A reverse cymbal sample is simple to make on your own without having to go out and download one. Here’s a lightning quick tutorial on making your own reverse cymbal sample even if you don’t have a clean isolated cymbal in your mix.
Reverse Cymbal Sample Tutorial
Step 1 – Pull Up a Regular Cymbal Sample
First we need a regular cymbal sound. I have a few virtual drum kits like Superior Drummer and Addictive Drums, but virtually every DAW has midi drums and samples you can quickly pull up. Most DAWs even have isolated samples for every piece of a drum kit, including cymbals (yours may even already have a reverse cymbal sample built in if you search for it).
Step 2 – Render/Bounce 1-2 Bars of That Track Solo
Whether it’s midi or audio in the form of a WAV file, drop it on your timeline and solo that track.
Render/bounce from when that cymbal hit occurs until it rings out. This might be 1 bar or it might be longer likely depending on the BPM of your track.
We want to make sure we get the entire decay of that tail as part of the WAV we are bouncing the track as.
Step 3 – Drop Cymbal Sample on Your Timeline and Reverse
Now we can import that cymbal hit into our timeline. Put it for its 1 or 2 bars ahead of whatever you want to use it to transition into.
It works well for building anticipation at points in your mix and to lead into say a chorus as that cymbal hit swells.
So if the sample is 2 bars, let’s drop it 2 bars before the chorus hits (for sample).
Now reverse the sample in your DAW. In my Ableton Live, you simply select the clip and hit the “R” key, but this will vary DAW to DAW.
Now you have a seamless reverse cymbal sample building anticipation for whatever point you want in your mix.
You may need to adjust the timing if it’s too long. If you do need to shorten it, make sure to fade in the “start” (which is technically the end) of that cymbal hit to smooth the attack and get a better build.
You may also want to automate the level up, as well, or even drop some reverb on the cymbal and automate the wetness off to give that effect of that cymbal getting closer like I mentioned in my Ableton reverse reverb tutorial.
That’s pretty much it, simple as.
You can do this same trick with other pieces of your drum kit, guitars, bass – really anything with a gradual decay.
Admittedly it’s easier in many of those cases as you can just cut the decay part of whatever you want, then paste it to lead up to the initial transient in reverse, no extra rendering required.