[NAMM] Gen16 Acoustic Electric Cymbal
With its launch at NAMM, Gen16 is introducing the AE (Acoustic Electric) Cymbal.
The AE Cymbal is not a sample trigger device. Instead, it's an actual cymbal, and plays like one, but at reduced volume levels, utilizing a dual microphone and DSP engine to amplify and model the cymbal's output.
"One of the most important things for us in creating the AE Cymbal was that it had to feel and play like a real cymbal," says Paul Francis, Zildjian's Director of R&D. "Most of what's currently available for drummers are rubberized, cymbal-shaped trigger pads, and they typically lack the feel and responsiveness of a real cymbal. For us at Zildjian, we've always been about the real feel."
As Francis explains, the original concept for a low-volume acoustic cymbal was proposed by Korg. "They came up with the basic perforation pattern and approached us to perfect the design. We did extensive testing to create a perforation pattern that would maintain the integrity of an actual cymbal. We also worked to develop the right alloy formula that could deliver the feel, sound and durability we needed, and could be manufactured in a wide range of sizes and shapes."
Amplifying the cymbal was a challenge of a different magnitude. "We came up with a dual microphone system we liked, but there were other challenges," says Product Specialist Chris Ryan. "One of the biggest was to determine how to best implement signal processing into the mix, as well as how to make the microphone work with most cymbal setups and hardware."
The Gen16 team began a process of designing the pickup housing and refining the tone modeling and signal processing system that would become the AE Cymbal System. After months of programming, the system was ready for the true "acid test", they say.
"Leon Chiappini, our master cymbal tester, and Paul Francis had to give their approvals of each of the sounds," says Ryan. "Leon has been at Zildjian since the early 1960s, and learned his craft under Avedis and Armand Zildjian. And Paul's been our head of R&D for years and has designed and tested more than his share of cymbals. Both of them are pretty much capable of identifying any type of cymbal blindfolded. When Leon and Paul gave their approval, we knew we'd done it. Then we knew we'd created something really special."
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