Understanding your cymbals can make a huge difference in the quality of sound you get. And you may want something new, whether you are just starting out, or you want to upgrade your gear
But this is where it gets tough, especially for beginners. You are exposed to a large bunch of cymbals and cymbal makers, most of what is way below the standards advertised. And that sucks, right?
One way to avoid this is to get familiar with these percussion instruments and have a list of top manufacturers.
Sabian is one of the best cymbal companies out there. I have been playing their cymbals, alongside other great drummers, and there has never been much complaining about any of their products. If you are still not sure about this, come along in this review and guide.
I will be introducing you to Sabian cymbals as well as sharing some buying tips to make you work easier.
Sabian has developed a great reputation over the past several years for developing high-end cymbals. Drummers from all over the world have enjoyed the incredible range of sounds they get from these products.
Most importantly, Sabian cymbals have remained incredibly affordable. It is not every day that you get a combination of quality and affordability in cymbals.
And this is where Sabian has made a real mark in drum and accessories.
For more than 30 years, they have created what you can easily call perfect hi-hats, crashes, rides, and effects cymbals suitable for all levels of drumming.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional drummer, you will always find a Sabian product to meet your needs.
These cymbals stretch from the SBR and B8X series at the entry-level all the way up through the HH and the Artisan series.
And therefore, no matter your budget or skill level, Sabian has got your back in every percussion need you may have.
One thing I love about Sabian is that they never compromise quality. Every product they bring to the market has been thoroughly tested for professional use.
You can choose any cymbal from Sabian, and it will not disappoint. It all depends on how much you want to invest and the type of cymbal you want.
A brief history
I have known Sabian in all my 20 years of drumming career. And this is more than enough to tell me, it a reputable cymbal maker.
Most importantly, I have always been fascinated by their craftsmanship. It could be because of their experience in delivering high-end products or affiliation with some of the top players on the market.
Whatever the case, Sabian is a reliable cymbal brand. And it’s not just because I love the company, but because of where the company comes from.
Sabian was founded in Canada in 1981 by Robert Zildjian.
Yes, you heard me right.
Robert Zildjian is actually from the Zildjian family. Which means Sabian cymbals is the little brother of Zildjian cymbals.
If you know Zildjians, you understand they are a mark of quality in the modern market. Every product they make is qualified for the top-user because of their quality and more than 200 years of experience.
Robert decided that there was never enough choice or variety for drummers when it came to choosing cymbals. And hence, he applied his long years of experience and contacts from the percussion industry to give birth to Sabian.
Some allege that Robert had a managerial dispute with his brother, which led him to choose a different path.
No matter, Sabian has risen through ranks to become one of the leading innovators in the market for cymbals’ design and production. It is right to say they have never drifted from the Zildjian path, only trying to improve drummers’ things.
Through this, the cymbals have been offering the world a versatile selection and rivals and go beyond many other renowned brands.
There is nothing you will not get from Sabian. Think about vintage and modern, dark, bright and warm cymbals, and anything in between, Sabian has it all.
What tone do you need? And for which style?
Do not worry, Sabian has it all covered for you. They have become mind-boggling in every sense of the word.
Sabian is endorsed by a lot of reputable drummers from around the world. Some of them include Ben Johnson, Phil Collins, Jojo Mayer, and Mike Portnoy.
They are proof beyond any reasonable doubt that Sabian’s degree of fine cymbal making skills arereliable.
It’s applicable in both life and other fiercest of drumming arenas. What the company has done is to simply ensure every drummer has access to high-quality cymbals, no matter their budget.
Zildjian cymbals were, for
long, the only best option for drummers. But they did not come with as much
variety as the Sabians and were extremely expensive for most.
I have been comparing Sabian cymbals in terms of prices and features from different online stores, and they all seem to be on the same page.
The 16-inch crash is one cymbal type you will not miss in every series. If you want to get the best from these cymbals, you will need to understand why they vary so much in price.
It’s simple because of the differences in the subtype.
For instance, you will get HHX Stage, Evolution, Explosion, and so on, each made to meet specific needs and specific levels.
Let’s now look at each series and what it stands for.
The Artisan Series is the highest class of Sabian cymbals. It also carries some of the most expensive cymbals you will find anywhere in the world. It is up to a personal taste to decide whether they are the best or not. But you can never go wrong on them.
Only the artisan is marked as the masterpiece type, as you will notice from their site.
They are premium percussion instruments that offer a darker sound. They are made from B20 alloy and versatile enough to serve in both live and studio situations.
You can use these cymbals for jazz, rock, hip hop, pop, and any other music style without any issues. They will give you just the amount of volume and sustain you need for a great day.
