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My Three Zone Ride w/ Choke (Stealth)

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  • My Three Zone Ride w/ Choke (Stealth)

    A couple weeks ago, I re-converted an acoustic ride cymbal into a three-zone ride cymbal. I used one input for the bell zone and another input (piezo/switch) for the bow/bell zones. The bow piezo switches to the edge rimswitch by means of a membrane switch, which also acts as a choke. I decided to make a top-mounted choke/edge like I have used on my dual-zone crashes and made it in a stealth-ish kind of manner again too.

    Here is a diagram of the wiring:


    As you can see, I have PVC vinyl on the underside of the cymbal. It does not look too good because I used multiple pieces and didn't go all the way to the edge. I don't have enough PVC left to re-do it, but you have probably seen enough photos of good looking PVC jobs to get a sense of what it should look like anyway (if not, see Jman's cymbals).


    The choke piece must be both flexible and rigid. If it is to be mounted on top, it must also be durable enough withstand repeated stick contact. I make my choke pieces out of practice cymbals by cutting them with a jigsaw. I then use a sander to smooth the sides and edges and contour the top. I don't have any 18" practice cymbals, so for my 18" ride I cut a choke piece from a 16" practice and evened it up with the sander... it works fine that way.


    For a membrane switch to work, there must be two sides which connect the current when it is struck for a edge sound or grabbed for a choke. I like to use copper tape with a conductive adhesive on one side of it. I put some strips of copper tape directly on the top of the cymbal and also on the bottom of the choke piece. One great thing about copper tape with conductive adhesive is that it doesn't matter if you use separate strips; as long as they make contact, they will conduct. I make sure to leave a tabs extend off the edges of both the choke piece and the cymbal as these are what I will solder the wires to. I put a small piece of clear tape over the tab extending from the choke piece... when I fold it over the edge, this keeps it from making contact with the cymbal. To adhere the choke piece to the cymbal, I use multiple layers of Killer red Tape (KRT) because it is very strong yet thin. Basically I double over two pieces and then stick them together, making four layers. This makes for enough clearance to inhibit an involuntary edge or choke, but is shallow enough to allow activation of the rimswitch (edge sound) with a light hit.


    So I have adhered the choke piece and folded the tabs over the cymbals's edge. Then I attached the bell piezo, the bow piezo,and project box (which I painted) to the cymbal and wired everything.


    The cymbal now looks alright as is, but I'd like to demonstrate how vinyl can be used for concealing purposes. The vinyl I use is from the craft department of Walmart and is not expensive at all. It is thicker than a report cover but much thinner than the PVC vinyl (from McMaster-Carr) that we use for dampening. I paint only one side of the vinyl with brass/gold colored spray paint until it is opaque. Then I cut it to fit whatever. For this cymbal, I cut out a pie sort of shape for underneath the cymbal to cover up the wires (and some of the messy-looking PVC job). I use double-sided scotch tape to adhere it with the painted side down so that the unpainted side can shine, making it look more metallic and real. It might look stupid and cheesy in this photo, but when looking at it from a normal angle in typical lighting, it looks rather good, especially if I were to cover the whole bottom in this manner. Of course you can always use a piece just large enough to cover up wiring, etc.


    You can either spray paint the choke piece or cover it with painted vinyl. I prefer to cover it because it looks better to me and also absorbs some of the force of the strikes.


    In the next photo I used a flash to try to demonstrate that it is highly reflective and stealthy looking to the audience. I feel that it looks relatively less conspicuous than a project box anyway.


    Overall, It triggers very well. I can easily play eighth notes on the edge with a comfortable striking velocity. No "good whacks" needed! Plus, you ALWAYS know where to grab that choke at. I built some crashes in this manner and they are still going strong after four months of vigorous and aggressive playing, so this is a very durable design as far as I can tell. Another added benefit is that you don't need to drill any holes in your cymbals if they have any value to you.

    Hope this was worth the read!
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  • #2
    Very nice job and write-up. A couple questions if you don't mind:

    1. What kind and where do you get the copper tape?
    2. How did you adhere the project box?
    3. What are you using to cover up the bell piezo and how is it attached?

    Thanks,
    Dan

    [EDIT]

    Strike question #1, I found something on Ebay.
    Last edited by lidrummer; 01-11-09, 03:24 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by lidrummer View Post
      Very nice job and write-up. A couple questions if you don't mind:

      1. What kind and where do you get the copper tape?
      2. How did you adhere the project box?
      3. What are you using to cover up the bell piezo and how is it attached
      Thanks, Dan.

      1.) The copper I tape used was purchased from eBay a year or two ago. You can get it in numerous widths and lengths. I find that 1" is easy to work with and store. I highly recommend copper tape with "conductive adhesive" because you can put one piece atop another and it maintains conductivity throughout. I actually just ordered another roll today from here:
      http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=270328540080
      It was just under $10 USD for about 185 sq. inches... which is an awesome bargain.

      2.) I actually like to adhere project boxes with double-sided tape. 3M foam tape holds very well, but eventually it can deteriorate and come off. Using several layers of KRT will last longer though. As long as the surfaces of the box and cymbal (or PVC vinyl) are good and clean, tape is a great substitute for screws.

      To go an extra step for stealthiness, you could instead attach a project box to the cymbal stand or rack and run the wires from the piezos down to it.

