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Beginner Cymbal Set Up Comparison

There’s a huge selection of cymbal sets available and it is hard to decide which one to buy. Most of the time it is not possible to test a wide range of different sets and check the sound on your drum set at home. That’s why we selected eight different sets out of the medium price sector to show you how different the sound can be and to give you a helping hand for your cymbal pick.

It’s good to know, that most of the manufacturers have a special purpose in mind when developing their cymbals. They choose different sizes, thicknesses or materials to produce a sound which fits best to different styles. Therefore, you find such a big variety of sets out there and it is sometimes hard to find the best set for your purpose and style. And as you see, there is also a big potential of making the wrong decision for the style of music you are playing.

Commonly cymbals are made of bronze, which normally is an alloy of tin and copper. You will find a specification on the packaging like “B-20” or “B-8” which is an indicator for the tin-copper-ratio. The number says how many percent of the bronze consists of tin. So B-20, which is the most common, consists of 80% copper and 20% tin. The more tin is used, the better the quality of the material. Some cymbals are also made of brass, this material is softer and mostly found in the lower price categories.

As you can imagine, different materials have different sounds and as well the surface of a cymbal can make a big difference. You will find many cymbals that look as if someone had worked on them with a hammer. But don’t be fooled by the optics. They maybe look like hand-made cymbals, but often they are not. Hand-made cymbals commonly have a more irregular surface than the industrially manufactured ones and this also influences the sound. Each cymbal made by hand will have a slightly different sound because of the unique shape and surface. Completely plain cymbals again sound totally different (and most of the time not good). Summed-up, the more work was invested to create the cymbal, the better the sound.

Phew. Information overload? At the end the best guides should be your ears and the style of music you want to play. So perk up your ears, put your headphones on or turn up your good speakers and enjoy our new comparison video that shows you impressively how different cymbal sounds can be.

Side note: In order to provide you with the most neutral sound we tested every cymbal setup with the same microphones and no EQ within the overhead microphones. We asked the cymbal companies to send us brand new cymbals in unopened packages to make sure that we test the same cymbals you would have received.

Cymbal sets used in this comparison video:

  • Zildjan Cymbal Pack Planet Z
  • Sabian Cymbal Pack SBR Promotional Pack
  • PAISTE Cymbal Pack PST3
  • Sabian Cymbal Pack B8X
  • Zildjian Cymbal Pack ZBT5
  • Zultan Cymbal Pack: Rock Beat + Cymbal Bag
  • Zultan Cymbal Pack Aja
  • PAISTE Cymbal Pack PST5 Rock