Best Splash Cymbals

Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

Most drum kits sound pretty similar. Cymbals are what is going to make your kit unique and give it flavor. There are several types of cymbals (Ride, HiHat, China) each with their own defining qualities. One of these types is the splash cymbal, a small effects cymbal that adds a bunch of depth to your drum sound. 

Splash cymbals come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique qualities on offer. A splash cymbal can really add that extra spice to the style of music that you are playing.

What makes a splash cymbal great?

A great splash cymbal is one that adds some uniqueness to your setup. Splash cymbals are categorized as “effects cymbals”, meaning a great splash will add a diverse effect to your overall drum kit sound. 

The next thing that makes a splash great depends on what style of music you want to play. Certain types of cymbals cater to different styles. You get bright and loud splashes and you get dark and dry splashes. 

Here is a list of high quality splash cymbals that we think will work in certain musical situations. 

Table of Contents

The 5 Best Splash Cymbals

The 11” K Custom Hybrid splash is a very thin cymbal that has a lot of volume. The sound decays quite quickly, making it great for accented hits. 

It’s called a hybrid splash because it has a traditional finish on the outer half and a brilliant finish on the inner half. This mix of finishes gives it a unique dry sound that blends from the two of them. 

The cymbal itself is made from cast bronze, which gives it a full sound that improves with age. 

The Zildjian K Custom 11” Hybrid isn’t too bright or dark. It sits somewhere in the middle, making it a highly versatile splash that you can use for many styles of music. 

11” is a bit of an awkward size for a cymbal, but it works well once you get used to it. It also makes it a great option for the base of a stack. The larger size will create a solid base to layer cymbals on top of. 

 

Build Quality
94%
Performance
96%
Price to Value Ratio
88%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • A lot of volume
  • Great for accented hits
  • Sounds better with age
  • Made from cast bronze
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • 11” can feel a bit awkward

The Sabian HHX line of cymbals was developed with the help of Dave Weckl, who has been one of the leading drummers in the world for a few decades. This was several years ago, and the HHX series is still going strong. This makes the HHX 10” Evolution splash a popular choice. 

It is really bright and has a penetrating sound. This means that it is pretty high pitched and cuts through a mix quite strongly. The brightness also makes it loud. 

It is made from B20 bronze, which is a highly durable metal that is used to make cymbals. So, this thing won’t be breaking any time soon. 

The brilliant finish gives it a smooth clean, look that is aesthetically pleasing. It’s always good to have a nice looking cymbal! 

The brightness makes the Evolution splash a good choice for high energy styles of music like metal, rock and gospel. This splash will stand out and make itself known when it is hit with a stick. 

Build Quality
90%
Performance
92%
Price to Value Ratio
85%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Great high energy styles
  • Penetrating sound
  • Cuts through a mix quite strongly.
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Not versatile

he Sabian AAX series is Sabian’s line of darker cymbals. The 10” Aero splash has multiple holes in it, giving it a bit of a unique feel. 

The dark sound blends in well with other cymbals. It doesn’t stand out, but rather fits in sweetly with a mixture of sounds around it. It’s not too intense like other 10” splashes. 

These qualities that make it good for studio recording. So, it’s a good splash to have if you plan on doing drum recordings for tracks. 

The dark tone of it makes it good for styles like jazz and alternative. It’s an effects cymbal that will blend well in those styles of music. 

It is made from B20 bronze, meaning it’s durable and will last a long time if taken care of. 

Build Quality
92%
Performance
94%
Price to Value Ratio
90%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Highly durable
  • Good for jazz
  • Holes make it look unique
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Not versatile

Zildjian’s A series has been around for a long time. They are a high quality option that can be trusted to sound good, because they do. Zildjian expanded on the A series by designing the flash splashes, with the help of legendary drummer, Peter Erskine. 

The Zildjian A Series 10” Flash splash has a long sustain and delicate edge. It is paper thin, which makes the sound open up nicely. It also has a heavy bell, which makes the cymbal cut through the mix of sounds of the kit. 

The flash splash responds very well dynamically. It doesn’t lose its quality when hit softly, but rather produces a warm, washy sound. When hit hard, it produces a cutting accent that packs a punch. 

Peter Erskine is a full on jazz drummer. But, the flash splashes that he helped design will be good for most styles of music, since they have such a versatile sound. 

Build Quality
85%
Performance
82%
Price to Value Ratio
95%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Responds well to dynamics
  • Versatile
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • None

Meinl’s Classics Custom Dark series of cymbals undergo a special finishing process, making them look dark and sound bright and quick. They are hammered deeply, making them highly reactive to being hit.

The Classics Custom 8” splash was designed for people who hit hard. It is loud and works perfectly for high dynamics. It cuts through a mix of distorted guitars and powerful vocals. 

This splash is a perfect choice for playing metal, since it is so loud and cuts through everything.

Its made from B10 bronze, meaning it is highly durable. You can play high intensity metal songs and it will handle all of them.

It doesn’t respond too well to subtle playing, meaning it won’t fit too well in a softer setup.

Build Quality
90%
Performance
88%
Price to Value Ratio
84%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Good for metal drummers
  • Highly durable
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Not versatile

Things To Consider:

How do you choose a splash cymbal

Your choice of splash cymbal should depend on what style of music you play. A cymbal that is bright, high pitched and loud will work well in high energy, high volume styles of music such as metal, rock or gospel. 

A cymbal that is dark, subtle and dry will work in softer styles such as jazz and indie. 

If you play all kinds of music, you should find a splash cymbal cymbal that is versatile and caters to everything, or just get a few splash cymbals for different situations. They are quite small, so they’re not too pricey! 

What splash size should I get?

The bigger the splash, the longer the sustain of the cymbal. The smaller the splash, the shorter the sustain. So, a 12” splash cymbal is going to ring for a lot longer than an 8” splash cymbal. Decide if you want more or less sustain, then get a splash that’s size caters to that. We suggest that you get at least two splash cymbals, so you have the best of both worlds. 

You could also use multiple splash cymbals to make a stack. A stack is an effects cymbal that is created by stacking cymbals tightly on top of each other. A stack will sound similar to a hi-hat, but have a more open feel, depending on how tight or loose it is. Some drummers have loose stacks, some have extremely tight stacks. If you have many splash cymbals, you can play around with them to see what you like. 

What is the best brand of splash cymbals?

There are 3 main players in the cymbal world. They are Meinl, Zildjian and Sabian. None of them are better than the other, but these are the companies that constantly deliver high quality products. If you’re not too sure on what to get, then definitely pick from one of these. 

There are a few other cymbal brands that are well-established such as Istanbul, Paiste, Soultone, TRX, Anatolian and Wuhan. Cymbals from these brands tend to be a bit cheaper. So, it’s with checking them out if you’re on a tight budget. 

Conclusion

A splash cymbal can add a really unique dynamic to your cymbal setup. It can be used as a tool for punchy accents. It can also be used to make cymbal stacks, which is a modern trend in the drumming world. 

Whether it be from Meinl, Sabian, Zildjian or any other cymbal brand out there, the cymbal world is full of some amazing splash cymbals. Some are dark, some are bright. Some are big, some are small. There is a whole world to explore and find your sound with. 

Splash cymbals are a lot of fun to play. So, go out and get yourself a few of them! 

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