Best Cymbal Review – Top Rated Models in 2018 with Buying Guide
If you are determined to purchase the best cymbals available but you cannot find the time to do the necessary research on the subject, this paragraph should clue you in. After reading specialized reviews and users’ feedback comments, we have concluded that the Zildjian 16″ K Dark is the model that is worthy of your consideration. This device has a copper-tin ratio of 80/20, and it is known for delivering a mellow, dry, and dark sound that many musicians simply love. What is more, the product is highly appreciated by those who have acquired it before. If this product is unavailable, check out the Zildjian 18″ A Custom instead.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Because we know how difficult finding quality cymbals can be, we have gathered a list of reliable models that you should take a good look at before placing any orders. The following models are highly regarded by both prior buyers and the specialists.
Best Crash cymbal
Zildjian 16″ K Dark
The product has a diameter of 16 inches, and it was constructed from high-grade materials such as 80% copper and 20% tin, as well as traces of silver. Consequently, the device produces a full-bodied, rich sound that is said to improve in time and that is always in style.
The cymbal has a clean crash as it does not include harsh or exotic overtones, nor does it have a rough midrange. Because of its qualities, the product is currently considered a safe purchase. However, when compared to its other counterparts, this unit is a bit more expensive.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($269.95)
Zildjian 18″ A Custom
The model is made from an alloy that consists of 80% copper and 20% tin, and it features traces of silver. The product includes a beautiful finish that is eye-catching, and that can make your drum set stand out. Quality-wise, the device is pretty durable in the long run and it doesn’t break easily.
Overall, the model has received positive reviews, and it is praised for having a focused, full crash and a bright sound. As expected, the unit is a great investment if you are a fan of playing rock music.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($279.95)
Sabian 16-Inch SBR
Besides, the device has a hammered and lathered surface constructed from brass and, consequently, it produces tightly focused sounds. The unit has a natural finish and a high pitch that you will certainly find worth investing in. Former purchasers of the unit have said that this cymbal is a good value for the money, as it sounds rich for a lower end product.
Still, the one drawback that some have noticed is that the model cannot sustain the sound for a long period of time. All in all, this device is a recommended purchase. Furthermore, the model is covered by a one-year warranty policy.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($49.95)
Sabian AA 18-Inch Medium
According to one of its reviewers, the product is heavy, just like a regular rock crash but it has a quicker decay. This unit is the perfect purchase if you like to crash ride a lot while playing and to add bell rides for accents. Besides, the model is praised as a good buy for when playing any kind of music.
The model is very durable, as seasoned musicians guarantee that the item can pass the test of time. To show its trust in the product, the seller offers its buyers a two-year warranty policy. As a result, you can make use of this policy in case any issues arise.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($219.99)
Istanbul Mehmet Custom CT15
Just like the other models sold by the same manufacturer, the design of the unit features an unlathed concentric circle that is placed on the bow. According to the seller, this circle can actively reduce the overtone as well as the drying of the sound. Moreover, the bottom part of the product is not lathed.
Yet, differently from the other products that we have analyzed, this item has not received numerous feedback comments. As a result, it is hard to tell if there are any issues with it (from the point of view of the user).
Buy from Amazon.com for ($160.52)
Best Hi-Hat cymbal
Meinl HCS13H 13″
On top of that, this unit was specially designed to be used by beginners and students and, it can also maintain its tone. The model is ideal if you are transitioning from playing on an electronic drum set for beginners and you want a device that is effortless to practice on.
Because it has a responsive nature, this unit can be used while playing rock, jazz, and funk and it works well on any intensity/level. Similarly to the other devices manufactured by Meinl, the model is covered by a two-year warranty.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($62.99)
Zildjian ZBT Hi Hat
The model features a brilliant finish that is highly polished and that, consequently, it looks fresh. According to reviews, at first, like any cymbals, the model might sound a bit clangy. However, as time passes and one uses it regularly, it develops a nice, pronounced sound.
