The drum industry known to be a highly competitive sector. There are a lot of cymbal manufacturers out there and many of them are producing high-quality cymbals for a wide variety of drumming styles.
With so many choices on the market, though, it can be really difficult to find the perfect cymbal brand for you. Remember, different companies have different pros and cons, and some manufacturers only make cymbals for a certain type of drumming.
Zildjian and Sabian are of course the top 2 best cymbal brands. If it were not for a family dispute that caused the family business to split into two companies, it would be at the top of the list. But don’t let that fool you because Paiste, Meinl, Wuhan, Stagg, and Istanbul are some of the best cymbal brands in the world.
Sure, they don’t stack up to Sabian or Zildjian, but then again, who does? If you can’t find what you are looking for in any of those companies, then you should check out Dream, Soultone, and Bosphorus, as they are also among the top cymbal manufacturers.
In this article, we will go over the best cymbal brands available today. We will also discuss some of the best models from each one of the brands.
Top Cymbal Brands
Zildjian is probably the most popular cymbal brand on the market today. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found this cymbal brand at the top of many other lists. Even if they are not a drummer, any musician has heard of Zildjian.
This world-famous cymbal brand was originally established by Avedis Zildjian in Turkey back in 1623. These days, you can find the Zildjian company headquarters in Norwell, Massachusetts.
Zildjian’s best selling cymbals are, by far, its A and K series. Like many other Zildjian cymbals, their K and K Custom cymbals seriously kick!
Anyone who knows anything about drumming will tell you that these cymbals have an iconicly dry sound that has that classic Zildjan dark overtone. These are some of the most-saught-after cymbals for professional recording studios as they are well suited for jazz and other mellow settings.
Zildjian is one of the best cymbal brands on the market and they make some of the finest, most high-quality hardware you can get. So, its no surprise that their cymbals cost a little more than others.
The company is known for staying in touch with its fans by doing Ziljdian live performances throughout the year of 2020.
This is really where a lot of the company’s recent popularity has come from. Its no wonder these videos were so popular, after all, they featured top drummers playing with professional bands. That kind of thing is going to get a lot of attention.
Sabian is, of course, Zildjian’s arch nemesis. This cymbal brand was started in 1981 in Canada and is still headquartered there. For a little backstory, the person who started Sabian is actually the brother of the founder of Zildjian.
They had inherited the business from their father but had conflicting visions on where the brand should go. So, that altercation resulted in Robert Zildjian starting his very own cymbal company.
Sabian’s most popular line of cymbals are without a doubt its HH and AA series. For comparison, you could say that Sabian’s AAX and HHX are on-par with Zildjian’s A and K Custom lines. The HH cymbals have a darkness to them while Sabian’s AA cymbals are loud and very bright.
While Sabian cymbals may not be as popular as they used to be, they’re still endorsed by some some of the best drummers on the planet.
Sabian didn’t take to social media as well as Zidljian and Meinl did, so for that reason, this cymbal brand has sort-of faded into obscurity.
It’s harder to find high-quality videos of drummers using Sabian cymbals because the company just doesn’t really put much out there. One look at their YouTube channel will show that its not populated nearly as much as other top cymbal brands.
That doesn’t mean Sabian’s doesn’t make cymbals, though. In fact, Sabian is still one of the top cymbal brands there are. A lot of metal drummers swear by their gear, but the problem is that you just don’t see that much.
Paiste is a somewhat less-known cymbal brand that is headquartered in Switzerland. The company was started all the way back in 1906 and since then, the company has garnered a reputation for being able to produce some seriously high-quality gear. The problem is, most of the time high-quality also means a high price.
The most popular cymbal models that Paiste offers are its Signature Series and 2002 Series. This brand’s Signature cymbals are used by many recording studios and jazz drummers all over the world. The company’s 2002 cymbals mainly used by hard rock and drummers.
One thing you will notice is that Paiste cymbals are most popular among Canadian drummers. That is thanks, in part, due to the fact that Drumeo runs the biggest drum education platform in the world and they are based in Canada.
While Meinl never reached the level of popularity as some of the previously mentioned brands, they have come a long way recently.
This company was started way back in 1951 in Germany. They have done a lot of really innovative social media campaigns and have managed to get many popular drummers to recommend their products.
Cymbals by this brand are known to have a dry and short tones and feature unique, unlathed finishes. Professional drummers Benny Greb and Jost Nickel starting using their cymbals and since then, Meinl seriously started gaining some traction.
The Byzance Series is definitely Meinl’s most popular family of cymbals. These cymbals have a totally unique, completely unlathed surfaces, so they stand out in just about any setup.
