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'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.

Zildjian the Best cymbal haha if you wanna pay for an overpriced cymbal made from bronze produced for them by another company, that is then made by a machine, then go right to it. Personally I will support a company that makes all there bronze in-house and a company that that only makes 100% completely hand-made hand-hammered cymbals. I feel sorry for all these kids that are missing out, due to been swept up into the big old Zildjian/sabian/paiste marketing machine. Turkish Cymbals all the way, fuller, richer, more musical, and usually cheaper!

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

2 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.

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.

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.

Great sound from entry level cymbals, all the way up to higher end cymbals, the most durable cymbals I've ever seen (I'm a VERY heavy hitter, and have the same Sabian cymbals from two or three years ago, a miracle for me), and if you can't find a model to suit you, email the Artisans at Sabian to make your very own, personal cymbal. Customer service at it's finest

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.

Meinl. Because the Quality of each piece of cymbals of Meinl, very awesome. The sound, quality, fashion of these cymbals is very very different to other cymbals. Like Zildjian, Sabian, Paiste, and even Stagg. I definitely say that this cymbals is very authentic, and super amazing. When I hear the sound of this cymbals, I feel so much my groove and it gives me a amazing feel and energy to fired out. That's my own opinion. Meinl cymbals is the best cymbals for me.

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.

If you want a cymbal that's as close to the old K, s from Istanbul then look no further. In particular the 30th anniversary series.

6 Istanbul Mehmet

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..

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.

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.

This brand produces only best cymbals all over the world but this brand is too underrated in this site so I don't believe that it should stand in 8th... It deserves only number one!

7 TRX

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.

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

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

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!

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.

I have record and play with the famous brands and always I think that sound awesome but one day I try bosphorous and... sound of the other world and the price it’s not expensive like the famous ones... in love of bosphopous

9 Soultone

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

These cymbals are one of a kind.. It gives you the real feel.. Great cymbals for your money.. Trust me

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.

Best cymbals money can buy

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.

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.

I used to play with Sabian AAX & HHX. The Dream series Bliss & Contact leave them for dead. These are probably the best cymbals I have ever played. Highly recommend them!

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.

These are the best hi hats and rides I have owned and used after 20 years drumming

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

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

Because they have the best quality to value ratio!

Because the sound is crazy and unique

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

17 Anatolian

Amazing stuff! Best in my opinion, great sound great price 9/10

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

18 Saluda

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.

Custom made to the sounds you're looking for with a trade in program.

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.

Good price, great sound, no cracks or marks after some heavy playing, I have the constellation crash

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.

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

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!

24 Symrna

Great cymbals from Istanbul Turkey.
Thunder Lords,Renaissance,Raven evolution in sound
Importing them into Uk
Jerry53@hotmail.co.uk

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.

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.

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!

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