Sabian HHX Cymbals | The ultimate drummer’s guide (2021)

sabian HHX cymbals

Sabian has always created beautiful and complex cymbals. The Sabian HHX cymbal line is the pinnacle of this. These cymbals are dark in sound, beautiful in appearance but with a powerful sound.

Think the HH line with more power. 

Let’s find out what makes the Sabian HHX line so special.

What style of music are Sabian HHX cymbals for?

The Sabian HHX cymbals are designed to give you the sound of the dry and complex sounds of the HH (hand hammered) line but with more volume and projection.

This makes these cymbals a great option for live performances. Darker cymbals sound great in the studio but can be lost in a live mix. The Sabian HHX line should help overcome this issue.

You are getting the dark complex sound you love with that extra punch.

But they are more than that. These cymbals are also dynamic and articulate. Therefore these cymbals are great for anything from jazz through to rock. 

How are Sabian HHX cymbals made?

Sabian HHX cymbals are related to the Sabian HH line. The HHX cymbals are hand-hammered but have more projection than the HH counterparts.

This is achieved through a higher profile on the cymbal and a raw bell. This gives the cymbal more projection whilst maintaining that dirty sound.

The Sabian HHX line is fairly complex and full of many sub-lines. 

Below we have simplified this so you can find the cymbals best for you.

HHX Medium

sabian hhx medium

The Sabian HHX medium cymbals are the core of what the HHX line is. These cymbals are dark, complex and have the extra projection. Everything the HHX line aims to achieve.

Cymbals available:

  • Hi-hats (natural or brilliant finish): 14″, 15″
  • Rides (natural or brilliant finish): 20″ 
  • Crashes (natural or brilliant finish): 16″, 18″, 20″

HHX Thin

sabian hhx thin

This is the same design as the medium range but thinner. This makes them a little bit darker. 

Cymbals available:

  • Rides (natural or brilliant finish): 21″
  • Crashes (natural or brilliant finish): 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″

HHX Complex

sabian hhx complex

These are the latest HHX cymbals from Sabian. These are becoming the new standard cymbals in the line in an attempt to reorganise the complex selection available.

Overall these cymbals are very similar to the medium line but are a little more complex.

There are also a couple of different weight options depending on the cymbal you are after. 

Cymbals available:

  • Hi-hats (medium): 14″, 15″
  • Rides (medium weight): 20″, 21″, 22″, 23″
  • Rides (thin weight): 21″, 22″
  • Crashes (thin weight): 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″
  • Splashes: 10″
  • O-Zone Crashes: 17″, 19″

HHX Legacy

hhx legacy

The HHX Legacy line was designed with legendary drummer Dave Weckl to help capture his sound. The HHX Legacy videos focus on capturing his darker sound.

The cymbals have a classic look and feel.

Cymbals available:

  • Hi-hats: 14″, 15″
  • Rides: 20″, 21″, 22″
  • Crashes: 17″, 18″, 19″

HHX Evolution

hhx evolution

The HHX Evolution line has also been designed with Dave Weckl. This time to focus on the higher end of the spectrum. These cymbals are bright with a glass-like cut.

These cymbals feature a brilliant finish making them stand out from others in the HHX line.

Cymbals available:

  • Hi-hats: 13″, 14″, 15″
  • Rides: 20″, 21″, 22″
  • Crashes: 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″
  • Splashes: 7″, 10″, 12″
  • Chinas: 14″, 
  • O-Zone Crashes: 16″, 18″
  • Effeks Crash (hand and finger suitable): 17″

HHX Fierce

hhx fierce

The Sabian HHX Fierce is a small line of cymbals designed for the drummer Jojo Mayor. 

These cymbals are dry with a very clear stick definition. The cymbals also have very little sustain making them ideal for busy beats and grooves.

The crash cymbal isn’t as dry but has a trashy wash.

Cymbals available:

  • Hi-hat: 13″
  • Ride: 21″
  • Crash: 19″

HHX Omni

HHX omni

The Sabian HHX Omni was developed with Jojo Mayor. This cymbal is designed to be versatile providing a clear distinction between the edge and the bow/ bell. This cymbal allows you to quickly change gears between crashing and more intricate parts.

If you are looking for a brighter version of this cymbal, it is also available in the Sabian AAX line.

Sizes available: 19″, 22″

HHX Splash

hhx splash

There aren’t many splashes available in the HHX range. They aren’t available in different weights so this is the only option in the core HHX line.

These are nice fast and dark splashes.

Sizes available: 10″, 12″

HHX Chinese

hhx chinese

The HHX Chinese cymbals are heavily hammered and have a dark and aggressive tone.

Sizes available: 18″, 20″

HHX Zen China

The Sabian HHX Zen China is similar in sound to that of the other HHX chinas but the bell is inverted. This makes it easier to mount the cymbal flat.

Sizes available: 20″

More ride cymbals

sabian hhx rides

21″ Dave Weckl Serenity Ride

This is another cymbal developed with Dave Weckl. This time it is a flat ride. This cymbal is very musical for a flat ride. 

It has a clear stick definition like you want from a flat ride with a fast crash. 

The cymbal is made using a blend of legacy and artisan technology.

21″ HHX Groove Ride

This ride has a high cutting pitch whilst maintaining those dark undertones.

HHX 3-Point Ride

The HHX 3-Point Ride was designed with drummer Jack DeJohnette. This ride has a distinctive look with the raw ring that goes around the body of the cymbal. 

