Way back in 1959 Paiste manufactured its first cymbals from traditional B20 bell bronze, or CuSn20 as Paiste prefers to call it.
This was the Formula 602 series which has always had loyal fans. Here we have a Classic Sounds Medium 602 ride. Not to be confused with the slightly vibed-up Vinnie Colaiuta-tailored Formula 602 Modern Essentials.
The Medium ride comes in 20", 22" and 24" diameters. We have the 22" for review. It is quite rigid andmedium heavy, with perfectly-even lathing and all-over hammering both top and bottom. It has that smooth unfussy 602 look which is classic and timeless.
The nomination 'Classic Sounds' reminds us that the 602 timbre has 50-plus years of history and that this cymbal is intended to conjure up that vintage tone.
We grew up on Paiste 602s and 2002s and this is certainly the sound we are familiar with. In fact we've long owned a 1970s 602 20" Medium ride and a 1980s 602 20" Heavy ride and we've always preferred the Medium. The Heavy is a bit too metallic and has quite fruity, strident overtones.
This new Medium version undoubtedly retains the sound of the much older 602s, but at 22" it is a couple of inches bigger and that much deeper and mellower. As such we prefer it and really feel it is worthy of the name. It is in fact a slight improvement on the originals.
There is no doubt there is an unbroken connection between the originals and this modern version. This is a versatile cymbal, but versatile in lower to medium volume ranges, so you can play jazz and rock with it, when you're looking for a pure, warm and precise touch.
It's a great chill-out cymbal, the stick definition is not too hard-nosed but hovers over a lustrous broad body without being disconnected. Likewise the bell is clear but not disembodied. A sweet and warm instrument, but in no way dull or insipid.