At the risk of covering something you may already know well, let's take a detour and be clear about what crash and ride cymbals are and how they are different. Then the explanation of what a crash/ride is will make more sense.
There are three main characteristics that determine most of a cymbal's sound: size (diameter), weight (thickness), and profile (the ...
Hit both the cymbals once .
The "Crash Cymbal" should produce a loud, sharp "crash"
The "Ride Cymbal" should produce a sustained, shimmering sound
Sample of Crash Cymbal sound
Sample of Ride Cymbal sound
The purist, jazz drummer in me will tell you there is no difference. You can place a cymbal wherever you want and play it however you want regardless of what word the manufacturer decided to print on it. You can ride a crash and crash a ride. "Crash" and "ride" are just divisions we've made based on how well they produce certain kinds of sounds. So really ...
I generally use EQ to boost the frequency ranges that I want and drop the volume on the hi-hat channel to suit.
The key frequencies I use for tweaking hi-hats are:
200 to 300 Hz - This is where the metallic "chink" sound usually is.
6,000 Hz + - This is where hissy "tsss" sound usually is.
To get a more metallic sound, enhance with a mid to narrow band ...
As @Meaningful Username pointed out, the ride is usually heavier than the crash. It is also typically larger than the crash (ride usually 20 inches in diameter and crash mostly 14 to 18 inches).
If you hit the center region of a ride, it produces a bell-like sound.
To add to what's here:
Ride cymbals will not be very loud when struck (comparitively), but will have overtones that last for much longer than crash cymbals.
Crash cymbals, for the most part, are meant to accent the beat - be loud when hit, then fade quickly.
If you hit both very hard, across the edge of your stick, listen to see what is still ringing many ...
Wheat Williams has an excellent diagram for where the Bell, Bow, and Rim are.
As for how/when they are typically played I will attempt to give some insight.
Let's start with the bell: The bell is sort of isolated from the bow of the cymbal, in fact it's purpose is to isolate the vibrations in the bow of the cymbal from the stationary mounting point, giving ...
Cymbals use an alloy containing copper so they tarnish and corrode over time, even if they are not touched with sweaty fingers. Some drummers prefer tarnished cymbals, though I think it's more about (or entirely about) image than sound quality. One drawback to polishing your cymbals is that it will remove the black logo.
If you do decide to polish them, ...