The best cymbals in the world today
11th Mar 2014 | 15:30
The best cymbals in the world today
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.
Stagg Double Hammered cymbals
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
Stagg SH Series cymbals
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
Stagg Vintage Bronze Thin Crashes cymbals
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
Paiste PST8 cymbals
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
Sabian B8 Pro cymbals
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
Meinl Classic Custom series cymbals
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
Meinl Byzance cymbals
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.
Sabian Cymbal Vote 2013 Winners Series
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
Meinl M-Series cymbals
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
Sabian Xs20 cymbals
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.
Zildjian K cymbals
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.
Paiste Precision Series cymbals
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
Zildjian K Custom cymbals
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
Murat Diril cymbals
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
Amedia Crash, Ride and Hi-hat cymbals
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
Matt Nolan cymbals
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
Dream Dark Matter cymbals
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
Zildjian A cymbals
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
Zildjian Z3 cymbals
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
Sabian Vault Holy Chinas
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
Amedia Ahmet Legend cymbals
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
Sabian AAX V-Crashes
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
Murat Diril Arena cymbals
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
Zildjian K Constantinople cymbals
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
Zildjian Avedis cymbals
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
Zildjian A Custom cymbals
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.
Sabian AAX OMNIs
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
Meinl Brann Dailor Ghost Ride
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
Paiste Formula 602
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
Paiste Black Alpha 'Hyper' cymbals
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
Sabian Xs20 Brilliant Finish cymbals
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
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.
These are fine instruments that possess musicality and character while being versatile enough to perform in many situations.
FULL REVIEW: Soultone Cymbals