Review: A Summary of New Cymbals
Back in the primordial '60s and '70s, a handful of cymbal manufacturers dominated the market. Old-world families like Zildjian and Paiste ruled sales demographics while hardy up-and-comers like Wuhan and Istanbul struggled to be noticed by American rock and jazz drummers. But with the shrinking global economy everything has changed. Newer companies like Sabian, Bosphorus, Turkish, UFIP, Grand Master Pasha, Orion, Camber Avanti, Anatolian, Meinl, Istanbul Mehmet and Tosco are regular exhibitors at NAMM and their wares are finding a place in the U.S. market. Often priced lower than the big two or three cymbal manufacturers, these upstarts offer good value in a well-made, competitive product.
Of course, you can't ignore Zildjian, who continue to release new models and designs. Their latest offering is the updated Z Custom Series, including the 15" A Zildjian Sweet Hats and the A Zildjian 15" Mastersound Hi-Hats. Both offer a larger playing surface, greater volume, and sounds unique to their individual designs. Other recent Zildjian additions include the K Custom Dry Lite Ride, ZBT Splash, and the ZBT China.
Paiste continues to offer great versatility, befitting their status as one of Europe's leading cymbal manufacturers. Their Dimensions line uses the same techniques and materials employed in their Signature and Traditional series such as the 2002 Alloy. Dimensions is said to offer an extremely wide range of sound and function that will appeal to an equally wide range of drummers. The Dimensions line offers a variety of hammering, lathing, and even sandblasting patterns and techniques which are said to produce a sound not usually associated with Paiste cymbals, which in the past has perhaps been a more lush and symphonic sound than their Zildjian counterparts. Models include Thin China, Thin Splash, Power Splash, and a variety of hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbals.
Sabian has made significant inroads to the U.S. market, and has found favor with everyone from heavy metal heathen Vinnie Paul of Pantera to jazz session whiz Lewis Nash. Sabian's offerings go beyond cymbals to hardware, such as the new Triple Hi-Hat Remote Model. The popularity of the original Triple Hi-Hat has caused the remote cable model to be manufactured. Unlike other remote hi-hat stands, the Triple Hi-Hat Remote features over-sized tubing that houses a patented "push and pull" mechanism mounted on an adjustable tripod.
Sabian's Hand Hammered Fierce Crash balances the sound and quick attack of a crash with the white noise bite of a China cymbal. Another addition to the Sabian line are the 13" Manhattan Groove Hats. Designed with the retro 14" Groove hats in mind, the Manhattan Hats are said to have the warm R&B tones of the '60s, but with a slightly higher pitch and a tighter feel.
The younger cymbal companies are coming on strong as well. Istanbul Agop Cymbals now offer their new Alchemy series with the Raw and Sweet lines. UFIP's Experience Series are wide open tonally, custom-made, without a specific sound or sonic signature. Bosphorus Hammer cymbals, designed by jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton, are available only as ride, ride/crash, and hi hats. With the designer in mind these are dark-hued cymbals good for jazz and symphonic work. Bosphorus also offers Traditional Series, Ferit Series Turk, and Ferit Series Antique in their lineup. Finally, Turkish Cymbals come in three lines: Classic, for a wide range of music; Kurak, which is largely free of overtones and good for jazz situations; and Araya, which produces a more brilliant sound for rock, funk, electronica, and beyond.