Cymbals are to Turkey what cigars are to Cuba and watches to Switzerland - products so woven into the national fabric that they will forever be associated with the country. Amedia is one of the smallest of the clutch of Turkish cymbal brands that have appeared in the past few years, boasting just six cymbalsmiths. Between them, they produce an astonishingly wide selection of cymbals - well over 1,000 models.
On review are a pair of 14" hi-hats, 16" and 18" crashes and a 20" ride from Amedia's Ahmet Legend series, named after master hammersmith and part-owner of the company, Ahmet Baykusak. Marketed as Amedia's flagship range, the cymbals are thin to medium thin and buffed to a bright finish.
"The cymbals are speckled with hammer-marks and finely lathed across the entire surface on both sides"
To date, Amedia cymbals have only been available in the UK through mail order; at the time of writing, moves to have the cymbals stocked in some music shops were underway. In the meantime, Amedia doesn't charge for postage and offers a no-quibble money-back guarantee.
Alex at Amedia UK has also come up with novel ways to allow customers to hear the cymbals before they buy, running 'Amedia days' in towns and cities across the UK. He has also struck up mutual partnerships with other UK drum companies such as Jalapeno, Guru, Echo and Hardcase, sharing exhibition spaces with them at the National Drum Fair and London Drum Show.
The cymbals are speckled with hammer-marks and finely lathed across the entire surface on both sides. Without prior knowledge you'd be hard pushed to tell that they have been hand-made from start to finish as in appearance they are absolutely immaculate. The alloy used is described as signature, with no other details being available - as Turkish cymbalsmiths tend to keep their cards close to their chest.
"The 14" hi-hats are crisp at the front of the note and just get warmer and softer from thereon"
Whatever the alloy is, the resulting cymbals are exceptionally musical. The 14" hi-hats are crisp at the front of the note and just get warmer and softer from thereon. Closed they give a broad tick which is both immediate and full of depth. There is plenty of complexity to the note with a small degree of trashiness coming through when played hard.
While the hats aren't powerful enough to cut through loud music - they are smooth and rounded rather than aggressive - the even spread of frequencies they produce marks them out as both beautifully expressive and ideal recording cymbals.
The two crashes are also too balanced and not cutting enough for anything involving the terms 'Marshall' and 'stack', but are nonetheless near-perfect examples of the art of the crash cymbal. The 16" model opens eagerly with a silvery top note that tapers seamlessly into a deeper fade, accompanied by barely registered - and sympathetic at that - overtones.
Turning to the larger crash finds the same process being repeated, albeit with deeper pitch, a little more volume and a warmer afterglow. These are not especially quiet cymbals; they are simply so devoid of any harshness or conflicting frequencies that they come across as polite to the point of being formal. In theory a pair of these crashes in larger diameters - say 20" and 22" - could well compete in the aforementioned rockier genres.
The 20" ride is medium thin and gives a bright, clear stick sound which sits above a fairly busy wash. Beneath the more dominant high frequencies is a lower fundamental note that adds warmth and depth. It's a good all-purpose light ride with plenty of tonal and dynamic variation over its playing surface.
Moving from the body of the cymbal to the bell - and then from bell's edge to close to the centre hole - brings gradual and well-defined responses. The bell sound becomes separate from the rest of the cymbal, growing more focused the further in it is played, with the wash rapidly subsiding, eventually all but drying up. Digging in with the shoulder of the stick shows it at its most assertive, though it seems a touch gratuitous to treat such a well behaved cymbal so physically.
While Ahmet Legend are clearly best suited to quieter players, the quality and value on offer suggests Amedia is a brand well worth investigating.