Their sound comes under vintage. This means you get the perfect sound of traditional cymbals without the alteration of modern technologies.
Artisan cymbals’ price is so high that just one ride cymbal costs more than a whole set of cymbals from lower Sabian lines.
They are endorsed by drummers like Tomans Haake, Dave Elitch, Dave Weckl, and Mark Guiliana. All these are big names in the drumming community.
If you are looking for variety, the Sabian HHX series has it all. The drumming community considers one of the best products from the manufacturers.
They generally sound dark. But the palette of this series is very wide, which gives it an advantage over the other lines from Sabian and other brands.
Tonally, they vary between sub-lines.
It’s the brilliant finish of these cymbals that fascinate most users. It makes them deliver a more modern, brighter sound. The ones with a natural finish deliver a drier and more vintage sound.
For those who need a professional cymbal, but they don’t have enough to invest in the Artisan series above, this could be a great solution for you. It will serve you in different music situations with all the right tones and sounds.
These series come with categories like Omni, Evolution, Complex, and Fierce, among others, each of which bears unique features and abilities.
These cymbals are in a professional line, made from the highest quality materials. Their sounds vary from Modern, as in the Evolution series for rock.
The HHX Fierce, on the other hand, is not very versatile, completely dry, and will not serve in many areas.
The HHX Complex lies somewhere in between with Manhattan. They are brighter and more responsive cymbals made for jazz and a wide variety of other music styles. This is a very versatile category and will give you a reliable service wherever you use them.
These are endorsed by drummers line David Garibaldi, Jojo Mayer, and Dave Weckl. This should be enough to tell you they are no joke.
Slightly down from the HHX line, we get the HH series. HH stands for Hand Hammered, and it is the best description of what these cymbals stand to offer.
One way of telling quality in cymbals is by considering how they are made. These cymbals are designed and hand-hammered for quality sounds.
They are sorted under the same price range as the HHX, even though their sound is totally different.
First, because they are probably the heaviest Sabian cymbals, they deliver a somehow ‘serious’ dry tone with a short sustain.
It’s harder to get the sound from heavier cymbals. But they have a short sustain, which makes it easy to control them. Such are needs for metal and other heavy hitters, especially when doing really fast signatures.
The entire series carries that vintage rock/jazz look and functionality. Hence, they are more suitable for vintage drummers.
Also, the line is not as versatile as the HHX but aimed at similar goals.
You will get sub-groups like Vanguard, Performance, Pandora, and King, designed for a specific purpose, but with the same vintage sound.
Drummers who play this series include Will Calhoun, Steve Ferone, and Chester Thomson, among others.
The Sabian crescent series is not very far from the HH and HHX series in terms of prices. They have been renewed, which is why they are in the higher price range. They also sound as though it was an experimentation with the HH.
Sabian craftsmen added a few things to these cymbals, making them stand out. They are thinner, have a raw bell on some sub-categories, and come much lighter.
Despite the changes, this series is the most similar to the HH line. Jeff Hamilton, a great studio/jazz drummer, was among the team that developed this series.
Ideally, these cymbals were mainly for jazz. But they may have thought it unwise to limit such a great cymbal to just one style of music. Therefore, this series will do a great job for any musical situation, as long as you are creative enough.
Some lower sub-series cymbals may not be a great option. But with the right option, you can get different sounds while maintaining sound quality.
They are played by drummers like Jeff Hamilton and Stanton Moore.
Modern style, bright sound, B20 metal alloy, and a brilliant natural finish describes what the Sabian Paragon series is all about. This means they are still in the professional line, even in the terms price range.
Perhaps they are more famous because Neil Peary played them. They are mostly loved because of the sustain and the famous Sabian sound. Raising the pitch makes them sound more modern.
For those who love the Paragon’s high pitch and bright sounds, you just need to go for either the brilliant or a natural finish.
You can only get a full reach of the brilliant finish in the AAX and HHX series, though. Paragon and Artisan series does not change much of the vintage feel. Even though the Paragon series is perfect for drums that need high sounding and versatile cymbals, they are not as genuine modern cymbals as the AAX and HHX.
Nevertheless, they are not very dry and offers a longer sustain.
Drummers like Roy Mayorga and Neil Peart have played the Paragon series. Hence, you can never go wrong on them.
Think of modern, bright sounding cymbals made from B20 alloy with a natural/brilliant finish, yet affordable, and you are home with the AAX series.
This is a line of middle-range cymbals that can be easily picked as the best intermediate option.
A lot of professional drummers have used these cymbals for both studios and live playing.
They may be cheaper than the HHX or Artisan, but their quality is deserving. The series is designed formodern, bright sound, and is among the latest by Sabian.
