Sabian - changed my mind.

MBB

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
1,197
Reaction score
142
Location
San Rafael, CA
I have always had a strange negative feeling about Sabian. Not real logical since I never owned any in over 50 years of on and off playing. My bias really was with the "look". I have always really disliked all surface area the ink that the logo and type of cymbal crap they stamp on them take up. That said, I went to my local shop last week to match a different crash to my gigging set up. I use an Istanbul ride and ride/crash (basically good for both like old school cymbals). I was using a Paiste fast crash or a Zildjian K Constantiople, neither of which blended real well with my Istanbuls. We set up my cymbals and started adding the crashes. After trying a number of cymbals, different brands, sizes etc I found the perfect match with a Sabian medium thin hand hammered 17 incher. Who knew? Sounds great. Matches the complexity of the other two.
 

dtk

DFO Star
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
9,361
Reaction score
1,050
Location
Northbridge MA
In the 80s I cracked a 16" crash (one of the few I've ever cracked) and I replaced it with a Sabian HH thin. For most of the last two decades i was afraid to use it....but over the last few years I've scored older HHs (a 17 and two 18s, one of them Orchestral)...oddly since I real like Sabian I've never had a ride from them I was over the moon about. I did use a VFX 19" Ride in a garage band but when that band stopped playing...my love for it stopped as well. These days I use a VFX 14" Flat ride for a coffee house gig and I'm using a 20" AAX Omni for an original new wave band...but I really need to hear that cymbal from the house....the old HHs are magic though.
 

healthie1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
248
Reaction score
115
I have tended to lean towards Zildjian, I think mostly because I've got the most experience with clunkier Sabian's (B8, AA) and high-end Zildjians. Aside from vintage zildjian 20" rides, the 2nd most commony cymbal I've acquired from buying/selling drum sets is a 16" sabian AA, and I really don't like these.

Some of their cymbals are rad. I love the 21" raw -bell dry ride, 16" el sabor crash, and some of the HH stuff is pretty nice if memory serves. My first nice crash cymbal was a 15" Sabian AAX, and that line is great. I picked up a 20" AAX stadium ride with a raw bell in a trade, and it's a great, musical rock ride.

On my personal shopping list is a raw-bell dry ride, any of the el sabor cymbals, and an 18" or 19" HH crash.
 

Latdrummer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2021
Messages
101
Reaction score
99
Location
-
Sabian makes some fine cymbals, and as a company they’re very innovative (as opposed to Zildjian that capitalizes on tradition). HHX and AAX lines for example don’t have real competitors from other brands, they’re unique in sound and craftsmanship (and no, AAX isn’t Sabian alternative to A Custom).

HH sound very soft and “turkish”, even more so than K, I understand why your new HH crash blended well with your Istanbuls.
 

healthie1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
248
Reaction score
115
Sabian makes some fine cymbals, and as a company they’re very innovative (as opposed to Zildjian that capitalizes on tradition). HHX and AAX lines for example don’t have real competitors from other brands, they’re unique in sound and craftsmanship (and no, AAX isn’t Sabian alternative to A Custom).

HH sound very soft and “turkish”, even more so than K, I understand why your new HH crash blended well with your Istanbuls.
That's interesting, is there something distinct between the AAX to A custom? I would call them pretty close.
 

Latdrummer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2021
Messages
101
Reaction score
99
Location
-
That's interesting, is there something distinct between the AAX to A custom? I would call them pretty close.
Yes, A custom are brighter and more cutting than AAX (if you compare same weights), the hammering, lathing and specially the bell and profile are different (bell on the A custom crashes is pretty big and the profile is very tall, that’s what makes them so bright). On the other hand AAX line has a wider variety of sounds, some of them even dark or more full bodied.
 

coyote

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
26
Location
USA
My first cymbals were Zildjian. Old ones that I got around 1974, and had obviously been round for decades already. A 20” ride, 14” hats, and a 22” crash! The hats sounded good, but the other two did not. I eventually sold them all as a set. But I of course started adding prior to selling them. And that was when Sabian first started, and immediately their cymbals appealed to me. Far more than most Zildjians, and they were pretty consistent in overall character. And then I was doing a tour, and Sabian wanted some visibility on that tour so they gave me a few cymbals. And those all sounded excellent.

To this day, Sabian is the backbone of my setup. Currently an 18” Sabian AA crash-ride is in the ‘ride’ position in my set, and it performs both functions VERY well in the current jazz context (and it has a great bell!). My hats are half Sabian, half Zildjian. Used to be all Sabian, but I needed a lighter set for jazz. So the top of the Sabian set became the bottom of the new configuration, and an old Zildjian 14” medium-thin cymbal is now the top. Sounds very much like Buddy’s hats in the 1980s. I also have, in my most-used crash location, a Sabian 16” AAX dark crash which, again, actually works very well for both crash and ride functions. I use the Promark Sizzler on that one, and it sounds great.

