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Sabian is one of the top cymbal manufacturers, and has an excellent long-standing reputation amongst drummers. The company has adopted a forward-thinking approach that is reflected in its innovative cymbal designs.
The Sabian cymbal lines have something to offer everyone, ranging from the entry-level B8X right through to the top-of-the-line HHX series. The sounds of these Sabian cymbal sets range from traditional and dark all the way through to cutting, modern and bright.
In this article, we’ll explore the best Sabian cymbals that are sure to satisfy all different budgets and styles of drummers. No matter what type of music you perform, these Sabian cymbal sets are sure to compliment your playing style!
In a Rush’ Round-Up
Sabian Cymbal Sets Reviews
The Sabian AAX cymbal set was the first pro-level cymbal set I owned. I love the AAX Sabian cymbal line because these cymbals are supremely playable and will complement virtually any style of music.
Included in this Sabian AAX cymbal set is pair of 14-inch medium hi-hats, 16 and 18 inch thin crashes, and a 21-inch medium ride. The cymbals are all hand-picked and tonally matched in the Sabian vault for a cohesive sonic pairing.
These Sabian AAX cymbals are professional level B20 bronze cast cymbals that possess a brilliant lathed finish, combined with a raw-unlathed bell. This helps these cymbals to produce a modern and bright sound overall, with just the right balance of complexity and sustain.
I particularly love the 16 and 18 inch thin crashes that are included with this Sabian set. These are thin and super responsive, and the unlathed bell offers a slightly rawer and complex sound that is simply gorgeous.
The AAX medium hi-hats and ride cymbal are also impressive and both feel great to play. The hi-hats produce a well-defined, bold, and crisp sound. The ride has a buttery smooth sound with a clean stick definition, particularly on the bell.
Overall, Sabian’s AAX cymbal line is exceptional, and these versatile cymbals will sound great on any drum set no matter what style of music you play!
- 4 Piece B20 Bronze Cymbal Pack
- 14″ Hi-hats, 16″ and 18″ Crashes, and 21″ Ride
- Modern, Cutting and bright sound
- Perfectly versatile cymbals that are capable of playing virtually any style of music
- Offers great value and would be the ideal step up from beginner B8 sheet cymbals
- Professional quality B20 bronze offers a very well-balanced and modern sound
- Quite bright and loud sound compared to darker ranges such as Meinl Byzance or Sabian HHX Legacy
The Sabian HHX Evolution Performance cymbal set has a darker and more complex tone compared to the AAX cymbals. HHX is Sabian’s top-of-the-range cymbal line and they offer a darker, vibrant sound.
Sabian’s Evolution cymbals are some of my favorite pro-level cymbals, and I have a lot of experience performing with them both live and in the studio. The brilliant mirror-shine finish provides these cymbals with excellent tonal projection while still possessing a warm and rich character.
Included in this Sabian cymbal set you’ll receive a pair of 14-inch Evolution hi-hats, a 16-inch Evolution crash cymbal, a 20-inch Evolution ride, as well as a free 18-inch Evolution O-Zone cymbal.
The innovative Sabian Evolution line ticks all of the boxes. It’s a modern sound, paired with the warmer, dark sound that Sabian HHX is typically known for. They are rather thin and lightweight, and also have a rather short sustain, which I personally love.
The crash cymbals are super explosive and can cut through any wall of sound. The O-Zone crash has a trashy character due to the holes in the cymbal. The ride cymbal has a full-bodied tone and an excellent cymbal ‘ping’, meanwhile, the hi-hats have a delightful bold character.
- 4 Piece B20 Bronze Cymbal Pack
- 14″ Hi-hats, 16″ and 18″ Crashes, and 20″ Ride
- Dark and modern sounds
- Beautifully dark and modern sound
- Supremely versatile and playable for most styles of music
- Smooth and buttery playing response feels amazing while performing them
- More expensive than the Sabian AAX line
- I’ve found the O-Zone cymbal is prone to cracking
The Sabian XSR Super Cymbal Set is the ultimate cymbal set if you’re looking for killer sounds at an affordable price. These are truly high-end cast cymbals but without the high-end price tag.
Included in this Sabian cymbal set you’ll find a pair of 14-inch hi-hats, a trio of 14, 16, and 18-inch crashes, a 10-inch splash cymbal, and a 20-inch ride cymbal. That’s a huge setup!
The XSR line is sure to provide you with all the sounds you’re looking for, with a range of awesome tones to choose from in this pack.
The cast B20 bronze leads to a sonically richer tone compared to cheaper B8 bronze cymbals like the B8X line, and the sounds are super smooth with an excellent frequency response.
The cymbals have a medium sustain, in addition to a brighter overall sound due to the brilliant lathed finish. The sound of the XSR line could be compared a little to the AAX line, or the Zildjian A custom line of cymbals.
Sabian has done a very good job with the XSR cymbals, having taken cymbal design elements from their top-of-the-line cymbals such as the Sabian Evolution line, to equip these cymbals with a really versatile and modern sound, and at such a low price.
- 6 Piece B20 Bronze Cymbal Pack
- 14″ Hi-hats, 20″ Ride, 14″ and 16″ Fast Crashes
- Plus Free 10″ Splash and 18″ Fast Crash
- Impressive range of tones will complement any musical style
- Quality B20 bronze cast cymbals at a very affordable price
- Very smooth and refined sounds overall
- Despite the fact they are cast B20 bronze, there are not many professionals using these cymbals
B8 cymbals don’t typically sound all that, especially when compared to pro-level B20 bronze cymbals like the AAX and HHX Sabian lines. But the Sabian B8X Performance cymbal set is a step up from other sheet bronze cymbals on the market.