The device is fitted with a small and round hammer that hits the cymbal with precision and, therefore, it creates a textured sound that has plenty of character.
The model is recommended for students and intermediate players that want a product that they can practice on. The model can be used to play different genres of music. As expected, the unit has many repeat buyers that recommend it as a good purchase.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($125.95)
Zildjian K Custom 14″
These cymbals were used by Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and Art Blakey, just to name a few musicians that recommend them. The device has a responsive feel, and it can provide total control and fantastic musicality.
The product is ideal when used to play various genres that require a dark tone (such as jazz and funk). However, some users do not advise in favor of purchasing these cymbals if you intend to play rock on them as they are considered a little too dark for this music genre. The model is well liked by previous buyers, as many of them acknowledge its overall feel and tone.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($479.95)
Sabian SBR1302 SBR Series
As a plus, the product features pinpoint lathing as well as large-peen hammering. Moreover, this model is suitable to be used by R&B, pop, and rock lovers. As expected, because it is made out of brass, it might lack in edge and character.
Because they are 13’ and not 14’, the cymbals might have a higher pitch than what you would expect. Yet, they resonate well, and they provide a great sound. The model is regarded as a good deal for the money. Moreover, this device is covered by a warranty (one year) that might come in handy.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($64.99)
Zildjian 14″ S Mastersound
Moreover, this product includes a brilliant finish that supplies the device with a shimmery tone that is bright and uniform. Furthermore, the top and bottom hammering produces a dialed-in sonic response that is constant through all dynamic ranges.
What is more, because of the crimped edges on the bottom of each cymbal, you will not have to deal with the airlock. The model has received outstanding ratings, and it is often described as modern sounding. According to the reviewers, if you settle for this model you simply cannot go wrong as it has a good feel. The device is capable of playing many types of musical genres.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($203.88)
Best Ride cymbal
Meinl Cymbals HCS20R 20″
As a plus, this unit can respond to the level of intensity that you need, no matter if you play at a gig or if you are practicing in the comfort of your home. The device was constructed in such a way so that it is perfect for beginners and students.
To make sure that the product is durable for long-term use, the manufacturer has made it from a sturdy brass alloy that can stand the test of time and constant use. On top of that, this product can provide its users with a warm mix of sounds that are defined by their clarity.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
Zildjian ZBT 20″ Ride
What is more, the tonality of the ZBT Ride mixes well with other instruments, such as clarinets. In fact, this product is highly versatile, and it offers what the users often describe as a professional performance.
A significant advantage of this model is the fact that it was constructed from high-quality materials such as bronze and that it was made using state of the art technology. According to the current users, this product is ideal if you want a deep, warm, and round sound. Most of its buyers are content with the item that they have received.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($114.92)
Sabian SBR2012 SBR Series
Even more so, the product has a strong, clean stick definition and a tight tonality that you are surely going to enjoy. Moreover, the model includes many features such as the high-pressure hammering, a peculiarity that is usually found in more expensive units.
The model is well-liked because it is budget friendly. However, just like when purchasing a less expensive mandolin, you should not expect it to perform as well as the high-class instruments out there. Nevertheless, this is a good model for the price.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)
Zildjian K Constantinople Renaissance
The model has been handmade by dedicated professionals, and it has, just like its name suggests, a vintage golden look. The cymbal has a distinct ping that escalates quickly and a recognizable crash. The product features smoother lathing on each side and unlathed underneath sides that add definition to the music created by these cymbals.
This medium-thin model has a size of 22’ and a traditional finish that you will instantly recognize. Because of its robust, slight dark resonance, this device sounds great if you are playing metal/rock on it, as well as jazz. The majority of the buyers who have used this model would recommend it to those interested in such a product.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($559.95)
Sabian 32014B B8
Differently, from others units sold by the same manufacturer, this model features an improved bell design and a new larger hammering pattern. Additionally, you should know that this device is mainly suitable for playing rock.
