Best Cymbal Brands

The Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

So, you’re looking for some good cymbals? Lucky for you, we’re here to help and give you some information on some of the best cymbal brands on the market. There are 4 main cymbal brands. They include Meinl, Paiste, Zildjian, and Sabian

Each of these brands has a long history of making fantastic cymbals and you would do well with any cymbal from them. 

In this article, we’re going to go through a high-quality cymbal packs offered from each of these companies, as well as a 5th cymbal pack from another company that caters to all the budget and beginner drummers out there. 

Quick Rundown:

These are Our top Picks Summarised For:
19th October 2021

What Makes a Great Cymbal Brand?

A great cymbal brand caters well to the customers. They take into account what the customers need and try t make the best products possible to fit different situations. You know it’s a great brand when you buy a cymbal from them knowing it’s going to be good. 

There are so many great brands out there for drum equipment. The brands that are mentioned in the following list have produced some great things over the years and stood out above the rest. 

Table of Contents

The 5 Best Cymbal Brands

This cymbal pack from Meinl includes a set of 14” Brilliant Medium hi-hats, 18” and 20” Jazz Medium Thin crashes, a 16” Vintage Trash crash, and a 22” Dark Raw Bell ride. These are some of Meinl’s finest cymbals and they’re all readily available with one purchase. 

The hi-hats produce a classic chick sound that works wonderfully in every situation. The medium thin jazz crashes create a large overriding tone when crashed that covers the drums as you play. They work well as ride cymbals as well. 

The trash crash is a great addition as it adds a fair bit of variety with its trashy tones. It’s great for quick accents and jabs. The ride sounds absolutely gorgeous. It has such a rich tone that is complemented by the raw bell. 

If that’s not enough for you, the set even comes with a Meinl Ching Ring. This ring adds tambourine jingles to your cymbals. The set also comes with a Meinl Cymbal Bacon which adds rivet sounds to the cymbal you put it on. 

 

Build Quality
98%
Performance
100%
Price to Value Ratio
95%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Beautiful vintage tones
  • Includes Ching Ring and Cymbal Bacon
  • Versatile sounds
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Very expensive

The K Custom Darks are one of the most popular cymbal sets from Zildjian. Included in this pack is a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crash cymbals, and a 20” ride. Each cymbal has a dark and mellow tone that is very warm to the ears. 

The 16” crash has a bit more bite than the 18”. However, the 18” has a smooth tone that sounds incredibly good when crashed on constantly. The hi-hats blend smoothly, but they have a bright enough chick to be heard clearly. 

The ride is the standout cymbal from this set. It has a fantastic bell sound and it can be crashed on to create a large tone that will fill a room. 

These cymbals are mostly used in recording studios. Although, they will work well in other situations such as live performances. 

Build Quality
99%
Performance
99%
Price to Value Ratio
94%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Warm and mellow tones
  • Great for recording
  • The ride is fantastic
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Expensive

Included in this cymbal pack is a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, an 18” O-zone crash, and a 20” ride cymbal. These HHX Evolution cymbals are very similar to the K Custom Darks in that they have a dark tone that is fairly mellow. 

They work well in most settings as they’re extremely versatile. The smooth tones sound silky in recordings and set a great sounding scene in live scenarios. They’re commonly played by gospel drummers thanks to their punchy attack with short decays. 

This cymbal set has some fantastic value-for-money, costing less than the previous cymbal packs and providing more cymbals.

The 16” crash has a bit more bite than the 18”. However, the 18” has a smooth tone that sounds incredibly good when crashed on constantly. The hi-hats blend smoothly, but they have a bright enough chick to be heard clearly. 

The ride is the standout cymbal from this set. It has a fantastic bell sound and it can be crashed on to create a large tone that will fill a room. 

These cymbals are mostly used in recording studios. Although, they will work well in other situations such as live performances. 

Build Quality
96%
Performance
95%
Price to Value Ratio
93%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Dark and mellow tones with punchy attack
  • Great for gospel music
  • Great for recording
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • None

Paiste cymbals aren’t as popular as the there big 3 brands mainly due to the fact that they’re priced higher. The higher prices are justified though as these are some of the best sounding cymbals you will ever hear. 

The Signature Classic cymbals are versatile, working in most situations you put them in. Included in this cymbal pack are a pair of 14” Dark Crisp hi-hats, a 16” Dark crash, 18” and 20” Full crashes, and a 22” full ride. 

These 5 cymbals cover a massive dynamic and tonal range, giving you tools to play everything and sound amazing while doing it. The intervals between the 3 crashes allow you to create some interesting crash sounds. 

The hi-hats are fairly chunky, producing a thick sound that can be heard through any mix. The ride has wonderful clarity and sustains for what seems the perfect amount of time. 

You won’t easily find a pack of cymbals that are all this great. The Paiste Signature Classic cymbal set is something that definitely shouldn’t be slept on. Unfortunately, it’s the most expensive cymbal pack on this list, but it’s well worth the price! 

Build Quality
98%
Performance
99%
Price to Value Ratio
90%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Excellent tonal range between all the cymbals
  • Versatile Beautiful sounds from every cymbal
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Most expensive set on this list

With all these cymbal sets coming in at high prices, you may be wondering if there are any great brands that have affordable cymbals. The Wuhan Traditional cymbal set is exactly what you’re looking for. 

Included in the set is a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash, and a 20” ride cymbal. These cymbals have a trashy tone with a short decay. They sound a lot better than most other cymbals in their price range thanks to the fact that they’re made with the same alloy that top-tier cymbals are made from. 

The trashy tone has some bright characteristics to it, meaning these cymbals work well in high-energy settings where cutting cymbals are needed. 

The set even comes with a cymbal bag to carry the included cymbals. If you’re on a budget, look no further than the Wuhan Traditional cymbal set. It has just enough to play with a minimal setup. You may want to add an extra crash to have more voices. Wuhan has a few that would work wonderfully. 

Build Quality
85%
Performance
88%
Price to Value Ratio
94%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Very affordable Includes a cymbal bag Trashy tone with quick decay
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • The set only includes 3 cymbals whereas most sets include 4

Things To Consider:

Which is better Zildjian or Sabian?

Zildjian and Sabian have been the main two competitors in the cymbal market for decades. The topic of which brand is better has been a great debate for a very long time. There is no definitive answer. 

It basically comes down to which cymbals you personally prefer. Some drummers like the sounds of Zildjians while others like the sounds of Sabians. With that being said, Zildjian has built a larger presence than Sabian in recent times, meaning they have better marketing strategies. 

What is the most expensive cymbal?

Any top-tier cymbal that production has stopped on will be extremely expensive. This is because these cymbals get increasingly more rare as time goes on and many drummers seek them out. 

With regards to cymbals that are still in production, every company has a line of cymbals that sell for around $500 each. 

What are the best cymbals for church?

The larger the cymbals the better, especially when it comes to playing Christian Contemporary music. The drums need to have a huge sound and large cymbals get the job done well. They also need to be warm in order to blend in mixes instead of cutting through them. 

Some of the best cymbals for church would be the Zildjian K Custom Dark Series and the Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Series. 

Are Zildjian K cymbals good?

The Zildjian K cymbals are better than the A Customs, but not as high-quality as the K Customs. They sit somewhere in the middle in terms of quality. To answer the question, they are still great sounding cymbals, especially in rock and pop settings. 

Conclusion

You can’t go wrong with any of the brands we mentioned here. They’re the best drum brands in the world for very good reasons. Whether you’re a rock, metal, or jazz drummer, they have something just for you that will fit the bands you play in. 

The cymbal packs that we listed are all fantastic deals. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to get one for yourself. 

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