Hello, my name is Dendy, and I'm a cymbal-holic. ("Hi Dendy!") There's no hiding it. I’ve readily admitted it here before.
I recently did a in-depth review of Sabian’s 2014 Cymbal Vote Cymbals and while unboxing them, I came across two 2013 Sabian Cymbal Vote winning cymbals in the box that were mistakenly included with the cymbals I had picked up to review (bonus!). I decided to try them while they were just sitting there begging to be played.
THE CRIME: Blame it on the Police
When I was growing up and going to college as a music performance major, there was much emphasis placed on jazz drumming. I had little exposure to jazz before I arrived on the college music scene, so I stayed lost for some time! That was when I discovered in jazz, the voice of the splash cymbal was imporant to the music's tenor. I later started exploring progressive music where the splash also enjoys a lot of vocal prominence.
But, when I really started utilizing splashes was when I first heard Stewart Copeland and the Police. He was using them at the time unlike anyone in "radio" play of the day, and it changed the dynamics of my cymbal set up and approach. I started to use them in contemporary music as a regular part of my arsenal of cymbal sounds.
That said, a small splash cymbal can have a big voice. They really cut through a mix and can often be brutal to the audience unless you're a musical drummer and know how to finesse the splash. Enter the Sabian Air Splash.
WHISPER: What gave them away
Want to get someone’s attention…whisper! You’ve probably heard that before, and the appropriately named Air Splash does just that. It’ll grab your attention. Not because it's an attack on your ears as some splashes can be, but because it's a light airy splash that, even if struck hard, gives a really nice wash of a splash presentation. It almost reminded me of a regular splash cymbal being played off in the distance. Mind you, it is there…right in front of you. But due to the way these are made, the splash has a great "white noise" attack, but quickly fades in a wash of light decay. Very "breathy."
THE SUSPECTS: It was all in the name
The Sabian Air Splashes come in two sizes — an 8” and a 10” version. They are both part of Sabian’s AAX line and wear a regular (also available in brilliant) finish. They are both lathed on the bow of the cymbal, but the bells are a raw polished finish.
The 8” has almost a 4” bell spread.
The 10” has a 4.5” bell spread.
Both cymbals also feature six quarter-sized holes around the perimeter of the bell's base, right on the bow of the splash. This takes a great deal of "meat" out of the cymbal. They are also very thin cymbals (easy to flex) and very "extra" light weight.
THE VERDICT: Guilty as charged
True to their name, these produce a light, “airy” splash. I really liked the tonal difference between the 8” and 10”, with the 8” being my favorite. I wouldn't hesitate to use these in any genre of music. and these two splashes would stay in balance with most regular cymbal setups. I can see why they were the winner of the 2013 Sabian Cymbal Vote contest.
After all — To air is human, to splash is devine!
Ray Luzier gives the Air Splash a beating:
Mike Portnoy Gives the Air Splash a test drive:
A Nice Overview from multiple artist:
To Purchase Sabian Air Splashes
8" Sabian AAX Air Spash - Regular Finish - MSRP: $191.00 Street Price: $115.00
10" Sabian AAX Air Spash - Regular Finish - MSRP: $224.00 Street Price: $129.00
Dendy Jarrett is the Editorial Director and Director of Communities for Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.