This is a dark yet diverse ride cymbal with a nice dark sound that is very crashable. 

HHX 21″ Raw Bell Dry Ride

The Raw Bell Dry Ride is a medium to heavyweight cymbal. The cymbal has a very clear ping reminiscent of heavy ride cymbals.

Due to its weight, this ride isn’t great for crashing. 

More hi-hat cymbals

hhx hats

HHX 15″ Groove Hats

These hi-hats give you a retro tone with a crisp definition. The 15″ size gives you more depth and click like classic hi-hats produce.

HHX 14″ X-Celerator Hats

The X-Celerator hi-hats feature an “air wave” bottom. These crinkles allow air to escape making the sound extra crisp.

HHX 14″ Click Hats

The HHX CliCk Hats are made using a combination of Sabian techniques. They feature the high profile of the AA line with the hammering of the HH and HHX line. 

These hi-hats are designed to produce enhanced click that emulates an electronic sound. 

More crash cymbals

sabian hhx crash

HHX X-Plosion Crashes

The HHX X-Plosion crashes provide you with what you would expect. Even more shimmer and bright tones cut through.

Cymbals available:

  • Crashes: 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″

HHX X-Treme

The HHX X-Treme crashes are thin and explosive. They have the attack of a china cymbal this a hint of trash. 

Cymbals available:

  • Crashes: 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″

Cymbal packs

If you are wanting to get the best bang for your buck when purchasing Sabian HHX cymbals you will want to look at the cymbals packs on offer. 

The packs available do change over time. To see what is currently available check out the links below.

Our thoughts

The Sabian HHX cymbals are incredible professional line cymbals. They are dark and complex with all the projection you expect from a modern cymbal.

The only confusing thing is how many ranges there are within the HHX line. Sabian sure has given you plenty of choices. Hopefully, this guide has helped to clear things up for you.

What do you think of the Sabian HHX line? Let us know in the comments below.

Meinl Pure Alloy Cymbals | The ultimate drummer’s guide (2021)

meinl pure alloy cymbals

The Meinl Pure Alloy Cymbals are a professional line of cymbals that sit between the Byzance and Classic Custom ranges. These cymbals have a clean sound that isn’t to be missed.

Let’s go through what makes the Meinl Pure Alloy Cymbals unique and what models are currently available.

What are they made from?

The Meinl Pure Alloy Cymbals are made from a B12 bronze that was previously featured on the now discontinued Soundcaster Series cymbals.

Although they are made from B12, an alloy seen as subpar to B20, Meinl has a way of getting incredible sounds with their manufacturing techniques.

These Pure Alloy cymbals are made with computerized hammering, a fine lathe on top with a smooth finish and a fine lathe on the bottom without any smoothing. 

The bells of the cymbals are not hammered but have the same finish as the rest of the cymbal.

This gives the cymbals a very clean and traditional look which is a step away from the raw finishes often seen on Meinl cymbals.

What do the Meinl Pure Alloy Cymbals sound like?

In general, the Pure Alloy cymbals are bright and do pack a punch. They aren’t as cutting as the Classic Custom line giving them more diversity to the playing situations. 

That being said, although intended for a wide variety of playing styles, these cymbals will sound best in amplified band scenarios. The brightness is likely too much for a jazz ensemble. 

The cymbals also have a wide dynamic range with them responding well to light touches through to big bow hits. 

If you are looking for cymbals with a lot of character these won’t be the option for you.

These cymbals are very clean delivering a precise sound. 

Take a listen in this video!

What cymbals are available?

Currently, the Meinl Pure Alloy line has a relatively small selection available. That being said, there are all the key cymbals you would expect.

Meinl Pure Alloy Medium Hi-hats

Pure Alloy hi-hats

Available in either 14″ or 15″ these hi-hats are very crisp and respond nicely at all dynamic levels. 

They also wash nicely when open making them perfect for rock playing. 

If you are looking for some extra depth of sound the 15″ hats are the ones to look at. These are a truly great pair of hi-hats.

  • Sizes availalbe: 14″ or 15″
  • Weight: medium 

Meinl Pure Alloy Medium Crashes

Pure Alloy crashes

There is a good selection of sizes available when it comes to crashes. If you are a fan of big crash cymbals these are worth considering.

The crash cymbals in this series do shine. They are bright and cutting but have a nice wash when used in a beat.

The larger crash cymbals (20+) also work nicely as a ride. The bells sound clear with a nice definition on the body of the cymbal. 

  • Sizes available: 16″, 18″, 19″, 20″, 22″
  • Weight: medium

Meinl Pure Alloy Medium Rides

Pure Alloy ride cymbals

Like the crashes, there are some big rides here. They have a nice clear sound with a good stick response when played on the body. 

The bells have are very pure without much character as you would expect but they are cutting.

These rides are also great for crashing. They are just light enough to avoid the gong sound you can get on some rides.

  • Sizes available: 20″, 22″, 24″
  • Weight: medium

Meinl Pure Alloy 10″ Splash

Pure Alloy 10 splash

Unfortunately, there is only currently one splash available in the Pure Alloy range. This is a shame as this is a great sounding cymbal hopefully, more will be added in the future.

This splash produces a nice clean tone with a medium sustain. 

There isn’t much to say about this cymbal, it is what you would expect from a bright splash and sounds great.