If you are looking for low cost cymbals that are still high quality, then Wuhan is what you are looking for. One problem that some people seem to have with Wuhan cymbals is their lack of consistency. There have been a handful of reported cases in which people have purchased two of the same cymbal and they didn’t produce the same sound.
Despite some manufacturing difficulties, these are some of the best cymbals you can get. Wuhan’s most popular family of cymbals is their Traditional series. These are described to have a classic cymbal tone that has a bit of a seedy element to it. These cymbals are bright and will be heard loud and clear in just about any mix.
If you are looking for something just a little brighter, then you might want to check out the Rock series. One of the best thing about Wuhan cymbals is that they are cheap to replace. So, that means you don’t really have to worried about hitting them too hard.
Stagg is probably one of the least popular cymbal brands there is. Stagg cymbals are generally found on beginner and entry-level drum kits. Don’t let that give you the wrong idea, though. Stagg does indeed make several high-quality ranges of cymbals that are competitive with some of the best cymbals on the market.
Stagg was started back in 1995 and you may want to consider the fact that this cymbal brand makes a whole lot more than just cymbals alone. So, because of the fact that this company produce such a wide range of gear and instruments, that makes it somewhat more understandable that their cymbals aren’t super well-know.
Staggs is great cymbal brand to look into you are a beginner or a seasoned drummer who is just looking for some cymbals that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
Agop Istanbul Agop was started back in 1980 in Turkey. There is something unique about the symbols this company makes. They are made with a top-secret alloy only known to the owners of the company.
The special alloy is what gives these cymbals their signature, unique sound that totally and entirely different from any other cymbal brand on the market. Istanbul cymbals are, like Dream, used by many jazz and rock drummers alike. This, of course, comes thanks to the legendary overtones and nuances that these cymbals have.
If you are looking for a great set of cymbals by this brand, the first ones you need to look at are the Clap Stack line. These are effects cymbals and are widely used amongst drummers of all kinds. That is because these are some of the only cymbals in the world that sound like a hand clap.
This brand was established in 2005 and coincidentally, their products are manufactured in a factory located in Wuhan, China.
Dream cymbals generally produce tones that lean more towards jazz drumming. This is most of the time you only see jazz drummers playing with Dream cymbals. With that being said, these are some of the best cymbals for jazz drumming.
Dream’s most popular series is, by far, their Bliss line of cymbals. These cymbals are made entirely by hand, so that includes both the forging and hammering processes. This ensures that the instrument is able to produce beautiful tones. These cymbals can be described as very warm and have a notable dark overtone to them.
Another popular range of Dream cymbals is their Dream Ignition family.
Soultone cymbals are headquartered in LA and were established in 2003 These cymbals are super popular in the Gospel drummer community because they are known to produce crisp, bright tones that are fantastic for high-energy playing.
One thing to note is that this company does have a bit of a bad reputation. They are known for giving out some pretty lackluster endorsements to drummers. For example, Soultone may endorse a drummer, but they will still make them pay almost full price for their cymbals.
If you are more into jazz drumming than any other style, then you’ve got to check out Bosphorus cymbals. Bosphorus was started in 1996 by 3 Turkish cymbal smiths. All of their cymbals are entirely hand-made, which gives each and every one of them a unique sound and its own personal properties.
This company makes 4 lines of cymbals which are the Turk Series, Traditional Series, Syncopation Series, and Master Vintage. Each of these cymbals feature a similar earthy finish that is a lot like the Byzance lines from Meinl.
Unlike the other cymbal brands mentioned on this list, Bosphorus cymbals are pretty much exclusively used for jazz. So, you wont find anything in their lineup that is good for anything heavy like rock and roll.
Because of the fact that the drum industry is so competitive, there are a ton of cymbal manufacturers on the market. So, if you don’t know what to look for, it can be rather difficult and somewhat overwhelming to pick the best cymbals.
Zildjian and Sabian make the best cymbals money can buy, but don’t be afraid of the other cymbal brands, as they have some excellent products on offer as well. Cymbals by Meinl, Paiste, Wuhan, Istanbul, and Stagg are some of the best that you can get.
One of the best thing about buying cymbals from those brands is that they are often a lot cheaper than their Sabian or Zildjian counterparts. There are still more options if you can’t find the perfect cymbals in any of those companies. As a backup, you should check out cymbals by Soultone, Dream, and Bosphorus.
Remember, each brand has its pros and cons and some cymbals are only made for a certain type of music. When it comes to finding the best ones, it really comes to to your own personal experiences and preferences, along with the type of music you play. We hope this article helped you find the best cymbals for your use-case!