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Crash-ride cymbals offer the best of both worlds. Benefiting from both distinctive ride sounds and explosive crash cymbal-like characteristics, crash-ride cymbals are extremely versatile.
A crash-ride cymbal is a great investment for any drummer looking for a great-sounding, versatile cymbal. Or for a drummer who wants to take fewer cymbals to gigs while still having a range of sounds.
Crash-ride cymbals are very fun to play, and they help to create a more comfortable, streamlined setup. They are particularly great for louder styles of music, where crash-riding is a distinctive part of the drumming style.
In this guide, we’ll look at the best crash-ride cymbals to incorporate within your drum set. I’ve compared their sonic characteristics across different areas of performance, as well as cost, to give you my top recommendations.
What are the Best Crash Ride Cymbals?
In-Depth Crash Ride Cymbal Reviews
The legendary Zildjian K Crash Ride Cymbal is the perfect crash-ride cymbal that boasts exceptional sound qualities and is incredibly versatile.
This crash-ride cymbal sounds truly fantastic. When riding on the bow of the cymbal it delivers a clean stick definition and smooth sounds, and as a crash cymbal, it bursts to life with lots of clarity and projection.
The Zildjian K crash ride is articulate and responsive. It truly has an array of beautiful sonic characteristics and a medium-low pitch that is perfectly balanced.
The K range of cymbals is Zildjian’s flagship range of professional B20 bronze cymbals that have dark and complex sound characteristics.
They are musical, versatile and some of the finest musical instruments in modern music.
- B20 bronze alloy
- Medium thin weight
- Exceptional sound qualities
- The best crash ride cymbal for all musical styles
- Explosive and dark crash sounds
- Beautiful sonic characteristics
- Premium price tag
The Paiste 20 PST7 Light Ride Cymbal is a stunning, lightweight cymbal model that produces a rich variety of sounds. This cymbal is supremely responsive and full-bodied and has the perfect balance of stick definition and sustain.
The overall sound of the Paiste PST7 light ride cymbal is somewhat quiet, but it really opens up when crashed loudly. This cymbal has a versatile sound that makes it perfect for rock, pop, jazz, blues, and hip hop.
When played on the bow, the cymbal produces an expressive and washy ride cymbal sound. It has a bright and airy note. The bell is remarkably clear and it produces a beautiful tone.
When the cymbal is struck on the edge it offers a really full and strong sound. It is a washy but explosive crash cymbal that has lots of punch.
This is a highly functional ride that serves incredibly well as a crash ride because it’s a lightweight bronze cymbal. It’s a super dynamic and clean cymbal that sounds fantastic for a variety of musical applications.
- CuSn8 bronze alloy
- Thin weight
- Warm and mellow sounds
- Bright, gentle and airy tones
- Strong crash with articulate and clean bell sound
- Supremely responsive and versatile crash ride cymbal
- Not quite as mellow as B20 bronze cymbals
This professional-quality Meinl Classics Custom Crash Ride Cymbal is a fantastic crash-ride cymbal for the money. It is an excellent all-around performer that delivers killer sounds at a killer price.
This cymbal offers the best of both worlds. When played with the tip of the stick it produces clean and articulate ride sounds from the bell and the bow of the cymbal. Once the edge of the cymbal is struck it proceeds to explode with lots of character and volume.
This cymbal has an excellent stick definition, and the bell of the cymbal has a clear and definitive ping sound that is bright and musical.
This crash-ride cymbal makes a great choice for both beginners and working professionals. This cymbal possesses dynamic, musical, and complex sound characteristics that exceed its price point.
The Meinl classics custom crash ride is forged from a premium B10 bronze alloy and possesses a unique finish that contributes to its beautiful dark sounds.
If you want the best crash-ride cymbal that offers premium and versatile sounds, and at an affordable price, then this is one of the best options for you.
- B10 bronze alloy
- Medium weight
- Earthy, raw tones
- Excellent all-round performer
- Full-bodied tone and wide dynamic range
- Best crash ride cymbal for the money
- Bright and cutting sound won't suit all styles of music
The Meinl HCS Crash Ride Cymbal is the best crash-ride cymbal for students and beginners looking to discover their own sound behind the drum set. This budget-priced cymbal delivers a full range of sounds and is suitable for a variety of musical styles.
The Meinl HCS range of cymbals delivers bright and clean sounds and this 18” crash ride model is no exception. Unlike other cheap brass cymbals, this cymbal speaks with a musical and articulate voice.
This cymbal has a clean stick definition when played on the bow or bell with the drumstick and it has a bright and explosive crash sound when played on the edge of the cymbal too.
This crash-ride cymbal has the complete package and delivers quality sounds across each area. For the beginner drummer, this really is the best crash ride on the market.
Meinl’s HCS cymbals are designed and manufactured in Germany, and they carry a full 2-year guarantee against workmanship defects.
- Brass alloy
- Medium weight
- Designed for beginners
- Clean stick definition and bright crash sounds
- Full range of sounds for different musical styles
- Best crash ride cymbal for beginners
- Affordable brass alloy is inferior to bronze cymbals
- Lacks premium sonics
The Zildjian I Series Crash Ride Cymbal is another good-sounding option for enthusiastic beginners.
This cymbal performs well as both a ride cymbal and a crash cymbal and produces a range of bright sounds that cut through all styles of music.
Offering Zildjian’s legendary quality at an affordable price, this cymbal has a bright, full-bodied sound that has just the right balance of wash and decay.
Riding on the bow and the bell of this cymbal produces a clean and defined sound, and the crash sound of this cymbal is bright and cutting.
The Zildjian I Series crash ride cymbal is one of the best entry-level crash rides on the market, and it performs well in any musical situation.
- B8 bronze alloy
- Medium weight
- Bright and cutting sounds
- Clean and defined ride and bell
- Excellent beginner crash ride cymbal
- Good balance of wash and decay
- Inferior to expensive Zildjian cymbal lines
- Lacks premium sound overall
What to Look for in a Crash Ride Cymbal
Crash-ride cymbals are super versatile. They have a lot to offer for drummers, with a range of sonic textures to choose from.
If you’re short on space or money, or you possibly want to reduce the number of cymbals you take with you to shows, you can buy a crash-ride cymbal that can serve in numerous ways!
The best crash-ride cymbal will have a good stick definition when played with the tip of the stick on the bow, much like a regular ride cymbal. It should also have a clean bell sound when struck with either the tip or the shoulder of the drumstick.
In addition to a well-defined ride cymbal sound, a crash ride cymbal will also have the benefit of being able to explode like a crash cymbal when played more aggressively on the edge of the cymbal.
Crash Ride Cymbal Features
A good crash-ride cymbal will have a lighter weight, in order to best serve as a crash cymbal in addition to a ride. If it’s too heavy, then the cymbal will likely serve well as a ride cymbal but it won’t offer a good sound as a crash cymbal.
A lighter-weight cymbal has a faster vibrational pattern and will react quicker to being struck, therefore producing a fast sound and will respond quickly to create a great crash cymbal explosion.
A crash-ride cymbal typically has a pronounced bell that improves stick definition and therefore provides a cleaner ride cymbal sound with the tip of the stick, as well as producing a strong and authoritative bell sound while functioning as a ride cymbal!