It was a highly competitive field to crown the Best New Cymbals of 2019, with a mere two votes separating the winner from the first runner-up.
There’s everything here from the brightest, most modern sounds from TRX, Paiste and Sabian, to the darkness and warmth of the new ranges from Stagg, Istanbul Mehmet, and Meinl’s new top of the line Foundry Reserve range. But the crown for 2019’s Best New Cymbals went to Zildjian for their FX line of stacks, proving there’s still a healthy appetite amongst contemporary drummers for specialised effects instruments.
1. Zildjian FX Stacks
Ranging in size from 8” up to 16”, Zildjian’s FX Stacks feature a top cymbal made from their low volume alloy, paired with a cold-rolled steel cymbal on the bottom to produce the stacked handclap sound. Each set comes with a Zildjian Cymbolt for mounting as a hi-hat or stack.
2. Meinl Byzance Foundry Reserve
Meinl’s big announcement this year was the new flagship Foundry Reserve cymbals. These are fully lathed with a dry stick attack, heavier bells and more hammering than the regular Byzance line and each one is shipped in a box containing a letter from Mr Meinl, cymbal gloves, and 5A sticks.
3. Sabian AAX Thin
While Sabian’s new logo generated plenty of chatter about the brand in 2019, they continued to innovate with the launch of the AAX Thin line. Featuring smaller bells, a wide frequency range, and lively stick response, the AAX Thin range is aimed at drummers after a clean, unmistakeably modern sound.
4. Paiste Signature Fast
Paiste chose to mark the 30th anniversary of their Signature line with the release of their new 19” and 20” Signature Fast Crashes. Joining the company’s top of the line range, these are crisp and bright instruments with a short sustain for their size while retaining Paiste’s famous silvery tone.
5. Istanbul Mehmet Legend Dry
Updating a classic Turkish sound, Istanbul Mehmet’s Legend Dry series are created using shallow lathing and heavy hand hammering to create cymbals with a ton of stick definition, beautiful articulation and an unmistakeably dark tone. They’re available in four models - 15” hi-hats, 18” crash, 20” crash/ride, and 22” ride.
6. Stagg Genghis Dual Cymbals
The Chinese cymbal makers have added to their Genghis range with the launch of the Genghis Dual cymbals that feature a blend of raw and lathed surfaces. The raw section offers greater stick definition, while the lathed outer rim and bell add more wash to the cymbals’ dark, trashy tones.
7. TRX ICE
Turkish cymbalsmiths are usually associated with dry, jazzy sounds, but TRX have diversified their portfolio with the ICE range. Intended for players who want a bright, sparkling tone, the ICE cymbals are made from B20 bronze with a highly polished finish and tight micro lathing to deliver power and projection.