Traditional vs Brilliant Finished Cymbals

TxGroove

Junior Member
I have used both, Brilliant and Traditional finished cymbals before, and I like to go with the Traditional (Natural) finish, rather than go with the Brilliant finished cymbals.

With the Brilliant, which I bought but didn't like the tone of the brilliant, it sounds to washy and slushy with a dry resonance (in my opinion).
So, I had Sabian, buff my 16, and 18 inch AAX Crash Cymbals to a Traditional finished body.

To me, The natural tone of the Traditional cymbals had a more consistent resonance and was more full with what I wanted. It also doesn't leave my finger prints on the cymbal, which I love anyway. All my cymbals on my kit are Traditional Finished.

Here's my Sabian 20" HHX Stage Ride Cymbal, which is a import from GB, which already came in a Traditional wash. This is my favorite cymbal on my kit. It was either between this or the Sabian 21" HHX Groove Ride. Both are very good ride cymbals.

What's your opinions between the two finished cymbals?
 

Attachments

Lennytoons

Senior Member
Traditionals get a patina over time. Brilliant cymbals get ugly. As for sound, I have several A Custom crashes that I love. Not that they are better or worse than my A traditionals just different. Overall I prefer traditionals for a lot of reasons.
 

trickg

Silver Member
Traditionals get a patina over time. Brilliant cymbals get ugly.
That's the truth!

I stopped cleaning my brilliant finished cymbals, particularly my hi-hats. I found that they were almost harsh sounding after I'd cleaned them the last time, and eventually brilliant finished cymbals will develop a patina of sorts too - it's different from a traditional finished cymbal, but it's a patina nonetheless. Now my brilliant AAX Stage hats sound much smoother than they do when they are clean, but overall, I prefer traditional finish - it's just less work to keep them looking decent - basically none.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I’ve had both and have HHX Evolutions at the moment. I would have preferred them to be traditional finish, but only came in brilliant. They haven’t gotten ugly at all. They won’t shift if kept clean. That’s the biggest thing I see with the brilliant Cymbals. You have to keep them clean, or they will look neglected. Never thought about sending them off to Sabian to have them finished in traditional!
 

dwsabianguy

Senior Member
What would you call Paiste's Signature lathing? It's not buffed to shine, but it has more shine to it than the typical Turkish-style lathing. Cause it's my favorite, and those cymbals sound the way I want them to sound.

I think I generally prefer Sabians in brilliant finish, but I have several that aren't, and wouldn't want them to be. I like the extra glassiness that Sabians get in brilliant finish, especially AAs and HHs. Chester Thompson's cymbals with Phil Collins on Serious Hits comes to mind, as does Mike Portnoy's on Live at Budokan; I had a brilliant finish 22" HH Rock Ride that was one of the best rides I've ever played, and the one traditional finish 22" HH Rock I've ever seen sounded terribly dull and clunky in comparison.

I'm not sure you can buff a cymbal to traditional finish... that's a bit like trying to wax your mustache back on.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Appropriate thought: “The most important consideration is the sound. If I find a cymbal with a great sound, even if I’m not especially fond of its brilliant finish, I’m going to choose it every time. I wouldn’t let the visual aesthetics sway me towards a cymbal that doesn’t sound as good, but has a more appealing finish.”

Actual thought: “I can’t look at this shiny-assed motherf***** give me the other one.”
 
I prefer brilliant finish cymbals for the look, and the Sabians I have sound just fine. To keep them clean I use a cloth to handle them when setting up and tearing down my kit and after gigs if there are any fingerprints I use Music Nomad Drum Detailer with a microfiber cloth to clean them off. They come off easily if you do it soon. I've never noticed a huge difference in sound between brilliant and traditional.
 
I bought a traditional fnished Sabian AAX X-Celerator hi-hat the other day, sounded fine in the store but once I spent some time with it at home it was like sandpaper to my ears. My music room is fairly small and despite all the treatment cymbals can be problematic.

So I went back and tried the other X-Celerator they had in store, this one being Brilliant finished and... sounded smoother yet still crisp. So I A/B'd both... and kept the Brilliant and brought it back home and am happy with it. It's not a huge difference, but in my music room the brilliant version lost the high frequency noise that bothered me on the Traditional finished version.
 
Last edited:

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I have had both and it seems that any fingerprint on brilliant finishes stand out like a sore thumb. Pun maybe intended. I prefer flat finished cymbals, since I don't clean them anyway
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I used to be all about some A Customs. I loved how they sounded (and I still do! Mostly. :) ).

As I've gotten older, A Customs still sound good, but they don't bring they joy they once did.

One year ago this week (I know this due to Facebook Memories), I tried out my first set of Heartbeat Custom Dry cymbals and their Studio series, and I became obsessed with drier, lower-pitched cymbals. They "sit" so well in mix of what I'm trying to do now. I never thought I'd like dry cymbals until I tried them. The lower pitch makes things less shrill on stage. They've really spoiled me, and I'd love to try out some more series that they make. The finish on the Custom Dry is more of an "unfinished" finish except for the very edge which is brilliant. The Studio has "rings" that is a combo of the "unfinish" and a matte finish (think Zildjian Avedis). Here's a pic that I've shown a million times.

To answer the question, I'm liking darker cymbals these days, and every darker-pitched cymbal that I've heard does not have a brilliant finish.

 
Last edited:

TxGroove

Junior Member
I’ve had both and have HHX Evolutions at the moment. I would have preferred them to be traditional finish, but only came in brilliant. They haven’t gotten ugly at all. They won’t shift if kept clean. That’s the biggest thing I see with the brilliant Cymbals. You have to keep them clean, or they will look neglected. Never thought about sending them off to Sabian to have them finished in traditional!
I emailed them and they do it for like 45 $dollars, but they change the logo to "prototype" instead of aax, hhx, hh, aa, what-have-you. I wonder if you could pursue them to keep the signature for a extra amount? nevertheless, I'm still satisfied.
 
Last edited:

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I have some traditional A thin crashes and some A Brilliant thin crashes, same weights and sizes. The traditional ones have a little more bite or edge to the sound, perhaps a bit more treble and upper mids. The brilliant finish equivalents have a slightly mellower sound. Both sound great, warm, very similar, but with that slight extra brightness from the grooves.
 

gdmoore28

Gold Member
I have some traditional A thin crashes and some A Brilliant thin crashes, same weights and sizes. The traditional ones have a little more bite or edge to the sound, perhaps a bit more treble and upper mids. The brilliant finish equivalents have a slightly mellower sound. Both sound great, warm, very similar, but with that slight extra brightness from the grooves.
Excellent observation, and the absolute truth. Ever since the brilliant finish trend began, customers and companies have been describing the brilliant-finished cymbals as "bright" as compared to traditionally-finished cymbals. Just the opposite is true. The lathing marks are responsible for producing the higher-pitched frequencies. Polishing the cymbals to a brilliant finish largely obliterates the lathing, thus reducing the highest pitches. This is NOT to say that brilliant finish cymbals cannot sound bright. They can, but it's not the result of the brilliant finish.

GeeDeeEmm
 
Top