Can You Ever Have Too Much Reverse Cymbal with Reverb?

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pexels

It may be impossible to overuse the reverse cymbal with reverb as a transitional sound in your mix. I just used it 24 times in a 3’30” song and I was being very conservative.

24 occurrences of the reversed cymbal with reverb was just enough (the DAW is FL Studio 20).

For context, here’s a typical reversed cymbal with reverb — other variants include the cymbal with reverb reversed with reverb added and reversed again, and other sonological brain twisters.

I first realized that I needed this sound effect when I had gotten hung up on the main opening theme. When repeating the theme, the transition where it looped felt a tad empty. However, adding an extra note to fill this theme void made the melody too clunky. Here’s the main opening melodic theme in its raw state.

It then dawned on me that to loop this theme effectively, I needed a non-note sound, and that’s when the reverse cymbal with reverb effect came to mind as an option. It also made sense as a transitional element to bring in the kick and more bass voices, as well as helping to seal the note-gap at the end of the theme.

Here’s the cymbal effect in context of the song start (I use ‘song’ loosely since there are no vocals in this work!). There’s also a bit of a mix pumping working in tandem with the first appearance of the cymbal effect, which I discuss in my article Pumping the Mix at Kick Transition Points.

Aside from theme looping, the reverse cymbal works well as a lead-in to snare hits, but these aren’t ordinary snares but rather what I call ‘probabilistic snares’ as each hit has some randomization applied.

You can hear all 24 occurrences of the reverse cymbal with reverb and judge whether this is too many, or just the right amount, in the music video below.

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The Optophonia Festival of Electronic Music, Performance Visuals and Audiovisual Culture