How do I make a real splash sound for cymbals?

Sup everyone. I had a cool idea the other day for when I get to record my drum beats on the mic kit I want so bad :smiley: and I had the idea of making some of the cymbal crashes sound like a reverby splash. The only way I can describe how I kinda want it is by referencing the song, “Mushroom” by Can.

If you ever heard this song before, then you can maybe remember the splash-y sounds the drummer makes on his cymbals.


Another song I can think of that uses this splashy sound or what not is the song, “The Sides” by Ataxia. Though, the song doesn’t essentially feature a “Splash” sound like the Can song I posted and has more of a “Powwww” fade in fade out kinda effect, I still thought it’d be cool to have a mix of it.


I only ask this cause I don’t want to rip these artists because of their amazing tracks, I just want to know how to actually make that sound with Audacity cause I’m really influenced by these dudes. :smiley:.

Lemme know :smiley:.


im not really sure i understand your first sentence and if it means you are going to make sounds or record your own cymbals and try to make them sound like someone elses. anyhoo i’ll try and be helpfull

There are so many different cymbals out there that making one cymbal sound like another is going to be pretty hard. Size, shape, thickness, material are all going to change the sound of a symbol

The Can song sounds more like a china crash to me, heavy and trashy with relatively short decay, see this link if you dont know what a china crash is, but if your a drummer then im sure you do :slight_smile:,85/brand,zzounds/fit,400by400/21616-f1e99cbbd6d35bf2de89efa23d29bc6e.jpg&imgrefurl=

If you want to make that effect the best way is to use that cymbal but i suppose if you put the right kind of reverb and put a short gate on a crash so it gives a quick decay you may be able to reproduce it to some extent but you cant beat the original.

You may also want to try the old “sticky tape trick” where you place gaffe tape or packing tape (whatever you call it inyour part of the world) selectively around your cymbal to reduce the “ring” or "resonance"of your cymbal. cheap and nasty but you may find something you like and lots of people do it. i find it makes the sound a little "fat " and boring though.

The cymbals in the other song sound like ordinary crashes to me, but whether they are 12 14 16 or 18 inch crash’s, fast crash, etc i dont know. Its not the best drum recording on this track but the triggers on the snare at the start are cool. you can change the cymbal sound also depending on how far or close you mic them and what mic you are using + how they are eq’d.

if you want to add swirling effects or something a little different than reverb to your cymbols then try and find some Flange or Phaser plugins then you’ll be able to make some swooping sounds on your cymbals. You will off course have to record these seperately and put the effect only on your cymbals other wise you’ll have your whole drum kit swirling. which is cool and has been done many times before but it depends what you want, how good your kit sounds and how many mics youve got at your disposal.

Finally if you want to reproduce a sound that you cant on your own drum kit a cheats way (but a clever way) around it would be to buy a drum machine. Something like a zoom rythm track. You may be able to find the cymbal sound your after out of one of these then you can just record your drums as normal then do another track recording the symbols from a drum machine over you own (if you hit them) This would be a non automated kind of trigger and may give you the sound you want.

youve got many options but i hope this helps a little

Yeah, for the second song, I was talking about that snare sound in the beginning.

Thanks for the advice for the CAN song. I just wanna really find out how to do that snare “POOOWWW” sound in the beginning of that Ataxia song.

The Poow sound is difinately a drum trigger. If youve got an expensive studio set up anad the right equipment what happens is that you can program a sound to trigger with the hit of the snare. You can set it so that the trigger only goes off when the snare reaches a certain volume hence the pooow only goes off on the loud snare and not the inbetween ghost notes. The inbetween notes sound like they have a delay of sorts on them which gives it that repitition. This is what they would have done however they werent recording with audacity.

This is possible in audacity though you just need to find the right effects. Once youve recorded your drum snare (you will need more than one mic to record the drums so you can isolate snare, cymbals etc otherwise the effects you add will be on the whole kit) you should be able to isolate the snare hit because it will be a large spike, then highlight it and add the effect you want. Try some delays, big reverbs, or reversing the sound, you may need to have a look for some extra plugins to find what oyur after, Youll probably be able to come up with your own unique sounds rather than replicate what youve heard on other albums but no doubt youll have a lot of fun doing it.

