Cymbal Packs..Is there usually one clunker in there?

Paiste18

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I have played Paiste for over 30 years. In my opinion they are the most consistent sounding cymbal out there. If you crack one and have to buy the same cymbal again, you are most likely going to get the same quality and sound as the first one. I have read some things where people say Zildjians can be inconsistent, but I have always played Paiste. I just got back into drumming a few years ago and bought my dream drum kit. Since I spent so much more on my kit I was kind of low on funds so I begrudgingly bought a Paiste PST8 universal cymbal pack. The pack was $495 which is super cheap for Hi-hat, Ride, and two crashes. I'm used to paying $400 for a cymbal. So I wasn't expecting much. Those cymbals sounded amazing, I just couldn't believe the price point on them. When I recorded them I was blown away. If you watch the Paiste factory tour you quickly understand why they make such a great product. About a month ago I upgraded all my cymbals to Paiste 2002 Big Beats (because I can never stop tinkering with my setup). I kept my PST8s for live performances and the 2002s are for my dream/studio kit. These are definitely on another level. The only cymbal I didn't care for was the 24", but that is most likely because I don't care for light rides. I like a heavier ride sound. So I switched it out for a 24" classic 2002. So I'm very inspired by my cymbal set up now. I just did a recording if you want to hear how they sound mixed in a rock environment. You can also check the video with the PST8s and hear the sound of those. Pretty impressive. Sorry didn't mean to do a whole sales pitch on Paiste, but I'm pretty passionate about their product. Here is a link if you want to give a listen:


 

K.O.

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If I go into a store with a lot of cymbals and try a bunch I might like 1 out of 10 of them. Perhaps I'm a bit too fussy but most will strike me as "clunkers", some will be "okay" and a few will have whatever "magic" it is that tickles my fancy. This even applies to cymbals of the same model.

For this reason I personally steer clear of the pre-packs. If I like 10% of the cymbals I encounter and buy a pack of 5 cymbals there's a decent chance that none of them will sound great to me.

They do have their place though for drummers who have yet to develop an ear for what they like. Especially if the pack has a better price point.

I do think we are kidding ourselves if we think Zildjian (or whomever) is loading the packs with their cream of the crop cymbals. Likewise they're probably not unloading the "dogs" that way either. It's likely more or less random. Maybe they do some "factory matching" but I doubt it's particularly extensive, beyond "yeah these'll work" . So it comes down to the luck of the draw as to what you get.

Of course whether any of this is an issue all depends on how fussy you are about cymbal sounds. And one drummer's "clunker" may well be another man's "dream"...apparently so as all those aforementioned stores do sell those other 9 cymbals to someone.
 

Paiste18

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If I go into a store with a lot of cymbals and try a bunch I might like 1 out of 10 of them. Perhaps I'm a bit too fussy but most will strike me as "clunkers", some will be "okay" and a few will have whatever "magic" it is that tickles my fancy. This even applies to cymbals of the same model.

For this reason I personally steer clear of the pre-packs. If I like 10% of the cymbals I encounter and buy a pack of 5 cymbals there's a decent chance that none of them will sound great to me.

They do have their place though for drummers who have yet to develop an ear for what they like. Especially if the pack has a better price point.

I do think we are kidding ourselves if we think Zildjian (or whomever) is loading the packs with their cream of the crop cymbals. Likewise they're probably not unloading the "dogs" that way either. It's likely more or less random. Maybe they do some "factory matching" but I doubt it's particularly extensive, beyond "yeah these'll work" . So it comes down to the luck of the draw as to what you get.

Of course whether any of this is an issue all depends on how fussy you are about cymbal sounds. And one drummer's "clunker" may well be another man's "dream"...apparently so as all those aforementioned stores do sell those other 9 cymbals to someone.

I'm not sure how you could actually make a determination on any one cymbal in a noisy music store just randomly hitting the cymbal. With me I know what my ear likes, and usually if I know the composition of the cymbal it most likely works out. It's not really a trained ear, its just physics. I started with a cymbal pack, Paiste PST8s, I got a universal set and it was generally acceptable. Most drummers will want to tweet, but the quality was great. I know Paiste you can get a Cymbal pack at all levels, so the fact that the cymbal is in a pack doesn't really speak for it's quality, there are all levels of packs. I think if I knew what someone wanted I could easily steer them to a cymbal they would love. I know I like a ride cymbal with a distinctive ping and crisp bell. So I know I need one that's on the heavy side. I know I like crisp crash cymbal with a quick decay, so I tend to like a bigger and thinner cymbal. Right now I am experimenting with 15" hats. I usually like crisp sounding hats (14" Sound Edge), who doesn't. The 15s aren't as crisp but they do mix well with the acoustics of my kit, much more subdued. Anyway just my 2 cents.
 

K.O.

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I'm not sure how you could actually make a determination on any one cymbal in a noisy music store just randomly hitting the cymbal. With me I know what my ear likes, and usually if I know the composition of the cymbal it most likely works out. It's not really a trained ear, its just physics. I started with a cymbal pack, Paiste PST8s, I got a universal set and it was generally acceptable. Most drummers will want to tweet, but the quality was great. I know Paiste you can get a Cymbal pack at all levels, so the fact that the cymbal is in a pack doesn't really speak for it's quality, there are all levels of packs. I think if I knew what someone wanted I could easily steer them to a cymbal they would love. I know I like a ride cymbal with a distinctive ping and crisp bell. So I know I need one that's on the heavy side. I know I like crisp crash cymbal with a quick decay, so I tend to like a bigger and thinner cymbal. Right now I am experimenting with 15" hats. I usually like crisp sounding hats (14" Sound Edge), who doesn't. The 15s aren't as crisp but they do mix well with the acoustics of my kit, much more subdued. Anyway just my 2 cents.
I'm talking primarily about cast cymbals. Paiste and the like are much more consistent and that makes it easier if someone is considering those. But having started out as a "Zildjian guy" even as a young lad I now tend not to ever think in terms of Paiste (although I do own a few).

Generally I can tell with just a tap or two whether a cymbal requires further investigation. The ones that pass that initial test still have to jump some additional hurdles before I'll buy it but that's a starting point and most don't qualify to what I want right there. I can't really even verbally define what sound I'm seeking but I know it when I hear it. So it's "nope, nope,nope, hmmm, maybe, nope, nope, nope".
That's just me though and, frankly it's been a long time since I've bought a cymbal. I have too many as it is. Ever since the local Music Go Round closed it took the fun out of it because I'm not going to pay Guitar Center prices for stuff I don't actually need.
 


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