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  • Piezo mounting on A-cymbal

    I mounted my piezos on the under side of my cymbals as close to the middle of my usual strike zone as possible. I mounted them two ways as an experiment. 1st way: one piece of 3M double-sided tape, covering the ceramic only with the ceramic facing the cymbal. 2nd way: two strips of 3M tape 3/4" apart so the ceramic is not touched - just the brass - with the ceramic facing away from the cymbal.

    The second method works a little better, but both methods suffer from localization. By that I mean a strike an inch or two away is quiet, but a strike directly on top is loud. I've tried 27mm and 35mm sizes. The entire underside of my cymbals are dampened with vinyl, as well as a top wedge strike pad.

    Where and does anybody else mount their piezos to minimize this problem? I'm thinking now I should mount them as far away from my strike area as possible so the differences won't be so pronounced. The only problem with that is I'm using the dual piezo design on my ride (one for bow and one for bell). By moving this bow piezo, I probably will have to go to a bell switch.

    Any ideas?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
    I mounted my piezos on the under side of my cymbals as close to the middle of my usual strike zone as possible. I mounted them two ways as an experiment. 1st way: one piece of 3M double-sided tape, covering the ceramic only with the ceramic facing the cymbal. 2nd way: two strips of 3M tape 3/4" apart so the ceramic is not touched - just the brass - with the ceramic facing away from the cymbal.

    The second method works a little better, but both methods suffer from localization. By that I mean a strike an inch or two away is quiet, but a strike directly on top is loud. I've tried 27mm and 35mm sizes. The entire underside of my cymbals are dampened with vinyl, as well as a top wedge strike pad.

    Where and does anybody else mount their piezos to minimize this problem? I'm thinking now I should mount them as far away from my strike area as possible so the differences won't be so pronounced. The only problem with that is I'm using the dual piezo design on my ride (one for bow and one for bell). By moving this bow piezo, I probably will have to go to a bell switch.

    Any ideas?
    Two things come to mind here...

    First, I would try using a piece of foam tape that is cut to the size of the piezo ceramic, but instead of sticking it over the ceramic, stick it on the brass side with the ceramic facing away from the cymbal. This seems to be the norm for adhering piezos to cymbals.

    And for the second thought. The more things absorbing vibration, the worse the action of the piezo. Your cymbal is covered in vinyl to dampen the sound by reducing vibration. Beyond that, you have an absorbent striking surface on top as well. Put together, these things reduce the vibration that the piezo is reading to where it only registers when a hit is close to it. I think the farther you move the piezo away from the ideal striking zone, the worse it will get. You may have to find a better material for the striking surface or lose it altogether. So far I have not found anything that suffices for my liking, but I also haven't tried any materials of 1/16" thickness yet either. FYI, 1/8" gum rubber is horrible, but maybe 1/16" (or even less) could be adequate. Essentially though, the quieter you make the trigger the worse the response and the better the response the louder the trigger.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
      I mounted my piezos on the under side of my cymbals as close to the middle of my usual strike zone as possible. I mounted them two ways as an experiment. 1st way: one piece of 3M double-sided tape, covering the ceramic only with the ceramic facing the cymbal. 2nd way: two strips of 3M tape 3/4" apart so the ceramic is not touched - just the brass - with the ceramic facing away from the cymbal.

      The second method works a little better, but both methods suffer from localization. By that I mean a strike an inch or two away is quiet, but a strike directly on top is loud. I've tried 27mm and 35mm sizes. The entire underside of my cymbals are dampened with vinyl, as well as a top wedge strike pad.

      Where and does anybody else mount their piezos to minimize this problem? I'm thinking now I should mount them as far away from my strike area as possible so the differences won't be so pronounced. The only problem with that is I'm using the dual piezo design on my ride (one for bow and one for bell). By moving this bow piezo, I probably will have to go to a bell switch.

      Any ideas?
      I am getting ready to try an e-cymbal conversion. With your and Cheapthrill's comments in mind, I may try the version of tape method I use on my rim triggers.

