The cymbals play an incredibly important part in shaping the overall sound of your drum kit. They can often be just as important as the drums themselves. Owning a good quality, highly tuned drum kit can sound terrible if you are playing with poor quality cymbals.
Cymbals cannot be tuned like other instruments to fit the application you need them for. Once you’ve bought a set of cymbals, there isn’t much you can do to change the sound. So, it’s vitally important that you shop wisely and choose the cymbal pack that’s right for you and your drum kit.
In this article, we will take a close look at some of the best cymbal packs available in 2020. Whether you are a beginner drummer or a seasoned professional, we’ll show you what we consider are some of the best cymbal packs you can find on the market today so you can choose the right one that will serve you the best.
Quick Comparison Table: The Top 10 Best Cymbal Packs
Top 10 Best Cymbal Pack 2020 Detail Reviews
1. Zildjian K Custom Hybrid Cymbal Set
(Our Editor’s Choice for the Best Overall Cymbal Pack)
Our Editor’s Choice for the Best Overall Cymbal Pack is the Zildjian K Custom Hybrid series. The Zildjian name has been for many years the classic synonym for quality when it comes to cymbals. Zildjian is by far the oldest name in the game and it earns the greatest respect and demand in the market.
This innovative musical line of hybrid cymbals has been developed in conjunction with leading drum stylist, Akira Jimbo. Zildjian does not release signature cymbals very often, and when it does, they will frequently collaborate with drummers to create a new design. The K Custom Hybrid range is a good example of such a project.
Each of the K Custom Hybrid cymbals features two opposing finishes on each cymbal. These Hybrids combine the unlathed, brilliant finish of the K Custom Ride on the inner half of the cymbal with the traditionally finished K Zildjian lathing on the outer half resulting in creating two different sound dynamics depending on where the cymbal is played. The unlathed section also helps to control the wash and sustain and render them ideal for recording and live situations.
The 20-inch Ride combines the defined stick attack and strong bell sound of the K Custom Ride with the crash-ability and increased spread of a thinner, lathed cymbal. It provides a unique musical statement that will challenge and inspire your artistic expressions.
The 21-inch ride is quite a substantial cymbal but feels surprisingly thin to handle. The lathed area gives a clean, slightly woody-sounding ping over a complimentary wash. Crossing over onto the polished area brings an instant change in character, with the stick sound morphing into something altogether tighter and more pronounced.
The two smaller 13- and 15-inch Trash models are all-new designs and veer off into more radical design territory. Square bells (meaning no curve; just a straight line from the center hole to the bow) are mirrored by sharply turned down outer edges. At the point where the edges turn southward, there are several bands of small but intense hammer marks.
Akira says, “Maximum versatility is the main idea with the Hybrid series. I worked with Zildjian to design a line of cymbals where brilliance and darkness coexist. I think the sound we came up with sets the new standard for the 21st Century.”
From the outset, the K Custom Hybrid range was conceived as an exquisitely modern and unique set of cymbals while slotting in seamlessly among the existing ones.
2. Wuhan WUTBSU Western Style Cymbal Set
(Our Editor’s Choice for the Best Overall Budget Cymbal Pack)
Wuhan cymbals are not designed to challenge the sound quality, variety, or reputation of the finest professional-level cymbals normally found on today’s market. However, the cymbals will instead give you extremely good quality with an unusually low and affordable price.
In general, most budget-priced cymbals are made of less-expensive sheet alloys, using short-cut manufacturing and finishing steps to keep costs down. The result is usually cheaper cymbals that don’t play or sound as good as more expensive models.
Wuhan cymbals are made of the same high-quality cast B20 alloy that is used in professional cymbals. Chinese manufacturing allows the company to sell a hand-hammered cymbal pack made from B20 bronze for a lower price than any other set of cymbals in our review. And, by using B20 bronze, these cymbals sound fuller and warmer or darker than others in this price range
The Wuhan Cymbal Package includes the Western Style 14-inch Hi-Hats, a 16-inch Crash, and a 20-inch Ride cymbal. They are also handcrafted and then buffed to a brilliant finish. Finally, each cymbal is stamped with an unobtrusive but attractive logo.