Inside the B8X box set is a pair of 14-inch hi-hats, a set of 16 and 18 inch thin crashes, as well as a 20-inch ride cymbal. The B8X line is very affordable, which makes them perfectly suited for students and those on a budget.
The sound overall lacks some refinement, and they aren’t as rich sonically compared to B20 bronze that we are all used to hearing. But they are still smooth sounding and fit right at home amongst a whole variety of musical styles.
The stand-out performers in the set are the hi-hats and the ride cymbal. They each have a strong and bold character, and they feel great to play.
The 18-inch thin crash cymbal produces a nice tone and it’s fun to play, but I’m less impressed with the 16-inch crash cymbal, which still works alongside the other cymbals, but has a slightly harsher tone in comparison.
Overall, however, the Sabian B8X cymbal set offers good value for money, and it makes the perfect investment for beginner drummers looking to equip themselves with the tools to succeed in drumming!
- 4 Piece B8 Bronze Cymbal Pack
- 14″ Hi-hats, 16″ and 18″ Crashes, and 20″ Ride
- Affordable and versatile cymbals
Sabian Cymbals Buying Guide
Sabian cymbals are well-known for their excellent and reliable quality. It’s a safe option to get a set from the brand as they’re loved by many drummers.
If you want to get a full set of cymbals for your drum kit, getting a full cymbal pack from Sabian is a fantastic option to consider. Getting a cymbal set saves you money compared to buying cymbals separately.
Also, Sabian has several cymbal sets available that are marketed toward certain types of drummers. Picking between one of them makes your buying decision a lot easier.
Let’s check what features you should look for with Sabian cymbals.
Things to Consider When Buying Sabian Cymbals
Cymbal packs vs individual cymbals
Sabian cymbal packs have cymbals with coherent tones. If you want varying tones and sound qualities, buying individual Sabian cymbals is a better choice.
Think about the style of music you play
Certain Sabian cymbals cater more to specific styles. The AAX cymbals are best suited for rock and pop. The HHX cymbals are amazing for jazz and studio environments.
Consider your budget
Sabian has amazing cymbal pack options in every price range. The highest-priced packs sound the best and are the most versatile. The most inexpensive sets are only suitable for beginner drummers.
Consider why Sabian cymbals would be a better option
If another brand has cymbals with similar tonal qualities, do thorough listening tests to see if Sabian cymbals will be the better option for you.
What Features to Look for in Sabian Cymbals
The alloy used to make cymbals affects their sound quality, durability, and cost.
The best cymbals in Sabian’s product line are all made from a B20 alloy, which means that they’re made from 80% copper and 20% tin. The more tin a cymbal has in its alloy, the more musical it will sound.
Any Sabian cymbal set that has B20 cymbals will be good enough to use in professional settings. However, the way the cymbals are made and hammered determines how they sound along with the B20 alloy.
Lower-quality cymbals are made from B8, B12, and brass. Brass is the lowest-quality material for cymbals, and Sabian’s SBr line is their only brass set of cymbals.
The great thing about Sabian is that they don’t make any B12 cymbals, so the majority of their products are all B20 options.
B8 and B12 cymbals are a lot better than brass, but they’re not as responsive or complex as B20 cymbals.
Make sure to check all the cymbal sizes when you buy a Sabian cymbal set. Most cymbal sets have a standard size structure of 14-inch hi-hats, 16 and 18-inch crashes, and a 20-inch ride.
However, a few Sabian cymbal sets have slightly different sizes. The AAX Promotional Set, for example, has a 21-inch ride cymbal.
The larger a cymbal is, the more resonance it will have. It will also feel a bit different to play compared to smaller cymbals.
Larger cymbals are more expensive, so it adds more value to a pack when the ride cymbal is larger than the standard 20”.
All Sabian cymbal sets come with a pair of hi-hats, crashes, and a ride cymbal.
However, look to see if there are any unique cymbals in the set. Sabian’s O-Zone cymbals are commonly found in a few of their AAX and HHX cymbal sets. They’re crash cymbals with holes and trashy tones.
Number of Cymbals in Sets
It’s a common marketing tactic for cymbal brands to sell 3-piece cymbal sets and then advertise that they come with an extra free cymbal. Sabian does this with almost all their sets.
Most Sabian sets come with four cymbals, but you can find a few that come with five or six. They’re a bit more expensive, but they save more money than if you were to buy those extra cymbals alone.
Sabian’s XSR line is their most diverse line when it comes to having various size options in sets.
Sabian Cymbals FAQs
Why Do People Argue About Sabian and Zildjian?
There’s been a long-standing rivalry between Sabian and Zildjian over the years. It started when Robert Zildjian left his family company to start Sabian in 1981.
Many of Sabian and Zildjian’s cymbals are very similar to each other. The Zildjian As rival the Sabian AAX line, and the Zildjian Ks rival the Sabian HHX line.
With stiff competition between the two brands, drummers tend to argue over which cymbals are better.
Does Sabian Make Signature Cymbals?
Yes, Sabian has a few cymbal lines that have been designed with the help of different artists. Jojo Mayer helped design the Anthology and Omni cymbals, and the Paragon cymbals were Neil Peart’s personal line.
However, they don’t advertise them as signature cymbals like other cymbal brands do. They don’t put the drummer’s signatures on them to make them appear more universal and have a wider audience.