K Zidljian v. Sabian HH 20" Rides

Old Drummer

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After describing a ride cymbal sound I'm looking for on another thread and receiving many good recommendations, I couldn't help notice that six different forum members recommended the plain K Zildjian. This was a lot of votes for one cymbal, and of 13 other recommendations, two votes was the most any other cymbal received. I therefore looked into the plain K. Based upon a zillion sound files and one real life test, I see the merits of the plain K. As long as it's not too heavy (my real life test) the plain K does seem to cover several bases adequately.

But then I found myself wondering about the plain Sabian HH rides. Aren't these roughly the same as the plain K Zildjian rides? Historically I gather they were, given that they were made in the same Canadian factory by the same workers using presumably the same process as were the first K's made in North America. Maybe over time the two cymbals began to diverge somewhat, but I note that while Zildjian reverted to a more traditional North American K sometime around 2000, a few years later Sabian did the same thing with its remastered HH series. As a result, I'd guess that both companies' cymbals are about the same again.

However, when I listen to sound files of the remastered Sabian HH rides, I don't hear the variety of sounds that I hear in the sound files of the newer K Zildjians. Specifically, the Sabian HH rides sound one-dimensional. All I hear is a ping and a bell. By contrast, I'm hearing more wash in the K Zildjians, at least as the volume increases, though a good stick sound too.

It could be of course that the sound files I listened to aren't representative, and there aren't many of the plain Sabian HH rides. Those I heard were also heavier. Although they were labeled medium, they were actually medium-heavy and almost heavy according to the online cymbal weight calculator. Actually, the K Zildjians seem to run a little heavy too--maybe it's the nature of this kind of cymbal--but seemingly the K Zildjians aren't as heavy on the average as the HH Sabians. Or at least that's what I found among the sound files.

I'm buying online. (My local shop has neither). Although I'm buying used of course, I have to pay international shipping plus import taxes, so will take a loss on any cymbal I flip. I therefore want to be careful. The HH Sabians seem a little cheaper on the average than the K Zildjians, and the lower prices appeal to me, but my sense from the sound files is that I prefer the K Zildjian.

Does anyone have an opinion (ideally based on experience) about the differences between these two cymbals in head-to-head comparisons?
 

egw

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While they're both their respective company's "dark" lines, before they came out with the more boutique stuff, they are a bit different in the way they're made. As far as I understand, Zildjian K's are made in more of a traditional fashion (hammered, then lathed), but the Sabian HH line is made like a regular cymbal, but then given another round of superficial hand-hammering post lathing.

I may be wrong, but I believe that to be the case.
 

DrumSmith

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Yep, I had an HH ride and I now have a K 20". They are similar in character. My K has more wash than the HH did.
The HH I had was the Raw Bell Dry Ride and it was fantastic. The K might be more versatile for different styles, but it's a fine line.

I have read your post twice and I can't tell what you're looking for, exactly. But to sum up, the HH had more stick sound, less wash, and was a great rock ride. The K is similar in tone and feel but to my ears is more musical, and you can crash it if you're into that kinda thing. I doubt the HH would have crashed without a 2B stick.
 

Seb77

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I dsay just listen around until you find what you like. Maybe include some more models in that medium weight range.

I would love to see the K rides getting the same "diet" treatment, thinner/lighter weight, as the A line got. They also seem a bit stiff/high/one-dimensional. Maybe it's a cymbal sound a lot of people like, but to me not really what K stands for (lower tones mostly).
 

funkypoodle

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I've been playing my 90's plain K Ride for close to a decade now, usually with HHX crashes all around. I've wanted a Sabian ride for years now, just to round out the set, but the right one (at the right price) hasn't presented itself. I'd love either a late 90's HHX Studio Ride (hard to come by) or an HHX Groove Ride. That said, it's GAS talking because the K Ride has covered so much ground so well. It's very "middle-of-the-road", but not in a bad way. It's got good stick definition without being bright, It's darkish without getting lost, It has wash without getting over washy, it's loud enough for a rock gig but subtle enough for a ballad & the bell has a nice ping to it without being too overbearing.
 

Old Drummer

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I dsay just listen around until you find what you like. Maybe include some more models in that medium weight range.

I would love to see the K rides getting the same "diet" treatment, thinner/lighter weight, as the A line got. They also seem a bit stiff/high/one-dimensional. Maybe it's a cymbal sound a lot of people like, but to me not really what K stands for (lower tones mostly).
Yep, after posting my question, I listened sound files of the pre-remastered Sabian HH rides. From those sound files, I frankly couldn't hear any difference between the Sabians and the Zildjians. It appears that the sound files of the remastered Sabians I listened to just happened be of heavier cymbals and the difference I was hearing was the weights rather than the brands. I therefore conclude that my OP was wrong and matched pairs of cymbals from the two companies are darn near indistinguishable, at least by me.