      I apply a strip of tape to the top 1/4 and bottom 1/4 of the piezo disk. So that the middle section has no tape on it at all. I also notch it so that the ceramic is not covered by the tape. Sort of like two arcs of tape. I get great trigger action on my drum rims like this. I'll let you know if it seems to work..it's an idea right now

      This view of tape on back of piezo is how I installed in my mini snare. It also seems to work well when this method is applied to the ceramic side.
      Last edited by racer52; 01-15-09, 09:37 PM.
      TD-20 (non expanded), acoustic look DIY a to e conversion - some cake pan/ some crossbar method. DIY cymbals, VH-12 :-)
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      • #4
        Thanks cheapthrill.
        The dampening effects makes sense. They're already louder than I want so I may have to give up on using real cymbals and still get good performance.
        Is there a topic or link on general piezo mounting? I haven't seen one.
        I'll try turning the piezo over, but am curious as to why the tape is the size of the ceramic but stuck on the brass. It seems counter-intuitive and more vibration would be transmitted by either having the ceramic closest to the source or having more tape on the brass to give a larger surface area for transmission.

        racer,
        That's pretty much my second method of mounting and it does work better both for the drums rims and on the cymbals. Not only do the piezos stay stuck better, but they seem to have better sensitivity. I think the larger the distance from the center of the piezo disc, the more torque is applied to the ceramic for the same amount of vibration.
        Last edited by Poco Askew; 01-15-09, 09:42 PM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
          Thanks cheapthrill.
          The dampening effects makes sense. They're already louder than I want so I may have to give up on using real cymbals and still get good performance.
          Is there a topic or link on general piezo mounting? I haven't seen one.
          I'll try turning the piezo over, but am curious as to why the tape is the size of the ceramic but stuck on the brass. It seems counter-intuitive and more vibration would be transmitted by either having the ceramic closest to the source or having more tape on the brass to give a larger surface area for transmission.
          I don't know of a link or thread about it specifically, but that seems to be all I see others doing for piezo mounting...that doesn't necessarily mean that there isn't a better way though. I think the idea is that the foam tape can transmit the vibration to the brass directly without wires compromising the surface contact, then the brass beyond the coverage of the ceramic has room to flex. Also, this method may be aimed towards inhibiting the ceramic from doing all the flexing, which may damage it from repeated high-velocity vibrations.

          If I am not mistaken, I have read something in a thread here about reversing a piezo similar to how you and racer52 mention. It reverses polarity or something like that, which makes me think you would have to switch the leads around. I'd have to look for it. But regardless, I don't think that polarity would have much to do with how well the piezo responds fundamentally. I am currently working on a few things this week, I may experiment with piezo mounting this time around and see what happens.
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          • #6
            I wish I still had a scope.
            I'd love to try various mounting techniques and document the outcome with different dampening materials and their placement, and with strikes at varying distances from the piezo. If I follow up on this I'll post back the results.

            In the mean time, I'm going to remove a wedge of dampening on the underside of the cymbal that corresponds to the strike zone on top. That might allow more vibration to reach the piezo but still keep the bulk of the cymbal muted. I've been getting a "rattle" sound out of my ride from the module. When I lightly touch the piezo and strike, it doesn't happen, so it may be the wires/solder pads holding it away slightly from the tape, as suggested. Hopefully flipping it over will improve sensitivity and get rid of that artifact. I also need to find a source for other dampening materials. The stuff I'm using is fairly soft. I'd like to go with a stiffer material - probably still vinyl - maybe up to 1/16" thick, like heavy clear shower curtain material. Other suggestions?

            [EDIT]
            I see the reference to McMaster-Carr. I'll check them out for other dampening material.
            Last edited by Poco Askew; 01-16-09, 10:08 AM.

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            • #7
              Mini update:

              Thanks cheapthrill! Your dampening suggestion was right on. I removed the wedge shape of dampening in the strike zone under my cymbal and it made a huge difference in consistent loudness even when I hit an inch or two away from the piezo. The sound of the stick striking the cymbal isn't much, if any different, There's still plenty of dampening to quiet the direct sound of the stick-cymbal impact.

              I've now tried mounting the piezo three ways. I'm a noob at this, but so far I'm a proponent of just putting down a piece of double-sided tape and placing the piezo down on it, ceramic facing away. Its easiest, holds best and so far (for me) it seems to trigger at least as well as any other method of mounting. No more hole punching/cutting! ... until I learn better.

              No matter how I mounted, I still got the rattle sound on the ride cymbal's decay. That was easily fixed with a mask time adjustemt in the controller.

              Now if I can find some better (harder, clear?) dampening material for the top, I think I'll have stepped in something good.

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              • #8
                Glad to hear that things are improving!

                Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                Now if I can find some better (harder, clear?) dampening material for the top, I think I'll have stepped in something good.
                Last spring I made a list of Mcmaster-Carr materials that I have wanted to try, but I really don't have enough mad money to experiment with. However, if you want to investigate any of these yourself, I would be very eager to hear about your findings.