  • Size available: 10″
  • Weight: medium

Meinl Pure Alloy 12″ Trash China

Pure Alloy trash china

Currently only available in one size, the 12″ Trash China does pack a punch.

This gives you a quick trashy yet bright burst of sound. This cymbal also features a quick cutting pattern the cymbal to produce the sound.

This cymbal has a lot in common with the Sabian AA Holy Chinas and is a great lower-cost alternative to these. 

Hopefully, the range of sizes will be expanded in the future.

  • Size available: 12″
  • Weight: medium 

Meinl Pure Alloy 18″ China

pure alloy china

Once again there is only one size of this type of cymbal.

That being said, it sounds amazing. This china is very bright and cutting. It is perfect for accenting with the snare or riding in a beat.

  • Size available: 18″
  • Weight: medium 

Our thoughts

If you are looking for a bright set of professional-grade cymbals these are a great option. 

They have a beautiful classic finish with a clean bright sound. Sure, they aren’t going to be to everyone’s taste but what cymbals are?

And not to mention, these are cheaper than most equivalent pro line bright cymbals due to Meinl’s machining technology. 

The only downside of this line currently is the selection of cymbals available. Meinl does seem to be slowly adding more selection each year but not as fast as you might expect. As to why I am unsure. Maybe Meinl are testing the popularity of the line before expanding it too fast?

Meinl has been busy working on the second line of Pure Alloy cymbals though. The Meinl Pure Alloy Custom line. These are lighter weight and feature a unique finish and are worth a look.

What do you think of these cymbals? Let us know in the comments. 

Sabian AAX Cymbals | The ultimate drummer’s guide

Sabian AAX series cymbals

Sabian AAX cymbals have become a staple of many professional drummers setups. They look incredible, have a great tone and there is a big selection to choose from. 

Let’s find out more about Sabian AAX cymbals and which ones will fit in your setup.

What style of music are Sabian AAX cymbals for?

Sabian AAX cymbals are designed to be versatile for a range of modern music. This could be anything from mainstream pop to rock all the way through to extreme metal. 

They have a clean and precise sound making them perfect for modern music. If you are looking for earthy cymbals with more character from Sabian, we recommend checking out the HH series.

How are Sabian AAX cymbals made?

Sabian AAX cymbals are machine-made like the AA (automatic anvil) series. This gives them their precise sound you can rely on every time you buy a Sabian AAX cymbal.

The AAX series cymbals are made from B20 bronze which is seen as the optimum blend for high-quality cymbals. When you buy a Sabian AAX cymbal you know you are getting a premium product. 

On the AAX series, you will also see that many of the cymbals feature a raw bell. This gives the cymbals a distinct look and tone. 

Hi-hat cymbals

Sabian AAX Hi-hats

Sabian AAX Medium Hi-Hats

These hi-hats feature a slightly smaller and unlathed bell. Combined with the medium weight, this gives you a pair of hi-hats that a crisp, bright and powerful.

These hi-hats are available in either a natural finish showing the full beauty of the raw bell or as a brilliant finish.

Sizes available: 14″ or 15″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Medium

Sabian AAX Thin Hi-Hats

Although these face many similar features to the medium hats, the reduced weight of the cymbal produces a darker sound. This makes them ideal for in the studio when you are wanting the pull back on those bright tones.

Sizes available: 14″ or 15″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Thin

Sabian AAX X-Celerator Hi-Hat

The X-Celerator hi-hats feature “air wave” bottom cymbals. The ridged edge on the bottom cymbals gives you maximum clarity and a strong chick when played. These are designed to give clarity are every volume making them dynamic for a wide range of playing.

Sizes available: 13″ or 14″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Medium top/ heavy bottom

Sabian AAX 14” X-Plosion Hi-Hat Cymbals

Modelled on the popular X-Plosion crash cymbals, these hi-hats feature a high profile bell and have a heavier weight profile. The hats are loud when open and articulate when tight. They are also available in 16″ for those big hi-hat lovers.

Sizes available: 14″ or 16″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Medium top/ heavy bottom

Sabian AAX 14” Freq Hats

If you are looking for a unique pair of hi-hats you are going to struggle to beat these. They feature dual lathing on the body of the cymbal with a raw bell. This combination gives you the sound of a pre-EQ’d cymbal. No matter how hard you play you will still have a controlled sound. Nice and crisp when closed but a nice wash when open that isn’t overpowering.

Sizes available: 14″ or 15″

Finish types: Natural

Weight: Medium top/ heavy bottom

Crash cymbals

Sabian AAX Crashes

Sabian AAX Medium Crashes

These cymbals have a large raw bell and a medium weight giving them an enhanced projection with a medium sustain. 

Sizes available: 16″, 18″, 20″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Medium

Sabian AAX Thin Crashes

These feature a smaller bell for a faster response. The thin weight gives them a bright sound with a fast attack.

Sizes available: 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Thin

Sabian AAX X-Plosion Fast Crash Cymbal

If you are looking for a crash that gives you a short explosion of brightness these are the cymbals for you. They respond fast and get out of your way. If you are looking for something similar to a splash but on the larger side, these are worth a try.

Sizes available: 14″, 15″, 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Extra thin

Sabian AAX X-Plosion Crash

These are explosive like the fast crashes but with a long and smooth decay. The X-Plosion crashes are available in a large selection of sizes so you can find the one with the best tone for your setup. 

