Top Ten Best Cymbal Brands

The Top Ten
1 Zildjian

Zildjian is one of the pioneers in cymbal manufacturing and has the experience to go with it. As a guy here said, "400 years of legacy". They could work on more entry level cymbals, but their high-end cymbals are legendary. They also have a huge selection of cymbals for all genres. They can be quite heavy on your pocket. However, the sound is well worth the price. I'm saying this based on experience. The cymbals I've been playing for the first 3 years of drumming sounded dead to me. When I heard some Zildjians, I knew I just had to get them. They have such good control, but don't sound too dead. The overtones complement your stick sound. Just impeccable manufacturing with the traditional Turkish cymbal grit which makes me love Zildjian all the more for that natural sound.

I remember the first time I heard Zildjian cymbals. I was 11 years old and at my first drum lesson. My teacher had cheap beginner ZBTs on his set, but they were all I needed to hear to know that Zildjian would become a part of my life. I finally have my own set of ZBTs, which have the new logo and finish, and contrary to popular opinion, sound and look great and I have given them some severe beatings but they are still in great shape. I am currently saving up for some A customs, and I will not be able to rest until I get them. I heard a story that the first member of the Zildjian family to go into cymbal making was an alchemist in 1623. He was trying make gold out of copper and bronze, but he started something that even better, which were the first Zildjian cymbals. The first endorser was the King Of Italy. He may not have created actual gold, but he created a truly golden sound and quality that cannot be matched. There are many other fantastic cymbal brands out there, don't get me ...more

I'm torn between Zildjian and Sabian, but I always come back to Zildjian for that quintessential, classic cymbal sound. My collection is pretty evened-up with the Zildjian brothers with two Paistes thrown in for contrast, but nothing delivers that pure rock sound and are more versatile than Zildjian A's. Zildjians are the standard that everyone else compares themselves to and aspires to be. You'll hear it: We're better than Zildjian; we're darker than Zildjian; we're on more of the cutting edge than Zildjian, etc., etc., etc. And, they may be...but who owns that sound everyone wants? Zildjian.

I remember reading about how when the first member of the Zildjian family started creating cymbals, he was an alchemist, trying to create gold from iron, but he created something even better. He didn't create actual gold, but the created a golden sound that stays true 400 years later! I have played Zildjians and only Zildjians since picking up a pari of sticks at age 11 and then again ate age 15. I still use ZBTs, which actually sound great! I cannot wait to save up enough money to by some A customs. Zildjians are pure, beautiful, and not a single fault which is why they are really the only serious choice. Don't get me wrong, Paiste and Sabian are phenomenal as well, but ZIldjian will always be a the top of the heap. No other brand can really compete. They did kinda fall out of favor for a little while in the mid '80s due to the popularity of Paiste 2002s, 3000s, RUDEs, 505s, and Sound Creations, and Sabian AAs, which, while great cymbals, Zildjian will always be the best and that's ...more

2 Sabian

History lesson - Sabian HH IS the original Zildjian K. The two sons split the company, one taking the CANADIAN-based plant where the hand-hammered cymbals were made, but had to come up with a new name (which is based on his sons' initials). The other son took the US-based plant and the Zildjian name, but not the hand-hammered process. He had to come up with a new process, which in my humble opinion, does not compare. I have a pre-Sabian Zildjian K cymbal, and won't part with it despite numerous offers. But everything I've bought since the split has to be Sabian.

I've been playing Sabians my entire life, and I love them. The Sabian B8 series is good to start out on. Of course they will break easily though. After B8, you get to XS series. These cymbals have a higher pitched sound, and are very bright. Then you get to the AA and HH (Hand Hammered) series. These cymbals tend to have a bit more of a vintage sound. If you are looking for modern, than the AAX and HHX series are the perfect choice. The sound of these cymbals are just so rich. But it doesn't stop there. The Paragon and Vault series cymbals top the list of Sabian cymbals. These are the cream of the crop of cymbals. And I can tell you that you get what you pay for with Sabian cymbals. Not to mention the artists for Sabian include Ray Luzier, Terry Bozzio, Tony Royster Jr, Chad Smith, Mike Portnoy, and my personal favorite, NEIL PEART. Sabian for life.