                ---Quick Recovery Super Resilient Foam Adhesive Back, 1/32" Thick, 12" X 12", Very Firm, Black........$7.33 Each
                ---Quick Recovery Super Resilient Foam Adhesive Back, 1/16" Thick, 12" X12", Extra Firm, Black........$5.72 Each
                ---Ultra-Strength Neoprene Rubber 1/32" Thick, 12" X 12", 50A Durometer....................................$5.59 Each
                ---Natural Gum Rubber Sheet 1/16" Thick, 12" X 12", 40A Durometer, Tan.....................................$3.18 Each
                ---Adhesive-Back Commercial-Strength Neoprene Sheet 1/16" Thick, 12" X 12", 40A Durometer........$7.24 Each
                ---Adhesive-Back Commercial-Strength Neoprene Sheet 1/16" Thick, 12" X 12", 30A Durometer........$7.24 Each
                ---Commercial-Strength Neoprene Rubber Sheet Plain Back, 1/16" Thick, 12" X 12", 30A Durometer....$3.46 Each
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                • #9
                  This may be getting OT, and perhaps there is a thread on this already, but is 40A to 50A about where we think we need to be to replicate the quietness and stick bounce of the 'R' and 'Y' brand cymbals? I measured the rubber on a Yami today, and without destroying it, I think it was 0.100". So I'm thinking 3/32" thick on top would be a good match, stop most stick noise, and still give a good feel. I just don't know how hard the stuff is they use.

                  I'd love to try some of the various M-C rubbers, but the stuff doesn't come cheap. I was looking at the high-strength EPDM sheet in 3/32" thickness. 24" x 12" = $23.70 + frt. I bought some clear vinyl at WalMart today to play with. Its only 0.018" and too hard probably, but 54" x 36" was $3.24. I think this kind of vinyl comes in at about 70A hardness.

                  From my experiment this morning, I believe the dampening material on the bottom of the cymbal can be as soft, dense and thick as you want in order to deaden it as much as you want. You just need to stay clear of the strike area, assuming that's where the piezo is located.
                  Last edited by Poco Askew; 01-16-09, 06:11 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                    This may be getting OT, and perhaps there is a thread on this already, but is 40A to 50A about where we think we need to be to replicate the quietness and stick bounce of the 'R' and 'Y' brand cymbals? I measured the rubber on a Yami today, and without destroying it, I think it was 0.100". So I'm thinking 3/32" thick on top would be a good match, stop most stick noise, and still give a good feel. I just don't know how hard the stuff is they use.
                    I think as far as durometer that 40A to 50A sounds about right. I don't know where in the world a person could find 3/32" rubber though. If it is a firm material like gum rubber, I bet 1/16" offers decent response while being just thick enough to inhibit a good degree of click noise from the sticks. They won't be quiet like a Roland or Yamaha cymbal, but they will still be real cymbals though.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cheapthrill View Post
                      I don't know where in the world a person could find 3/32" rubber though.
                      Mcmaster-Carr carries it in 1/16", 3/32", 1/8", etc. Its just too expensive to buy several different thicknesses and hardnesses to find the best result. I'll keep looking locally and see what I can find before I go that route.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Poco Askew View Post
                        Mcmaster-Carr carries it in 1/16", 3/32", 1/8", etc. Its just too expensive to buy several different thicknesses and hardnesses to find the best result. I'll keep looking locally and see what I can find before I go that route.
                        Hmm, I didn't notice the 3/32" thickness before. It still seems like it might be too thick after trying the 1/8" stuff though... as I mentioned before, 1/8" gum rubber leaves a heck of a lot lot to be desired. Mcmaster-Carr does offer sample packs of various rubbers, but even the samples are still kind of pricey if you ask me. A cheap, locally available material would be the best of all solutions for sure, good luck on your hunt!
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                        • #13
                          I mount my one inch trigger disks at the center for single zone cymbals with a bit of foam tape...that good grey stuff at home dept.
                          I seem to be getting a great response anywhere on the cymbal and don't have any hot spot.

                          I would suggest trying to change some settings on your module.
                          Dave
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                          • #14
                            Try placing your piezo on the opposite side of the cymbal that you play on. That way you're never striking directly over it, thus no hot spot. It should instantly solve your hot spot/consistency issue.

                            The best part is you can test this by simply rotating your cymbal 180 degrees so the piezo's on the other side.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gastric View Post
                              Try placing your piezo on the opposite side of the cymbal that you play on. That way you're never striking directly over it, thus no hot spot. It should instantly solve your hot spot/consistency issue.

                              The best part is you can test this by simply rotating your cymbal 180 degrees so the piezo's on the other side.
                              Good suggestion. I'll give it a try. My concern is, this cymbal has two piezos for the bow and bell, rather than a switch. If I move the bow piezo to the back (with all the dampening under the cymbal), I'll have to increase it's gain and I will get bow sounds when I'm striking the bell. On a regular single piezo and switch arrangement, moving the piezo away definitely seems like the best setup.

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