Zildjian vs. Sabian

MikeM

Platinum Member
I've defaulted to Zildjian since I started drumming in the early 80s, which of course, was right around the time Sabians started hitting the market.

I've had dozens of Sabians over the years, but I never seem to hang on to them. I think this is because I'm hearing a fundamental difference between the two. Like the alloys are different enough to be really noticeable. Maybe that's not it - maybe Sabian just works them differently. I still like Sabian, but I keep preferring Zildjian.

How do other drummers hear this difference? Preferences?


Just as an aside: I know there's been much discussion about Zildjian As getting heavier and clangyer over the years, but the Armands and A Customs don't follow that trend, and are probably my favorites. My only gripe here is that I like traditional finish cymbals (unlike A Customs), but I don't necessarily want them to patina so drastically (like Armands). Arrgh!
 

thtst

Senior Member
IHow do other drummers hear this difference? Preferences?
There are many factors that make up the entire 'gestalt' of a cymbal. Timber/tone/harmonics, the way the sound builds/decays, etc.

Preferences? For me it depends on the sound that is being sought, which can be dependant on the music style combines with what i am trying to 'say'. One example would be using the Sabian AA Extra Thin Crash 14-inch versus the Paiste 14 x-thin cymbal (that comes with the PS3000 percussion rack). The way the Sabian sounds (to me) like a normal hit with brief strong shimmer and relatively fast decay. The Paiste has a bit sharper initial attach yet then briefly recesses in volume and then has a timbral/volume build followed by the sound decaying.

PREFERENCES: As such, i prefer the sound of hit followed by choke of the Paiste versus the Sabian. The way the Paiste 'rebuilds' just before the choke is preferred by Yours Truly. On the other hand the Sabian makes a more preferred 'normal' (for me) crash cymbal. Of course this PREFERENCES paragraph is simply that, my personal choice for what is trying to be conveyed musically speaking and can also vary depending on the music style/song.
 

Cottontop

Senior Member
I've defaulted to Zildjian since I started drumming in the early 80s, which of course, was right around the time Sabians started hitting the market.

I've had dozens of Sabians over the years, but I never seem to hang on to them. I think this is because I'm hearing a fundamental difference between the two. Like the alloys are different enough to be really noticeable. Maybe that's not it - maybe Sabian just works them differently. I still like Sabian, but I keep preferring Zildjian.

How do other drummers hear this difference? Preferences?


Just as an aside: I know there's been much discussion about Zildjian As getting heavier and clangyer over the years, but the Armands and A Customs don't follow that trend, and are probably my favorites. My only gripe here is that I like traditional finish cymbals (unlike A Customs), but I don't necessarily want them to patina so drastically (like Armands). Arrgh!
i can hear a huge difference. to me sabian makes more modern/harsher/more cutting cymbals and zildjian tends to keep most of their cymbals a little more vintage sounding

i dont perfer either one. i like both companies for specific lines. for zildjian i go with K constantinoples and for sabian i go for HHX's.

i dont really go for the brand. i like to get the best of both worlds and choose by each cymbal series
 
W

wy yung

Guest
I like them both. Strangely most of my ride type cymbals are Zildjians but most of my crashes are Sabian. Although I do have Sabian rides and hats. Hang on, I also have Meinl rides and Ufip rides and......


They all sound awesome.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
I've defaulted to Zildjian since I started drumming in the early 80s, which of course, was right around the time Sabians started hitting the market.
I've sort of done the same thing in that I've been coveting Sabians, Paistes and others for years but I keep buying Zildjians. I came so close to buying a set of Giant Beats a few weeks ago but it wasn't the brand that kept me from doing it. I wanted to hear more of each of the cymbals I was considering.

Anyway, one aspect that becomes more and more relevant to me as I play out more and more is that the subtleties of all the cymbals really get swallowed up in all the "less than ideal" environments I play them in.

If I go play in a small to medium sized bar with my A Ping and some A Medium crashes it sounds as good (or bad) as if I bring out my Ks. In unmic'd scenarios or low to medium volume settings, I notice the sound qualities more, so I think that as far as Zildjian vs Sabian goes I could play with either and it wouldn't amount to a hill of beans.

I think Matt Abts would sound just as awesome playing A and K Zildjians as he does playing his Sabians. I love Gov't Mule. (New album just came out)

In my ideal world, I would like to do what AudioTech does, times 10, and own a set of as many different cymbal lines as I could afford. It would be so much fun to whip out some Giant Beats one night and a set of Sabian HHXs another. Beat down on some 2002s and collect some vintage As and Ks.

The only thing remotely conclusive about the perpetual discussion of one brand vs another is that we all appear to be cymbal whores.

Two dream vacations for me would be a cymbal buying tour in Istanbul, Turkey and an eating tour in Louisiana.
 

IL DUCE

Senior Member
I like Both brands I own more Zildjian than Sabian. But the last few years I begun to explore what other companies have to offer. I have'nt bought a Zildjian or Sabian in several years. I have purchased a UFIP, a few Meinl, A bunch of Wuhan ( china's , S- series and this new series they have out the New Traditional I've gotten a Diril and 2 Silkens. I've gotten a Dream and an istanbul. I had looked into Saluda But I've decided against purchasing anything from them. Until the clousd of suspicion is removed from them I'll refrain from purchasing any Saluda products. OH OH almost forgot I got a 20" CAMBER ride at a yard sale for $3,
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I just keep thinking that the two (Sabian and Zildjian) should sound pretty close to each other given their common history, but I keep hearing the two so differently. Sabian's seem so dead to my ears. Dunno why that is.
 