Most budget-priced cymbals are normally made by machines that punch cymbals out of bronze sheets. Wuhan uses a higher-end process of hand-hammering that is normally used in only high-end cymbals. However, hand-hammering also means that two identical Wuhan cymbals may not sound exactly the same. This can work in your favor or not, so customers should be prepared to return a Wuhan cymbal pack and exchange it for a new one if the pack you purchased doesn’t exactly suit your taste.
Wuhan also includes a free cymbal bag with the kit which can save you time and effort when carrying your cymbals to your next gig.
3. Meinl Cymbals Super Set Box Pack
Meinl Cymbals’ HCS series is designed to offer beginner drummers all of the cymbal types and sizes that are normally found in professional lines. The cymbals are designed to deliver the same sound options of professional drummers at an affordable price for beginners.
The brass alloy cymbals in this box set sound and look great, and they allow beginners to begin playing the cymbals without needing to spend a lot of money. The set is complete with standard cymbal types and sizes including a 14-inch hi-hat pair, 20-inch ride, 16 and 18-inch crash, 16-inch china, and a 10-inch splash cymbal.
The hi-hats are designed to have a crisp “chick” with a nice slosh when played open. The ride cymbal delivers a well-defined “ping” and a cutting bell without any distracting overtones. HCS crashes respond with a warm attack followed by a medium sustain, and the china is ideal for adding cutting accents with a sharp, sinister sound.
These HCS cymbals are crafted in Germany with a durable brass alloy that has a responsive touch with an unmatched sound quality in this range. Although the cymbals are geared toward beginners, they will stand up to the brunt of sticks while maintaining their musical tone and even carry a 2-year factory warranty.
As with professional hi-hat cymbals from Meinl, the HCS hats have a heavier bottom cymbal and a lighter top cymbal. The different weights give the hi-hats a well-defined sound with the sought after ‘chick’ effect that players normally look for. This precision weighting allows the cymbals to respond clearly without any unwanted tones or buzzing.
There are numerous setup options so you can start finding your own personal sound and look while playing the drums. You can go from a stripped-down jazz set to a full-on fusion or rock kit quickly. Just switch which side of your drums you mount the splash or china cymbals on and have fun playing. There’s no right or wrong way to set up. Just find the look, feel, and sound that fits you the best.
4. Zildjian ZBT Starter Cymbal Set
The Zildjian company also produces somewhat inexpensive cymbal packs that provide excellent value at a reasonable price. This ZBT Starter Set is a perfect example.
When you first open the package, you’ll find an 18-inch crash ride cymbal, a 13-inch hi-hat and a bonus 14-inch crash cymbal which many will say is a great cymbal to have if you’re just starting out on your drumming journey.
The Zildjian ZBT starter pack uses the exclusive Zildjian “Bronze Technology” which means that the cymbals are made of B8 bronze, a mixture of 92% copper and 8% tin. Bronze has better sound characteristics than brass, which is normally used in most beginner drum set cymbals. However, B8 bronze is less expensive and lower quality than B20 bronze, a mixture of 80% copper and 20% tin, so these cymbals will sound somewhat brighter and more focused than more expensive B20 cymbals.
If you are a beginner drummer with a budget, this starter cymbal package deal is exactly what you will need from a company you can trust. As was the case with many drummers before you, choosing to stick with the Zildjian brand is a good path to follow. Later on, you’ll move up to buying more of their expensive and higher quality products as you progress in your drumming career and you’ll never be unhappy.
The Zildjian ZBT Starter Cymbal Set has a good price from a trusted brand. You will only require two additional packs to have a full starter set of cymbals to complete your drum set.
5. Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pack
The Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pac drum kit set of HCS brass cymbals provides the building blocks for drummers to start bringing cymbals into their set-ups. Included in the box set are a pair of 14-inch hi-hats, 16-inch crash, 20-inch ride, and a free 10-inch splash cymbal. The hi-hats have a crisp “chick” with a nice slosh when played open.
HCS crashes deliver a warm crash sound with a medium sustain. The ride is perfect for a classic, cutting ping with a musical bell. The 10-inch splash is great for blending in quick accents to your grooves without being overpowering.
HCS cymbals are crafted in Germany and have a responsive touch with an unmatched sound quality in this range. Geared toward beginners, Meinl HCS cymbals stand up to the brunt of sticks while maintaining their musical tone.
The crisp hi-hats, a shimmering ride, versatile crash, and a colorful splash cymbal, all combine to provide you with numerous groove options for any musical style. Each cymbal is well suited to place anywhere on your drum kit.
This Meinl HCS series contains almost all cymbal types that can be found in professional setups. With hi-hats, rides, crashes and effect cymbals like trash crashes, china’s, splashes, and bells, any musical idea or style is within reach.
This HCS series doesn’t stop at the typical hi-hat, crash, and ride cymbal selection. It is an all-inclusive line that allows young or new players to explore other sounds like cymbal stacks, bells, chinas, splashes, and trash crashes.
As with professional hi-hat cymbals from Meinl, the HCS hats have a heavier bottom cymbal and a lighter top cymbal. The different weight gives the hi-hats a well-defined sound with the sought after ‘chick’ effect that players look for. The precision weighting allows the cymbals to respond clearly without any unwanted tones or buzzing.
Great for both students and instructors, the Meinl HCS cymbals are made for new players who are learning their way around the drum set. Instructors will find these to be the idyllic affordable solution to outfit their practice sets within their lesson studio or classroom.
6. Meinl Cymbals Ultimate Cymbal Set Box Pack
You’ll be able to take your practice and performance to a new level of creativity and inspiration with the Meinl Cymbals’ HCS Ultimate cymbal set. This is a full-range of HCS brass cymbals and will complete your drum set with every essential while the effect cymbals will cue in some serious sound.
Included in this one-stop ultimate set are a 14-inch hi-hat pair, 20-inch ride, 14-inch crash, 16-inch crash, 18-inch crash, 14-inch china, 8-inch bell, 10-inch splash, plus a free 16-inch trash crash.
The hi-hats have a crisp “chick” with a nice slosh when played open while the ride cymbal delivers a well-defined “ping” and a cutting bell without distracting overtones. HCS crashes respond with a warm attack followed by a medium sustain.
The china is ideal for adding cutting accents with a sharp, sinister sound. Use the bell for a light and bright sonic alternative with a long sustain. The 10-inch splash cymbal is ideal for quick accents or spicing up fills.
The free 16-inch trash crash has specially cut holes to take a normal crash sound and shorten its sustain while adding a blend of trashy tones that can really change the dynamic of your playing.
This full range of cymbals allows you to experiment with different setups to find your own personal musical touch and appearance on the drums. Stack the splashes and bell inverted over the larger cymbals to eliminate the need for other stands while reaching the look of a professional.
HCS cymbals are crafted in Germany with a durable brass alloy that has a responsive touch with an unmatched sound quality in this range. Geared towards beginners, these cymbals are perfect for new players learning their way around the drum set. Instructors will also find these to be the ideal and affordable solution to outfit the practice sets in their lesson studio or classroom.
Drummers can reconfigure their kit to fit any style of play. Go from a stripped-down jazz set to a full-on fusion or rock kit. Switch which side of your drums you mount the splash or china cymbals on. The Meinl Cymbals Ultimate Cymbal Set Box Pack will help you find the look, feel and sound that fits you the best.
7. Sabian 25005XXP AA X-plosion Performance Set
Sabian was originally founded in 1980 by Robert Zildjian who took control of the Zildjian factory in Meductic, Canada. Using Zildjian technology, the company is today one of the world’s four largest cymbal manufacturers.