What is more, this model can actively handle power, speed, as well as aggression and it is highly versatile from a musical perspective. Overall, the product has received high ratings, and it is also covered by a two-year warranty. This model makes an excellent gift for a drummer that likes to experiment with his/her sound.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($117.31)
Best Splash cymbal
Zildjian A Series 8″
In fact, in order to cater to the needs of all of its buyers, this manufacturer has designed this model by collaborating with none other than Vinnie Colaiuta, a drummer that is renowned for his musical versatility.
These custom cymbals are built by using a radical rotary hammering technique that produces a striking, brilliant sound that is similar to that made by the classical cymbals created in the forties and early fifties. The model has a responsive feel and a bright sound. As a plus, it is often presented as a highly durable device that can last for an extended period of time.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109.95)
Zildjian A Custom 8″
When compared to other units made by this seller, the model is an exciting alternative that is somewhat distinct from the classical sound of older instruments. Just like the other models featured in the A Series, this product was made in collaboration with Vinnie Colaiuta, a drum icon that you have probably heard about before.
The model delivers a sound that is somewhere between dark and bright, which is a reason why many current players opt to invest in it. The device has a colorful, unique voice and, as a result, is well liked. Price-wise, the product has been called a bit expensive. However, many drummers recommend it.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109.99)
Sabian 11005XB 10-Inch HHX
According to the manufacturer, those who decide to invest in this model will enjoy the traditional tone and modern projection, all wrapped up in a 10-inch design. As a plus, the product has a very edgy appearance that includes a bronze finish that looks great on stages.
The device performs well when used to play loud music, as well as when used for softer pieces. Moreover, the hammering of the unit gives it a special resonance that is amply projected. The model has a quick response and a great quality that you will surely appreciate.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($113.21)
Zildjian L80 LowVolume 10″
Moreover, the model is also suitable for when performing in small venues that can be easily qualified as quiet gigs. The most appreciated feature of quiet models, in general, is the fact that they allow for a more extended play.
This is possible because these units do not produce hearing damage and/or ear fatigue. However, although the product is quieter, it is still able to maintain that authentic feel that you associate with any Zildjian product. The product has received many good ratings, and it is now regarded as a go-to unit by beginner drummers that like to practice in silence.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.95)
Zildjian K Custom 10″
The device allows for a fast decay and a quicker attack. Because of this, the unit performs well when used to play contemporary music. As a plus, some users have appreciated the fact that these cymbals do not have a long latent ring to them.
The product has many repeat buyers that are happy with their choice. Most of them are particularly impressed by the dark undertones of the sounds that it produces. So, if your mind is not yet made up, give it a try as you won’t regret it!
Buy from Amazon.com for ($154.95)
Best China cymbal
Sabian AAX 14-Inch Mini
Even more so, the device does not feature too much sustain. In fact, the model is quick, and it produces whip-like sounds that you will surely appreciate. Apart from sounding well in noisy environments, this model is also a good purchase if you like to play at gigs where you don’t have to use high volumes.
The product is protected by a two-year warranty. It also has great ratings, and it is a good option if you want to match it with an acoustic electric guitar. However, you should know that this unit is a bit pricey.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($115.66)
Sabian NP1916B 19-Inch
This unit can create a heavy sound that has an excellent decay and sustain. On top of that, the model makes a clear, purified sound that is delivered as soon as you hit the cymbal. Because of this feature, it is one of the highest rated products on the market.
Moreover, this 19’ model has a brilliant finish, and it was created from B20, a material that guarantees the quality of the sounds made by the unit. Lastly, it is worth noticing that, when compared to its size, this product is quite thin.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($289)
Zildjian Gen16 Buffed Bronze
Furthermore, this model is fitted with a pattern of holes that have varying sizes that can actively reduce the sound pressure of the cymbals. Moreover, this product is said to be less noisy than similar counterparts. In fact, the device produces sounds that are from 50 to 70% less strident than those made by older units.