Long time Sabian player, I've tried others throughout my tenure, albeit brief, in the Sabian has the hammering down to a fine art, I appreciate being able to support a Canadian business as well. While I keep a minimal setup I love a dark raw sound and still play my original 20" 80's HH Leopard Ride, I crash on either my 20" HH Raw Ride or 18" Manhattan Jazz Crash with 13" HH Regular Hats sewing it all together. All have great stick definition, open up nicely when called upon and are incredibly versatile for various genre or style. Helps that the Sabian QC/QA is right up there with the likes of Sonor.

Every Single cymbal whether is A B8 cymbal pack or all the way about to Vault's or Artisian Cymbals, they all sound amazing in both a live and a studio session. All Sabians cymbals are so versatile and very durable. Along side having a long life span if you don't whack the crap out of them your in for a great sounding cymbal (s) no matter which serious you can afford. Sabian is the real deal.

3 Meinl

I've played/tried out cymbals from various brands, including Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, Istanbul Agop, and Soultone, and the only cymbals that have ever blown me away were Meinl cymbals. YouTube videos do not give them justice. I was lucky enough to try out some of their Byzance Dual crashes, and they filled the entire room. These cymbals are loud. Most loud cymbals are very eardrum piercing, because they have a ton of high frequencies, but the Byzance Duals are very rich in lows and mids, and are very pleasing to the ear. The Equilibrium China is by far the best China I've ever played. And if Turkish cymbals aren't your thing, their many German made lines are for you. Their Pure Alloy cymbals sound incredibly similar to various Paiste cymbals, and their Classics Custom lines have a very modern tone. And on top of their cymbals being amazing, so are their percussion instruments, and their line of sticks and mallets!

These cymbals are awesome. They have this percussive sound with their warm-dark tone in Byzance series and they also offer more modern higher pitch sounding with their M series and so on. Not all cymbal companies can offer you those wide range tone with their cymbals. And let's not forgot about those awesome-artsy finish you can get from Meinl cymbals. You can even decorate your wall with this cymbals and you'll find your self staring at those wall-of-cymbals every day.
Last but not least, look at those drummers that are using Meinl cymbal, we have Thomas Lang, Benny Greb, Matt Garstka, and many more. It shows you how reliable and great-sounding Meinl cymbal is.
Artsy looks and great-sounding, Meinl have it all.

Meinl is really the future of cymbal making. They're constantly innovating and have the most wide musical range that no other company can match. They're absolutely amazing quality with a sound that never gets old. I don't know any other company out there that can make amazing metal/rock cymbals and then turn right around and make the most sensitive and musical jazz/swing cymbals. As a gospel and jazz drummer, I need cymbals that are versatile and unique, Meinl gives me that option every time I sit behind the kit.

My favorite is Zildjian... but since they're already #1, my vote goes to Meinl. Great warm overtones, and great product innovation. The Meinl Byzance series are fantastic, and second only to the Zildjian Ks, and in some cases even better.

Third, I think would be Sabian even though they use the exact same secret alloy at Zildjian, I find many of Sabian's cymbals kind of gimmicky while Zildjian sticks more with just what works.

I think Paiste and Istanbul get honorable mention. It's been a long time since I've played a Paiste, but some drummers I've heard who use them on recordings sound fantastic. I've never had an Istanbul on my kit but I played with some over at a drum shop the other day and the Istanbul Agop series cymbals produce some beautiful overtones with very little of that metallic "ring." Wuhan makes some great effects cymbals.