Check out this band from my home country of Australia. play anything off the 2006 Imago album. Its a fine example of really well recorded drums. Lots of splashes crash’s and chinas to hear along with some great high hat work. Its good to hear the panning of the kit also. ie ride panned left tomms panned progressively, some cybols panned left, some panned right etc Good panning and eq’ing of drums is essential to giving space when recording in a band environment. hope you enjoy

Thanks so much man. This advice is really righteous lol.

I’ll check that band out btw. But now that you mention the panning for the drum kit, what is the standard about doing it?

I’ve noticed that some drummers like Bonham prefer their floor toms to have a dominant left to right position when going from floor tom to floor tom to give it a stereo effect.

I don’t really want to copy at all, don’t get me wrong. And I’m sure I’ll find my own sound, I just want to know how to pan my kit in an equalizer.

I plan to buy a mixer like this one offa Musiciansfriend when I get the chance + get the Turtle Beach sound card off Newegg so I can record my drum kit. (And yes, I’m going to get a drum mic kit as well from Musiciansfriend)

Mixer LINK:

Turtle Beach Sound Card:

Drum Mic Kit:

I know its alot and I might even not get it but if I get better at drumming, I might really want it cause I love recording stuff even if its only on my Yamaha Keyboard lol.

If I get that Equalizer Mixer thing, will it be good for my kit? I also have a hi-hat and crash / ride cymbal as well… But I think it’ll cover my High, medium, and low (floor) tom, and my bass drum as well as my snare drum.

So in essence, if I’m getting this right, I can mic all these toms into the equalizer and can record into audacity all at the same time? Or do I have to do each part separately? And can I even separate each channel if need be?

Sorry for all the questions but I’m so new to this stuff is so new to me.

I personally dont think it really matters. A lot of people will say that the drums should be panned right to left (high hat right floor tom left) as this is how you would hear it if you were watching a band, but personally ,although i am a guitarist , i also like to get behind the drums and have a whack so i prefer to hear them as if im playing them so high hat on the left floor tom on the right (for a right handed drummer.)

What you need to be aware of is if you are going to have 4-6 mics on a kit you need a mixing desk that has 4-6 inputs. It is also better if you have the cabability to equalize (adjust bass, treble and mids) each of the tracks.

Ok so say we have everything mic’d and its sounding great coming from the mixing desk and now you want to get it into audacity. The biggest problem here is that what you have coming from the mixing desk and going into audacity will come out as one track.So Everything going into the desk will be mixed into one track in audacity if you only have one channel going from your desk to the computer. While this will sound great you wont be able to isolate say the snare from the rest of the kit.

you will need a much fancier sound card for that. I dont know much about them but here is an excerp from a previous post that may help

particularly alathans post which is

"It’s up to your hardware to provide all these input channels. I have an M-audio Delta 1010LT card. With it, I can record up to 8 analog inputs at the same time. Each input gets it’s own separate track with no overlapping or cross-talking between them.

For hardware that can give you this kind of thing, poke around in the the ‘Recording Equipment’ forum. There are a handful of posts about this exact subject up there already."


I suggest that if your not sure how seriously you want to get into recording that you start out small rather than just go out and spend alot of money on lots of equipment. You only really need a kit and one mic to record your drums. How much production you can do on that one track is limited but if you are patient and creative you will find ways around the shortcomings.
As an example ( i promise its not shameless self promotion cause i dont work that way and im not actually that good) have a listen to “watching the moon” off my myspace page.

The drums in this track were recorded with a single condenser mic into a mixing desk then into audacity(ie minimal equipment). Its not great but you can still hear everything ok. Also have a listen to “leave it up to you” Its just an example of what you can do with a cheap drum machine (zoom rythm ttrack) if youve got the patience to program all the different parts. The drum machine will allow you to add effects more easily though although this tune just uses the factory sounds.

good luck with it.