Sabian AAX Cymbal Size selection


Junior Member
Hey guys.
I have decided to get myself AAX cymbals.
It took me ages of research to finalize on these cymbals series!
And the place where I am living in, they don't have live cymbals to check them out.
So I would have to buy these cymbals online.
Now, when I look at cymbals online, I have so many options to choose from!

For Hi-Hats:
1) Sabian 14 Inch AAX Stage Hats
2) Sabian 14 Inch AAX X-Celerator Hi-Hats Brilliant Finish
3) Sabian 14-Inch AAX-Plosion Hi Hats Cymbal
4) Sabian 14-Inch AAX Freq Hi Hats
5) Sabian 13 Inch AAX X-Celerator Hi-Hats Brilliant Finish
6) Sabian 13-inch Fusion AAX Hi Hat Cymbals
7) Sabian 16" AAX X-Plosion Hats

For Rides:
1) Sabian 20-Inch AAX Stage Ride Cymbal
2) Sabian AAX 20 Inch Studio Ride
3) Sabian 20-Inch AAX Stadium Ride Cymbal
4) Sabian 21 Inch AAX Raw Bell Dry Ride Cymbal Brilliant Finish
5) Sabian 21 Inch AAX Stage Ride
6) Sabian AAX 21 Inch MEMPHIS Ride

For Crahses:
1) Sabian 18-Inch AAX X-Plosion Crash Brilliant Finish Cymbal
2) Sabian 15 Inch AAX X-Plosion Crash
3) Sabian 15 Inch AAX X-Plosion FAST Crash
4) Sabian 18-Inch AAX Freq Crash Cymbal
5) Sabian 18 Inch AAX O-ZONE Crash

I didn't even mention the almost a dozen of other crash variants that are available!

May I know what is the differentiating factor between these cymbals and how to select them?
To sum it up,
- What is the difference between stage cymbals, studio cymbals, stadium cymbals. brilliant cymbals, dark cymbals, aaxplosion cymbals and aaxcelerator cymbals?
- How to select the cymbal size (whether to go for 13"/14"/16" hats, 20"/21"/22" ride, etc, 15"/16"/17"/18" crash)
- What is the difference between a normal crash and aero crash and ozone crash?
- What is the difference between a normal ride and a memphis ride?

Sorry if this sounds like a very basic question. Although I am a drummer, I haven't invested in drum equipment before and this is going to be my first investment. hence, I don't know how to go on about selecting the cymbals.


Platinum Member
I'll try to be brief (doubt it), since I could spend several hours on this:

1) The difference between all these names is primarily just the weight of the cymbal. Heavier cymbals sustain more, have more cut, have a higher pitch, take more work to 'open up', and sound heavier. Thinner/lighter cymbals sustain less but "wash" more, sound fuller at low volumes than heavier cymbals, and generally are more versatile. You basically have the entire catalogue there, so I'll just define each:

Stage cymbals are a medium weight and very basic in sound.

X-Celerator is a technique for hi-hats where the bottom hi-hat has a rippled edge. This changes mainly the closed sound and foot sound. The AAX X-celerators, in particular, are quite heavy and high in pitch.

AAX-Plosions are medium-ish cymbals with a raw bell. Basically, that means if you're riding on them, the bell will sound more defined. The "fast" variant is just a thinner version.

Freqs have a raw bell and a fancy process applied to their middle section. They generally have a lower pitch and less sustain for heavier cymbals.

Fusion hats have an extra heavy bottom with holes in it. The holes don't really do much in my experience.

Studios are pretty thin and crashable.

Stadiums have a raw bell and a heavier weight than the AAXplosions. That ride is quite good (having owned one).j

The Raw Bell Dry Ride is heavier still than the Stadium and also has less wash. I find it to sound a little dull.

The Memphis ride is sort of a medium weight with less wash/crashability, and more of an "old school" jazzy tone.

Ozone cymbals have six large holes in them that reduces sustain & body but adds a crashy flavor. Aero cymbals have much smaller holes in greater numbers- basically a middle ground between Ozone and a 'regular' crash.

Brilliant finish on a cymbal basically mutes a lot of the 'sparkliness' of a cymbal sound, but they do sound smoother.

2) Average sizes decided by the industry are 14" hats, 16" and 18" crashes, and a 20" ride. However, there are plenty of reasons to go outside those. Personally, I'd probably choose 14" hats, 17" and 18" or 19" crashes, and whatever rides sounds how I liked. The effects of size on a particular cymbal are too nuanced for me to explain in this post. is the gold standard for cymbal demos. Even cymbals of the same model vary from individual to individual, so MyCymbal records individual demos for the ones they have in stock. You should go on Youtube and search the names of some of these cymbals, you will probably find demos of them from which you can decide further.

