The preference for sound varies between drummers and there are simply so many options available. Because of this, it can be very confusing to figure out what types of cymbals to buy. This list includes top picks from essential, entry-level cymbal sets to fantastic professional cymbal packs.
In general, it’s far more cost-effective to buy cymbals as part of a pack. If you’re looking for something basic, then check out the entry-level options. If you’re an intermediate or advanced drummer, then you will get great quality cymbals from the pro options below.
My top recommended cymbal pack is the Zildjian K Cymbal Set. Zildjian K is one of the most sought-after range of cymbals, and the dark cymbal set gives amazing tone and texture, suitable for many different styles.
My second recommended cymbal pack is the Sabian SBR Promotional Cymbal Set, which offers good sound quality and sturdiness at an affordable price.
The 7 Best Cymbal Packs (2023)
Let’s compare these in more detail.
1. Zildjian K Cymbal Set
These Zildjian K Customs are an absolute joy to play. The set consists of 4 cymbals in total that provide dark and warm undertones with short decay. It includes 14-inch K Custom Dark Hi-Hats, 16-inch Crash, 18-inch Crash, and 20-inch Ride.
- Great quality and depth of sound
- Specific dark, warm sound
- Dark and warm undertones with short decay
If you want to look at some other great options, there are other versions in the Zildjian K cymbal range, such as the special dry pack, country pack, custom hybrid pack, and worship cymbal pack. Each of these provides a different tone, volume, and feel that is suited to different styles. However, it’s all down to your preference as a drummer.
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 16″ Crash, 1x 18″ Crash, 1x 20″ Ride|
|Sound||Warm, dark, low|
Overall, the K Cymbal Set carries a hefty price tag but has a very good value-for-price ratio considering the quality and sound of these cymbals.
2. Sabian SBR Promotional Cymbal Set
The Sabian SBR cymbal pack is one of the best entry-level sets out there. It will instantly be a major upgrade from the stock cymbals that are included in most beginner drum sets. These are nice bright-sounding cymbals that are very sturdy and should last you a long time.
- Very good sound quality for this price range
- Great for beginners and intermediates
- Quality hammering and lathing
- Doesn’t sound as good as pro-range cymbals!
Not everyone is looking to buy the best-sounding cymbals in the world with an unlimited budget! Most beginner players are looking to buy a decent-sounding, affordable cymbal set that won’t break the bank!
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 16″ Crash, 1x 20″ Ride, 1x 10” Splash|
This cymbal set offers a nice, good-quality sound with durable cymbals that sound surprisingly good for the price.
3. Meinl Byzance Vintage Benny Greb Sand Series Set
The Meinl Cymbals Byzance Vintage Benny Greb Sand Series Set is an absolute beast. This is a pro option for a reason. The Sand Series has that vintage look accompanied by superb quality and amazing sound.
- Professional-sounding and quality cymbals
- Vintage looks
- The sandblasted surface gives a more warm sound
- Great response
- Pricey pack
- Unique dry sound is not for everyone
This 4-piece cymbal pack produces a warm tone due to the sandblasted surface accompanied by vintage looks and great response. The set includes a 14″ hi-hat pair, an 18″ thin crash, a 20″ ride cymbal, plus, a free 16″ trash crash.
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 16″ Trash Crash, 1x 18″ thin crash, 1x 20″ Ride|
|Sound||Warm, Uniquely Dry|
All in all, the Benny Greb Sand Set is a great cymbal set with a unique sound and superb quality. Plus the free trash crash cymbal is also a great addition.
4. Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Pack
The main selling point of this set is that it comes with a total of six cymbals, compared to the standard 3-4 cymbals in the set. Meinl is a well-respected brand and this set consists of some nice, bright-sounding cymbals.
- 6 cymbals in the set
- Affordable price
- Best for the beginners
- Not the best quality
- Not made for day-to-day playing on a more serious level
The pack I am featuring here is the 6-piece superset, but if you want to go a step further, they also have a 9-piece superset. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to make sure you have enough cymbal stands or cymbal arms to hold them all!
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 16″ Crash, 1x 18″ Crash, 1x 20″ Ride, 1×16” China, 1×10” Splash|
If you’re looking for a big cymbal set without breaking the bank, then this one is well worth considering.
5. Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set
The next entry on this list is a truly iconic set. The A Custom set from Zildjian is the set if you’re into playing harder music. A suitable and quality sounding mid-to-pro set for harder genres and styles.
- High-end quality set
- Great for rock, punk, metal, and other harder styles of music.
- Good both for live performances and recording in the studio
- Doesn’t suit softer music as well
Sharp tones coming from these cymbals will cut through the other instruments in a live or studio mix. Because of the power of these cymbals, they can hardly fit in a more mellow-sounding genre but this is not a huge deal-breaker.
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 16″ Crash, 1x 18″ Crash, 1x 20″ Ride|
To sum up, the Zildjian A Custom Set is a high-end and high-quality set suitable for intermediate to veteran drummers that are after a powerful sound.
