can even modulate the size of the cymbal. My guess would be you could create some pretty awesome swells with it.
That would require some patching to get the exciter right. Crucible's trigger ins aren't going to cut it - you'd have to patch something to simulate the energy impulse from the "swelling" mallet, probably something involving noise and a complex EG/LFO, and rout that into Crucible's audio in. Definitely worth a try though.

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Post by MindMachine » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:21 pm

Soy Sos wrote:This is gonna sound crazy....... but get a cymbal, stand and mallets.
Cheapest one you can find, or borrow something.
Record it with whatever mic you have or can borrow.
Pocess it and play around with different effects.
There's nothing wrong with adding acoustic sounds to your electronic projects.
That's what I do into a Roland/Boss Sp-404SX. Play it loud into soft and then replay backwards and on another pad play soft into loud. Since I am not a good player and am not recording onto a great medium I try both. And usually the backwards one sounds better but you have to make sure the timing is steady.

You can get a good crash/ride at a pawn shop or wherever and invest in some mallets and sticks for a reasonable price. They can be used for a lot of sounds.

edit - check that. The price of the mallets I like have doubled the last few years.

So for homebrew:

I have made a few from tissue or cloth wrapped with this type of recovery tape:



If you don't get too heavy it can last or you just re-wrap. I have some old Pearl Surdu felt beaters that I have reworked a few times with this medical tape. I also have used cheap toy beaters wrapped up.

Use the backend of butter knives for metallic striker action.

You can literally build your own beaters with a little imagination. In some cases they will last longer than what you buy.

Sonor brand last forever and Mike Balter are good unless you abuse the yarn units.
FS: Pedals and Euro modules, Delta Labs, dotcom Q128 for 37.00
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