Jazz drummers will not like using the AAX cymbals. They are mainly for pop, rock, metal, and R n B. And they are mostly for drummers who hail from popular music, like Tony Royster. Or you will also find them with metal music drummers like Mike Portnoy.
This series is the best value for money cymbals on the market today. It’s mostly popular among rock andmetal drummers, seeking a brighter, modern sound, and who already have a clue of what drumming is about.
The AAX series is not far from the AA line for cymbals from Sabian, which form the first step into the lower end market. You will not easily find these cymbals on a drum set of a professional drummer, but as a beginner, you need to pay attention to what your role models play.
Endorsements are the number one guide to picking the right cymbals. However, cymbal companies still need someone to advertise their lower-end products.
Someone like Mike Mangini has a wide range of cymbals suitable for different levels.
The AA series offers bright and modern sound similar to the AAX, but not the best quality. But this does not mean that they are bad cymbals.
Chad Smith, Chester Thomson, and Morgan Rose are some of the biggest names that have endorsed the AA Sabian cymbals.
This is another affordable series of cymbals from Sabian that you will find very useful. It combines the dark tone from the HHX line and the brilliant finish of the AAX, with the modern sound, yet at a much lower price.
The cymbals are made from B20 alloy, which makes them perfect even for professionals. It is the only other Sabian product, aside from the SR2, that delivers professional sound at the lowest price.
Beginners and Amateurs who love vintage sounds from their cymbals will find Sabian SR2 a perfect match. B20 metal is still used in the series, but not with such sound quality as you would expect from the Artisan or HH series.
They have a pretty decent overall sound, though. And they are good for the money. You will not buy another Sabian cymbal made from B8 or brass once you have tried out these ones.
Interestingly, these are refurbished cymbals, made from used HHX, AAX, or other higher-end products.
This is why SR2 cymbals are reliable.
B8 cymbals from Sabian come with high-quality features but at a lower price. The metal may have changed from B20, making a huge difference in sound quality, but it’s still among the best at this price range.
Sabian cymbals vary in quality depending on the material they are made from and how they are crafted. The B8X has a different material, which puts them in a whole new level of price.
For beginners, the Sabian B8X is a highly recommended choice. They will not strain your budget, yet you get high-end results.
Brass is the cheapest material for making cymbals. Which is why all cymbals are made from its feature in the lower categories.
Sabian SBR series is no different.
These are the only cymbals by Sabian crafted out of brass, which keeps them under the lowest cymbal categories. They are perfect for beginners and for practicing.
They deliver a bright and modern sound that will suit most of your needs.
Buying cymbals can be easy, but getting the right cymbals for the job is another thing. It means understanding perfectly what you need, and what makes the difference.
Start by knowing the types of cymbals on the market.
There are four main categories of cymbals; hi-hats, rides, crashes, and effects. Each of them is made for a specific purpose, and you will find it easier picking one if you know exactly your needs.
The manufacturing processes
There are three key stages involved in making cymbals, metal selection, shaping options, and manufacturing methods.
In terms of metal, you either had brass, B8, B10, or B20 alloy. Brass is the cheapest and used in beginner cymbals, while B20 is the best material, found in professional cymbals.
When it comes to the shaping options, you will need to consider the diameter, thickness, bell size, profile, and taper of your cymbals. These are the parameters used in describing cymbals.
And for manufacturing, you either get one made with a cheap method of cutting out the cymbal from a larger metal sheet, or a more expensive cast cymbal.
Other things to consider when buying cymbals include your budget, the brand, and the music style. Note that different cymbals are made for specific purposes, which creates a difference in quality and prices.
Frequently asked questions
What Are the Best Sabian Cymbals?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Every Sabian cymbal out there is made with the best approach for specified uses. If you have the money, then the Artisan series is the perfect solution. But if you are on a budget, the SR2 series could be the best Sabian cymbals.
What Is the Best Brand of Cymbals?
There are several cymbal brands on the market today. Generally, Zildjian is considered the top-of-the-line cymbal maker. Sabian features on the same level.
Other top brands include Meinl and Paiste.
Are Sabian AAX Cymbals Good?
Yes. Sabian has been making cymbals for more than 30 years. This puts in the best position for experience and reputation. Besides, this is one of the world’s biggest cymbal makers; you would expect their products to be up there too.
Which Is Better Zildjian Or Sabian?
It is all about personal preference and the sound you need. Both Sabian and Zildjian have different lines of cymbals, from expensive to affordable. So, we can easily say they are equally good. Besides, Sabian is a Zildjian offshoot.
Sabian have never disappointed when it comes to delivering quality in their products. And now that you know what products they have, and how to choose the right cymbals, it should be easy buying a good cymbal from them.