6. Sabian HHX Complex Performance Set
The HHX range is also a top choice among drummers. This set is made out of B20 bronze using a combination of HH and HHX hammering in the production.
- They sound amazing!
- High-quality materials and production method
- Hammered bell
This set produces a full-bodied, warm sound that is applicable in many music genres. The Sabian HHX Complex Performance Set includes pro cymbals for drummers that want to get a top-quality pack.
|Cymbals||1x 15″ Hi-Hats, 1x 19″ Crash, 1x 22″ Ride|
|Sound||Dark, complex, dry|
If you’re after an amazing-sounding pack with high-quality materials that will last, this is the set to consider. Apart from the larger price tag, it delivers excellent value for your money.
7. Paiste 2002 Cymbal Set
The last entry on this list is the Paiste 2002 Cymbal Set. This shiny set offers excellent delivery and clear sound, resonating above the mix and putting everything to shame with their powerful sound. You can really hear the presence of these cymbals.
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Resonating sound
- Shiny, glossy looks
- Not suited for softer musical genres
Apart from the cutting sound and shiny good looks, these cymbals are professionally crafted to deliver a resonating sound. The only downside is the hefty price tag and the fact that they won’t suit more mellow-sounding genres.
|Cymbals||1x 14″ Hi-Hats, 1x 18″ Crash, 1x 20″ Crash 1x 22″ Ride|
If you want a striking cymbal set that cuts through the music, this is the powerful set you’re after. With striking good looks and quality craftsmanship, you cannot go wrong. The Paiste PST set is also a good one to consider.
Are Cymbal Packs worth it?
If cymbal packs weren’t worth it, there would be no need or use for them. They are excellent options for any drummer who want an all-in-one option and are more affordable than buying one at a time.
The price is not the only thing as to why cymbal packs are a great option. The other obvious reason is that they are all from the same set and the sound produced will be in tone and sound more natural, full, corresponding.
Types of Cymbals in a Cymbal Pack
There are 3 main types of cymbals: hi-hat, ride, and crash. There are also different variations and different types, such as crash-ride, splash, china, and other effects cymbals.
- The hi-hats are a pair of cymbals placed on top of each other. The drummer controls the movement of the top hi-hat with a foot pedal.
- Crash cymbals are often hit hard and used as accents throughout a song.
- The ride cymbal is the largest and it has the most nuanced tone of all three.
You can buy the cymbals one by one, but you can also get them in a set. Buying them in a set doesn’t give you as much versatility in combining different cymbals from different makers, but it gives you a better price and a full set of cymbals in one go.
What to look for in a Cymbal Pack when buying?
When buying a cymbal pack, there are a few things to consider to get your money’s worth. You should consider the materials, the sound of the cymbals, the size, and naturally, the price of the pack. Not every cymbal pack offers the same sound as there are levels to the quality.
Cymbals can be of various materials like copper, brass, bronze, etc. It’s important to know which one to go for. As you can already tell, most cymbals on the above list are B20 Bronze, this is the most common material that you will encounter, responsible for some top-notch high-end cymbal packs.
There are different variations to keep in mind as this is by no means a definitive list, there are other brands, materials, and custom cymbals out there. You also have thin, medium, medium-thin, and various other types. You can also come across B8 Bronze, bronze alloy, brass alloy, and other materials that are great as well.
Again, Bronze cymbals would be your best bet for an excellent sound. They offer better sound than brass cymbals but they do come at a certain cost. The durability is also better as longevity is a good point to keep in mind. A complete drum kit is an investment and you want a quality product that produces superb sound as well as lasts a long time.
Not to say that entry-level cymbals are not good as they are a beginner set for a reason, also, the manufacturer can be a respectable one so keep the classics in mind. Your best bet is to visit the local music store and hear the cymbals yourself.
The size of the cymbals will greatly impact the resulting sound. As you can see from the above list, most cymbal packs offer a 14″ hi-hat, 16″ crash, 18″ crash (or both), and 20″ to 22″ ride. This is the optimal size that offers a great range.
Naturally, there are smaller and larger cymbals if you’re looking for a particular sound or fit for your drum kit. Splash cymbals, crash/ride cymbals, and china cymbals are rarely included in packs but are definitely worth exploring if you want a more complete and immersive sound.
The price is always the final consideration point to keep in mind. If you’re running on a budget or you’re a beginner drummer, take the time to research and find the best budget cymbal pack out there.
For advanced players looking for an upgrade, high quality cymbals are a must but naturally carry a hefty price tag. Music isn’t cheap but we all know this.
There are lots of different cymbals packs on the market out there. You can go and buy your cymbals individually, but buying them in a set certainly has its advantages. They’ll be well matched for each other and you’ll often save money when buying them in a set. Check out this guide on how to play cymbals on your drum set.
My top cymbal pack pick is the Zildjian K Cymbal Set. A very popular choice that offers rich as well as dark tones that suit most styles and genres.
My budget cymbal pack is the Sabian SBR Promotional Cymbal Set. If you want an affordable cymbal pack that still offers decent quality and sound, this would be the one.