The Drummer’s Guide to the TD-50 – Make Your Crash Cymbals Sound Bigger

Crash cymbals might sound great in isolation, but as soon as they are played in context with other instruments in a mix, their power can quickly be reduced. In the Roland V-Drums TD-50 series, just like in an acoustic recording situation, you can adjust the type of cymbals, microphone position and their brightness, but there are many other things you can achieve that are impossible with conventional cymbal recording.

Some of the cymbal characteristics that you can adjust in the TD-50 are:

* Cymbal sustain
* Thickness
* Pitch
* Ping type and amount

 
You can add sizzles to cymbals, create your own custom cymbal stacks of two or more cymbals and even pitch bend cymbals. This last feature you could use to simulate the increase in pitch that occurs, when a gong is dipped in water.
 

 
 
1. CHOOSE A MORE POWERFUL SOUND

Big thick cymbals naturally give a more powerful sound with longer sustain, so choose a sound that’s as close as possible to what you imagine first, before you start editing it.

It’s much easier to make a big cymbal sound smaller if you need to, rather than trying to make a thin cymbal sound more powerful later.

Button Presses & Values:
[INSTRUMENT] | F1 (INST) | R1 (Inst)
Try: Inst 157 Power Medium CrE.

 
 
2. INCREASE THE CYMBAL SIZE

Bigger cymbals have a lower fundamental pitch and longer sustain, while small cymbals are bright and decay quickly, making them very good for adding colourful accents to a rhythm.

Ride cymbals tend to start from 20”, splash cymbals from 6”-12” and crashes anywhere from 16”- 20”, though there are many boutique and EFX style cymbals that buck these “standard” size trends and allow many new cymbal sounds to add texture and excitement to a drum performance.

In the TD-50, there are a range of vastly different cymbals and every cymbal can be modified from 1” up to 40”, so knowing the standard sizes of cymbals and experimentation is the key to coming up with a memorable crash sound.

Button Presses & Values:
[INSTRUMENT] | F1 (INST) | R2 (Size) 1-40
Try: 22.

 
 
3. INCREASE THE THICKNESS

Changing the thickness in the TD-50 is the best way to increase the power of any cymbal.

Thickening up a splash cymbal can make it sound more crotale-like and can also simulate the proximity effect of moving the microphone closer.

Cymbals used for metal or heavy rock are generally thicker, but they may not suit every song or style of music. As such, it’s common for session or recording drummers to have a range of thick and thin cymbals in their cymbal bag to suit different styles they may be asked to play.

This can get expensive so luckily, changes like this are a simple adjustment in the TD-50!

Button Presses & Values:
[INSTRUMENT] | F1 (INST) | R3 (Thickness) THIN5-THICK+5
Try: THICK+5.

 
 
4. MODIFY THE SUSTAIN

There are several ways of adjusting the cymbal sustain in the TD-50.

Dramatic attack and release changes can be made using the transient tool and there’s also a dedicated decay setting in the Advanced Settings tab.

Another more intuitive way is to muffle the sound using tape, just as you would on an acoustic cymbal!

Button Presses & Values:
[INSTRUMENT] | F2 (BASIC 1) | R1 (Muffling) OFF-TAPE19
Try: TAPE3.

 
 
5. MOVE THE MICROPHONE

As with acoustic cymbal recording, placing a microphone more near the edge will give a darker, almost distorted, harsh and coloured sound that can be great for china cymbals and big aggressive crash cymbal sounds, whereas a microphone placed directly above a cymbal pointing downwards tends to give a brighter, smoother and more open sound.

Button Presses & Values:
[INSTRUMENT] | PAGE DOWN | F1 (MIC POS) | R2 (Mic Position) OUTSIDE4-INSIDE4
Try: INSIDE2.

 
 
6. ADD SOME ROOM AMBIENCE

Along with three powerful multi-effects generators, the TD-50 also contains both a room ambience simulator, as well as a studio-type reverb unit. All of these effects units are fully editable.

The multi-effects and reverb units are great for recreating classic studio effects, whereas the room simulator is ideal for adding size and a sense of location to sounds, while keeping them as natural as possible.

Each element of the kit can have its own mix of room sound, determined by the ‘SEND’ amount found on the second page of the AMBIENCE simulator.

This ability to choose which elements are picked up in the room mics is impossible with a conventional drum kit recording when all elements of the kit are captured together.

Button Presses & Values:
[AMBIENCE] | F1 (ROOM ON) | R1 (ROOM) –INF-+6
Try: +6.

RELATED ARTICLES

THE DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO THE TD-50 – BEEF UP YOUR KICK
THE DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO THE TD-50 – GIVE YOUR SNARE SOUND MORE PUNCH
THE DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO THE TD-50 – MAKING YOUR TOMS SOUND DEEPER
THE DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO THE TD-50 – TWEAKING THE RIDE CYMBAL
THE DRUMMER’S GUIDE TO THE TD-50 – MAKING YOUR HI-HATS SOUND SOLID

TD-50KV with KD-A22

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