I would recommend you expand your search, but it's a big world out there for cymbals, so I can't blame you for limiting it to one line. You'll find out what you really like and don't like in cymbals with these, so it'll generally get easier in the future. Personally, here's what I would get from the AAX line for a basic AAX sound with versatility:

14" AAX-plosion Hats
17" AAX V-Crash
18" AAX-plosion Fast Crash
20" AAX Stadium Ride or, if you want something lighter & more crashable, a 21" AA Bash Ride.

Hope this helps.


Gold Member
Porter explained it well.

Personally I usually go for 14" Hats, 16" and 18" Crashes and a 21" or 22" Ride for a basic setup.

The wonderful thing with cymbals though is that everyone will have what they like and it really allows you to tailor your sound.

My choices would be similar to Porter's except I really like Sabian's Raw Bell Dry Rides.


Junior Member
Thanks for your useful info porter!
It gave me insight into what is available in the market.
MyCymbal is really helpful and helped me select the basic cymbals to choose from.

For Hi-Hats, I have decided to go for either the AAX X-Plosion 14" hats or AAX Freq 14" hats. The X-Plosion sounded perfect while the Freq sounded like it had lesser sustain which I prefer in Hi-Hats.
(There's another I really liked. Sadly it didn't come into the market
I like the concept of a stack and hi hat fused in one)

For the Ride, I have decided to go for either the 20" Stadium Ride or the 21" Memphis Ride.
The Stadium Ride sounds absolutely delicious; especially the bell. However, there is a level of crashability involved and I don't like crashing on the RIdes. And In that aspect, the Memphis sounds very traditional.

I am yet to decide on the crashes. Need a bit more time on them...


Platinum Member
In that case, you may enjoy the Raw Bell Dry Ride- it's certainly not crashable :) the Memphis ride is great as well. I believe SgtThump on this forum has got one of those recently too, as well as the Freq hats. He can probably offer some actual thoughts.


Platinum Member
In that case, you may enjoy the Raw Bell Dry Ride- it's certainly not crashable :) the Memphis ride is great as well. I believe SgtThump on this forum has got one of those recently too, as well as the Freq hats. He can probably offer some actual thoughts.
Ha! I was reading thing thread and thinking "what a coincidence!"

I recently bought the 21" Memphis Ride, 14" Freq hats, and 16" and 18" Dark Crashes (brilliant finish.) The 21" Memphis Ride is freaking AWESOME and one of my all time favorite ride cymbals. Somewhat dark and somewhat dry, but kinda not at the same time. Hard to explain. It's not a heavy cymbal and is crashable, although it's a big dry dark crash sound with short sustain.

The Memphis Ride is pretty mellow in volume, so it may not be that audible in fairly loud settings. I do absolutely love it, though!

The Freq hats are killer too. They also have a somewhat shorter sustain, but they sound very crisp and just perfect to me. They do actually cut through loud music very well, but can be played lighter to blend in with quieter stuff.

I gotta say, these two cymbals (Memphis ride and Freq hats) are very quickly becoming favorites of mine. The videos online from Memphis Drum Shop/ are really accurate.

I made this video of the Freq hats recently.

EDIT - I should probably reply about the 16" and 18" AAX Dark Crashes too. They aren't "dark" like some cymbals, but they are KINDA dark. They have a quick punch, then a fast decay. I bought this set of Sabians to try a different cymbal brand, but also to put together a set that's a little quieter than my others. The Freq hats can cut more than I expected, but they're still very controllable. I'd say this set of Sabians I recently got is pretty "controlled" with fast decaying cymbals and no obnoxious standout tones. They blend perfectly. I would've gotten non-brilliant crashes if I thought about it longer, simply because I've always liked the tone more from traditional finishes. But I don't regret them at all.
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Platinum Member
Speak of the devil!

I had a 16" AAX Studio crash for a short time a while ago and liked it a lot- quite low in pitch, very thin, but very smooth. Those and the Dark Crashes are certainly worth looking into, along with the brighter V-Crashes and the more modern/aggressive AAX-plosions.


Junior Member
Regarding the crashes, there are insanely so many great cymbals to choose from. Which is really giving me a headache.
Right now, I am leaning towards the 16" iso crash and the 18" dark crash. Although the 18" Aero crash is also really tempting...