The X-plosion Performance set of cymbals are all hand-picked and sonically matched by Sabian cymbal makers. This set includes a perfect set of cymbals that can be used for drummers who are getting back into drumming and want a quality, well-matched cymbal set-up.
The handy box set is one of Sabian’s most popular cymbal lines, the AAX. The AAX series is designed to have brighter highs and more complex lows. The set includes a pair of 14-inch Stage Hi-Hats, 16-inch X-Plosion Crash, 20-inch Stage Ride, and a free 18-inch X-Plosion Crash Cymbal.
The 14-inch stage hats consist of a raw bell and exclusive dual-lathing process that gate the attack to result in a crispy pair of hats that never get out of control. The sound is crispy and blends nicely into mainstream sounds. The foot is very solid, and the thin weight makes them ideal for studio recording.
The 16-inch AAX Thin Crash cymbal delivers fast response. With a whole new style of hammering, the surface is much more visible due to the larger, rounder peen making for a thinner, more complex and slightly darker crash.
At the same time, more highs are introduced into the sound, resulting in a wider band of frequency. For drummers, that means brighter highs and more complex lows.
The 18-inch AAX Thin Crash cymbal has a raw bell that is smaller than typically found on larger crashes but it delivers fast response. A whole new style of AAX hammering which is much more visible on the surface of the cymbal due to the larger, rounder peen, creates a thinner, more complex and slightly darker crash. More highs are introduced into the sound, resulting in a wider band of frequency including brighter highs and more complex lows.
8. Sabian SBR Performance Pack
Sabian’s SBR Performance Pack is an impressive beginner’s starter pack with a great look and sound at a low price. It covers all the sizes and models that beginner drummers are most likely to require including 14-Inch Hats, a 16-Inch Crash, and a 20-Inch Ride Cymbal.
At this price point, most manufacturers don’t even bother to put their logo on the cymbals because of their cheaper quality. But Sabian goes against the trend by lending credibility to this set with a prominent Sabian logo on every cymbal to give them instant credibility.
These cymbals look the part too, with deep, large-peen hammering and pinpoint lathing – the same type of hand-guided, high-pressure hammering and hand-lathing that Sabian lavishes on its expensive bronze cymbal series.
The 14-inch SBR Hats produce tight, clean sounds when closed, and a loud fullness when you open them. When partially open, you can attack them with your stick shoulder for an effective crisp, thick tone with none of the tinny sounds that are typically found at this price point.
Switch to an opened-closed jazz rhythm and they sound authentic and breezy. The body is always substantial and steady, and closed eighth-note patterns remain dense sounding – never thin.
The 16-inch Crash yields similarly pleasing results. It is a loud punchy model that’s ideal for accents. The decay is fairly rapid, with more than enough sustain for proper wash-ride patterns.
The 20-inch SBR Ride delivers full-sounding ride patterns and unmatched versatility at this price point. The medium weight and classic profile of this popular model lends it instant credibility. The decay is fast so you can wash-ride it with confidence if needed, and the bell has a powerful sound – not unlike a much more expensive bronze bell. Stick response is clean and the sound is always lively.
Sabian’s SBR series was introduced in 2009 designed to offer improved quality and value for entry-level drummers. The cymbals are hammered and lathed to deliver the tightly focused sounds of pure brass at a very affordable price. If this is your first kit, the SBR Performance Pack offers the tonally tight sounds only Sabian Brass can deliver..
9. Meinl Cymbals BV-480+B16TRC Byzance Vintage Series Box Set Pack
Meinl’s Byzance cymbals are the ultimate choice when it comes to modern versatility. Every Byzance cymbal is hand-hammered into shape by Turkish artisans to give each cymbal its own unique and colorful voice.
