How to buy warm cymbals
It’s worth doing your research before you invest in warm cymbals as there is a lot of choice out there in the drum market.
Warm cymbals deal in subtleties, (both tonal and dynamic) to a far greater degree than brighter cymbals. And, while they tend to be less capable of piercing volume than their bright counterparts, you can guarantee that any cymbal above 18" is going to be loud when hit with all your might.
It’s more a question of frequencies and warm cymbals operate in the darker area of the tonal spectrum.
There is no single type of warm cymbal sound that is considered ideal; rather there are qualities that should all be present in each cymbal, but not necessarily in the same proportions. This balance of warm musicality, trashy overtones and dark undertow is commonly referred to as the cymbal’s complexity.
Rides usually give a woody rather than glassy stick sound, hi-hats are more mellow and silvery as opposed to cutting and crashes tend to be rich and harmonious instead of penetrating.
Many, if not all, warm cymbals are handmade (or at least they certainly claim to be). This guarantees a certain uniqueness to each cymbal. However, don’t assume that two models of a particular cymbal will be the same because the chances are they will differ. Always take your existing cymbals with you when you are trying out a new cymbal so that you can hear whether everything blends to your liking or not.
Next page: 5 best warm cymbals for a subtler sound
Istanbul Agop Traditional
Istanbul Agop is another small Turkish company producing superb cymbals. The Traditional range is a finely crafted collection of cymbals featuring a wide choice of models and weights and offers fantastic value. And this is only one of many Istanbul Agop ranges.
Genuine Turkish cymbals handmade from start to finish. The bronze alloy used gives them a soft, played-in feel while the thin weights make the cymbals very responsive. As they are handmade, each individual cymbal varies and each is unique. For this quality of cymbal, prices are absurdly low.
These Chinese-made cymbals score highly both in terms of technical quality and individual character. Poles apart from the mass-produced manufacturing China is reputed for, these are high-end, handcrafted instruments made in small batches from a tin-rich, secret formula alloy.
Excellent range of well-crafted cymbals split into five sub-ranges. All the cymbals are cast from B20 and hand-worked combining the best of Turkish craftsmanship and German efficiency. They more than hold their own against the best warm cymbals out there.
Our top pick! Legendary cymbals with an illustrious history that are still the benchmark by which all warm cymbals are judged. Zildjian has ensured that the brand has moved with the times introducing new models that combine the classic K sound with more strident voicing, making them as relevant for contemporary musical situations as they are for jazz.