How to buy all-rounder cymbals
All-rounder cymbals provide the player with a good combination of warmth and brightness, and this makes them extremely versatile. By no coincidence, the all-rounder ranges tend to be the most popular sellers for each manufacturer and this fact is reflected in the enormous wealth of choice in the cymbals available.
Since all-rounder cymbals occupy the middle-ground in terms of frequency, they are drawn from a fairly wide tonal band that sits somewhere close to warm cymbals at one end, and errs on the aggressive side at the other.
It’s extremely important to remember when buying cymbals that the sound they come with is their sound for life. Unlike drums, you can’t modify or tune a cymbal (other than to its detriment by, say, cracking one in order to make it deliberately discordant), so what you hear is what you get.
You should never rush into buying a cymbal until you’re absolutely sure that it provides the sound you need. Most drum stores have demo rooms where you can test instruments in peace - it’s a good idea to use one to test out the sound of the cymbal. If the demo room is not free, make an appointment to come back when it is and ask the store to hold the cymbal until you’ve had chance to try it out.
Above all else, though, listen. In keeping with this, don’t assume that your cymbal set has to be sourced from a single manufacturer. You should try to ignore the logos and let your own ears decide. Scroll through to see our top pick...
These entirely hand-produced cymbals offer a touch of class at bargain prices. They’re constructed from B23 bronze, which has a high tin content resulting in bright stick response and an attractive silver-gold colouring to boot. Cracking cymbals offering a soft and mellow vibe with just a hint of china trashiness.
Sabian’s HHX cymbals are infused with the warmth and richness of their sibling HH range but project further, making them at home in a countless array of musical situations. A huge variety of tonal colours are included across the range, with diverse variants of each diameter of cymbal available. Good size and finish options too.
Masterful cymbals from the Italian cymbalsmiths. Unique rotocasting technique ensures the B20 cymbals are purged of any impurities and are of consistent thickness. Good choice of models, all of which are amazingly good value, especially considering the level of craftsmanship.
The definitive sound of B8 bronze, Paiste’s 2002 range expands further each year. Evolving from Paiste’s Giant Beat cymbals in 1971 and cast from the same CnSu8 alloy, their bright, warm, energetic sound has been embraced by each new generation of rock drummers since.
Our top pick! Avedis cymbals’ heritage stretches back across centuries and continents. Highly versatile and available in an abundance of weights, sizes and finishes, they’ve featured in just about every musical setting that you could name. Newer additions to the range keep things bang up to date without diluting core qualities.