The overall presence of the pack is dark, buttery warmth that flows around a crisp definition. Designed in part with drummer Benny Greb, these cymbals have been aged through a special procedure where the surface of the cymbal has been sandblasted to give more warmth, dryness and a fantastic look. It has superhuman, modern abilities with that great vintage sound.
The clarity of these cymbals is followed by a smooth, dry wash that has applications in practically any setting from jazz and blues to funk and rock. Meinl has grouped together the essentials from the Vintage Series cymbals into this specially designed pack. The box includes a pair of 14-inch Byzance Vintage Sand Hi-Hats, 18-inch Byzance Vintage Sand Thin Crash, 20-inch Byzance Vintage Sand Ride, plus a free 16-inch Byzance Vintage Trash Crash.
The Byzance Vintage Trash Crash is a superb, durable effect cymbal to round out your drum kit’s sound. There are specially cut holes in the cymbal which give it a much more dry, trashy, and fast response along with a quick sustain. This pack is ideal for players looking for a musical set of cymbals that have instant character with all dynamic levels.
Byzance Vintage cymbals from Meinl are in investment that is sure to stay on your kit as your tastes and styles evolve through time. This set is the perfect introduction to the world of Byzance Vintage sounds and is a must-have for all fans of Benny Greb’s drumming and sound and for fans of musical cymbals in general.
This cymbal set is brand new with a full two-year warranty and has never been removed from its original packaging.
10. Sabian SBR Promo Set
This promo set from Sabian offers you pure brass cymbals that are created to give drummers a great natural look and sound along with not breaking the bank with a high price.
Sabian’s SBR series is an ideal choice for drummers who are beginning their drumming career. The promo pack includes a 10-inch splash, 14-inch hi-hat pair, 16-inch crash, and a 20-inch ride cymbal. In addition, a gig bag is included for travel.
The Sabian SBr Promo Set is another serious upgrade over what you would normally find in starter kit OEM cymbals. Sabian uses deep, large-peen hammering and pinpoint lathing just like they do on their more expensive bronze cymbals to give you the tonally tight sounds that the company is famous for delivering.
The 10-inch SBR Splash cymbal that comes free with the kit is small and thin and has a fast, punchy splashy, accent response. With a hammered and lathed surface, the sound is focused and in a class of its own.
Sabian’s 14-inch SBR Hats produce tight, clean sounds when closed, and when opened up a loud fullness. When the hats are partially open, you can attack them using your stick shoulder to get an effective crisp and thick tone that has none of the tinny sounds that you normally find at this price point.
The 16-inch Crash yields similar pleasing results. It is a loud and punchy model that is ideal for accents. The decay comes fairly quickly with more than enough sustain for proper wash-ride patterns.
Delivering full-sounding ride patterns, you will find that the 20-inch SBR Ride offers you unmatched versatility, especially at this price point. The medium weight and classic profile of this very popular model lends it instant credibility. With a decay that is fast, you can wash-ride it with confidence when you need to, and the bell has a powerful sound similar to more expensive bronze bells.
Sabian has designed the SBR cymbals so that your beginner steps playing the cymbals are easy and enjoyable. Each cymbal is hammered and lathed individually to deliver the tightly focused sounds of pure brass at a nice low price.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Cymbal Pack (Buying Guide)
Cymbals make up a hugely important part of your drum set and are often an exciting new purchase to make. Unlike drums, it’s important to remember that cymbals don’t require tuning but retain their sound qualities for years.
The cymbals you play will make up a large part of the sounds you will have at your disposal when you play. Both your drums and cymbals are essentially tools that you will use so you can translate your musical voice to the world.
Therefore, it’s very important that you invest in the highest quality cymbals you can afford. Otherwise, you will not be able to improve their sounds like you can with a set of drums. Poor quality cymbals will always sound bad, while professional-quality cymbals should always sound great.
