How do you guys process cymbals in Cubase?

Aloha guys,

I once asked this question in the old forum but it was
in the Mac part only.

Well the subject has come up again in my life so I thought
I would ask it to some other clever folks (you guys)
who may not have seen it.

I’m talking about all recorded cymbals from the sweetest Quincy Jones
$800.00 haircut cymbals to the brashness of marching band cymbals
and everything in between. Country,Rock,Funk,Metal,Dance etc

rolling off bottom end on cymbals is a given but how about using
compression/expansion or reverb or filters etc’.
Stereo,mono,panning etc

Any tricks/tips?

Sending much Aloha and a big Mahalo to you.

Are you talking about Cymbals as part of a kit as in Overheads, or samples or recorded separate?

I use a HPF with a cutoff at 120 Hz and then a high shelf filter with a rolloff at around…I’d guess 10,000 Hz. I don’t remember the rolloff off of the top of my head. This gets rid of some of the brittleness of the cymbals which can be very grating to the ears.

Just as an overall guide:

Cut @ 200 Hz to reduce gong quality
Cut @ 400 Hz to reduce ambience

– or –

Shelf @ 320Hz


Boost @ 10khz to increase “hardness”
Boost @ 15kHz to increase brightness

It all depends…

I always start with cymbal mics centered in mono and check phasing (usually at micing stage but I still check during the mix stage in case I missed something)

Rock drums/in your face kinda thing I will HP the cymbals or do a combination highpass lower and shelf after that till the balance of the kit sounds right.

I sometimes “bell in” tom resonances if needed in the cymbal mics.

I boost the highs with pultec or sonnox or my outboard eq for others.

Sometimes I will de-sss to tame them.

Squash the room mic and make it pump. Put a mono to stereo plug on it.

Put a nice reverb on the cymbals to smooth them out then blend to taste considering part to part of the song.

It is all about balance. I’ll set up the mics for the genre and sound I want. Here is a setup for today’s sessions, an isosceles triangle technique with a few close mics for augmentation:

Totally open sounding with softer cymbals.

I guess it all really depends on how and why the overheads were placed first. Then the genre comes into play. If the intention was for the overall kit including the cymbals, I process differently than if I wanted more cymbal focus in the mics. FWIW, I usually place overhead microphones to capture a lot of the kit so when processing, it affects the whole kit sound unless I high pass them.

Most of the times I find cymbal and specially crash hits to hard, so I edit the wave track and only lower the hard hitting samples so everything comes more in balance, also an roll-off from/in between 120-180 hertz. I rarely record cymbals seperate they are always recorded in my overhead channels.

Aloha guys,
and tanx for the reply’s and tips.

And major mahalo @ Tom for the pic. Nice approach.

I had a player in here the other day (excellent chops) doing some
soft jazz stuff but he had Jon Bonham type cymbals.
Difficult at best to get that sweet west coast sound with his set-up.

We both acknowledged the prob but these cymbals were all he
could get for this session. (He had borrowed this kit)

I told him that I would do the best I could while mixing
but that I would first consult with a higher authority.

That’s you guys.

I wanted to get some different POVs on this before
I settle in to mix.

This whole subject got me thinking about
cymbal (metal sound) processing again.

Of all types.
Anyone here ever record a marching band or drum and bugle group?
Or Tibetan bowls etc??

Another example is blending the steel scraping of the pick on an
acoustic guitar track and a ride cymbal that is in that
same frequency range. Tough mix.

Tanx for the help guys.


I’m about to spend $69 on Toontrack’s EZmix.

I think the trouble is that it’s very difficult to actually change the character of a sound once recorded, especially if your overall kit sound is dependent on the O/H’s and/or ambient mic’s. Eq, compression even a desser can do a lot to the energy but the character still remains.

" Quote = Difficult to change the sound once it’s recorded",

This is so the truth, When it comes to recording, I have learned that if it doesn’t sound right the best option is to record it again and find the better mic placement and acoustic environment adjustments, but when it is marginal or it’s a little timing issue it can de edited! Soundwise if it is a traditional theme (blues rock etc etc) you can’t get away with extreme soundsculpting. This is another case when mixing dance or experimental music.

Well said. I’m not very experienced, but I struggled with prior drummer in my band, wondered what I was doing wrong in the mix – eq, compression, reverb, balance, too much overhead, not enough close miking, etc. Current drummer, it seems I really can’t do anything wrong by comparison. I do cut the lows on the overheads (randomly by ear, no formula), use little to no reverb, no compression, and I don’t close mic any of the cymbals including the hats. I don’t think I would even if I did have more equipment, cuz it’s already too complicated for me. The only thing I do religiously is get out the tape measure to check overheads are equidistant from center of snare. You can hear the drummer in my post over in the Made In Cubase forum (Perky Moms Live), and then you can ignore all of what I just wrote!

I roll them off all the way up to 1000-1500 in loud mixes. That area is usually cluttered by guitars and keyboards anyway, so that just cleans up the mix a lot. You wouldn’t miss any low end at all. I can go even higher on hihats.

Aloha and Major Mahalo for all your help guys.

Now it begins.