Exc!te Cymbal Is A FREE Ultra-Realistic Physically-Modeled Cymbal Plugin


Chair Audio releases Exc!te Cymbal, a free and ultra-realistic cymbal plugin for macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Chair Audio, or The Center for Haptic Audio Interaction Research, is a forward-thinking developer offering a bunch of free and paid products.

The latest freebie is Exc!te Cymbal for macOS, Windows, and Linux. I think it’s pretty safe to say that a cymbal plugin, on the surface, probably isn’t the most exciting prospect, despite the name of this particular product.

When I say not the most exciting prospect, I don’t mean it negatively; I just mean conversation tends to focus more on kicks, snares, and perhaps things like cinematic percussion. I’m unsure if anyone has asked me if I know of a great cymbal plugin.

I’ve used several drum/percussion plugins, and if I ever find myself unhappy with a single part of a kit, it’s often the cymbals. Even on certain plugins that I think are good, the kicks/snares can be great, and the cymbals sometimes sound too cheap and tinny.

If I hated how a cymbal sounds from a plugin, I’d grab samples from Loopcloud, etc. (Don’t forget you can still grab Arturia’s Tape MELLO-Fi free with a Loopcloud trial during May).

But a freebie that gives me more flexibility than samples and ultra-realism starts to sound much more exciting.

Exc!te Cymbal, built through real-time physical modeling synthesis, has a quirky, cartoonish interface with simple controls.

At the top, you’ll see Excitation and Resonator, followed by sliders for Hit Position, Tip Hardness, Bell Intensity, Tuning, Decay, and Damping.

To the left of those sliders, you can choose Stick, Bell, Mallet, or Choke.

Considering it’s a free plugin, I think Exc!te Cymbal provides more than enough modification to get the sound you’re looking for. If not, a Pro version with additional controls is available for €25.

Listening to Exc!te Cymbal, I’d say it sounds very good, but what impresses me more is the convincing articulation. Many instrument plugins, not just cymbals, sound realistic when doing simple things but go downhill when you start to chain together various articulations. It can often start to sound quite mechanical, clumsy, or disjointed.

The demo of Exc!te Cymbal shows off some of that varied articulation, phrasing, and dynamics, and it goes from sounding very good to sounding great.

Chair Audio has created multiple quirky but authentic plugins; check them out. We covered their previous Exc!te Snare Drum offering on BPB.

Exc!te Cymbal is available in AU and VST3 formats for macOS (10.12 upwards), Windows (10 upwards), and Linux (64-bit Intel/AMD)

Download: Exc!te Cymbal


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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.


  1. Raymond Peck


    I’m really excited to try this with my e-drum kit. As my main cymbals I replaced the triggers with Zildjian Gen16 physical-modeling cymbals, because triggered cymbals are generally garbage, but I kept the triggers off to the side to do accessory sounds.

    Does anyone know if this software has its midi controllers set up to work nicely with cymbal triggers?

    • Hey Raymond,
      Here is Max from CHAIR. We agree, triggered cymbal samples are garbage. That’s why we made this plugin. In the PRO version you can feed it audio to excite the resonator, Believe it or not, in your comment I’ve heard about the Zildjian Gen16 for the first time. I now watched some videos and I’m not impressed by the sound of the Cymbal Processor. I believe our plugin should sound better, Please give it a try,
      Watch the video on this page: https://www.chair.audio/product/excte-cymbal-pro/

  2. Thanks, that sounds impressive. I wanted to try this plugin, but there are six detections in Virustotal. It somehow worries me.
    Can anyone tell me please, is this normal?

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