Experienced Drummers could talk about cymbals non-stop for days on end! They’re a really exciting part of a drum set and play a key part in defining it’s sound.
The preference of sound varies between drummers and there are simply so many options available. Because of this, it can be very confusing when figuring out what types of cymbals to buy. If you’re a beginner drummer, there’s no point going out and splashing thousands of dollars on cymbals. I suggest learning to play with an affordable pack from a good manufacturer. Then you will learn how to properly strike the cymbals and get good sounds from them.
In general, it’s far more cost effective to buy cymbals as part of a pack. If you’re an intermediate or advanced drummer, then you will get great quality cymbals from the pro options below. Some pro drummers pick a brand and range and are happy with the overall sound of these, however others like to be very selective and mix and match.
This list is not meant to be a definitive list of what cymbals you should buy, it’s just our top pick of great options for all levels of drummers. The sound of cymbals vary greatly, and it’s very much a matter of preference on which way you want to go!
Let’s get onto our list!
The 5 Best Cymbal Packs – Our Pick
1. Zildjian ZBT Complete Cymbal Set
Let’s start off with one of the top cymbal brands: Zildjian. This ZBT complete cymbal set is a great choice for beginners. It has a set of hi-hats, crash and ride cymbal, which is all a beginner needs to get playing.
This is a set of budget bronze cymbals, including a 20 inch ride, 14 inch hi-hats and 16 inch crash cymbal.
They’re very well made and can withstand some heavy hitting.
Stock cymbals that come with entry-level drum sets are usually of low quality and can crack easily – these cymbals are a massive improvement over these in both sound and durability.
Pro drummers should look to invest in higher-end cymbals, but if you want a set of cymbals that will follow you on your journey to learning drums then this is a fantastic option.
2. Meinl HCS Cymbal Set Box
The Meinl Cymbal Set Box is another significant consideration that will provide you with a great entry-level set of cymbals. They are well constructed with a bright and clean quality to them.
Again, these can withstand quite a lot of force and are great of entry-level players, or more experienced players that don’t want to subject their pro cymbals to heavy hitting practice sessions!
Meinl are one of a best brands when it comes to cymbals, so you know you can expect good quality with these:
3. Meinl Ultimate Cymbal Set
Following on from the previous set, the ultimate cymbal set takes it one step further!
The Meinl Ultimate Cymbal Set is a dream for beginner drummers, or as a practice option experienced drummers that want a large cymbal set.
I would have absolutely loved this set when I started playing drums. It contains a whopping amount of sounds, because it includes a hi-hat pair, ride, 3 crash cymbals, china, bell, splash, and a trash crash!
If you want to be surrounded by cymbals in a pretty impressive set-up, then this could be a great option.
However, stands don’t come with cymbal sets, so keep that in mind before buying! You will need a few extra cymbal stands (you could also use cymbal arms stands to hold some of the cymbals).
4. Sabian Xplosion Performance Set
Sabian is another brand that you probably know about since many professional drummers use them. The Sabian Xplosion Performance Set is made of exceptional quality.
The first thing you will notice is the fantastic sound and quality of artisanship that created this particular type of cymbals. Everything is utterly handcrafted from B20 bronze so that you can get a sound quality and fantastic durability.
Have in mind that this particular material is used for the best cymbals made on the market and the main character is that you will enjoy in rich acoustics. Of course, you will be able to use it for modern settings, because it will provide you both bright and rich tones with high volume.
The main disadvantage is the expensive price tag, but you will get the best choice on the market if you choose this particular cymbal pack.
5. Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Cymbal Set
You have probably heard about the Zildjian brand, which is one of the most prominent choices for cymbal sets and drums. Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Cymbal Set is perfect if you wish to get the combination of outstanding performance and quality.
The main problem is the expensive price tag, but you get top quality for it. It could be out of reach for amateurs, but as soon as you decide to enroll in the drumming world and start playing professionally, then you should start to invest in higher-end options.
The artisanship of these cymbals is excellent, and they created terrific cymbals that will provide you perfect combination of sound, durability, feel and aesthetical appearance. At the same time, they are great looking and sound amazing.
Check them out on this particular video!
Other great cymbals
- Sabian SBR cymbals are another great beginner option
- Sabian AA
- Sabian HH or HHX
- Sabian Paragon
- Zildjian A Custom
- Paiste Signature
- Paiste Rude
- Istanbul cymbals
- …and many more!
Low Volume cymbals
- Zildjian L80 Low Volume
How to deal with a cracked cymbal
Cymbals can crack. If you hit them properly and care for them then a good cymbal could last your entire career without cracking.
If you’re a very hard hitter and strike cymbals straight on then they’re far more likely to eventually crack.
Good quality options likes the ones mentioned in this article are also far less likely to crack in a short space of time compared to cheaper ‘stock’ cymbals that come with beginner sets.
If you do see a small crack on your cymbal then you can try to prevent it spreading further by drilling a hole into the most inner point of the crack. This could save your cymbal, at the cost of slightly altering the sound. You would need to drill a big enough hole to stop the crack from spreading. If you let it get to the stage of becoming a serious crack (or let entire pieces of the cymbal fall apart like the picture below) then it effectively becomes a write-off… unless you stack a bunch of broken cymbals together, which can create some interesting effects sounds.
What should I look out for?
Finding the best cymbal pack is the first thing you should consider if you wish to become a professional drummer. However, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best for your particular requirements.
That is the main reason why we decided to present you things you should consider when buying the best cymbal packs in 2019:
- Material – Have in mind that crashes come from alloys, and the nature and quality of alloy will affect the overall sound you wish to achieve. Have in mind that most of them come from bronze while others can be from the tin as well. When it comes to performance, the best solution that you can make is to find B20 bronze that will provide you warm and soft sounds. On the other hand, B8 Bronze cymbals are perfect for bright sound, which means that everything depends on your musical preferences.
- The Weight – Weight is also substantial and plays a significant role when it comes to getting perfect sound you wish to achieve. It will affect presence, playability and the feel of cymbals in overall. If you enjoy playing genres such as rock, heavy, power and metal, you should consider heavier ones. On the other hand, for jazz, pop and contemporary music, you should consider medium and moderately light models instead.
- Diameter Size – Large cymbals will provide you with a fuller sound and will often resonate for much longer. Smaller cymbals can provide with with a higher-end sound and quicker attack. Think about the difference between a small ‘splash’ cymbal and a large ‘ride cymbal’.
- Bell Size – Bells expand harmonics as well as presence, which will improve sound concentration. Heavy cymbals that come with large bells will have more powerful sound than thin ones.
So there you have it! That’s our list of the top recommend cymbal packs that you can pick up for your acoustic drum set. Keep in mind, this isn’t a definitive guide, but each of the options suggested in this guide are worth considering.
Beginner drummers often don’t realize how expensive cymbals can be. However, cymbal packs can be quite a money saver, particularly for good quality entry-level options.
If you’re unsure of which ones to go for, then these are our final recommendations:
- High-End Option – Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Cymbal Set is the best choice that you can make when it comes to cymbal packs on the market. It comes from B20 bronze, which makes it high quality and you will be able to use them for years with perfect tone and durability.
- Budget Option – Meinl Ultimate Cymbal Set is the usually the most affordable solution on this list, and even though you will have to spare a few hundreds of dollars, it’s far better than the garbage of ultra-budget cymbals! Therefore, this particular one is a good choice especially if you wish to become a professional drummer.