Suiting Your Needs
It’s important that you look for a cymbal pack that will suit your needs as a musician. If you intend to play rock or metal, you’ll need a cymbal set that has a loud attack. It will also need to be able to penetrate through the wall that electric guitars are going to create. In this case, cymbals that have a darker tone will not be the best option for you. You will need less sensitive cymbals that are not nearly as bright as other types.
In most cases, a drummer will usually need to rely on only a single set of good quality cymbals. The best cymbal pack should be versatile enough so that it sounds musically diverse and can compliment an entire range of different musical styles.
How to choose?
Choosing the best cymbal pack for your needs isn’t very difficult. Basically, you’ll need to listen as carefully as you can to decide which is the best sounding set of cymbals for your purposes. After all, sound is subjective. Before making your purchase, use your ears to listen to how the cymbals you are thinking about buying sound to you.
Listen carefully and try to visualize how the cymbals you’re playing will sound with your drum set.
Will they complement the different styles of music you intend to play?
Does each cymbal sound good when being played with the others?
Do the cymbals together create the diverse sonic palette you need and make you feel inspired?
Are the cymbals dark or bright? Are they dry or washy? Choose wisely as this will have a direct impact on your overall “musical voice” when you’re playing.
Which Alloy is Best?
The best cymbals are made from a bronze formula known as B20. This is a formulation that is comprised of 80% copper and 20% tin, and usually will have some tiny traces of silver.
Cymbal manufacturing over the years has made significant strides and traditional manufacturing techniques have merged with more modern techniques to create even more affordable cymbals that sound better than ever.
A dozen years ago, there was no such thing as a good intermediate level of cymbal. Your choices were either to buy cheaper grade B8 bronze cymbals or pay the price to purchase professional quality B20 bronze cymbals. But today, several manufacturers have created an in-between grade of cymbal that has opened up an entirely new world of professional-sounding cymbals for drummers on a budget.
B20 is Still the Best
B20 bronze cymbals continue to dominate the premium cymbal market and are still the choice of most professional drummers. But, times may be changing. Many forward-thinking professionals are beginning to experiment with other bronze alloys within their touring setups. By adding some additional tin to a bronze alloy, manufacturers have been able to darken the tone of today’s cymbals and create a richer sounding cymbal than ever before.
The budget cymbal sets in our review are an enormous step up from the cheap cymbal packs of the past. In terms of sound quality, tone, playing response, versatility, and even stick definition, they often can be nearly equal to professional models. On the other hand, the more expensive sets are still preferred by the vast majority of professional drummers.
What is the best crash cymbal?
As with all cymbals, determining which is the best cymbal for you is subjective. It depends on the style and type of music you play and your individual preferences. As to manufacturers, Zildjian, Meinl, and Sabian are perennial favorites.
What are Zildjian ZBT cymbals made of?
Zildjian ZBT cymbals are made of B8 bronze alloy, a mixture of 92% copper and 8% tin.
However, the company insists that their ZBT starter packs use an exclusive Zildjian “Bronze Technology” formulation to create a better sound than other brands.
What cymbals are best for rock?
If you intend to be playing rock or metal, you will need cymbals with a loud attack. They should have a brighter tone with a generally higher fundamental pitch and less trashy sound so they can more easily penetrate through the wall that electric guitars will create.
What are the best hi-hat cymbals?
There are many different varieties of high-hat cymbals on the market, and each one has its own pros and cons. In our review, the Sabian AAX X-Plosion sets are among the best. For more detailed information about hi-hats, check out this article from Equipboard.
These cymbal selections are a great place to start when you are looking for the best cymbal pack for your needs. The important thing to remember is that you should go out and get accustomed to the cymbals you are considering to purchase. You need to play them before making your purchase because no two cymbals will ever sound exactly the same.
We hope this guide has been helpful in giving you an idea of what you need to know to be able to choose the perfect cymbal set for your drumming needs. We encourage you to practice as often as you can. That way, you can enjoy your musical talent playing the drums and enjoying your preference for the best cymbal pack for your particular needs.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. We hope you have a great day!