4 Paiste

I'm more of a Meinl guy, but I can't deny the greatness of Paiste. Meinl and Paiste are the only cymbal companies that can make alloys with less than 20% tin (B12, B10, B8, etc) sound just as good as B20 cymbals. I currently own a 17" PST7 crash, and it's one of my favorite cymbals on my kit, even though it's technically a "lower end" cymbal. I'm not entirely a fan of super bright and cutting cymbals, but Paiste cymbals, while bright and cutting, have a really warm tone to them, which is very uncommon with other brands (namely, Zildjian and Sabian). But, like I said, Meinl is my favorite, but Paiste is a very close second!

I've been playing drums for over 40 years and I've ALWAYS loved the sound of Paiste Cymbals... Probably because a lot of my favorite drummers use them. For example, Stewart Copeland, Nick Mason, Alex Van Halen and the late great John Bonham, just to name a few. No doubt about it, these guys all have their own signature sounds, and Paiste cymbals are a big part of each.

When I'm playing live, they just seem to cut through better than just about every other cymbal out there. They have a distinct sound, and boy, are they consistent! There's also some great choices that won't break the bank, like the PST7 series, which are made from the same alloy as Paiste's highly acclaimed (and more expensive) 2002 series.

I love Zildjian cymbals too, but in my opinion, these should be number 1.

I am not a full user of Paiste, I use Zildjian most of the time, but I don't know why Sabian is above Paiste. What I love about Paiste is the very defined sound that Paiste offers, especially with the rides. I have used many rides from Zildjian to TRX but none better than the Paiste rides. One Particular one that stands out to me is the 22" Stewart Copeland Blue Bell Signature ride. It has a lot of stick volume as well as projection and although it is expensive, it's well worth what you pay for. I also have a 16" Signature fast crash, which is lower in volume and delicate to the touch of the stick, and still has a great bell. Last but not least of my Paiste line-up is a 2002 10" splash. It has a pretty quiet volume and still sounds like the perfect balance between a splash and a crash. I am honestly thinking about buying many more Paiste cymbals because they are so wonderful. I hope you found this comment helpful

I have used Paiste for over 20 years. I own several different series of cymbals from different companies; however, I always find myself coming back to my Paiste line up. Several items to note: no one makes a ride, like Paiste. I prefer a very distinct bell with a lively wash throughout the body of the cymbal; I've only found this sound with Paiste, hint "Stewart Copland.". The sound is iconic, instantly recognizable, try a 21" Signature dry ride.

The hi-hat offers such a unique variety of sounds that it becomes personal. The Dark Energy along with the new 602 Modern Essentials offer great options for modern music on many levels Rock, Country, Funk, etc.

I could go on regarding the different series, metals used, lathing, hammering, etc. The bottom line: Paiste makes an excellent product that stands the rigours of the studio, stage, nightclub, practice hall, or the spare bedroom/ slash woodshed where you learn your trade.

Before making a purchase, spend time in ...more

5 Istanbul Agop

Unique brand with its approach. Saying that Meinl made dark cymbals popular again is not correct. Its all about marketing. Agop changed the trend in the last 10 years. Agop's signature, Turk, special edition lines made big companies aware of whats getting attention. Zildjian's Kerope, special dry, meinl byzance, sabian's elite..see where the insprition coming from.

Hand made cymbals are and will always be the professionals' choice. Because you can find among them many different tone colors and paint your set with the colors you choose. Istanbul agop cymbals are the best hand-made cymbals for the price, period.

I played Zildjians for years and then discovered Istanbul. I just feel like the Istanbul have more pleasing characteristics to the ear, with unique tone. Their cymbals seem to have less annoying overtones than other brands. Great for recording.

Got set of Xist for my son on the recommendation of SoundAttak owner when he didn't have Sabian XS20 in stock. He dais they would sound significantly better than the Sabians for a little extra money. My son's drum tutor who uses Sabian agrees. Great sound at a bargain (ish) price.

