Is there such a thing as a bad Sabian?

Typo

Senior Member
You're basing your opinion of Zildjian on ZBTs? Not a good idea, considering they are Zildjian's worst cymbals. Paiste PST8 and Alpha are intermediate; if you want to go the Paiste route, I suggest 2002, especially great for hard rock.

Sabian AAX is a great choice. The X-Plosion crashes are clean and full.

It's my opinion that the guy you're talking to is either an airhead or a salesman. Recommending you intermediate level cymbals and saying Sabians aren't as durable as Paistes? I would disregard all of his advice if I were you.
 

Ekim

Silver Member
The only "drum store" in Indianapolis IMO ws "Drum Center Indianapolis". IIRC, I believe they told me Sabian and DW's customer service were tops in their books.

I've destroyed a few Sabians, but that was because of my awful technique (gripping very tightly and slamming the Hell out of the brass!). Since adjusting that, I've yet to destroy another of their cymbals.
 

Solaris

Silver Member
Sorry, but I'm not, at all, impressed about a cymbal lasting 2 years without cracking. A cymbal should last a lifetime without cracking. I often see drummers bashing on cymbals to the point of annoyance. It gives me a headache. Cymbals sound so much better when played with touch and feel. Doesn't mean you have to tap on 'em, just hit 'em with some love. Hopefully you know what I mean ...
Well, 2 years and counting, as my oldest Sabian is only around 2 1/2 years old.
 

Leto1313

Junior Member
All the 3 have their place. For me not one brand could fill any set totally.

I love my
Sabians:
XS20 Rock Hats
16" Metal X crash
Paragon 22" ride

Zildjian:
18" Oriental China

Paiste:
18" Pst5 rock crash.
20" PST5 Ride (used as a crash)

The pst5 hats were good closed open a bit abrasive, destroyed 3 A custom crashes, the 18 metal x crash was a bit over the top for my taste, wuhan china, and pst5 china broke, and sounded too high pitched in that order. The PST5 Ride crashed so easily I moved it over to a crash. I know its a mix of (treasure and trash) but as everyone says above sound is subjective.
 

Kg_lee

Senior Member
Sabian has probably the largest cymbal catalog I've ever seen but not all their cymbals sound all that great. I've heard some really good Sabians and I heard some that had horrible tone and no sustain and I'm talking about the AA,AAX,HH, and HHX lines. Sabian I believe makes the best chinas of all cymbal makers, just something about them that no other company can capture. I own a couple Sabians but it took a while to find the ones that shimmered and sustained.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
There is definitely such a thing as a bad Sabian. I think I have two.

The first is a 20" AAX Xplosion Crash that somehow is really dark and dead. I don't remember it sounding that way in the store. Actually, I was comparing to a half dozen 20" A Custom Crashes and I thought they were all too bright, so the Sabian in comparison seemed like the right choice. Got it on my kit and it seemed a little lifeless. I gave it some time and finally concluded that I didn't like it. I called Sabian and told them that I think this think went dead somehow after I bought it and the guy said they can only replace cracked cymbals, not one's that people simply don't like. So I set out trying to break it within the year and a half left on the warranty. No dice. I beat the snot out of it but it wasn't enough. It survived and I still have it, but it doesn't spend much time on the stand.

The second one is an 19" HHX Xplosion that feels like a manhole cover. I've played the AAXs and really liked them because they have a thinner feel to them, but the HHXs feel stiff in comparison. It's possible that Sabian makes the HHX version a little thicker so that they'll still project, but it makes them play heavier.

I have an 18" HHX Xplosion and it plays kinda heavy too, but for some reason, I like that one. I also have a love / hate relationship with my 21" AAX Stage Ride. Fortunately, I'm on the love swing of the pendulum at the moment...
 
Out of all the drummers I have spoke to at the studio, rehearsals and gigs, the general consensus is that Paiste are by far and away the LEAST durable. The most durable I have heard of are Sabians and Meinl. I personally have 2 Sabian Artisan ride cymbals, and they have done me really well, being played extensively at gigs and recordings etc.
 

Kg_lee

Senior Member
There is definitely such a thing as a bad Sabian. I think I have two.

The first is a 20" AAX Xplosion Crash that somehow is really dark and dead. I don't remember it sounding that way in the store. Actually, I was comparing to a half dozen 20" A Custom Crashes and I thought they were all too bright, so the Sabian in comparison seemed like the right choice. Got it on my kit and it seemed a little lifeless. I gave it some time and finally concluded that I didn't like it. I called Sabian and told them that I think this think went dead somehow after I bought it and the guy said they can only replace cracked cymbals, not one's that people simply don't like. So I set out trying to break it within the year and a half left on the warranty. No dice. I beat the snot out of it but it wasn't enough. It survived and I still have it, but it doesn't spend much time on the stand.

The second one is an 19" HHX Xplosion that feels like a manhole cover. I've played the AAXs and really liked them because they have a thinner feel to them, but the HHXs feel stiff in comparison. It's possible that Sabian makes the HHX version a little thicker so that they'll still project, but it makes them play heavier.

