Recommendations for cymbals on a budget?

Discussion in 'Drums & Percussion' started by TedEH, May 29, 2017.

  1. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I've been doing some looking around for some reasonably priced cymbals lately and have come across some ads for cheap (~$150 cad used) starter packs, and given that I'm not usually a drummer, I don't really know what to look for when it comes to cymbals, or whether or not these starter kits are reasonable value for what they are. I really just want something I can smash at without risking cracking someone else's borrowed stuff, so I think they'll serve that purpose, but just how bad are these starter packs? (Looking at Meinl HCS in particular.)

    I did some reading about B8 vs B20 and things like that, and the suggestion seems to be that B8 doesn't sound very good, and that B20 is used in more expensive stuff. But is this the kind of thing that a "pro drummer" would be picky about but a beginner smashing away wouldn't really care?
     
  2. Ordacleaphobia

    Ordacleaphobia Can only power chord

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    GuitarCenter's used section is WAY better for drummers than just about anyone else. You can find some really good pieces in there dirt cheap, but the shipping can get nasty, so make sure to check pricing with that included before you compare.

    If you're looking at new, in the budget arena, each manufacturer seems to be better at different cymbals than others. The general overarching rule is to stay away from brass (Older Sabian Solars, the HCS sets, etc). The best budget crashes seem to be the Zildjian ZBTs, with honorary mention for the 14" B8X Sabian which sounds pretty killer. Paiste makes the best value hats with the PST5s. Effect cymbals are pretty much all going to be Meinl, the Zildjian ZHT EFX crash was pretty baller too if you can find a used one. Sabian rides are really good at the low end as well, even the brass ones. This list is based on my own experience and other local drummers I know and talk to, though, because even though I'm mainly a drummer I don't use drum forums, just guitar ones....:nuts:
    So results may vary?

    Although if it's less of a question of price vs sound quality value and more of a "how much kit can I get for $X?" kind of situation, the HCS superpacks are great. I used these for a while when all I was doing was playing covers and jamming on backing tracks so the sound was really mostly irrelevant.
    I wouldn't use them live though, or really even in a band context. Switching up to even the cheapest bronze cymbals makes such a drastic difference in sound quality over brass that it's really not worth it for that setting.

    All that said, cymbals are a lot like pickups. There are a few high end ones that pretty much everyone will agree on, but for the most part, as long as you stick to ones that are reasonably well made you're going to be fine.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't think GuitarCenter is an option, given I'm in Canada, so the exchange and the shipping would defeat any real "deals" I might find. Unfortunately, the used set i was looking at got sold to someone else, soooo I guess I'll just have to keep looking for now.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    There's a GC in Burlington, VT.

    Every once in a while, a manufacturer will make a good cheap cymbal, but then, it seems, it always gets pulled from the market before long.

    I thought the Zildjian "Edge" crashes sounded phenomenal for the money. Sabian has made some good crashes and rides on a decent budget, but I've never cared for their hihats, unless they were the expensive ones. Same with Paiste - they make some really cool high end hihats, and decent budget crashes, but their low end hihats are gross sounding, to me.

    I sort of like the ZHT hihats, but still much prefer something a little more expensive.

    I have a lot of old cymbals. My son has a hodge-podge of different stuff though, a B8 crash, a ZBT crash, a pair of A hihats, a PST crash, a ZHT china, and a really nice Sabian ride that was on clearance (70% off, IIRC) on musician's friend a year or 16 months ago. If you have time, keep an eye on special sales and snag good stuff when it's available. Otherwise, I would recommend a nice intermediate pair of hihats and then get a decent low end crash and a livable ride and cheap out on splashes and chinas and maybe a second crash, if you are so inclined, but, half of the time, cheap cymbals have nasty overpowering low tones in their decay, or else they have no decay at all ("CRA- "). At times, those can be used to various effects, but it's important to have at least good hats and one nice crash.

    I think you can totally cheap out on shells and get decent heads to compensate, but, with cymbals, there is nothing you can do to them to make them sound any different than they sound, and therefore, cheap usually sounds cheap.
     
  5. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    If I'm ever in the 'states, I guess that one in VT is probably the closest to here, but I don't have a passport at the moment, so it's still probably not practical right now.