6 Istanbul Mehmet

I've been playing drums since the 90's when in elementary school. My dad is a drummer and worked at the local music store. They sold Zildjian and Paiste and so that's what we played. Zildjian use to be the best, my dad has an old set of Zildjians from the 70's that are great but was given a newer A series crash that sounds more like a weak ride than a crash and so he uses it as such. All the big dogs that once were great (Buddy Rich use to hand select his Zildjians) are mostly now machined with little if any hand hammering. I like the Zildjian K Constanople series but Paiste has better overall consistence and quality control. I love Istanbul Mehmet though, my favorite is the Nostalgia series but other are good too. The only thing is that I prefer Paiste Formula 602 rides for some reason though Mehmet makes some good rides.

I'm a big fan of Istanbul Mehmet. While Agop is more well known and used, in my opinion, Mehmet just makes nicer sounding cymbals. I'm a jazz drummer primarily, I use a variety of cymbals and my go to cymbal combination is my Mehmet 22" 50s ride, my zildjian Bill Stewart ride and my bosphorus master vintage hi hats and I can assure you that my 50s ride is my favourite, despite the fact that I love my bill stewart ride. I'd seriously urge everybody to give them a try and if you're a jazz drummer the 50s ride will blow you away.

Bought all of my Zildjian cymbals used back in the mid 70's (they were made in the 1960's). They still sound awesome and have no cracks, chips etc...Expensive? Yes! But if you are playing over the course of 30 years these are well worth the money..

Recently purchased a 20 inch Istanbul Mehmet 61st Anniversary Ride. It is my favorite in my set up. My other cymbals include a 20' K Zildjian Ride, 14' K Zildjian Dark Crash, 13' K Zildjian Custom Dark High hats, 8' K Zildjian Dark Splash and a 16' A Platinum Crash.

7 TRX

TRX makes top of the line cymbals. The quality is outstanding and the sound is perfect for any and every kind of music! TRX offers in my opinion the best cymbals there are on the market! I have played everything from Zildjian, Sabian, and Paiste... The only difference is is that these name brands don't make their cymbals hand crafted from Turkey... TRX ALL THE WAY

What makes TRX Cymbals absolutely brilliant is that you can combine their cymbals to make it sound either modern or classic. The cymbals they manufacture are very durable. They are hand-crafted Turkish cymbals so they do come at a price but they also have CRX cymbals which are their mid-tier cymbals that are developed in China that makes them cheap but still sounds equally great.

Great quality and overall performance! TRX has a series for any and every style of music! These cymbals are worth every penny! TRX cymbals have the perfect amount of resonance and they offer that perfect sound for even you!

High quality with no flaws and great sound. Will easily become the pro standard in the next few years. May be high in price but that's because you will never find any cymbals out there that sound better!

8 Bosphorous

The best. True tonal muiscality in each collection. Suited for jazz due to its soft buttery feel, they offer other series for each genre.
Zildjian, Paiste, Meinl...all popular by excellent marketing. Look into the true craftsmanship that goes into the making of Turkish cymbals. While the top 3 are machine, computerized, and digitally mastered, Bosphorus are truly handmade. From forging, hammering, polishing all done by artisans skilled in the ancient art of cymbal making, the sounds are obvious. I am 65yo, been drumming since I was 12. Tried all the big boys, now it is Bosphorus to carry me out

The Turks bake the best pies, and the one that scores out of the oven are Bosphorus. I am 65yo, been playing since I was 12. I tried many cymbal makers over the years, but once I discovered Bos pies, I never looked elsewhere.

They are articulate, warm, dry, and buttery. They are 100% hand made, each cymbal is hand hammered to individual tonal quality. No two in the same series, even close in weight will sound the same. True individualism. Unlike the Zildjian, Paiste, Sabian cyms which are machine produced, computerized lathing and hammering.

Bosphorus Cymbals are one of the most great brands I have tried, the sound and quality ae incedible, I like that they keep the tradition from the turkey cymbals makers. Great Jazz and Rock Drummers use a lot!

