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Sabian AAX Cymbals | The ultimate drummer’s guide

Sabian AAX series cymbals

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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?

The author

I’ve been playing the drums for over 15 years and I still love them! I am mostly a metal drummer but I am currently working on groove and applying rudiments to the kit!

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