Sizes available: 14″, 15″, 16″, 17″, 18″, 19″, 20″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Medium thin

Sabian AAX OMNI Cymbals

The AAX OMNI cymbals aren’t just a crash, they are a crash ride. They are versatile and give you an immense variety of sounds for just one cymbal. The three distinct zones (bow, inner and bell) allow you to quickly change up sounds due to the unique finish on these cymbals. 

These are a standout range. 

Sizes available: 18″ or 22″

Finish types: Hybrid

Weight: Medium bell, extra thin edge

Sabian AAX Freq Crash

The Sabian Freq crashes are intensely cutting with a high pitch tone. These will fill a stage with sound making them perfect for live rock drumming. That being said, these can also be used in other music settings.

Sizes available: 16″, 17″, 19″

Finish types: Hybrid

Weight: Medium-heavy

Ride cymbals

Sabian AAX Rides

Sabian AAX Medium Ride

The AAX Medium Ride features a smaller bell and Sabian newer hammering technique. This gives you a more complex ride than you may expect from the AAX line.

The smaller bell produces a defined ping whilst the cymbal has more complex darker tones giving you a full sound. This ride cymbal also sounds nice when crashed. 

Sizes available: 20″, 21″, 22″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Medium

Sabian AAX Thin Ride

The AAX Thin Ride offers a nice ping with enhanced crash ability. If you are one of those drummers that love to crash a ride cymbal this is a good option for you.

Sizes available: 20″, 21″, 22″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Thin

Sabian AAX X-Plosion Ride

This ride a loud and powerful ride with a huge sustain. That being said it is still a great cymbal for crashing. 

Sizes available: 20″ or 21″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Medium/ heavy

Sabian AAX Freq Ride

This features all the same characteristics of the crashes. Big piercing sound at every dynamic.

Sizes available: 21″

Finish types: Hybrid

Weight: Medium-heavy

Sabian AAX Heavy Ride

With the extra weight comes more stick definition. Great for those faster songs that need a clear definition. With the extra weight, you do lose some of the crash ability. 

Sizes available: 20″ or 22″

Finish types: Natural or brilliant

Weight: Heavy

China cymbals

Sabian AAX Chinas

Sabian AAX Mini Chinese

The AAX Mini Chinese cymbals have everything you want from a mini china. A fast, bright attack with a quick sustain. These are perfect for accents or as part of a stack.

Sizes available: 12″ or 14″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Thin

Sabian AAX Chinese

These have everything you love for a china cymbal but toned back. Although they have that nice trashy sound they aren’t overwhelming like some china cymbals can be.

Sizes available: 16″, 18″, 20″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Thin

Sabian AAX Series X-Treme Chinese

If you are wanting an AAX China with more cut these are the ones for you. More cut and trashiness to make every hit pack a punch.

Sizes available: 17″ or 19″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Thin

Splash cymbals

Sabian AAX Splashes

Sabian AAX Series Splash 

These have everything you want from a more splash cymbal. A nice clear bright sound that cuts and has a short sustain. What isn’t there to love?

Sizes available: 6″, 8″, 10″, 12″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Extra-thin

Sabian AAX X-Plosion Splash

This is very similar to the splash cymbals above but with a little extra volume for enhanced projection. There is only one size available in this splash though.

Sizes available: 11″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Extra-thin

Sabian AAX Series O-Zone Splash

The same great sound as other AAX splash cymbals with a hint of trash and an even shorter sustain.

Sizes available: 10″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Extra-thin

Sabian AAX Air Splash

The AAX Air Splashes feature holes around the edge of the bell to add a trashy tone to that great splash sound.

Sizes available: 8″ or 10″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Extra-thin

Sabian AAX Aero Splash 

These splash cymbals feature the same style holes as the Mini Holy Chinas. This makes them loud and dense producing a burst of white noise. These are the only AAX splashes available with a natural finish.

Sizes available: 8″, 10″, 12″

Finish types: Natural or Brilliant

Weight: Extra-thin

Effect cymbals

Sabian AAX Effect Cymbals

Sabian AAX Aero Crash Cymbal

The Sabian Aero crashes are a combination of the based an X-Plosion crash with the holes from the AA Holy China. This combination gives you an explosive sound with a very short sustain and a hint of trashiness.

If you are into your vented cymbals these are a great option.

Sizes available: 16″ or 18″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Medium thin

Sabian AAX O-Zone Crash

The Sabian AAX O-Zone crashes are iconic. These were the first vented cymbals on the market and started a hugely popular trend. These have a fast attack with a trashy sound. Ideal for drummers who are looking to add a variety to their kit but don’t want the level of trash a china offers. 

Sizes available: 16″ or 18″

Finish types: Brilliant

Weight: Thin

Cymbal packs

If you are wanting to start creating a set of Sabian AAX cymbals or are after the best bang for your buck, cymbal packs are the way to go. There are a range of different packs available from different online music stores but the most common one is a hi-hat, crash and ride pack.

Packs are either discounted or come with a free smaller cymbal. Nice.

The main thing to consider is that these packs normally contain the medium cymbals. If you are looking for any particular cymbals, this may not be the route to go down.

Our thoughts

Sabian AAX cymbals are great professional-grade cymbals. The range is vast so you are extremely likely to be able to find something that fits your unique playing sound. 

The AAX line is also continuously expanding and innovating. It is great to see Sabian creating new and unique sounding cymbals for this line. 

