Paiste PST8 Cymbals review

There's nothing cheap about Paiste's PST8 cymbals - other than the price, that is…

  • €519
  • $260
PST8 cymbals are punched from rolled sheets of bronze but the alloy is the same as that used in Paiste's 2002s.

MusicRadar Verdict

Other than the prices, there are few signs of the PST8's budget status. It's Swiss business as usual.


  • +

    Superbly made, quality-sounding and great value cymbals.


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PST8 is a new intermediate range of Paiste cymbals that slots in between the company's existing budget PST5 and mid-range Alpha series.

Featuring splashes, crashes, chinas, hi-hats and rides, PST8s contain a fair few attributes from higher-spec Paiste ranges - chief among these is the CuSn8 bronze that the cymbals are made from.

"The 22" Rock ride's deep voice and big presence gives it the authority of a well-groomed nightclub doorman."

CuSn8 is Paiste's own blend of B8 and is also known as 2002 bronze after the legendary Paiste range that it was formulated for. Unlike 'proper' 2002s, PST8 cymbals are punched from rolled sheets of the bronze (as opposed to being individually cast) but the alloy used is identical.

While a good deal of the formative work is automated, the final round of hammering is done by hand and each cymbal bears a healthy complexion of large hammer dimples. Paiste claims that the lathing is also completely hand-worked; true to Swiss precision the resulting fine grooves are metronomically regular with few, if any, deviations from the centre hole to the edge.

For the time being, PST8s are only available in Paiste's unique Reflector finish. First developed in the 1980s and now found on Signature models, there is more to it than simply buffing the cymbals to a shine. In fact it's a treatment - again applied by hand - that coats the cymbals permanently.

Most of the diameters of cymbal are available in two weights - Medium and Rock. As well as being heavier, the Rock models also have larger bells, a slightly flatter profile and have been on the end of a few more hammer blows.

As with all Paiste cymbals, the PST8s are immaculately presented and under stage lights they shine out like a set of stand-mounted mirrors.

Hands on

Kicking things off is a pair of 10" splashes in Thin (the only Thin in the entire series) and Rock variants.

Both splashes open quickly with a flash of energy; after the initial attack has fallen away, a lower overtone rings on in both models - discernible in isolation but less so mid-song. The Rock-weight splash has an altogether longer decay on account of its thickness.

From the splashes it's a short hop in diameter to a pair of 16" Medium and Rock crashes. Both models open with a clean, silky blast of B8 that slides across the mix. The Medium is fractionally deeper in tone while the Rock is sparklingly bright and carries further.

Next up is a single 17" Rock crash followed by Rock and Medium 18" crashes - with each increase in crash diameter the characteristic smoothness that typifies Paiste cymbals becomes more apparent. The 18" Medium is particularly rounded and musical, while the 17" and 18" Rock crashes offer more bite with their pronounced high frequencies.

Three pairs of 14" hi-hats are available - Medium, Rock and Sound Edge. Warmest of the trio are the Mediums, which give an excellent balance of note and assertiveness.

While sharing some tonal similarities to the Medium pair, the Sound Edge hats are both crisper and pack more in the way of mid-range muscle, making for a powerful but controllable set of hats. With the rock hats the pitch is higher and the note more focused still, giving them the strongest projection of the three.

Ride cymbals come in 20" (Medium & Rock) and 22" (Rock only) sizes. The 20" Medium gives a bright stick sound that generates a sympathetic accompaniment of wash. Moving onto the bell brings a full and pleasantly dry(ish) response.

In comparison the heavier 20" Rock has a toppier, more lively feel; the stick sound is glassy and the bell more metallic, while the wash fizzes away below.

Taking these qualities to steroid-boosted levels is the 22" Rock ride - its deeper voice and bigger presence gives it the authority of a well-groomed nightclub doorman.

The pair of chinas (16" and 18" Rock) snarl and buzz sharply in true fashion. They're not large enough to offer much sophistication, but they provide ample opportunity to pepper proceedings with whiplash accents.