The best cymbals in the world today

11th Mar 2014 | 15:30

The best cymbals in the world today
The best cymbals in the world today
Budget sets to high-end pro pieces

This is a gallery of the best cymbals on the planet - from modern budget sets to warm high-end pieces, there's a cymbal set here to suit every drummer and drumming style.

All the cymbals here are hand-picked from the buyers' guide pages of Rhythm magazine following a gruelling test process. So, have a browse and be sure to click through to read the full review for an in-depth look at each cymbal.

The best cymbals in the world today
Stagg Double Hammered cymbals
From £18

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The rise of Stagg as a favoured budget cymbal brand has been an interesting development over the last couple of years. Proving that value is as important as profile at this end of the sector, the company has been making quite a name for itself. If your budget is limited, then the Stagg Double Hammered offering is a must-see.

FULL REVIEW: Stagg Classic Cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Stagg SH Series cymbals
From £31.50

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The SH may be Stagg's cheapest series, but for such budget cymbals they are unusually refined in tone. B20 bronze, hand-hammered cymbals at knock-down prices.

FULL REVIEW: Stagg SH Series cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Stagg Vintage Bronze Thin Crashes cymbals
From £40

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Whether you're on a budget or not, if you're looking for a darker, less aggressive crash, these are well worth checking out.

FULL REVIEW: Stagg Vintage Bronze Thin Crashes

The best cymbals in the world today
Paiste PST8 cymbals
From £44

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Other than the prices, there are few signs of the PST8's budget status. It's Swiss business as usual.

FULL REVIEW: Paiste PST8 cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian B8 Pro cymbals
From £47

MusicRadar’s verdict:

B8 Pros are aimed at drummers ready to move up to their first serious set of cymbals, and their brilliant finish and intensive hammering certainly makes them look like 'proper' cymbals.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian B8 Pro cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Meinl Classic Custom series cymbals
From £63

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These cymbals are good, honest, clean-sounding, intermediate-priced Euro-style cymbals aimed at the more aggressive youth market. They also have plenty of character. A massive step up from your budget starter cymbals in quality and tone.

FULL REVIEW: Meinl Classic Custom series cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Meinl Byzance cymbals
From £65

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These recent Byzances include some of the most extraordinary-looking cymbals with fantastic, beautiful colours. But more importantly they are also colourful sounding.Every cymbal here is entertaining; any of them will add exotic shades to your set-up.

FULL REVIEWS:

Meinl Byzance cymbals (Traditional, Dark and Extra Dry ranges)

Meinl Byzance Rides and Crashes

Meinl Byzance Sand Cymbal Set

Meinl Byzance Serpant Hi-hat & Vintage Trash Crashes

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian Cymbal Vote 2013 Winners Series
From £128

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The Cymbal Vote is all about showcasing Sabian's imaginative designs and innovative manufacturing and these winning entries certainly reflect these qualities. The four models possess different characteristics, but they are all strong performers.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian Cymbal Vote 2013 Winners Series

The best cymbals in the world today
Meinl M-Series cymbals
From £130

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Regarded by Meinl as a benchmark for all-round professional cymbals, the M-Series is especially significant as it is the first range of B20 cymbals manufactured entirely in the company's German factory.Some purists might point to a lack of human input in the manufacturing (though five years' R&D would clearly require a lot of decision-making).The fact is that a lot of cymbals are made largely by machines today - let your ears do the choosing.

FULL REVIEW: Meinl M-Series cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian Xs20 cymbals
From £130

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The Xs20s introduced B20 cast bronze cymbals to the mid-level market, and they have been improved with a new hand-lathing approach that sees wide grooves etched into the surface. The high tin content aligns the Xs20 with higher-priced cymbals, but without the price tag. Good all-rounders for reasonable money, then.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian Xs20 cymbals and Sabian Xs20 Brilliant Finish cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian K cymbals
From £143

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Legendary cymbals with an illustrious history that are still the benchmark by which all warm cymbals are judged. Zildjian has ensured that the brand has moved with the times introducing new models that combine the classic K sound with more strident voicing, making them as relevant for contemporary musical situations as they are for jazz.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian K Dark cymbals and Zildjian K Brilliant Crash Rides

The best cymbals in the world today
Paiste Precision Series cymbals
From £149

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The Precisions allow a small range of Signature quality cymbals into a more affordable price bracket. Sound wise they are brilliant, warm, transparent and clean.

FULL REVIEW: Paiste Precision Series cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian K Custom cymbals
From £149

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Although the K Custom line is described by Zildjian as the modern jazz voice, these cymbals all have a wider appeal.These two gorgeous looking rides - plus a hit-and-run Trash-Smash - make excellent additions to the range.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian K Custom cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Murat Diril cymbals
From £160

MusicRadar’s verdict:

With their remarkable heritage and Murat Diril's special experience, these cymbals offer another hugely attractive alternative in what is becoming a crowded market of genuine hand-made cymbals from Turkey.

FULL REVIEW: Murat Diril cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Amedia Crash, Ride and Hi-hat cymbals
From £165

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Amedia offers a huge, temptingly different and potentially bewildering selection of genuinely hand-crafted cymbals, made in the time-honoured Turkish manner. Prices are, at the moment, exceptionally attractive.