    From demos I've listened to on youtube, I've been pretty impressed by the sound of Wuhans. Much darker than similarly priced stuff. My understanding is that they can get away with better materials at the same price point. I don't think L&M stocks them usually though- their website only shows the chinas. There's a couple of small drum shops nearby that might have something worthwhile.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I've used Wuhan crashes before and was blown away at the sound I got from them for the price. I also have a pair of thicker crashes I use as mini hihats for lower volume, and they sound just like real hihats, just at lower-than-rock-band volume. I honestly didn't think the company was still making crashes. But...the volume thing is a bit irksome. If you play with anyone using a 212 or bigger cab, you are going to have to mash those Wuhans to try to hear yourself, and they are not that durable. But, that's just my experience. YMMV. :2c:
     
  7. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    Honestly, I would start by shopping used for B20 bronze cymbals. The cheap B8 bronze starter pack shit sounds like just that. Shit. Never worth recording (except for high-end B8 like Paiste's 2002 series, which is an exception), and when it sounds like shit, there's no polishing a turd and turning a crappy cymbal into a decent sounding one. Look at used Zildjian A or Sabian AA, which there is plenty of out there, and start with a good pair of hi-hats, then a ride, and then an 18" crash. I really wish I never bought the Zildjian ZXT starter set, because I couldn't wait to replace each and every cymbal, and now that crappy set just sits in a bag because nobody wants to buy those used anyway. Then if you aren't very serious about drumming, you can always sell B20 cymbals for a decent price again.
     
  8. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    ^ Makes a lot of sense. I think I'm going to hold on for now and just not buy anything. We set up my kit last night in the jam room, and I manged to convince a friend to let me take some cymbals he had bought from some guy but never used, so he just dropped off a box for of drum stuff for me to piece together. Turns out there was some decent stuff in there. Hats were some sort of aax-something-or-other, I like the character of them but they seem suuuuper loud. There was a ziljian k dark crash, some sort of sabian thin crash, a small wuhan china looking thing that sounded cool, and a few other random bits. All the crashes are a bit small / bright sounding for my taste, but they get the job done. Only thing missing is a ride. I cheated just for yesterday and used the biggest crash as a ride, but it didn't really sound right.

    Maybe what I could do is start shopping for a decent used ride to start my personal collection of cymbals with, use it for the jam room for now, and I'll have something nice to record with later.
     
  9. InCasinoOut

    InCasinoOut syncopAZN

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    Yeah man, those nice cymbals sound like a far better set to start with, especially to let you slowly piece together your own collection!
     
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  10. drumwerks

    drumwerks SS.org Regular

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    FWIW, check out this video using some ultra-cheap Monoprice cymbals. I will say I was surprised. Way better than the low-end Zildjian, Sabian low-end stuff - those cheap cymbals are often too thick and sound harsh, clunky. Maybe these cheapos are thinner and are somewhat more pleasant. What do you all think of these?

    Monoprice All cymbals in the kit Test

     
  11. drumwerks

    drumwerks SS.org Regular

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    Some other guys have done sound tests with these cheap cymbals as well... search around youtube.

     
  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I had forgotten about this thread. :lol: I ended up picking up a Sabian SR2 (they're loaners/returns that have been re-finished so you can't tell what they were) that I thiiiiiiink used to be an AAX Omni 22. Whatever it was, whatever it is now, I like it.
     
  13. drumwerks

    drumwerks SS.org Regular

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    Ted, awesome. I never knew about the SR2 line. Just read about them, interesting marketing concept actually.

    Well, bottom line is that you got some cymbals you like!
     
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  14. JoshuaRichard

    JoshuaRichard SS.org Regular

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    I don't know if you still want opinions on this, but since you like Sabian, I would recommend their XSR series. It's a more affordable, high quality series made with B20 bronze. It would be great if you're playing for an audience (as opposed to practicing alone in your garage).

    Here's a video of the 18" XSR Fast Crash. Listen with headphones.


    Great sounding cymbal, easily comparable to the sound quality and price of a much higher end cymbal:
    19" Sabian HHX X-Plosion Crash. Listen with headphones.


    Now, keep in mind that in the future, you will probably want to get better quality cymbals. But for now...stay on the lower end side.
    Hope this helps.

    Happy drumming!
     
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