These are indeed nice, I hear a clear bell/bridge tone colour that is not always as present with As, some are more muted. Listened to many soundfiles at MAxwell's site back when he sold vintage cymbals there. No, they didn't all sound like that.
They vary in weight by leaps and bounds. It's kinda tough to hone in on a "pair". I've found that if you have a small stack of them in the same size, you can usually get the "perfect" set for whatever you happen to be playing at the time. I've never been a fan of Zildian's due to that reason alone. But you can't argue the sound once you snag the perfect pair amidst that stack. I have a set (several individuals) of 15s that cook. I enjoy them every now and again.
You can’t go much wrong with vintage As, and remember you can mix and match. Suppose you find a pair of new beats, then get an extra “top” cymbal. Then you have a matched weight pair and a new beat pair. Would probably cover literally any situation.
When it comes to 15 a’s I prefer matched pair (within 50 g)
50’s small stamp Around 900g for the buttery smooth and siZzling sound. There’s so many orphans out there to choose from you could spend a lifetime sampling. I’ve just saved you a lot of time and money.
I've had about half dozen pair of 1950's 15 A's. Pretty matched factory pairs of 600's, 700's, 800's, and 900's. All sounded great....and very similar. The only real difference was the strength of
the foot "chup." The stick sound was always that old style washy vibe. My best pair of "working" 15's weren't any of those matched pairs but rather a mixed set of 30's/early 40's mid 700's with 3 rivets in each.
They wash well and even cut like mini new beats because of those rivets. Best of both worlds. Best 15 new beats I've had were in that 900-1050/1300-1400 gm range.
Out of the entire spectrum of vintage Zildjians, I'd say the 50's A's hi hats in any size from 12 to 15 are very consistent. Pick the weights and 80-90% of the time they sound just like you'd expect. And they sound a lot better
when a player like Franco is working on them. Note also that Franco has a great recording set up. I've never heard him play a recorded cymbal or drum that didn't sound amazing.
Something tells me that in person, that sound would not equal the recorded version.
I’ll definitely always have a pair of traditional new beats (heavier bottom) in addition to matched weight types of hats. It’s nice to choose. If I’m doing things that require a lot of foot stomping, then the new beat shine there. Or if I’m doing funky hi hat barks ala Andy Newmark…new beats. If I want Ringo sloshy, I’ll use a thinner matched pair instead.
I lucked into a used, inexpensive set of ss '50s 14s at a local music store last year. 700/800g. Fantastic. That was my first real set of matched '50s As. Warm, lots of sizzle, vibey, super responsive.
It prompted me to sell my Kerope 15s and look for a set of 15" '50s As. Found a sweet set online - ss 900/990g. Equally awesome.
These thin old A hats are great for recording with minimal mics. They have presence without being overbearing in volume or harsh. They sit in the mix really nicely. Obviously sweet on lower-volume gigs, too.
Zildjian A hats/early new beats are THE sound of hi hats to me. So precise and buttery and smooth. I've almost tried to own other reputable hats, but then I hear demos online and compare them to Zildjian a NBs and that's it.
Right now I'm rocking some 60s, both in the 800s g range, 70s hollow logo quick beats 1200/1000ish range and late 80s pretty heavy. They all rule and I could play any combo at any gig or recording session and feel confident they will sound great.
I have 3.5 sets of old A hats. One is a light set of 60s hats, one is a 70s New Beat pair, and the other 1.5 is 3 orphan 15s that I can mix/match. I've probably owned a few dozen sets of old A hats...these are the winners.