Crash cymbal can be made from a variety of materials. The modern world is full of manufacturers who utilize various construction methods for the best quality.
This is why there is a huge collection of cymbals online. Try searching, and you will be overwhelmed, even at different price points.
One thing drummers know is that crash cymbals are among the most important parts of their drum set and not just accessories. And you need to get the best.
If you have been wondering how to get the best cymbals for great sounds, relax. I have got you covered in this article as I share everything you need to know about crash cymbals and the best ones.
What are crash cymbals?
When you talk about cymbals, most drummers will often think of crash cymbals. They are cymbals the produce an explosive and powerful sound.
The main function of crash cymbals is for accenting a beat. They are different from ride cymbals, which are mostly used in a pattern.
Another factor that differentiates a crash from any other cymbals is their size. Anything between 20-inches and 22-inches is a ride cymbal. Crash cymbals feature between 16 and 18-inches. 19-inch and 20-inch cymbals are called crash rides. This is because they can be used as both crashes and rides.
For right-handed drummers, crash cymbals are placed on the left side of the kit behind the toms. A left-handed drummer places them on the right side.
There is a reason why crash cymbals are very popular with modern drummers. And it’s mainly because they deliver very wonderful sounds.
It is hard to imagine a drum set complete without a crash cymbal.
How Do You Choose A Crash Cymbal?
As stated above, a crash cymbal is one of the most important components of a drum set. For this reason, you want to make sure that you can satisfy your needs.
I have been playing drums for many years. And therefore, I have few ideas about what a good crash cymbal should be.
Generally, we can say all crash cymbals are good. It all depends on what individual drummers want from them.
However, certain features you should consider.
The first thing is quality. Notice that buying a good cymbal is like making an investment. Hence, you need to take your time going through all products available until you get what you need.
The interaction between quality and other variables I will be discussing shortly create a desirable cymbal tone. So, where sound quality is subjective, the issues of quality is the same with all drummers.
Apart from that, consider the composition, diameter, thickness, and manufacturing process of the cymbals.
These are the factors that define real quality.
What is the material composition of the cymbal? In other words, what is the cymbal made of?
There are four materials generally used in making cymbals, all of which are copper-based. The determine the general quality of the cymbals.
The first and cheapest metal is brass, which is an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass cymbals are very cheap. They are also not very strong, which is why they are mostly made for beginners.
The good thing about brass cymbals is that they are extremely affordable. Since, as a beginner, you don’t need anything much, brass cymbals are a perfect solution.
Then there are cymbals made from B10 and B12 alloys. These cymbals are found in the mid-range products for intermediate drummers.
If you are a drummer looking for something better than what you have at the moment, these are the cymbals you should get. They are made from a combination of copper and zinc, which makes them sound better and last longer.
More expensive cymbals are made from B20 metal, comprising of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin. Anything less than this, and you are in the lower classes of cymbals. The higher tin content makes, the more desirable, and with better tonal properties.
But there are very expensive. If you have the money, invest in crash cymbals made from B20 metal.
Diameter and thickness
These two factors go together. They make up the overall dimension of a cymbal and are used to define its tonal properties.
Thicker cymbals are less responsive. Although they are stronger, and perhaps longer-lasting, they are not what you need if you are playing soft music.
These are cymbals reserved for rock, metal, and other settings that require heavy hitting. Using them for music like jazz will prove futile.
Thinner cymbals are more responsive. They don’t need to much pressure to produce the desired sound, only that they can be too loud if the drummer does not know how to control their volume.
Cymbals that are thicker and longer have offered more volume overall. This is why crash cymbals can get very loud.
Also, cymbal comes with different harmonic content based on their dimension. If you are looking for a brighter sound, buy thinner cymbals. And for those who want a darker sound, thicker cymbals will do.
The manufacturing process is arguably the most important consideration in the cymbal world. There are two main methods: the cheap method and the expensive method.
The cheap cymbal making process involves cutting a cymbal for shape from a larger piece of metal. These cymbals are brighter and less expensive. One good thing about them is that they are more balanced.
However, cut-from-sheet cymbals will never be as good cast cymbals. Casting involves pouring molten metal into a mold and casting them into the desired cymbal. They are then hammered for finer details and improving tonal values.
Cymbals can also be hand-hammered or machine-made. But the term hand-hammered here can be a bit confusing. It could mean a person hammered them one strike at a time or used a machine to hammer them.
Anyway, hand-hammered cymbals are the best because a person took their time to make the cymbals sound good. But because of the hard-labor required, these cymbals are very expensive than those made by machines.
5 Best crash Cymbals Reviewed
Now that you know how to choose your cymbals, it should be easier to get the right one. And if you are still having trouble, here are some of the top products the market has to offer.
Germany based cymbal company Meinl is one of the biggest brands today. They make drum plates and cymbals of all kinds, aimed at offering the best solution for users.
Meinl cymbals are known for their quality and functionality, especially with B20 alloys. They are crafted with extra effects.
Byzance is the best line of Meinl cymbals. They are crafted by expert artisans in Turkey, delivering a traditional look and feel of good cymbals.
This 20-inch model is best used for hard rock and heavy music. You can even combine them with smaller crash cymbals to get that harmonic feel as required.
They are thin, with a low curve, and are hammered of gives a refreshing trashy effect. Strike them, and you will love the sound.
Pros and cons
The cymbals come with top-tier quality, and they are handcrafted. They are very versatile, too, offering good harmonics, even without a bell. They come with a 2-year warranty.