I’ve had their Sizzle hats, a 16“ Vault crash, an 18” AA SoundControl crash-ride, and a couple others in the past. The only one I disliked was the Octagon. It was a sound for which I couldn’t find use in any music I was playing, and certainly would not fit what I’m doing now. All the others have been fantastic.

(the other cymbals in this pic are a Zildjian 16” crash, and Agazarian 10” splash.)
1637676208293.jpeg
 
Last edited:

NobleCooleyNut

DFO Veteran
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
1,956
Reaction score
3,275
I used Zildjian for the first 20 years or so of my drumming life , I went to Sabian for a few years . Then the Paiste bug but me and Paiste has been my favourite cymbal line . I have dallied with Agop, Mehmet too . Paiste is still my favourite cymbals , but I still have a full set of Sabian cymbals (Artisan and HHX Complex) and I like them too . I see quite a few cymbals at my local shop and the most consistently good cymbals are Paiste and Sabian (at least to my ear).
 

coyote

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
26
Location
USA
I used Zildjian for the first 20 years or so of my drumming life , I went to Sabian for a few years . Then the Paiste bug but me and Paiste has been my favourite cymbal line . I have dallied with Agop, Mehmet too . Paiste is still my favourite cymbals , but I still have a full set of Sabian cymbals (Artisan and HHX Complex) and I like them too . I see quite a few cymbals at my local shop and the most consistently good cymbals are Paiste and Sabian (at least to my ear).
I have a 2002 18” ride that I got back around 1986. Was my main ride until just a couple years ago. Great rock/pop ride cymbal… but I’ve never really encountered Paiste cymbals that I like for jazz. They might exist out there; I’ve just never seen/heard one in person.
 

peter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
129
Reaction score
102
Absolutely. Their Hand Hammered cymbals used to have really a very light sprinkling of hammering, which might have contributed to your negative impression (especially if you were coming at this from an Istanbul and KCON perspective). But they've been hammering them 'out of the park' the last several years.
 

Old Drummer

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
870
Reaction score
816
I have the same prejudice against Sabian, and maybe worse. One of the reasons is probably their logo, which I hated, though I believe they have finally changed it. Another reason is that I associated Sabian with the younger drummers who started after me. Sabian seemed an upstart kid company while I considered Zildjian the real deal.

However, my prejudice was exactly that, and completely unfounded. (Well, it was justified based on the logo.) Between Sabian and Zildjian now, I almost think Sabian is better. It also is Zildjian, whatever that means.

But I confess that my prejudice hasn't completely gone away. Today I only own one Sabian but four Zildjians. In fairness, I previously owned a Sabian AA that I really didn't like. The AA series is not for me, and that soured me. But I own a HH and previously owned another, and they're good. Sabian also has some more unique cymbals that intrigue me and I'd like to try. It's just hard to shake old prejudices.
 

coyote

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
26
Location
USA
The one thing I have always, ALWAYS done where music is concerned is to use my ears to judge what’s good and what’s not. Brand name? Don’t care.
 

healthie1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
248
Reaction score
115
I have the same prejudice against Sabian, and maybe worse. One of the reasons is probably their logo, which I hated, though I believe they have finally changed it. Another reason is that I associated Sabian with the younger drummers who started after me. Sabian seemed an upstart kid company while I considered Zildjian the real deal.

However, my prejudice was exactly that, and completely unfounded. (Well, it was justified based on the logo.) Between Sabian and Zildjian now, I almost think Sabian is better. It also is Zildjian, whatever that means.

But I confess that my prejudice hasn't completely gone away. Today I only own one Sabian but four Zildjians. In fairness, I previously owned a Sabian AA that I really didn't like. The AA series is not for me, and that soured me. But I own a HH and previously owned another, and they're good. Sabian also has some more unique cymbals that intrigue me and I'd like to try. It's just hard to shake old prejudices.
The AA crashes I've used are gongy, AA hats are uninspired. Some of the rides are pretty good rock-rides/ping/groovey rides.
 

scheme

Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2020
Messages
14
Reaction score
7
One of the reasons is probably their logo, which I hated, though I believe they have finally changed it.
They made the logo even worse, in my opinion, the new logo is exactly targeting the younger audience.

Anyways, I always thought that I‘m the only one who has this irrational prejudice against Sabian :)
 

coyote

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
34
Reaction score
26
Location
USA
The AA crashes I've used are gongy, AA hats are uninspired. Some of the rides are pretty good rock-rides/ping/groovey rides.
Ain’t it funny, I found just the opposite with the AA crashes. Which is why I find Sabians so appealing. What size, thickness etc did you try?
 

drummerjohn333

DFO Veteran
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
2,771
Reaction score
305
Location
Michigan
Ain’t it funny, I found just the opposite with the AA crashes. Which is why I find Sabians so appealing. What size, thickness etc did you try?
Since 1993 I have had a pair of AA crashes, brilliant finish, no ink at all. They are nice and thin, thinner than most Zildjian As.....just perfect IMHO. I believe they are early ones.
 


Top