Bosphorus are the best, as well as Istanbul Agop. 100% hand-forged, crafted by true artisans. Simply beautiful

Zildjian, not as good as it once was. No longer hand made, like Sabian, Paiste, all computer crafted and machine hammered..Been a drummer for 50+ years, not an expert, but been around long enough to share opinions

9 Soultone

I personally am actually a Zildjian guy, but I do really love Soultone. The fact that they make amazing sounding cymbals for great prices and will happily endorse any level of player makes me very sure that they will rise to the top of these lists over the next few years. Other than Zildjian and perhaps Sabian, Soultone is one of the few companies in my opinion that can really be characterized as making truly amazing cymbals.

I think soultone is a great choice for any type of drummer no matter what genre they play. I just signed with soultone and I don't regret it. In my opinion soultone should be up in the top 5 with Zildjian, sabian, and MEINL. Great cymbals!

Soultone is the greatest crash cymbal I have ever played in my entire life! They provide such good, crisp sound weather you are working in a studio or out on the rode doing gigs! Overall, soultone should be the #1 cymbal!

Absolutely a great company with great cymbals! They have really good diverse lines to choose from & most importantly, they are wonderful people to work with. Class act all the way around.
I imagine they might be #4 in 2017.

10 Alchemy

I've been playing drums for about 5 years and the sound of these cymbals are truly one of a kind.

The Contenders
11 Wuhan

I'm a Meinl guy myself, but Wuhan make extremely good cymbals for the price. They're cast cymbals, made from B20 bronze, that's why they sound so good. I just find it surprising how little they cost! They're known for their chinas, but even their crashes, rides, hihats, and splashes are amazing. They may be cheap, but in this case, you get a whole lot more than you pay for!

My favorites are Zildjian and Meinl, but since they are already so high on the list I'll vote for these... Their cymbals are cheap and their china cymbals are the best in the world

For me the best Chinas and splashes of all out there, they give the real original ''china'' sound, I tried out the Crashes to, and the sound its amazing too!

I absolutely love Wuhan's China's they have a great sound and the money is well worth it.

12 Murat Diril

I've played a lot of cymbal brands and these are certainly great cymbals. I currently own two sets of these and I own a set of Zildjian and I'm playing these on every gig I get. They have such a different sound and feel to them. Some are dry and some are velvety depending on which series you get. If I had to choose a company from the big brands, it would be Meinl since they're the same thing as Murat Diril, but my sound is Murat Diril. They're just so smooth and musical.

The best cymbals I ever seen. They are B22 alloy and have interesting series, something more original than the other brands.

The most artistic cymbals I have seen or heard.

Loving my new hi hats

13 Dream

Dream Cymbals are my personal favorite because they are the only companying making fully hand hammered cymbals. While companys like zildjian and sabian have big machines to press cymbals into shape, dream cymbals are sledge hammered into shape creating a truly unique work of visual audible art. Dream makes very good sounding cymbals for a very reasonable price.

Dream are the only cymbals I would say have their own sound, what I mean by that is that they have their very own sound, plus since they are 100% hand made every one is a unique instrument.

Agreed these are a great cymbal. Most of their lines seem primarily for Jazz. The Energy Series is for Rock and/or generally louder playing but they are not limited to it.
I also use Ks, As, Paragons, AAXs, Meinls and Paistes.
Do yourself a real favour and try out the Dream line.

If you want a unique sound, this is the way to go. Every cymbal is different. Plus they have the best stick response around. Very dynamicaly sensitive.

14 UFIP

I have a 10 inch splash and a 16 inch crash in the Class series that are two of my favorite cymbals ever. They have the most interesting overtones and "voice" of anything I've ever heard. A bit like a K, but with more sparkle. They are truly remarkable. In fact, I can't believe more people don't use them. They're the same price or less as comparable brands, and they're second to none.

Their manufacturing process is unique to them, and creates a cymbal that is incredibly musical, as well as being extremely durable.

The Ferrari of cymbals that are the only cymbals that are molded into shape without weak spots!

The finest Splash ever! Used over 30 years. Great to the end! Never found another like it sadly.

UFIP is one of the most finest cymbals ever. No doubt about it.

15 CRX

They are owned by TRX Cymbals. These are their mid-tier cymbals that are developed in China but sounds equally great as TRX. Plus, I dig their logo.

