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.

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?

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.

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.