      3.) Ha, funny you should ask about the bell piezo cover. It is just the end of a lint roller that I cut off and spray-painted with metallic paint and hot-glued on. I usually don't go to that kind of effort to conceal components because my kit never leaves the house, but I figured I would do it just for s**ts and giggles anyway.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Okay, i'm having trouble understanding this - the bell piezo is on it's own jack which is fine, so how does the bow/edge setup work? This is my guess, please correct me if I'm wrong:

        By hitting on the bow piezo alone, you get a bow sound (velocity taken from the bow piezo)
        By hitting on the edge membrane, you get an edge sound (velocity taken from the bow piezo)
        By grabbing the membrane you choke the edge sound.

        Is that right?

        Comment


        • #5
          How do you avoid crosstalk between the two piezo's?
          It seems like no matter where you strike the cymbal, both piezo's would present enough velocity to trigger the module. Am I missing something?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AwDeOh View Post
            Okay, i'm having trouble understanding this - the bell piezo is on it's own jack which is fine, so how does the bow/edge setup work? This is my guess, please correct me if I'm wrong:

            By hitting on the bow piezo alone, you get a bow sound (velocity taken from the bow piezo)
            Correct. The bow zone has best dynamic range of all zones because the signal is coming directly from the bow piezo.

            Originally posted by AwDeOh View Post
            By hitting on the edge membrane, you get an edge sound (velocity taken from the bow piezo)
            Correct. When the edge/choke membrane switch is hit, it causes contact between the upper and lower parts of the membrane. They are wired to the ring of the jack, so when they touch and the circuit completes, the signal tells the module that a rim trigger should occur. The velocity is still read by the bow piezo even though it is switching to rim. Most DIY membrane switches generally don't have the edge sensitivity of a Roland cymbal because they (Roland) uses special film sensors that are more responsive. Essentially, the less force needed to activate the rimswitch, the more dynamics the edge zone will have.

            Originally posted by AwDeOh View Post
            By grabbing the membrane you choke the edge sound.
            Correct, mostly. The edge zone will make an edge sound when struck. When that same circuit remains complete long enough, it chokes the signal. Besides choking the edge sound, it chokes all bow sounds as well. However, with the way mine is wired I cannot choke bell sounds though, just the other two.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
              How do you avoid crosstalk between the two piezo's?
              It seems like no matter where you strike the cymbal, both piezo's would present enough velocity to trigger the module. Am I missing something?
              The key is to have them as far apart from each other as you can while still allowing them to function in their respective zones. Another thing is to limit the interaction between piezos by adjusting crosstalk, just as you would do between two individual tom triggers on a rack to isolate the vibrations detected from one tom trigger to the other. You can adjust retrigger, sensitivity, and threshold values for both piezos individually. You can also add another layer of double-sided foam tape between the piezo and the cymbal to help mechanically buffer the sensitivity.

              I really like how my cymbal currently performs. For awhile I had a Raper circuit between the bell and bow zones, but it never made me totally satisfied, even after tweaking around with the circuit. If you ask me, a separate bell zone input is the way to go.
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              • #8
                Awesome, thanks for that cheapthrill. Not sure if I either missed a good explanation somewhere or just didn't understand the concept.

                I know in EZDrummer there's a choked cymbal sample in the DFH expansion - up till now I've just been using Cubase MIDI sequencing and penciling in chokes where needed - would I be right in guessing that with the choking system in MIDI, it'd be an after-touch effect, similar to a closing envelope?

                EDIT: After a bit of searching around I think the above question is correct. Kids, this is what happens when you sleep through the MIDI classes in your Sound Engineering course, because you think MIDI is only good for 80's video games.
                Last edited by AwDeOh; 01-11-09, 10:46 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AwDeOh View Post
                  Awesome, thanks for that cheapthrill. Not sure if I either missed a good explanation somewhere or just didn't understand the concept.

                  I know in EZDrummer there's a choked cymbal sample in the DFH expansion - up till now I've just been using Cubase MIDI sequencing and penciling in chokes where needed - would I be right in guessing that with the choking system in MIDI, it'd be an after-touch effect, similar to a closing envelope?
                  Sorry, I have never used EZDrummer or Cubase, but I am quite sure that someone else around here can answer that for you.
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                  • #10
                    Nice job and Thanks for the detailed post, Cheap_Thrill!

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                    • #11
                      I'm glad to know the dual piezo thing will work. I was tempted to try it, but figured I'd never get the crosstalk out. Much cleaner than a bell switch! Thanks CT!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cheapthrill View Post
                        However, with the way mine is wired I cannot choke bell sounds though, just the other two.
                        If you were to wire the edge switch to Ring-Shield on the bell piezo, as it is with the bow piezo, you should be able to choke that as well, I think!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ige87 View Post
                          If you were to wire the edge switch to Ring-Shield on the bell piezo, as it is with the bow piezo, you should be able to choke that as well, I think!
                          I was thinking the same thing! Great minds, blah, blah, blah...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ige87 View Post
                            If you were to wire the edge switch to Ring-Shield on the bell piezo, as it is with the bow piezo, you should be able to choke that as well, I think!
                            That will not work because the input I use for the bell is split from an aux input. There is nothing detecting the ring of the bell input because once the piezo/piezo is split, each input then behaves as mono input, thus it wouldn't recognize a choke wired to the ring. Maybe you were misled by my original wiring diagram since it does show a TRS plug in the bell input. I just happen to use TRS cables for triggers, whether they have a two-zone capacity or not. Here is a another version to represent a split aux input as mono.
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                              I was thinking the same thing! Great minds, blah, blah, blah...
                              In theory, the bell would be chokeable if a piezo/switch input was used and the choke was wired to the ring of the bell input. But because the choke is also the edge, I am not sure about how the edge would trigger if it were connected to two separate piezos and inputs. Maybe if the edge sounds were the same for the rim on both inputs? Jman, can you answer this one?
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