FULL REVIEW: Amedia Crash, Ride and Hi-hat cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Matt Nolan cymbals
From £170

MusicRadar’s verdict:

We really enjoyed these cymbals. It's always refreshing to encounter instruments that are genuinely different from the pack. And individual British cymbalmakers are rare. Hopefully this is just the start for an exciting new name in cymbals.

FULL REVIEW: Matt Nolan cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Dream Dark Matter cymbals
From £181

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These are highly individual cymbals whose tonal colour and raw complexity could add an esoteric touch to many genres. Though not as keenly priced as other Dream ranges, they are still good value.

FULL REVIEW: Dream Dark Matter cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian A cymbals
From £192

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Zildjian has kept faithful to the essence of the A Series cymbals' unmistakable sound, while awarding them with a clearer and brighter top-end.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian A cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian Z3 cymbals
From £209

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Following on from the classic Z and Z Custom Ranges, Zildjian’s Z3 Series come stacked with enough high frequencies to cut across in the heaviest of situations. New lathing and hammering techniques mean the Z3s don’t have to rely so much on sheer weight to get their point across and so are kinder on the wrists.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian Z3 cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian Vault Holy Chinas
From £229

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Chad Smith's Holy Chinas have fulfilled his original brief and excel in '11 and over' situations. Playing one will leave you at risk of uttering a Holy 'pardon?' for days afterwards.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian Vault Holy Chinas

The best cymbals in the world today
Amedia Ahmet Legend cymbals
From £230

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These cymbals are superb examples of cymbalsmithery of the highest order and represent the tip of the Amedia iceberg.

FULL REVIEW: Amedia Ahmet Legend cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian AAX V-Crashes
From £240

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The V-Crashes are archetypically modern cymbals and make a fine addition to Sabian's AAX Series. Their sleek looks are matched by clean, cutting sounds and they would fit into many musical situations.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian AAX V-Crashes

The best cymbals in the world today
Murat Diril Arena cymbals
From £252

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The Arena series is a characterful and quirky addition to Murat's pantheon of high quality and distinctive cymbals.

FULL REVIEW: Murat Diril Arena cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian K Constantinople cymbals
From £260

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The aim was to recreate the look, feel and ultimately the sound of the original Turkish-made Kerope Zildjian Ks…If you've got the cash, the K Constantinoples are well worth the investment.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian K Constantinople cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian Avedis cymbals
From £268

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The original Zildjian range, Avedis cymbals have featured on countless recordings over the decades. Their bright, full-bodied and colourful sound enables them to shine in just about any musical situation. Available in a huge variety of weights and sizes, Avedis cymbals have been used by drummers from Buddy Rich to Lars Ulrich.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian A Series Fast cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Zildjian A Custom cymbals
From £268

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Originally designed for Vinnie Colaiuta, A Customs are a modern interpretation of the classic Zildjian A sound. With heavier weights, rotary hammering patterns and a high blinding finish, A Customs are powerful yet articulate cymbals. Amongst the conventional crash, ride and hi-hat models are a growing number of newer and distinctly radical effects cymbals.

FULL REVIEW: Zildjian A Custom Fast cymbals and Zildjian A Custom ReZo cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian AAX OMNIs
From £285

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Jojo Mayer's OMNI's are a revelation - we've played them on big stages, in pubs and at the back of marquees and they seem to mould themselves to any environment.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian AAX OMNIs

The best cymbals in the world today
Meinl Brann Dailor Ghost Ride
£307

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Although this cymbal has plenty of muscle for metallers, it also demonstrates its ability with music which is less intense and more subtle.

FULL REVIEW: Meinl Brann Dailor Ghost Ride

The best cymbals in the world today
Paiste Formula 602
From £309

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These Formula 602s are ideal for jazz, unplugged sessions, laid-back pop or any music which begs for subtlety - for these genres, and indeed for recording, they tick all the boxes.

FULL REVIEW: Paiste Formula 602

The best cymbals in the world today
Paiste Black Alpha 'Hyper' cymbals
£560

MusicRadar’s verdict:

The selection in this set will be enough to whet your appetite but the RRP but could well dry it up again and put you off any potential purchase - fortunately the 'street price' will make this a more palatable purchasing proposition for what is a versatile set of cymbals.

FULL REVIEW: Paiste Black Alpha 'Hyper' cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Sabian Xs20 Brilliant Finish cymbals
£852

MusicRadar’s verdict:

Those stepping up from beginner's cymbals will find the Xs20s noticeably nicer on the ear. For that extra timbral character though, you have to take the next step into the realms of really expensive cymbals. But for now these will do very well.

FULL REVIEW: Sabian Xs20 Brilliant Finish cymbals

The best cymbals in the world today
Factory Metal
£TBC

MusicRadar’s verdict:

While everybody uses cymbals from the big brands, sometimes it pays to look elsewhere for exotica. And cymbals don’t come any more exotic than Factory Metal’s StackBasherz, Gothic Radius and Celtic Bells. Funky-looking and ideal for industrial bludgeon, eerie soundtracks and crunching sampled beats, they’re a breath of fresh air.

The best cymbals in the world today
Soultone Cymbals
£TBC

MusicRadar’s verdict:

These are fine instruments that possess musicality and character while being versatile enough to perform in many situations.

FULL REVIEW: Soultone Cymbals

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