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Thread: Looking to upgrade cymbals

  1. #1

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    Default Looking to upgrade cymbals

    This site has been a great resource for me. I got a lot of help when choosing my current drum setup. I managed to upgrade the drum kit, snare drum and choose the heads. Also, I got it tuned really where I would like it to be. Most of this on recommendations here. I also managed to snag a second alternative snare.

    Currently I'm rocking a Pearl MLX maple kit, Ludwig Acrolite Black Galaxy snare. All with Remo ambassador top and clear bottom. The kick has a black ported reso and a clear batter head (not sure if it is pinstripe, but has a similar muffling ring). At the moment I'm using Istanbul Mehmet Samatya cymbals. They are nice cymbals. They sound good, but there is nothing special about them. If I have a busy mix they are just fine, I can get good attack and sustain, and due to the busy nature of the track you do not need anything else. But in songs where there is not much going on, I wish for something with a bit more texture. I've upgraded to the Samatya from Paiste 101 and there is a huge difference in quality from the brass Paiste to these bronze Istanbul.

    I'd like some great cymbals that I can settle on and not need to upgrade anytime soon. I'd like something versatile that could do blues, pop, and rock. What I really need is hi-hats, ride and a couple of crashes. Not necessary but I would also consider getting a splash or a China just to have something different. But I'm more interested in the hi-hats, crash and ride.

    I have access to Istanbul Mehmet and Agop, Zildian, Meinl, Paise and Sabian cymbals. Not all of them are in stock locally, but I could get them online. Also, I am not sure how helpful it is to go and select them myself as I do not have a great ear for drum cymbals. I've noticed that metal players locally tend to favor Sabian. Paiste seems to get a lot of praise especially for their rides. Their crashes and hats seem to be crisp and cut through really well but not sure is these are what I'm looking for. Also, lots of Zildian users here claim on their nice texture. Mostly jazz players seem to prefer these here. Another drummer friend here just believes that Meinl are the best, and that I should not be looking at anything else! What would you recommend?
    Last edited by ex351d; 01-12-2019 at 07:54 AM.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Are you wanting these cymbals for home practicing, recording, and/or for live performance? What is your budget? Do you like bright or dark cymbals? What are your volume requirements?

    You are going to get a wide variety of opinions here and I'm sure that they will be good ones. But, honestly you just have to go out and find the ones that speak to you. You can use the videos online as a source of filtering in what you like and filtering out what you don't. But videos don't convey feel so you will still have to play them.

    I would suggest that you go out and listen to those available in drum shops in your area to determine which ones speak to you and research them further online.

    One option is to buy used and build up a set over time by keeping what you like and selling off what you don't.

    My personal suggestion for a versatile set of hi hats would be to check out the 'Big A' 2013 Redesigned Zildjian A Series New Beats. There is a large consensus in the drumming community on the proven versatility of New Beats over the years for recording and live performance and they won't break the bank.

    Best of luck to you in your cymbal quest ...
    Last edited by dangermoney; 01-12-2019 at 09:45 AM.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by dangermoney View Post
    Are you wanting these cymbals for home practicing, recording, and/or for live performance? What is your budget? Do you like bright or dark cymbals? What are your volume requirements?

    You are going to get a wide variety of opinions here and I'm sure that they will be good ones. But, honestly you just have to go out and find the ones that speak to you. You can use the videos online as a source of filtering in what you like and filtering out what you don't. But videos don't convey feel so you will still have to play them.

    I would suggest that you go out and listen to those available in drum shops in your area to determine which ones speak to you and research them further online.

    One option is to buy used and build up a set over time by keeping what you like and selling off what you don't.

    My personal suggestion for a versatile set of hi hats would be to check out the 'Big A' 2013 Redesigned Zildjian A Series New Beats. There is a large consensus in the drumming community on the proven versatility of New Beats over the years for recording and live performance and they won't break the bank.

    Best of luck to you in your cymbal quest ...
    These would be used for recording. Most agree that if the cymbals are not very loud the recording comes better. I could see why, but I haven't had the opportunity to test this first hand as I have experience with only a few cymbals. As far as bright or dark, I was going to see what would be the best for versatility. I would like something that is not too bright for blues but bright enough for pop.

    Shops around here only stock beginner and midrange stuff because that is what they sell the most. Buying used is not very practical here. I end up loosing more money on shipping.

    I would not be playing them as I am not a drummer, I'll be recording them. So I would like something that drummers would enjoy playing and it would translate well to recording. I know that drummers have their cymbals but more often than not, people come in with bad gear expecting to get a great sound out of it. Not just drummer but also guitarists.

    I am looking for a set that compliment each other not just a random collection of cymbals that sound great on their own but pair up poorly. Does not have to be all from one brand (even though that looks nice) but I would like them to sonically fit well together and sound like they were intended to be together.

    Budget is around €900 but can easily stretch to €1200 for a bit more quality and maybe an extra cymbal. But I really need 2 crashes, a pair of hats and a really nice sounding ride.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    There are really a lot of options out there that would work and finding your best option would depend upon so many things. Different drummers have different likes and expectations and each is uniquely inspired by cymbals that complement his/her playing style.

    Also, depending upon the music, different types of cymbals might be useful, for example a bright set and a dark set. But if you want to start off with a generic set that drummers wouldn't mind playing on and works for most things, you might start looking into the high end cymbal packs first and then go from there. For example, Sabian HHX Studio/Evolution and Zildjian K and K Custom. I'm not familiar with the other brands.
    Last edited by dangermoney; 01-12-2019 at 11:50 AM.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Yes I know that different drummers would have different taste and expectations. I'm looking for a set that I could use as a safety net. If the drummer comes in with a weak set of cymbals or damaged, I could use my set. Something that works for most styles. Something versatile. I'd be interested in a set as these offer the best value. But I would also consider buying individual cymbals for more quality.