I have an 18" HHX Xplosion and it plays kinda heavy too, but for some reason, I like that one. I also have a love / hate relationship with my 21" AAX Stage Ride. Fortunately, I'm on the love swing of the pendulum at the moment...
I had bought 2 HHX 19" crashes which I thought in the store sounded good. Once I got them on the stage and had them mixed with my Paiste's...they were lifeless and even the soundman said they were horrible and he was using condenser mic's on them. It was kind of bad when I'm playing and I can't hear my own cymbals in front of me. It's not all Sabians but I'm not pleased with most I hear on the shelf at the store.This is why I claim they lack sustain..some of them just don't shimmer as I would think how cymbals are to ring out.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I had bought 2 HHX 19" crashes which I thought in the store sounded good.
Were they Xplosions? Something else? Just curious.

It's not all Sabians but I'm not pleased with most I hear on the shelf at the store.This is why I claim they lack sustain..some of them just don't shimmer as I would think how cymbals are to ring out.
That is how I feel about Sabian in general, though there are some pretty spiffy specimens of AAX Xplosions out there to be had. You need to hand pick those as much as any Zildjian, IMO. I also heard a few 18" Buddy Rich Prototypes over at Donn Bennett's and those things are smokin'! And I mean uber-amazing. (I should pick one up... )

But yeah, I'm 100% Zildjian at the moment. I've been toying with the idea of unloading the Sabians and dabbling in some Meinl Byzance pies. There are really nice specimens of those.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
All cymbal manufacturers make duds now and again. The nice thing is, when you start to identify those cymbals as duds, your ears are becoming more attuned to nuances in sound. This is when your approach to buying cymbals should take on a whole new light. If you want cymbals that appeal to you, buy with your ears and not with your eyes. Take along some of your own cymbals when auditioning to buy new ones, this way you can make direct comparisons. If the prospective cymbal doesn't quite fit, ask for another of the same model because there are some major manufacturers, including Sabian, that have very wide tolerances when it comes to their cymbals sound.

Dennis
 

evans_69

Silver Member
I had bought 2 HHX 19" crashes which I thought in the store sounded good. Once I got them on the stage and had them mixed with my Paiste's...they were lifeless and even the soundman said they were horrible and he was using condenser mic's on them. It was kind of bad when I'm playing and I can't hear my own cymbals in front of me. It's not all Sabians but I'm not pleased with most I hear on the shelf at the store.This is why I claim they lack sustain..some of them just don't shimmer as I would think how cymbals are to ring out.
Funny you should say this, i had a pair of AAX-plosions and had the same results.. Lifeless and dull. I thought i just had a bad pair, but even others i tried after in my local shop sounded the same so i switched to A customs :D
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Judge cymbals on how they sound in real life, not in recordings. I find alot of aax crashes horrible personally. I've played a really nice hand hammered crash but your friend is probably right. Get yourself some UFIPS, they make everything else sound pretty average ;)
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
Ok here is my breakdown of the major cymbal companies based on my experience and knowledge of metallurgy. Zildjian, Their B8 lines all suck, A/K reg or custom have a ton of great cymbals but they are not dependable either by model or line. Any given zildjian cymbal will not necessarily sound similar to another even same exact models or very close models. IMO nice zildjians sound the best but they are the hardest to find, try going used if possible the older cymbals were made better. The Z line is ok, the Z custom line is quite nice and the Z3 line is terrible.

Sabian, IMO B8 Pros are the best cheap B8. XS20s are ok but only the hihats seem worth the money. However to me all of sabians higher lines (AA AAx HH HHx) sound like they tried to be As or Ks but didn't quite make it. However sabian has the coolest prototypes so check some of them out (I like Jojo Mayer's fierce line). And to me HHX is so far from actually hand hammered (comparing to my turkish K that was entirely made by hand) that its a joke.

Paiste, I have the least experience with them but 2002s and twentys sound great as do some signatures. The cymbals have a very different feel compared to Zil/Sab and shimmer wonderfully in the midrange (like an A custom but better). However Paistes (the ones I've heard) are rock cymbals so if you want jazz I would go elsewhere.

Now the metallurgy. B8 bronze is much more flexible that it can be machine formed and is much easier to predict how the metal will react. B20 on the other hand is very hard and brittle compared to B8, it requires more hammering and skilled work to turn into a cymbal. However because of the crystal matrix within the B20 alloy hammering can change its personality more. The hardness of B20 also is what gives it a "nicer" tone from more overtones, but makes them susceptible to cracking when overplayed. Also due to computers controlling all the hammering these days (even HH series only gets a little hand hammering at the end) there isn't as much feedback to the worker and they can't individualize each cymbal to bring out its best tone.

Being that you are in the UK take a look at Matt Nolan's cymbals, he is a cymbalsmith that hand hammers everything and makes some really cool different cymbals. Costs about same as the big 3.