I think the natural finish cymbals with the raw bell are some of the nicest looking cymbals available today. They look amazing and sound amazing.

What else could you want?

Chris Coleman Signature Ride Cymbal – Meinl C Squared – Byzance Vintage

Chris Coleman signature ride cymbal Meinl C Squared

The Meinl C Squared Ride is the new signature cymbal of the drummer Chris Coleman. The Chris Coleman signature ride cymbal is part of the Meinl Byzance Vintage line and it unique in almost every detail.

Let’s take a look at what makes the C Squared ride unique.

Who is the Meinl C Squared ride for?

The C Squared ride has been designed by Chris Coleman and Meinl cymbals to achieve one aim. Be a versatile ride cymbal that covers multiple musical applications. Or as explained by Chris, he no longer wanted to carry three ride cymbals and needed one ride has had the best features of them all.

I can relate to this and I’m sure many drummers can. 

The question is, is it possible to get the sound of 20″ Byzance Raw Bell Ride, 20″ Byzance Extra Dry Ride and 20″ Byzance Dark Ride into one cymbal?

If any company is going to be able to do it, it is Meinl. There innovation and R&D is always pushing the boundaries of what is possible. 

Here is what Chris Coleman has to say about his Meinl C Squared Signature Ride.

So what does the Chris Coleman Signature ride sound like?

The C Squared ride has a dry yet musical tone with a clear stick definition and short sustain. The ride is musical, cutting and earthy. 

As the ride is part of the Meinl Vintage line it embodies what that line aims to deliver. The classic vintage cymbal voice with modern appeal.

Based on that I would say this ride certainly achieves this. 

Sound

  • Pitch – low
  • Character – dry, vintage
  • Timbre – dark
  • Volume – medium to low
  • Lathe – none
  • Sustain – medium to short

Here is a sound demo of the cymbal from Meinl.

How does it get this sound?

The Chris Coleman signature ride is made from B20 bronze. The cymbal is heavy and features a high profile to get the desired stick definition. The cymbal also features a lot of hand hammer that gives the cymbal a beautiful finish when combined with the unlathed finish. 

The raw finish on the cymbal gives the cymbal an earthy tone whilst not taking away from its musicality.

The final yet most distinctive feature is the sixteen holes around the edge of the ride. Although these are uncommon on ride cymbals it reduces the wash and sustain. This gives the ride the characteristics more of a 20″ ride rather than that you may expect of a 21″. 

Meinl C squared Chris Coleman signature ride cymbal features

Where can I buy a Meinl C Squared Chris Coleman Signature ride?

This cymbal is available from either your local drum kit or most online music stores. If you are going to purchase one online, here are our top choices.

Our thoughts

This is one hell of a ride cymbal. If you turn up to a gig with one of these everyone is going to be asking what it is. Firstly because of its standout looks and secondly how great it sounds. 

This is an amazing cymbal that would be a great addition to any drummers setup. The only thing that may put you off is the price tag. This cymbal isn’t cheap but it is easy to see why. A lot of hours of hand hammering go into this cymbal to bring it to life. 

Once again Meinl is pushing the boundaries of what is possible with cymbals. If you are looking for some other great Meinl creations, we recommend checking out the new Meinl Byzance Trash Crashes or Meinl Classics Custom Dark 18″ Big Bell Ride.

Sabian AA Holy China | A deep dive into this incredible china cymbal

sabian aa holy china

The Sabian AA Holy China has become a favourite amongst drummers. Holy China is a beast of a cymbal that has a distinct sound and unique look. 

Since its original release in 2010, the Holy China has won many awards and the line has been expanded with more sizes. Let’s take a look at the Sabian AA Holy China and all the models available.

What is the Sabian AA Holy China

The Sabian AA Holy China is a B20 bronze china cymbal with distinct holes and a raw bell. The cymbal was designed with Chad Smith who had one aim in mind. A loud china cymbal. 

Sabian have sure delivered on this brief by using several techniques that were still new in 2010. At the time of release, this was a unique cymbal in the market and has stood the test of time still being extremely popular today.

How does the AA Holy China get its sound?

The Sabian AA Holy China is made from Sabian’s signature B20 bronze. The Sabian AA line of cymbals aim to give you a tight and controlled sound but with intense volume when hit hard. 

Several distinct features give this cymbal its unique sound.

To raise the pitch of the cymbal it features a higher profile. 

To get more volume and sustain an array of holes have been cut into the bow of the cymbal. You will notice the holes are smaller than what you will see on most cymbals. This creates a smooth attack with less distortion vs larger holes. All these small holes give the AA Holy China its unique look which inspired the name.

The large raw bell adds a bit of extra cut to the sound, and let’s be honest, looks awesome. 

Here is a great demo playing all the different sizes available.

Even though they have a trashy and powerful sound, they are still very musical. 

What sizes are available?

The Sabian AA Holy Chinas are available in a wide selection of sizes. The cymbals are treated as two different models. The AA Hol Chinas and the AA Mini Holy Chinas.

Sabian AA Holy China Models

The Holy China comes in different sizes. 17″, 19″ and a monstrous 21″. These cymbals are available in a natural finish or a brilliant finish. The finish of the cymbal doesn’t affect the cymbal sound much, it is more down to how you like your cymbals to look.

