Paiste From Istanbul Agop Observations

Chunkaway

Silver Member
I have been playing Istanbul Agops (Traditional, Mel Lewis, and 30th Anniversary) for the past 10 years or so. I love these cymbals with their dark, complex tones, but I have noticed that they can get lost in the mix- especially the rides. With that, I have always been intrigued by the consistency of Paiste, although I'm not typically a fan of crystal clear sounding cymbals. That's why I was excited when I played a couple of Paiste Masters and Traditionals in a drum shop a few months ago, and I heard how complex they sounded.

So, I recently bought a 22" Paiste Traditional light ride, a 20" Masters Dark Crash, and 16" Masters thin hats. These are a couple of my observations. (I typically play singer-songwriter - pop/rock/folky and some alt. country stuff.)

1.) The Paistes have an interesting mix of clarity and darkness, whereas the Istanbuls are complex and dark, with a bit of trashiness to them. The Paistes are clear and warm at the same time, which sets them apart from other cymbals I have played. They have an interesting sound to be sure, and consistency throughout the lines. The Istanbuls are much more unique from cymbal to cymbal, even within the same line.

2.) The ride has more ping and more clarity than any Istanbul Agop ride I have played. The downside is it isn't quite as crashable. Is there even a ride out there that has a clear stick sound but doesn't sound gongy when crashed? I do like the stick sound being clear for the rest of the band. It seems to help keep things slightly more settled, since they can hear the subdivisions a bit better.

3.) The Paiste hats and the crash are possibly quieter than the Istanbuls I have been playing, which surprised me since they are not lighter. I'm actually a bit concerned that they may not cut through a band mix. I'll have to experiment a bit to see how they fit into a live band situation. This is the same issue I have been having with some of my Istanbuls. I HATE the gongy-ness of most of the Zildjian and Sabian lines (same with some of the Meinl lines) but I like how those cymbals cut through a bit more. (I'm speaking of unmiced situations, typically.)

4. These cymbals are actually NOT that much different sounding. Other than the ride, the people I play with didn't notice a difference at all. It was slightly disappointing, but I think it speaks to the specific lines I have chosen more than anything else. The differences are possibly smaller than I originally thought they would be.

5.) The Paistes are more expensive, but surprisingly, not that much more. There is a key difference though - If I needed to replace one of my Istanbuls, I would probably need to search around for a bit to try to find one that worked for me. With the Paistes I have heard online, I could pretty much just order one off the shelf and get one that sounds very close to what I am playing now.

I'm going to need some more playing time with these Paistes to see if they are going to fit into what I'm doing. I do know, I will not be selling my Istanbuls because I still love them. It's nice to have choices though. :)
 
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Soulfinger

Senior Member
Lovely set of cymbals! Looking forward to your impressions after playing them with the band. I have a pair of 14" Sig Traditionals Medium Light HH that seemed a bit quiet to me at home - then I listened back to a rehearsal we recorded and found that they were perfectly audible. Not cutting but nicely blending in, very musical. Those magic Paiste frequencies, I guess. :)
The Light Ride is very crashable IME - if a full-on crash is too loud, it also opens up nicely when played with the shoulder of the stick.
 

jdavis

Member
Love me some Paistes and Mel Lewis models. Nice to know the Masters are getting you in the ballpark. Maybe I should try some? ;)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Nice observations. I can see how you say the Istanbul rides can get lost in the mix. I use the cheaper Xist line for rides. They are not hand hammered, and to me they sound like Zildjian A's from the 60's and 70's. They are a little harsh/bright new, especially the crashes, but after they get some dirt in them it's a really nice balance. I really like them as an all purpose ride.
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
Nice observations. I can see how you say the Istanbul rides can get lost in the mix. I use the cheaper Xist line for rides. They are not hand hammered, and to me they sound like Zildjian A's from the 60's and 70's. They are a little harsh/bright new, especially the crashes, but after they get some dirt in them it's a really nice balance. I really like them as an all purpose ride.
That is interesting to see you mention the Xist line. I have seriously been considering picking up a crash, just to try out that line. Thanks for the information about them.