Consequently, this is a dependable model that can be used in band rooms or churches, as well as in low volume settings. As expected, this product is great if you intend to use it as a practice cymbal, especially if you don’t want to bother your neighbors and/or family.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($119.95)
Wuhan WU10418 18-Inch
The product has a significant number of repeat purchasers. Most of its buyers are drummers with over 15 years of experience that seem to consider that this product is a reliable model to invest in. What is more, many compare these cymbals with the ones sold by high-end competitors such as Zildjian or Sabian.
The device is said to sound fantastic and to behave well both when used to play at gigs and in the recording studio. Moreover, price-wise, this unit is hard to compete with since it has a very budget-friendly price. However, if you decide to buy a model of this type, make sure to also invest in sturdy music stands.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($68.99)
WUHAN WU104-18R China
Additionally, the device includes a brilliant finish that makes the unit have an appealing look. According to drummers, this model is a reliable alternative to other more expensive models that one can find available online. The product is a good choice if you are determined to buy a unit that does not cost a lot, but that can still deliver that rock and roll sound.
The model has received many positive feedback comments, and it is recommended by its prior buyers to other interested drummers. What is more, the model performs well, even when used in recording studios.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($75.75)
Best Cymbal pack
Zildjian L80 Low Volume
The device features characteristics that can drastically reduce volume and that are suitable when playing at quiet gigs and/or at home. The set was built from a specialized alloy that decreases the sound made by each piece by 70 to 80%. Moreover, the cymbals have a matte finish that makes them stand out.
The only disadvantage listed by prior buyers is the fact that these cymbals are challenging to use during normal concerts. Therefore, if you purchase them, you might have to use them solely for practicing purposes. So, give them a go!
Buy from Amazon.com for ($249.95)
Meinl Cymbals CCD460+18
Moreover, the traditional design of the units makes these models look dark and rich and, thus, suitable for the stage. Because the models included in this deal come in various shapes and sizes, they are sufficient to complete a drum set. Therefore, the player will have a wide-enough range of sounds that he/she can dig into.
Lastly, you should not ignore the fact that these units have been specially designed to cut above the roar of a guitar. Consequently, the drummer does not have to play hard to make himself/herself heard.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($499.99)
Meinl Cymbals HCS1314+10S
As a plus, the manufacturer also supplies its buyers with free Pro-Mark size 5A wood tip drumsticks and free online lessons with Mike Johnston, an instructor that can help you learn how to master the drums. To get started, you should follow the directions included in the package and access the lessons mentioned above.
The cymbals that you will receive are made from a brass alloy, and they are of German quality. Because of the material used in making them, these items are very musical, and they can keep their tone. The set is covered by a two-year warranty.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
Sabian SBR Performance Pack
Another significant advantage of the product is that they have a good price. As one former buyer has pointed out, this model is fairly harsh and, overall a good purchase. However, given the price margin, you should not expect it to perform at the highest level.
Lastly, the set performs best when used to play punk, rock, and metal. Yet, if you intend to play jazz with them, you might not be as satisfied. All in all, if you aren’t an audiophile that is crazy about perfect sounds, this model is the one for you.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($122.62)
Zildjian ZBT Starter Set
The product delivers a sharp and focused sound that is bright and the ride cymbal included has good crash qualities. On top of that, the free 14’ crash is easy to play, and it comes supplied with a brilliant finish that makes it stand out on any drum set.
At the time that we had carried out our research, this model had received mixed reviews. While some considered the product an excellent set for a beginner, others pointed out that, when compared to other models of this kind, this unit is not that feature-packed. Likewise, some said that the model is not made from quality materials that can sustain the abuse of playing on them daily.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($214.95)
Yearly Guide & Report
If you are set on purchasing new, good cymbals, but you don’t know which features are important and which can be omitted, we are here to lend you a hand. After going through numerous cymbals reviews and after assessing what formers buyers had to say about certain products, we have composed a list of aspects that you should not ignore when shopping for an item of this kind.