Sabian AA Holy China models available

Sabian AA Mini Holy China Models

The Sabian AA Mini Holy Chinas were released in 2017 and expand the sonic range of the original Holy Chinas. The cymbals have all the same characteristics of the main range, the raw bell and holes. They have an extremely short delay making them great for quick accents.

The Sabian AA Mini Holy Chinas are available in 8″, 10″ and 12″. The cymbals are also available in either a natural or brilliant finish.

Sabian AA Mini Holy China models available

Sabian Holy China Prototypes

Before the release of the AA Mini Holy Chinas, some Holy China prototypes were available in limited numbers. These we made in sizes 14″ and 15″. They sounded great but didn’t get a full release. If this is something you are after you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for some second-hand ones hitting the market. 

Where can I buy the AA Holy Chinas?

Due to its popularity, the Sabian AA Holy Chinas are available from online music stores or your local music shop.

Here are our top picks for ordering online.

Our thoughts

If you are looking for a china cymbal that has a distinctive look and powerful sound the Sabian AA Holy Chinas are one of our top choices. I would say the natural finish chinas are some of the best looking available.

It is used by numerous professionals and has become a favourite china cymbal amongst drummers. 

This is a china that is worth adding to your collection.

Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride (new for 2021)

Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18 Heavy Big Bell Ride

The Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride is brand new for 2021. For a long time, I’ve wanted cymbal manufacturers to produce a smaller ride for using on the left side of the hi-hats. A few smaller ride have been released over the years but now it is time to see what Meinl can do. 

Let’s have an in-depth look at this new 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride from Meinl.

Who is the Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride for?

This 18″ big bell ride is part of the Meinl Classic Custom Dark line. This range of cymbals has been created with rock, metal and extreme metal drummers in mind. 

These cymbals are aggressive, loud but still have a great tone. Not to mention visually stunning. 

The Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heazy Big Bell Ride fits this range as big bell rides are primarily for metal drummers. They have a nice ping on the body of the cymbal with a cutting bell for accents. Perfect for extreme metal music at high tempos where clarity of each hit is needed. 

What is the ride made from?

The Meinl Classic Custom Dark cymbals are made from a B10 bronze alloy using Meinl’s high-tech computerized manufacturing. Meinl seems to have a secret technique that allows them to get amazing-sounding cymbals from B10 bronze. Combining this with the fact the cymbals aren’t hand-hammered means they are cheaper than the top of the range B20 bronze cymbals.

Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18" Heavy Big Bell Ride side

So in short, you are getting a great sounding big bell ride cymbal without breaking the bank. 

Features:

  • Material – B10 bronze
  • Size – 18″
  • Weight – Extra heavy
  • Finish – Dark

What does the Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride sound like?

As this cymbal has been designed with extreme metal drummers in mind, it has the things you would be looking for if you play blast beats and fast metal grooves. It has an explosive and cutting sound with a fast response and a short decay. 

The body and the beg of this ride sound great and are perfect for metal drumming as designed.

As you usually get from big bell rides, the crash sound isn’t great. It is very washy with a long sustain. In all honesty, though, this isn’t what you are buying this ride for though.

Check out what the heavy big bell ride sounds like in this demo from Meinl.

Where can I buy a Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride?

Luckily for you, Meinl Cymbals can be ordered from most online music stores or your local drum shop. If you are looking to order online, here are some of our favourite suppliers.

Our thoughts

The Meinl Classic Custom Dark 18″ Heavy Big Bell Ride is an incredible cymbal for the cost. If you are looking for a ride for extreme metal this has to be at the top of your list for consideration. If you are looking for a left side ride for open handed pattern combinations there is no need to look any further.

We love this ride from Meinl and can’t wait to see what innovative cymbals they come out with next. 

Low Volume Cymbals | What are the best ones for you?

low volume cymbals

Low volume cymbals are fast becoming a favourite amongst drummers looking for that natural cymbal feel whilst practising at lower volumes. It is easy to see why as cymbals have a unique and distinct feel that is hard to replicate with rubber pads. 

As low volume cymbals are still a fairly new concept, we are going to help guide you through what is currently available on the market and what you should be looking out for.

What are low volume cymbals?

Low volume cymbals give you the feel of full volume acoustic cymbals but at a reduced volume. These are ideal for drummers who are wanting to practice but aren’t able to make much noise. 

For example, if you live in a flat and you still want to get your practice in. Put on your mesh heads and low volume cymbals and away you go. I’m pretty sure the neighbours wouldn’t be happy if you were playing your full acoustic drum kit!

The only downside is that although low volume cymbals have the natural feel and response of cymbals, they don’t sound as nice as there full volume counterparts. 

How do low volume cymbals work?

Low volume cymbals achieve their reduced volume through two different methods.

The material they’re made from

 Traditionally cymbals are made from an alloy combining copper, tin and other trace metals. For example, B20 bronze is 80% copper, 20% tin.

Low volume cymbals often use a different selection of materials to achieve reduced volumes. The materials used vary by brand.

The unique holes in the cymbals

A distinctive feature of these cymbals is the unique holes that are in them. The holes are added to the cymbals to remove harsh frequencies and reduce the sustain of the cymbals. 

The amount and size of holes in these cymbals differ by manufacturer. On average though you can expect to see that many holes have been made as it is proven to be effective in reducing the volume of the cymbals.

low volume cymbal holes

What are the best low volume cymbals?

This is a challenging question as this will come down to your budget, personal taste and brand loyalty. 

