Jojo Mayer needs little by way of introduction to drummers. Sabian has harnessed his brilliance and originality to develop two innovative new cymbals.
The AAX OMNI cymbals are officially unclassified, but are a modern reworking of the multi-purpose crash/ride.
The starting point for the OMNI was Sabian's existing El Sabor Picante hand crash, which features a thin edge that opens easily. Jojo asked Sabian to attempt to incorporate a similar technique into a new model for stick (as opposed to hand) playing.
Regular crash/rides tend to be a compromise between two different types of cymbal. Are they a light ride that opens to crash, but has an indistinct stick sound as a result? Or are they a heavy crash that can be ridden, and takes an age to decay?
The OMNI's design attempts to isolate the areas of the cymbal used for each discipline, so a medium-thick, unlathed central portion gives way to a thin, lathed edge.
Just two diameters are available - 18" and 22". Sabian experimented with alternative diameters during the R&D process, but chose to put only this pair into production.
Making each OMNI is technically demanding. According to Sabian marketing manager Luis Cardoso, lather Allie Cougle - who has recently lathed his millionth cymbal - claims that he'd rather go through another divorce than create another OMNI!
The brilliant finish of our review cymbals pictured in the gallery is optional.
When mounting the OMNIs, the thinness of the edges contrasts with the overall weight of each cymbal - the 18" model actually flexes if grabbed with one hand.
When crashed, the smaller OMNI doesn't just open instantly, but leaps straight to its fullest point. The note is fairly high-pitched and contains elements of trashiness, but the overriding characteristic is one of smoothness. This impression is strengthened by a notably clean decay.
Playing the inner unlathed portion of the cymbal with the tip of a stick finds the sound immediately drier and more precise - ride-like, in fact. The pitch remains high, but the clarity of the stick sound is striking.
Moving on to the bell reveals another level of separation, with wash at a bare minimum.
The larger OMNI has, unsurprisingly, a bigger presence when played as a ride. The note is deeper and a little more expansive, but remains tight and focused, and projects well.
This riding prowess is matched by the cymbal's crashing capabilities. Like the 18", the 22" opens willingly, delivering a luxurious crash that fades harmoniously.
Crashing and riding at the same time is easily done, with the two competing actions seemingly unaffected by one another.
The models that make up this new range showcase Sabian's creative and technical expertise.
Enticingly, an HHX version is rumoured to be in the pipeline, as well.