16 Stagg

Because they have the best quality to value ratio!

I've been gigging and recording with them for years, great product @ 1/2 the price of #1 on this list

Hand made cast cymbals that sound great
The best bang for your buck

17 Anatolian

Playing those beauties since 2003, Ultimate & Baris Serien... great sound, durable and inexpensive.

18 Saluda

I stumbled upon Saluda Cymbals, all I can say is one of the best finds yet! Great cymbals! No need to buy the big 4 anymore with this company around! I own 2 sets of Saluda Hats 13" Prototypes and 14" Green Goddess Dry both sound amazing with a super crisp chick and tight control and stick definition! I also have various bells. Next purchase is gonna be a dry ride!

Unless you are sponsored, don't waste your money on the top 4. you get more than enough in the Saluda Cymbal lines of cymbals. Also the best customer service out there, if you don't like the sound, send it back and they will try to fix it, if they can't they will hammer you a complete new cymbal. Plus lifetime warranty on cracks less than 1 inch! Send it back and they will replace it!

Great Cymbals, I Own the 17" Medium crash and the 18" Medium Crash/Ride, hand made and sexy as hell. They have so many Choices and also Partner with a couple other companys so you can buy your stands along with your Cymbals!

I havn't played much on high end cymbals, but listened a lot in studio. My Saluda sounds so much greater than most of the cymbals when recorded. I play 14" Glory(dark) hihat medium thin, Earthwork 18" crash, 19" Glory (dark) crash. 22" Symbolic Crash / Ride. 20" Symbolic China.
Great personal service, bad website.

19 Trexist

I purchased a 18" Aurum Crash & 20" EVO Thunder Crash. The best decision I ever made.

20 Orion

Sexy sounding bright and dark heavy cymbals! 5/5

21 Dynamic

I have nothing but good things to say about Dynamic Cymbals. D Cymbals somehow manages to provide $300 worth of sound into a $100 crash. Definitely recommend picking up the Damascus line. I have also played the Infinity line, it's comprable to ZBTs and the like.

definitely recommend, shipping can be a little pricy though so watch out for that. Also USA based, which is nice. They seem to usually have some sort of discount code running at any given time, or at least I think that's what the CEO said, so make sure to find one of those if you csan. 9/10 quality, 10/10 price.

Good looking cymbals, nice sounds, fantastic bang-for-buck. High end lines compete with brand names for a fraction of the price. Definitely worth checking out if you're on a tight budget.

I have nothing but great things to say about these cymbals. Awesome look, amazing sound, and longevity beyond belief. This brand will not let you down.

Great brand and great product. The quality and price are the best around.

22 Zultan

Zultan Cymbals sounds really cool, in every type of music.

Not the best but one of the best, sounds great...

23 Amedia

Great price for that cool unique sound, handmade in Turkey, many different styles of cymbals, say why not? They fit every kind of music style from jazz to metal. Amedia is the way to go.

Amazing work, cymbals more consistents than zildjian or paiste and cheaper!
Fits to all kind of music with a lot of series.
Authentic cymbals handmade are not dead!

Best priced cymbals out there, serious bang for your buck. Forget the top brands, try these and be sold for life.

24 Symrna
25 Zion

I bought their Fury crashes last month and was really blown away. The crashes were very responsive and explosive. It was exactly what I wanted as far as sound and character. My next few cymbals will be their Legend line that look rich and dark. I heard the Legends in a video and they are sweet.

You can easily tell these Zion Cymbals are crafted with the best precision. They stood out when I heard them at the NAMM show. They just sound better overall. The attack is perfect and they sound is exactly what I have been looking for.

They have a huge artist roster of heavy hitters in the drum industry. Great sounding cymbals for sure! I switched from Sabian and Meinl, to Zion. Better quality with great warranty!

Eric Moore and Nate Robinson (Lecrae's Drummer) play these. I heard them at some big concerts and they cut really nice. This brand is on its way to the top.

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