I recently switched over to a 22" Istanbul Agop Mel Lewis ride and while it is loud enough, I feel like I am mostly getting wash. Do the Xist line rides have a nice ping/wash combination to them?
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
Lovely set of cymbals! Looking forward to your impressions after playing them with the band. I have a pair of 14" Sig Traditionals Medium Light HH that seemed a bit quiet to me at home - then I listened back to a rehearsal we recorded and found that they were perfectly audible. Not cutting but nicely blending in, very musical. Those magic Paiste frequencies, I guess. :)
The Light Ride is very crashable IME - if a full-on crash is too loud, it also opens up nicely when played with the shoulder of the stick.
Now that's a good idea to record the practice. I have simply been going off of what I'm hearing behind the kit. Perhaps it is sounding more defined and louder out front. The 16" hats are a brand new thing to me - never used larger than a 15" until these. I was wanting something that sits in the mix a bit, but I'm worried these are buried in the mix. Maybe I just need to get used to them.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That is interesting to see you mention the Xist line. I have seriously been considering picking up a crash, just to try out that line. Thanks for the information about them.

I recently switched over to a 22" Istanbul Agop Mel Lewis ride and while it is loud enough, I feel like I am mostly getting wash. Do the Xist line rides have a nice ping/wash combination to them?
The Xists are not as complex of a cymbal. I wouldn't call any of the Istanbul rides I've heard, in any line, more pingy more than washy. They all seem to be a little on the washy side, excepting the really dry cymbals. But the Xist line...is more like Zildjian A's, (not A customs) IMO. The Xists don't really sound like Agops to me. All my Istanbul's have truly wonderful bells and the rides crash great, and that's the same across the Xist line, but the Xist line...my ear says Zildjian A and I'd say the ping and wash are more in balance. I wouldn't say they cut through but the ping in my Xist's are less washy for sure. But it's not a pingy cymbal, it's like 55% ping 45% wash. Think Zildjian A's not Sabian Raw Bell Dry Ride for the ping. Xists are closer to the Zildjian A's, but better sounding, to me anyway, than Zildjian A's. They are fantastically priced too. Just for the record I have 3 Xist 21" rides and 3 Xist crashes and I am very happy with every Xist I bought online solely from listening to mycymbal.com videos because I can't get Istanbuls near me.
 

Chunkaway

Silver Member
The Xists are not as complex of a cymbal. I wouldn't call any of the Istanbul rides I've heard, in any line, more pingy more than washy. They all seem to be a little on the washy side, excepting the really dry cymbals. But the Xist line...is more like Zildjian A's, (not A customs) IMO. The Xists don't really sound like Agops to me. All my Istanbul's have truly wonderful bells and the rides crash great, and that's the same across the Xist line, but the Xist line...my ear says Zildjian A and I'd say the ping and wash are more in balance. I wouldn't say they cut through but the ping in my Xist's are less washy for sure. But it's not a pingy cymbal, it's like 55% ping 45% wash. Think Zildjian A's not Sabian Raw Bell Dry Ride for the ping. Xists are closer to the Zildjian A's, but better sounding, to me anyway, than Zildjian A's. They are fantastically priced too. Just for the record I have 3 Xist 21" rides and 3 Xist crashes and I am very happy with every Xist I bought online solely from listening to mycymbal.com videos because I can't get Istanbuls near me.
Really appreciate the insights and explanations. I'll give some Xist cymbals a listen online. Thank you!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Your observations are spot on. For about 15 years, Paiste has been exploring “dark” sonics, and they all have unique sonics that don’t mimic or sound like other brands. Their Signature Dark Energy was their first lineup with muted brightness, and pricey, too. Their Signature Traditionals have, to me, a perfect blend of warmth with Paiste’s glassine sonic qualities.

The Masters lineup has gone through many changes over the years and I think the current lineup is the best so far. The Masters history is odd. The first series used ingots that were made in Turkey, with the final hand-hammering being done in Switzerland. There was some sort of fuss and the Turkish foundry bowed out, now I don’t know where they’re made. (Maybe a Paiste fanboy here will tell us.)

You have realized what many others have: the sound files on the Paiste site are an excellent representation of how the cymbal sounds in person. And their cymbal-to-cymbal consistency is unparalleled.

I hope you enjoy them!
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
If you have a chance, check out the Mehmet Legend Dark series. I have a 21" Legend Dark that I use as a left side ride and it has a nice clean and clear bow and bell sound with the the crash being nice and smooth. No gongy sound at all. I also have a 21" Mehmet Origin Dark ride, but that one doesn't have as clear of stick definition as the Legend. The crash on it if even more smooth with just a touch of trash. Not nearly as much trash as an Agop sig, but it just doesn't have the cut/definition that the Legend has.
 
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