Types of cymbals and their roles in a drum set
If you have shopped for other musical instruments or accessories such as a precise guitar metronome before, you probably know that one of the most important things that you should do before scouring the market for cymbals for sale is to make sure that you understand how a product functions.
From this point of view, we believe that it is best that you understand that each cymbal has a certain role in the drum kit. In total, there are five basic types of cymbals that can be used in various ways, especially by experimental drummers that do not mind breaking the rules.
The ride cymbals are the ones that keep a steady groove, no matter the genre of music that you play or the style that you use. These units are generally placed at the right side of the drummer (if he/she is right-handed). The role of such a model is to provide a steady rhythm throughout a tune. However, there are also crash units that can produce a slow, elongated crash.
The hi-hats are also an important part of a drum set, as they are played at the same time with the snare drums. Usually, modern units come provided with a pair of 14’ hi-hats. Still, in recordings studios, many artists prefer to use smaller models.
However, using small-sized hi-hats is not a rule that you have to follow necessarily. In fact, many renowned musicians such as John Bonham used 15’ models. Therefore, this is a personal choice that you should make once you get familiar with your set.
Furthermore, crash cymbals should not be overlooked when putting together a set of drums. Crash models can be played using your hands or the sticks, and they produce various tones and rhythms. Most modern kits tend to have at least two crash cymbals. These come in different sizes that vary between 8” up to 24”.
Moreover, the splashes are the smallest cymbals on a set, and they are usually the ones that accentuate the sound being produced. The splash cymbal had its period of popularity in the 20’s and in the 30’s when jazz was a fairly popular genre.
Lastly, china cymbals are highly appreciated, especially by rock drummers. Their name is related to the similarities between the sound that they make and the sound produced by Chinese gongs. The most distinctive particularity of these models is their trashy, explosive, dark tone.
Performance and reliability
Similarly to when purchasing viola strings, the task of buying high-quality, yet cheap cymbals is not without its challenges, as one has to pay special attention to the practicality and the reliability of a device.
When it comes to a model’s performance, one should pay attention to the sound produced by each product that he/she is interested in. This aspect is important because each cymbal sounds differently. This difference in sound is also related to the way in which a product was built (machine made vs. handcrafted).
To get a good grip on the available models, we recommend that you go online to the site of each manufacturer and that you listen to the recordings made available by the seller. This way, you will be able to make an informed decision.
Although it is very difficult to break a cymbal, reliability is an aspect that is also worthy of your attention. Therefore, you should know that the devices that have been hand-hammered are usually more durable than the ones that have been made with the use of technological means. What is more, cast models are also pretty sturdy.
However, if you are on a budget, it is best that you stay away from sheet units as they are the most likely to crack.
Additional features worth considering
If you have read reviews of cymbals before, you probably already know that the weight of a cymbal is also important when determining what product to purchase. To put it simply, if a model is heavy, it is most likely rigid and thick and, thus, it will have a higher pitch when hit. As a plus, less lightweight units require more force on behalf of the drummer as they resonate best when hit with force.
On the other hand, lightweight units are easier to play on. Also, if a model has a large diameter, its pitch is, inevitably, lower.
If you are a beginner and you are yet not sure what drum set to acquire, it is best that you pick one that features a ride, a set of hi-hats and one or two crashes. These cymbals are the basics, and you are going to use them whenever you are playing. Because of this, it is vital that you learn how to use them first.
However, apart from investing in the cymbals themselves, there are a few extra products that you should also buy. Firstly, you should acquire a carrying case, where you can place them when you move from one gig to another. It is a good idea to get a leather case with a soft inner lining, as it will surely keep your cymbals safe from damages while on the road.
Similarly, just like how it is essential that you buy a good trombone stand, it is crucial that you get a reliable drum set on which you can fit the cymbals. If you follow our recommendations, we are confident that you will end up with a great first drum kit money can get you! So, go ahead and start shopping, we are sure that you’ll find a suitable model for your needs!