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  • Sabian Effects Cymbals - 2017 Additions

    By Dendy Jarrett |

    Sabian Effects Cymbals - 2017 Additions

    Effects aren't just for guitarists - and they aren't always electronic


    by Dendy Jarrett




    To most musicians, "effects" means flangers, wah pedals, overdrives, and the like. But drummers can get in on the action, thanks to cymbal companies that want to stay innovative - and Sabian Cymbals sent a sampling of the latest Effects cymbals that were added to the 2017 line. Each of these cymbals has its own voice and a specific, yet wide, range of use within contemporary music.


    Effects cymbals let you add specialty voices to your cymbal lineup that go beyond the typical crash, ride and hi-hat cymbals. The familiar effects cymbals are the splash and China types, but cymbal manufacturers have taken cues from drummers and started offering more types of effects cymbals. 


    I was sent one size of each of these new offerings, so I'll cover each specific size as well as mention the other available sizes.


    B8X Ballistic Crash



    Sabian has expanded the B8X line, and these cymbals are a true testament to Sabian's commitment to making great-sounding, affordable cymbals. The Ballistic Crash uses a totally new hammer pattern; the cymbal has large lathe marks, but the hammering dimples are huge. This gives the cymbal a distinctive look. And if you've ever played any of the B8X range, you know that the alloy has a pinkish hue, so the cymbal is distinct from the rest of the effects lineup.  


    Besides the large hammer marks, another unique feature is, when struck, the cymbal decay trends upward in pitch, rather than a crash's typical downward pitch. The result is an aggressive, very quick white noise type of crash. It reminds me of a cross between a lightweight crash and a China cymbal. The overall sound is similar to the higher end O-Zone crashes Sabian  offers.


    I reviewed the 16" model, but an 18" size is also available  The one thing I can say about this cymbal is how aligned the cymbal name is with the sound it produces. The cymbal would fit right in if you are into fusion or new wave,  especially metal music.

    Bullet points:

    • Style - Focused
    • Sound - Bright
    • Weight - Thin
    • Metal - B8





    XSR Fast Stax



    Stacked cymbals aren't new - drummers have been stacking different cymbals forever (it seems). But manufacturers now officially recognize this trend and are now offering specialty matched, stacked cymbal pairs.


    The XSR Fast Stax is a thin 13" X-Celerator cymbal that is inverted in what would be the concave part of a 16" China cymbal. The 13" has an "air-wave" edge (think bottom hi-hat cymbal) to avoid airlock between the stacked cymbals. This wave also increases the volume and "trashiness" of the cymbal pair. The China has a wider edge to give you a surface to play on beyond the stacked surface.


    Years ago, one of my favorite drum corps featured a galvanized trash can in the pit ensemble as an instrument.  During one of the songs a percussionist would carefully smash glass bottles during moments of the song to give specific attack effects. This cymbal sounds exactly like what that breaking glass sounded like in that galvanized trash can - its  quick white noise definitely grabs your attention and holds it anytime it's played. And the sound, while whip-quick, is large and in charge (pure noise trashiness). The cymbal is great for giving staccato definition to patterns or can be "crashed" for a white noise effect.

    Bullet points:

    • Style - Vintage
    • Sound - Bright
    • Weight - Medium Thin





    AA Mini Holy China



     If you keep up with Sabian at all, then you know that Chad Smith is one of their endorsers and has a signature cymbal called the Holy China. The cymbal is a typical China cymbal that has been drilled with approximately 10 rows of multiple drill holes. The resulting cymbal has a lighter weight and brighter sound.


    This year Sabian has introduced the Mini Holy China to this lineup. The cymbals are offered in 8", 10", and 12" sizes, and the cymbal sent to me for review was the 12" version.  I am admittedly a China cymbal fan; I once temporarily deafened a bass player with an authentic China cymbal, and ever since my exposure in the 80s to The Outfields' Your Love, I've incorporated a China cymbal in my playing. So I started out by really digging the tininess of this China cymbal. Sabian claims that this cymbal "cuts better than any other cymbal its size," and they'll get no argument from me. To my ear, the 12" Holy China produced about as much white noise as the Fast Stax, yet with a splashy/trashy component. However, your bandmates may not be able to cope with this little cymbal's bite because it will cut through a Marshall stack on 11!


    Bullet points:

    • Style - Vintage
    • Sound - Bright
    • Weight - Extra Thin
    • Metal - B20 Alloy






    AAX Aero Splash



    The final cymbals in this year's additions are the Aero Splash AAX cymbals. Holes seem to be all the rage in cymbals, and I understand that they cut down on weight and shorten the sound's decay, resulting in an extremely responsive cymbal. The Aero splash is no different. This was really my favorite of all the new effects and is offered in  8", 10", and 12" models. I was sent the 12", and, while I love it, I'd most likely add an 8" or 10" to my setup. This cymbal gives what is akin to the splash you might get from a perfect 10 high-dive athlete. (The less the splash—the better the dive... right?) This cymbal is lightning fast, both for attack and decay. 

    Bullet points:

    • Style - Modern
    • Sound - Bright
    • Weight - Extra Thin
    • Metal - B20 Alloy





    Sabian continues to expand the offering of cymbals across their range, and the effect cymbals seem to lead the charge in innovation. Sabian listens to their endorsers and drummers who play their products; they also watch trends to create new and innovative voices. If you're looking for special effects that will compete with phasers, flangers, and the vast array effects available to guitarists...hey - drummers need effects too!



    Sabian's Official Website - Effects Cymbals 


    Find Sabian Effects -


    Musicians Friend


    Guitar Center







    Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of 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.


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