There is also another factor to consider. Some brands focus purely on getting the lowest sound and sacrificing some sound quality, but other brands focus on getting a higher quality sound and sacrificing noise reduction. 

That being said here are our top picks from each scenario.

Zildjian L80 Cymbals

If you are looking for the best low volume cymbals that focus on noise reduction, the Zildjian L80 Cymbals are the choice for you.

Promising to reduce the volume by 80% with the natural cymbal feel Zildjian has done a great job. They are so quiet that the sound of the stick hitting the cymbal is louder than the sound of the cymbal Very impressive.

There is also a good selection of cymbal types available covering hi-hats, crashes, rides, splash and china cymbals. 

Agean R Low Volume Cymbals

If having that great cymbal sound with some noise reduction benefits is what you are after the Agean R Series cymbals are a great choice. 

They are made from B20 bronze giving them the cymbal sound you expect but with the holes in the cymbals to reduce the volume. 

There is also a great range of cymbals available with multiple styles of hi-hats, crashes, rides, splash and china cymbals. 

There are two things two keep in mind if you decide to purchase Agean R Series Cymbals.

  1. They are expensive. You will be pretty much paying full cymbal prices for these. If you are just using these for practising, it might not too realistic for you to spend this kind of money.
  2. They aren’t as easy to find and purchase. Because the Agean brand is smaller it does mean they can be more difficult to find online.

How do these cymbals compare?

If you are interested in a comparison of how these two cymbals sound when compared, here is a great video from drum-tec

What are the best budget low volume cymbals?

If you are wanting to use low volume cymbals for practising you are likely going to want to spend less money so you can spend it on your main kit. Luckily many great cheaper alternatives are coming to market. 

Millenium Still Series

Available from Thomann the Millenium Still Series is a great alternative on a lower budget. They offer up to 80% volume reduction without breaking the bank. You can buy a basic set including a hi-hat, two crashes and a ride and then expand down the line with splashes and crashes if you want to.

WHD Low Volume

Available from Gear4music the WHD cymbals are very similar to the Millenium offering but with a different finish. They have a nice contemporary nickel finish and still offer the up to 80% volume reduction.

Low volume cymbals vs electronic cymbals?

Apart from practising, the other reason you may want low volume cymbals is to use on your electric drum kit rather than pads. In the right situations this can be a real benefit. 

Here are some of the pros and cons of using low volume cymbal rather than electronic cymbal pads.

Pros

  • They feel like a real cymbal
  • They look better than rubber pads
  • More realistic sizes and styles when compared to rubber pads

Cons

  • Can’t change the sound at the touch of a button
  • You lose the ability of any pad making any sound
  • More complicated to get a good headphone mix between the electric drums and cymbals

Low volume cymbals and electronic cymbal pads are very hard to compare as they are both very different in what they are trying to achieve. If you mainly play at home and your main kit is your electronic one, adding low volume cymbals into the mix is probably worth a go.

Are you looking for cymbals perfect for smaller gigs? Check out the Sabian FRX cymbals.

Final thoughts

Low volume cymbals are a great way to get more out of your practice sessions. Cymbals have a unique feel and there is no way to properly replicate that without having one. These cymbals truly open the doors to more effective practice session no matter where you are. 

Hopefully in the next few years we will see more brands starting to compete and introducing their lines. 

The future of these types of cymbals is very exciting and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Meinl Byzance Trash Crash | New for 2021

meinl byzance trash crash

Meinl Cymbals can often be seen leading the way with cymbal innovation. In 2021 they show no signs of slowing down with the new Meinl Byzance Trash Crash range. 

In total Meinl have added eight new trash crashes to the Byzance range covering the full sound and finish spectrum. No matter what style of music you play, if you are in the market for a trashy sound to add to your kit you will likely find something here.

What is a trash crash?

The trash crash is a unique type of cymbal that has grown in popularity over the past 5+ years. It sits nicely between a crash and a china cymbal. You get a nice crash sound with a shorter sustain like a china cymbal with a bit of that trashy sound added for good measure.

This sound is created by adding specially cut holes into a crash cymbal. Depending on the brand and model there has been may of different approaches taken. In a Meinl Trash Crash, you will see either 8 or 10 holes. Half larger and half smaller, alternating around the cymbal.

What cymbals have been added to the Meinl Byzance Trash Crash range?

The Meinl Byzance range is broad covering bright to dark cymbals with everything in between. Due to this a good selection of trash crashes have been added with something for every style of drummer.

Meinl Byzance Brilliant Trash Crash – 16″ and 18″

Brilliant trash crash
Credit – Meinl Cymbal

These are made from B20 bronze alloy and are hand-hammered. These give off a bright and rich sound. These would be great for a rock or metal drummer as they give you a crisp cutting sound.

Meinl Byzance Dark Trash Crash – 18″ and 20″

Dark Trash Crash
Credit – Meinl Cymbals

These are made from B20 bronze alloy and are hand-hammered. These have an unlathed surface and produce a darker sound.

Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Trash Crash – 18″ 

Extra Dry Trash Crash
Credit – Meinl Cymbals

These are made from B20 bronze alloy and are hand-hammered. These have a natural finish that produces an extra dry sound.

Meinl Byzance Vintage Pure Trash Crash – 18″ 

Vintage Pure Trash Crash
Credit – Meinl Cymbals

These are made from B20 bronze alloy and are hand-hammered. These have a special surface treatment for a vintage sound, look and feel. Apart from the great sound, this cymbal has a truly unique yet beautiful finish.

