Meinl Byzance Big Apple Dark ride review

Meinl moves to the Dark side

  • £443
  • €595
Meinl Byzance Big Apple Dark ride (centre)

MusicRadar Verdict

This ride is a true work of art.


  • +

    Great for jazz.


  • -

    Not suited to other styles.

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Meinl is a company that needs little introduction when it comes to the cymbal world.

With an artist roster boasting huge names such as Benny Greb, Anika Nilles, Matt Halpern and Thomas Lang, the German giant is undoubtedly one of the world's pioneering cymbal manufacturers.

Founded in 1951, the company has developed and grown to now produce a wealth of cymbal types suitable for players of any style and budget. With many of its cymbal ranges benefitting from a host of new additions for 2015, the beautiful Byzance series is no exception to this treatment.

With six separate lines under the Byzance name alone (collectively dubbed the 'six degrees of darkness'), Meinl has clearly gone all-out to offer us drummers a wealth of unique and interesting instruments. This month Rhythm takes a look at one of these recent arrivals in the form of the Big Apple Dark ride.


New to the Byzance Dark line is the 22" Big Apple Dark Ride, successor to the original Big Apple ride (released to the Byzance Jazz line in 2012) which was crafted in an attempt to capture the essence of the traditional New York City jazz sound. This cymbal, like the original, has a flatter profile and under-sized bell, typical of many rides designed for jazz styles.

The new version however, has not undergone a lathing process, which leaves it with a very rustic, dark matte finish. This 'straight from the oven' look, which has been all the rage in recent years, should give a dramatically darker and drier tonality than that of a lathed and polished cymbal.

Hands On

The Big Apple Dark ride - what a beauty this is.

This classy cymbal with its simple and earthy appearance just begs to be explored. Of course with a cymbal of this nature (and name for that matter), it just had to be christened with a jazz ride pattern. With a trusty Peter Erskine signature jazz stick in hand, the cymbal subtly bounced into life with a "tah, tah, tah-tah, tah". And let us tell you, the stick response on this thing is absolutely unbelievable!

Often with un-lathed rides, there can be a lack of initial stick response which is usually substituted for more wash. Somehow though (likely helped by the fact it is fairly thin), it produces a perfect blend of sweet, woody stick definition and wash which is absolutely perfect for any jazz style, particularly bebop.

The cymbal is rather on the quiet side which allows it to handle a fairly good thrashing without being at all overbearing. This could possibly hinder it within other genres, but if you like your ride sound dark and dirty, this will complement a wide range of styles.

Tom Bradley

Tom is a professional drummer with a long history of performing live anywhere from local venues to 200,000 capacity festivals. Tom is a private drum tutor, in addition to teaching at the BIMM Institute in Birmingham. He is also a regular contributor to MusicRadar, with a particular passion for all things electronic and hybrid drumming.