A

audiotech

Guest
I just keep thinking that the two (Sabian and Zildjian) should sound pretty close to each other given their common history, but I keep hearing the two so differently. Sabian's seem so dead to my ears. Dunno why that is.
I really believe it may be the series that you're comparing. The Sabian AA's I had sounded a bit dull to my ears, but my HHX Evolutions and Hand Hammered sound more brilliant and much more musical than the AA's, particularly the HHX series. Same goes with my Zildjians, the A Customs sound much more brilliant and shimmering than my A's, as they should.

Dennis
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
I really believe it may be the series that you're comparing. The Sabian AA's I had sounded a bit dull to my ears, but my HHX Evolutions and Hand Hammered sound more brilliant and much more musical than the AA's, particularly the HHX series. Same goes with my Zildjians, the A Customs sound much more brilliant and shimmering than my A's, as they should.
Dennis
I have an HHX Evolution ride that I use primarily for a crash, since that's almost all its good for. I've played the HHs and AAXs, too, and there's a fundamental commonality that they all share. It seems like an unwillingness to open up, or if the cymbal's thin enough to open up, it just sounds thin. And the tones don't seem to reach as high. I guess I like brighter cymbals.

I agree that the A series suffer similarly, and that A Customs and Armands remedy that pretty well. They can be mellow if hit lightly, but get brighter as you hit them harder. I like that.
 

Moldy

Silver Member
You're not crazy. I hear the difference too. In particular, AAX vs A Custom. Sabian has a very bright cutting sound in that line focused on the initial hit, Zildjian has a nice shimmering wash after the hit.

Personally, I hate Sabians. I haven't fallen in love with any Sabians I've tried, and it's hard for me to name any I thought were decent or good off the top of my head. Paistes, however, are great cymbals that sound good but just don't wow me as much as Zildjian. Sad, really, I'd like to own a set of Paistes.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
You're not crazy. I hear the difference too. In particular, AAX vs A Custom. Sabian has a very bright cutting sound in that line focused on the initial hit, Zildjian has a nice shimmering wash after the hit.

Personally, I hate Sabians. I haven't fallen in love with any Sabians I've tried, and it's hard for me to name any I thought were decent or good off the top of my head. Paistes, however, are great cymbals that sound good but just don't wow me as much as Zildjian. Sad, really, I'd like to own a set of Paistes.
In the last year or two I've been incorporating more Sabians into my setup thinking they're a quality cymbal company (and they are!). I've bought Sabian crashes in the past (maybe a dozen or so by now from the AA, AAX, HH, and HHX lines) but have never kept them long enough to have considered them permanent. Recently I've been through 3 pairs of hats (AA Reg, AAX Stage, AAX X-celerators) and 3 rides (HH RBDR, AA RBDR, HHX Evolution) none of which found a permanent home on my kit.

I want to like their cymbals and I think I've given them a fair shake, but I think I'm done experimenting with them. The last of my Sabians are now on CL.

I've been disappointed in Zildjian, too (esp the regular A's), but the A Customs and Armands just sound so good, what can you do? I also have a smattering of Paiste 2oo2's that I like. Especially my 22" Ride. There's not a Zildjian out there than can replace that one.
 

drumhead61

Gold Member
this vs. that really does not work out well since it all comes down to individual tastes and preferences...I have zildjians, but have been looking at sabians as well...I went to the NAMM show last month and spent a lot of time at each of their booths and walked away loving each of their sonic sounds and differences. In the end it comes down to what each individual musician is looking for but both are fine products as well as paiste.
 
T

thatguykalem

Guest
To me, Zildjian cymbals seem to move more, and have more flexibility than others.

I love Zildjian hats. Sabian hats are generally thin and tight, whereas Zildjian hats seem not necessarily thicker, but washier. This may or may not be the case, but it feels like there is more space between the two hats on a Zildjian set.

There's something about Zildjian cymbals that's simply made me fall in love with them. I plan to use them for my entire drumming career.
 

PeniScott

Silver Member
I've played many different Sabian and Zildjian cymbals but as with you I've just decided to change to Zildjian after one and a half years of Paiste bottom end cymbals, although the quality of the cymbals alone didn't put me off.

It was also the look, I just think for some reason that seeing a set up with all Zildjian logos lookes better than Paiste's or Sabians. I have no idea why, I actually prefer most of Sabians cymbals to Zildjian but it must be a psychological thing that makes me want to see a set of Zildjians in front of me more.

It may also be the case that i'm mesmerized by the fact that Zildjian have been going for so long and have so many artists in the roster.

Then there's also Meinl which i won't start on because there's already enough to talk about...

xoxo
 

SharkyBait911

Senior Member
This ones simple;

Zildjian are expensive and good
Sabian are cheap and good

I have a mix of both, all it comes down to is personal preferance on IDIVIDUAL cymbals, I dont like the craze about having to have all your cymbals AAX or A custom for example, mix and match the best cymbals that YOU like from which ever brand, be that Paiste, Meinl, Zildjian, Sabian or whatever !

Tris
 
Top