I also pulled the trigger and bought an older HH Sabian. Although I don't like the older Sabian logo and by background am inclined to prefer Zildjian, Sabians seem cheaper. In negotiations for both a Sabian and a Zildjian that struck me as similar cymbals, the strike price for the Sabian was $45 lower than the Zildjian. What the heck, I'll save the $45 plus taxes on that amount. It will probably be 2-3 weeks before the cymbal arrives, though, so I won't know for sure what I bought until then.

As for putting these cymbals on a diet, I'm curious about this too. For some reason these lines tend to run heavier than some others. I'm sure this isn't accident and there's some scientific explanation, but I don't know what it is.
 

D. B. Cooper

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I've been playing my 90's plain K Ride for close to a decade now, usually with HHX crashes all around. I've wanted a Sabian ride for years now, just to round out the set, but the right one (at the right price) hasn't presented itself. I'd love either a late 90's HHX Studio Ride (hard to come by) or an HHX Groove Ride. That said, it's GAS talking because the K Ride has covered so much ground so well. It's very "middle-of-the-road", but not in a bad way. It's got good stick definition without being bright, It's darkish without getting lost, It has wash without getting over washy, it's loud enough for a rock gig but subtle enough for a ballad & the bell has a nice ping to it without being too overbearing.
I had 22" K Ride a long time ago. It was a nice cymbal, but it was a little too one dimensional for me. It didn't crash very well and was a bit too stiff and gongy. That was a late 90's cymbal, I think.

Ya know, the K Lights seem a little too stiff to me as well.
 

CC Cirillo

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I don’t have any experience with the Sabian, but I think I have the K to which you refer(?) 20 inches and it just says “Ride”. Mine is a little north of 2400 grams, which I guess maybe on the line between medium and medium heavy, perhaps more portly than you’d prefer.

For me , whenever anyone describes a cymbal with a “good mix of stick definition and wash” I think of this cymbal. It’s as if there is always a little soup base of miso broth under the sound of the cymbal when I play it. But: The ping is defined, like a nice little bite of ginger.

For a long time this was my main ride—funk and covers, mic’d and un’mic’d, it worked pretty well, despite my occasional lack of finesse. Simpler times, I only had two rides, one for gigs and one for rehearsals. The “Ride” was not good at more intimate rehearsals, but saw all the gig time. It’s crash is what I call a “one bar crash”. It’s actually a nice tone but you’ve got to use it judiciously and give it a measure.
Soundwise the next closest ride to it, to my ear, is my Custom Dark Ride. The undertones seem very similar, with the “Ride” having a slightly higher ping and more inherent volume than the Custom.

This is the only ride I’ve ever bought new. I pulled it out to snap a picture for you and was struck by how much patina it’s getting. In my mind it is will always be that incredibly shiny young cymbal.
Natural:
9A65A2BC-EF9D-4254-9749-EA6ED957F919.jpeg
Noir:
6CEF10DA-CCA0-44CF-9626-D7C0203AC42A.jpeg
 

ThomFloor

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I also pulled the trigger and bought an older HH Sabian.
If its pre2000 with the block small capital letters they are a nice lighter weight....and crashable. Those are the best years for HH.
 

Old Drummer

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I have an HH Light Ride for sale listed on this site.....fyi it's a 20 too.
Unfortunately, I already threw (more) money at a heavier HH, which I think will suit me better, but I'm curious about yours. I'll check your listing again for a sound file (there wasn't one before when I checked). Meanwhile, I'd be interested in your opinion of it. It seems like it's almost a HH jazz ride, albeit not labeled as such.
 

bcrain

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I can try to email you a sound file I did on my iPhone -I can send a downloaded iCloud file. Just need the email address.
 

bcrain

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Unfortunately, I already threw (more) money at a heavier HH, which I think will suit me better, but I'm curious about yours. I'll check your listing again for a sound file (there wasn't one before when I checked). Meanwhile, I'd be interested in your opinion of it. It seems like it's almost a HH jazz ride, albeit not labeled as such.
With rivets it can sound jazzy for sure- but it’s a dark dry woody sound that could be used for many styles.
 

bolweevil

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I like the older (80s) Sabian HH models. To my ear they were better sounding than any Ks I tested them against. Of course that was a small sample of specific cymbal vs cymbal, and what you hear is different than me or anyone else. My .02
 


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