And of course all cymbals should be bought in person by ear, and with fresh ears. After a few minutes like 2 or 3 of playing any drum or cymbal or loud music your ears will become overworked and you wont hear the accurate sounds. Also if you play mic'd up all the rules change because of how mics hear cymbals and occasionally the cheap ones are better.

Mr. VK if I were you I would get really nice hats ride and one crash then add on once you are used to those cymbals. Don't worry about breaking them, if they sound good and are played properly you have very little chance.
 

tard

Gold Member
However to me all of sabians higher lines (AA AAx HH HHx) sound like they tried to be As or Ks but didn't quite make it.
You do realize that the Sabian HH are the Ziljian K's of old. The Canadian plant that Robert Zildjian received in the dispute was the plant with all the equipment and staff that was making the K's and basically were pumping out K's one day and then changed the stamp and printing and were pumping out HH's the next and it was a few months later before the first AA's were built. After they stopped making their cymbals in Turkey and up until the Zildjian brothers split company Robert made the hand hammered K's in the Canadian plant and Armond made the automated anvil A's in the US plant. I live 3 hours from the plant and my parents knew someone that worked there. In 1981 ( I had only been playing for a couple years by then) he came to visit and brought a set of heavy hats stamped HH (originally destined to be K's) that had been built and hammered but not lathed or stamped several months before the name change by Vinnie who was one of the master cymbalsmiths brought over from Istanbul to build the K's in Canada when production stopped in Turkey. He continued to be their 1st master cymbalsmith into the late 80's doing most of the hammering and tuning on the HH line of Sabians. After things were settled in 1981 Sabian had to purchase and set up automated equipment to build the AA line in Canada and Zildjian had to gear up to start building the K's in USA plant. I later dated a girl in my early 20's from Sackville NB that worked at Sabian and had filled in some of the blanks and told me that although neither company can state it as fact both companies use the same family recipe and techniques to build the 4 lines of cymbals AA, AAX, HH, HHX, and A, Custom A, K, and Custom K and the only inherent differences are those between each individual model and size as well as the normal differences in sound due to inconsistencies that occur even between cymbals of the same model and size.
 
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MikeM

Platinum Member
... and told me that although neither company can state it as fact both companies use the same family recipe and techniques to build the 4 lines of cymbals AA, AAX, HH, HHX, and A, Custom A, K, and Custom K and the only inherent differences are those between each individual model and size as well as the normal differences in sound due to inconsistencies that occur even between cymbals of the same model and size.
I don't mean to sound combative or anything, so please don't take this that way ... while that may have been true in the beginning (and I don't know that it was), IME it most certainly is not true now. I've played an awful lot of Zildjians and Sabians over the last 30 years and I can tell you that, especially now, there is a lot of fundamental difference between the two. It doesn't matter if you're looking at K, KC, HH, HHX, A, AC, AA, AAX, etc... if you play enough of each, you can really hear a fundamental difference in the metal that can only be a difference in recipe. Of course, both cymbals have a lot of variation, but generally for a given size and weight, Zildjians tend to be brighter and often harsher while Sabians tend to be warmer but often duller with some clangy-ness. Again, this is independent of which lines you're looking at.

But like I said, this has just been my experience. I'm mostly in the Zildjian camp, but I bought my first Sabian back in '85 (a 22" Medium Ride - what would later become an AA) and it was very similar to my Zildjians (so perhaps they did use the same recipe at first). I've been mixing and matching the two ever since. But while my Zildjians get played to death (literally until I break them), I've never cracked a Sabian. I don't know if that's because they're more durable or because I sell them first (I have 4 at the moment and am planning to sell at least 2 of them). I can count on one hand the number of Zildjians I've sold off.
 

AndyMC

Senior Member
You do realize that the Sabian HH are the Ziljian K's of old.
I know my history but no one can say Sabian HH sound like older Ks, they just don't sound alike at all other than they are dark cymbals. Even new K's don't sound like older K's, they keep making them too thick, had to go K custom dark to get the sounds I wanted. Not to mention even old K's are just an imitation of the real Turkish K's. They just don't put in the individual craftsmanship they used to, but I'm not sure it is economically feasible these days. Both companies are resting on their laurels which is why the market has opened up and in time we will have opinions on them too.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
When I look for cymbals I just tap everything in the shop. Don't care what brand.

If your budget's tight Staggs are very inconsistent and the best of them are great value for money.
 

tard

Gold Member
I know my history but no one can say Sabian HH sound like older Ks,
Late 70's K's and early 80's HH's were built by the same people with the same equipment at the same plant, and like I said earlier the stock pile that were build as K's but didnt get polished or stamped as K's got polished, stamped ad sold as HH's. But some people will always dispute that fact the same as people still argue that Suzuki Sidekicks and Chevy Trackers, Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix, as well as the Ford Ranger and Mazda pickups are different even tho they are built with the same parts by the same people in the same plant.


When I look for cymbals I just tap everything in the shop. Don't care what brand.
+1 on that!!!
 
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