On the negative side, the B20ETHC is very pricy compared to others with similar features. Also, it gets hard to combine when left as a side-effect crash plate.
Here is another crash cymbal made by Meinl that you will enjoy playing on. It is a high-quality product from one of the top manufacturers.
The 18-inch Byzance cymbal comes with a surprising twist of finishes combined into unique hammering and turning methods. The result is an instrument with a robust sound and a harmonic and versatile touch.
Dry sounding properties come from the hammered area on the edge, giving it a fast response. The light structure on the edge ensures a sense of connection, helping a drummer to get any tonal differences.
Pros and cons
Byzance is a top tier quality line. Expert artisans handcraft them. The cymbal can be used for a wide range of music styles, delivering a clear, dry sound with a quick response, which is good to the ear.
But they are very expensive. It’s a good opener but does not really do well in harmonics.
Paiste has been one of my favorite cymbal makers for a long time. This should not come as a surprise since it is the third-largest cymbal company in the world.
They have been serving drummers since 1906, and hence, have the best experience to make reliable cymbals. Besides being a mainstay, the company has been a significant force in fueling innovation across the industry.
The 2002 series is one of the top affordable lines of cymbals by Paiste. The 2002 Classic Cymbal Crash18-inch falls in the category, and hence, a good product.
It is made from Paiste’s 2002 bronze, which is better than other products at the same price range. What makes them unique is that they are hand-made made. Paiste has dedicated craftsmen evaluating every step of making their cymbals, which makes them very good.
Even though these cymbals are in the entry-level tier, a professional drummer will find them very useful.
People have loved the explosive presence of 2002, and this series has been maintained for a long.
Pros and cons
Paiste is a big manufacturer, and 2002 is one of their most popular lines of cymbals. Apart from this, the cymbals offer good quality and an affordable price.
On the negative side, they are made from a B8 alloy, which is not as good as B20.
There is no cymbal company better than Zildjian. It is the oldest cymbal company, having been around for more than 200 years. If you ask any drummer about the cymbal company they know, they will probably mention Zildjian.
Their cymbals have been at the front of every drummer for decades.
Far from the brand’s fame, the Zildjian A Custom is a cymbal line on its own level. It carries the Projection Crash Cymbal of 16, 17, 18, and 19 inches. They are from a B20 metal alloy with a nice shiny finish. You can but one, or a complete set.
There are simple versions with some more weight on the edges. They, therefore, have a slight rise and more height that offers great sound and speed.
These are not the cheapest Zildjian cymbals, and therefore you should be ready to dig deeper into your pockets. But they are generally the best choice to make maximum noise.
The bell gives out light harmonic tones, while its light curve and raised edges ensure power.
Pros and cons
Zildjian is a renowned brand. And their quality, sound, and artists are represented in this cymbal. It is a great tool for rhythm, has a dry and dark sound, and comes in various sizes.
On the limitations, this model is quite expensive and does not offer a versatile sound output.
HHX is one of Sabian’s best cymbal lines. And Sabian itself has been on the market for long as one of the biggest cymbal makers. The quality of their products compares to Zildjian and Paiste.
This Legacy crash delivers a dark tone, and it’s a highly responsive cymbal. You can play as loud as you want, yet, it will always remain musical.
It comes with a brilliant finish that adds shimmer and low-end presence. It was impossible to project darkness until HHX came long, and it has remained useful for this reason.
Even though other brands have come up with the same features, the HHX has a dark, simmering sound, agitated bite, and a ‘Tone Projection” that puts it ahead of everyone else. You will get darkness generation from other cymbals, but this Sabian HHX stirs more simmering heat. Therefore, it will give you more musical dirt and a little bit more of what every drummer wants to hear.
Pros and cons
“Tone Projection” gives this cymbal a better design and more functionality. It comes from a top manufacturer and delivers a great tonal value.
On the negative, it is not very cheap.
Frequently asked questions
What Are the Best Sounding Cymbals?
The idea of good sound in cymbal is quite subjective. However, if you are looking for the best sounding cymbal, there are certain features you should consider.
First, consider the material. Brass cymbals are cheaper, but they don’t sound as good as B20 cymbals, which are more expensive.
Also, think about the size of your cymbals. Thicker cymbals are darker in sound while thinner ones are brighter. Pick a cymbal here based on the type of music you are playing.
Last but not least, consider the construction process. Cast and hand-hammered cymbal have a way more superior sound that cymbal cut from a larger sheet.
What Is A Fast Crash Cymbal?
Fast crashes are thin and lighter cymbals that give out a faster response when struck. Their sound decays faster in ensuring you get a bright, sharp accent.
What Are the Best Cymbals for Rock?
Rock is one of the heaviest music types in the world. Playing drums in a rock band can be quite hard, which is you need the right cymbals.
Consider wider and heavier cymbals. Since you will be using a lot of energy to strike them, anything lighter will not sound good, and it will break too easily.
Some of the best cymbal for rock are found with the Zildjian K Custom Hybrid series, the Paiste 2002, Meinl Byzance Metal, and Sabian artist. All these are top manufacturers, and their products have proven to offer the best quality and sound for rock drummers.
Crash cymbals are very crucial to a complete drum set of any drummer. This means you have to be very considerate of how you buy them. I have tried to review some of the best crash cymbals you can get out there, and I hope it will make your work much easier.