Meinl Byzance Traditional Trash Crash – 16″ and 18″ 

Traditional Trash Crash
Credit – Meinl Cymbals

These are made from B20 bronze alloy and are hand-hammered. These cymbals have the traditional finish that showcases individuality. 

What do the new Meinl Trash Crashes sound like?

Luckily Meinl has an incredible YouTube channel that is dedicated to just featuring what every cymbal they offer sounds like. Here are our top two:

And you can find the rest on the Meinl YouTube channel.

Where can I buy the Meinl Byzance Trash Crashes?

If you are looking to purchase these cymbals online you can get them from the links below. At Thomann.

Alternatively you can visit Gear4music.

Final thoughts

As a fan of trash crashes, I think these are a great addition to the Byzance range. The Meinl Byzance range of cymbals are of the highest quality and it is always a joy to see them adding more options for drummers to find the unique sound.

If I could only choose one I would be sure to pick up the 20″ Meinl Byzance Dark Trash Crash. What a beautiful cymbal. 

Sabian FRX Cymbals | The new must-have cymbals for small gigs?

sabian frx cymbals

It is great to see companies pushing the boundaries of what a cymbal has traditionally been. Today we are looking at the FRX offering from Sabian. We think these are really exciting concept and a type of cymbal to keep an eye on.

Who are the Sabian FRX cymbals range for?

These cymbals are very exciting for a huge number of reasons. But who are they for? Lets find out!

The Sabian FRX cymbals range have been built to offer drummers a cymbal that has select frequencies removed. Almost as if they have been pre EQ’d in a recording studio. This does also result in a slight volume drop at around -4db.

So why would you want this? 

If you are a keen studio session drummer these are also a great option. We all know cymbals can sound different in different scenarios. The shape and textures in the room can make a huge difference. The Sabian FRX cymbals range offer a great tool for your arsenal in those tricky environments where you can’t quite get the sound right.

For the smaller shows in bars and clubs (like most of us play) this is hugely beneficial. Often in these size shows you will need to either play quieter or you need to try and dampen the ring on your cymbals with tape. Both of these have downsides. Tape can cause the wrong sonic qualities to be removed hindering your sound. Playing quieter can kill your groove and performance. No one wants that.

Sabian have fixed both these issues in the FRX range. They have managed to hammer and drill the cymbals in certain places to remove the frequencies you need less of in these environments. This is no small feat when you are also providing great sounding cymbals.

If you are wanting to lower your practice volume, these are also a great option. If you are looking for cymbals specifically for practising, have a look at low volume cymbals.

What cymbals are available in the Sabian FRX range?

Like with most cymbals when a new range is launched you don’t have everything you need to create a full diverse set up but the key things you need are here. Don’t panic just yet!

Hi Hats

Currently only 14″ Hi Hats are available. This is a little disapointing as you don’t have any options to meet you preference, especially with 15″ being very popular at the moment. Luckily they sounds great!

Crashes

The Sabian FRX range have a good selection of crashes for a new line. Currently you can pick up either a 16″, 17″ or 18″ in the standard weight. There currently aren’t heavy or fast versions of the cymbals available.

From what we have heard so far the Sabian FRX crashes have a very quick delay and sit towards the brighter end of the spectrum. This is what you would expect from these cymbals as the crashes are often the ones that can over power the sound in smaller venues.

Rides

Currently available in one weight in either 20″ or 21″ these are nice sounding rides although maybe not idea for all players. Overall as a cymbal it is very diverse with the bell, bow and rim all having distinct sounds.

Personally I like the sounds of the bow as well as the rim when crashing. Like the crash it has a very short distain. For me though the bell doesn’t cut as much as I would like although maybe more than you would expect considering all of the wholes drilled into the cymbal.

Frequently asked questions

Who are Sabian FRX cymbals for?

These cymbals are designed for drummers who want the sound and feel of real cymbals but at a reduced volume. They don’t reduce the volume as much as purpose-built low volume cymbals but they do sound better. These are ideal for drummers doing small gigs.

What are Sabian FRX cymbals?

FRX cymbals are a range produced by Sabian. They offer a reduced volume whilst maintaining a full acoustic cymbal sound.

How do Sabian FRX cymbals reduce volume?

This is done using a combination of tactical drilling and hammering to remove select piercing frequencies.

Where can you buy Sabian FRX cymbals?

Luckily for you Sabian cymbals are available from almost every online music store or local music shop. Here are our suggestions if you are looking to order online.

What do we think?

The direction Sabian are taking with the FRX range is great. The majority of cymbal manufacturers are focusing on quiet cymbals at the moment (granted Sabian also fall into this with the Quiet Tone cymbals) but this is a key market that has never had any focus on them.

This range is nowhere near perfect in its current state but it has a lot of potential and is on the right track. To become a go to cymbal range for session players Sabian will need to expand to at least include a couple of splashes and chinas as well as some more diversity in the hi hats and crashes.

The good

  • Great idea for a range of cymbals that supports a large volume of players
  • Perfect for smaller live scenarios
  • Crisp and clear sound

The bad

  • Small selection of models currently available

To find out more about the Sabian FRX range you can read more over on the Sabian website

We can’t wait to find out more about these cymbals and see how they expand the range in the future. If you have enjoyed this article subscribe to our mailing list below for future updates.