    Yes, I'm in the market for high end cymbals. I do not want another mid-tier cymbal set. If I can get a good set that works in 90% of cases.

    I would like the cymbals to have a lot of texture (overtones or undertones).

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Probably for what you are looking to do then you would not go wrong with a Zildjian A Set. These will do all types of music very well.
    The Varukers.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by ex351d View Post
    Yes I know that different drummers would have different taste and expectations. I'm looking for a set that I could use as a safety net. If the drummer comes in with a weak set of cymbals or damaged, I could use my set. Something that works for most styles. Something versatile. I'd be interested in a set as these offer the best value. But I would also consider buying individual cymbals for more quality.

    Yes, I'm in the market for high end cymbals. I do not want another mid-tier cymbal set. If I can get a good set that works in 90% of cases.

    I would like the cymbals to have a lot of texture (overtones or undertones).
    Your budget might be a little low but I would look at meinl byzance & extra dry. The extra dry series has the best sounding effects cymbals i’ve heard. Either meinl or maybe the sabian HH or HHX line. I play AAX and HH. I play mostly rock.
    Last edited by FlyByNight; 01-12-2019 at 04:55 PM.
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  8. #8

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevaruka View Post
    Probably for what you are looking to do then you would not go wrong with a Zildjian A Set. These will do all types of music very well.
    I agree with this. I've recorded using Zildjian A cymbals before and if mic'd and mixed correctly, they will work in a variety of contexts even Blues. I believe it's safe to say that the Zildjian A New Beats might just arguably be the most recorded hi hats in the history of recorded music.

    If you decide to check into these, make sure you look at the 2013 'Big A' Redesigned A series cymbals as their weights and profiles are scaled back to what they were in the 70s/80s before they started getting thick, heavy, and clanky. These redesigned As feel good under the stick and don't take a lot of effort to open them up. As for rides, check out the standard 20" or 22" K ride which works great for Blues and other 'Roots' music.

    I believe there is a special prepackaged 'recording' cymbal pack available that consists of a set of 14" A New Beat hats, 16"/18" A Thin crashes, and a 22" K dry ride of some sort at a great price point.

    Just curious though ... have you thought about searching the recording forums to get an idea about what these guys are using for in house cymbals?
    Last edited by dangermoney; 01-12-2019 at 05:52 PM.

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by dangermoney View Post
    I agree with this. I've recorded using Zildjian A cymbals before and if mic'd and mixed correctly, they will work in a variety of contexts even Blues. I believe it's safe to say that the Zildjian A New Beats might just arguably be the most recorded hi hats in the history of recorded music.

    If you decide to check into these, make sure you look at the 2013 'Big A' Redesigned A series cymbals as their weights and profiles are scaled back to what they were in the 70s/80s before they started getting thick, heavy, and clanky. These redesigned As feel good under the stick and don't take a lot of effort to open them up. As for rides, check out the standard 20" or 22" K ride which works great for Blues and other 'Roots' music.

    I believe there is a special prepackaged 'recording' cymbal pack available that consists of a set of 14" A New Beat hats, 16"/18" A Thin crashes, and a 22" K dry ride of some sort at a great price point.

    Just curious though ... have you thought about searching the recording forums to get an idea about what these guys are using for in house cymbals?
    Most seem to use light/medium cymbals and avoid heavy cymbals. Paiste 2002 rides seem to be favored a lot. But other than that opinions are all over the place.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyByNight View Post
    Your budget might be a little low but I would look at meinl byzance & extra dry. The extra dry series has the best sounding effects cymbals i’ve heard. Either meinl or maybe the sabian HH or HHX line. I play AAX and HH. I play mostly rock.
    I'm in Europe so Meinl are priced very similarly to Zildian and Sabian. My problem is choosing a set for myself as there are at least 3/4 sets of each recommendation!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevaruka View Post
    Probably for what you are looking to do then you would not go wrong with a Zildjian A Set. These will do all types of music very well.
    Are the Zildjian A series really high end cymbals as these seem to be priced more in the mid range prices (A-custom)? The K-custom are priced closer the the HH HHX, Byzance etc...

    If they are in the same ball park of tone, I don't mind, actually it's better as I could save some money and use it for something else.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ex351d View Post
    Are the Zildjian A series really high end cymbals as these seem to be priced more in the mid range prices (A-custom)? The K-custom are priced closer the the HH HHX, Byzance etc...

    If they are in the same ball park of tone, I don't mind, actually it's better as I could save some money and use it for something else.
    Yes, they are high end cymbals & last extremely well if treated & played right. I have recorded with them for many years now on 7 or 8 albums & they record perfectly. K's, HHX's etc don't suit heavier music whereas A's will do everything
    The Varukers.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: Looking to upgrade cymbals

    Quote Originally Posted by ex351d View Post
    Most seem to use light/medium cymbals and avoid heavy cymbals. Paiste 2002 rides seem to be favored a lot. But other than that opinions are all over the place.
    Yes, light weight crash cymbals hit lightly are king, a good set of Zildjian A New Beat hats is amazing on tape, and the Paiste 2002 is desirable for its stick definition. As a bonus, you can just go out and buy a 2002 off the shelf, don't have to worry about trying before you buy because they all sound the same.

    Opinions will be all over the place on drummer forums too. It's all subjective. Choosing drums is pretty simple because they can all pretty much sound good once you've tuned them up. Choosing cymbals is much more involved because you can't tune them.
    Last edited by dangermoney; 01-13-2019 at 09:45 AM.

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