The Best Ride Cymbals That Blew My Mind

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on reddit
Reddit
best ride

It is useless to talk about the best ride cymbal overall because it depends on your taste. What is possible is to pick the best value for the money ride, the best ride for metal or the best ride for jazz, the most versatile ride and so on. 

Also, every company has its candidates so, I decided to choose the best ride cymbals from Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl and Paiste and pick best in every category.

Zildjian

Preview
Zildjian Kerope 22" Ride Cymbal
Zildjian A Custom 20" Projection Ride Cymbal
Most versatile
Zildjian K Custom 20" Session Ride Cymbal
Best value for money series
Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set, inch (A20579-11)
Cymbal
Kerope Medium
A Custom Projection 
K Custom Session
A Custom series
Sound
Soft attack, clear, mid pith
Long sustain, strong attack, bright, loud
Mid pitch, punchy bell, mid attack
Bright, loud, strong attack
Great for
Jazz
Modern rock, pop, funk
Rock, funk, jazz
Rock, pop, funk, fusion, rnb
Preview
Zildjian Kerope 22" Ride Cymbal
Cymbal
Kerope Medium
Sound
Soft attack, clear, mid pith
Great for
Jazz
More information
Preview
Zildjian A Custom 20" Projection Ride Cymbal
Cymbal
A Custom Projection 
Sound
Long sustain, strong attack, bright, loud
Great for
Modern rock, pop, funk
More information
Most versatile
Preview
Zildjian K Custom 20" Session Ride Cymbal
Cymbal
K Custom Session
Sound
Mid pitch, punchy bell, mid attack
Great for
Rock, funk, jazz
More information
Best value for money series
Preview
Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Set, inch (A20579-11)
Cymbal
A Custom series
Sound
Bright, loud, strong attack
Great for
Rock, pop, funk, fusion, rnb
More information

Sabian

Preview
Sabian HHX 18 Inch Manhattan Jazz Crash
Sabian Cymbal Variety Package (2201287XB)
Most versatile
Sabian HHX 21" Evolution Ride Cymbal, Brilliant Finish (12112XEB)
Best value for money series
Sabian Cymbal Free 18" Thin Crash, AAX Promotional Set Brilliant Finish, (14" Hats, 16" Crash, 21" Ride, Crash) (25005XCPB)
Cymbal
Manhattan Jazz
AAX X-Plosion
HHX Evolution
AAX series
Sound
Dry, low pitch body, high pitch bell
Modern, bright, lower pitch
Long sustain, bright, loud
Moder, bright, lower pitch
Great for
Jazz, latin
Rock, funk, pop
Rock, fusion, pop, funk, rnb
Rock, pop, funk
Preview
Sabian HHX 18 Inch Manhattan Jazz Crash
Cymbal
Manhattan Jazz
Sound
Dry, low pitch body, high pitch bell
Great for
Jazz, latin
More information
Preview
Sabian Cymbal Variety Package (2201287XB)
Cymbal
AAX X-Plosion
Sound
Modern, bright, lower pitch
Great for
Rock, funk, pop
More information
Most versatile
Preview
Sabian HHX 21" Evolution Ride Cymbal, Brilliant Finish (12112XEB)
Cymbal
HHX Evolution
Sound
Long sustain, bright, loud
Great for
Rock, fusion, pop, funk, rnb
More information
Best value for money series
Preview
Sabian Cymbal Free 18" Thin Crash, AAX Promotional Set Brilliant Finish, (14" Hats, 16" Crash, 21" Ride, Crash) (25005XCPB)
Cymbal
AAX series
Sound
Moder, bright, lower pitch
Great for
Rock, pop, funk
More information

Meinl

Preview
Meinl Cymbals B22JCR Byzance 22-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride Cymbal with Rivets (VIDEO)
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 22" Brilliant Heavy Ride — MADE IN TURKEY — Hand Hammered B20 Bronze, 2-YEAR WARRANTY, B22HHR-B, inch
Most versatile
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 22" Traditional Medium Ride — MADE IN TURKEY — Hand Hammered B20 Bronze, 2-YEAR WARRANTY, B22MR
Best value for money series
Meinl Cymbals 16" Medium Thin Crash - Pure Alloy Custom - Made in Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (PAC16MTC)
Cymbal
Byzance Jazz Traditional Flat
Byzance Brilliant Heavy Hammered
Byzance Traditional Medium
Pure Alloy Custom Series
Sound
Dry, dark tone, low volume
Bright, strong attack, heavy
Dry, low pitch, long sustain
Bright, mid pitch, short sustain
Great for
Jazz, latin
Hard rock, metal
Pop, rock, funk rnb
Rock, hard rock, metal
Preview
Meinl Cymbals B22JCR Byzance 22-Inch Jazz Club Flat Ride Cymbal with Rivets (VIDEO)
Cymbal
Byzance Jazz Traditional Flat
Sound
Dry, dark tone, low volume
Great for
Jazz, latin
More information
Preview
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 22" Brilliant Heavy Ride — MADE IN TURKEY — Hand Hammered B20 Bronze, 2-YEAR WARRANTY, B22HHR-B, inch
Cymbal
Byzance Brilliant Heavy Hammered
Sound
Bright, strong attack, heavy
Great for
Hard rock, metal
More information
Most versatile
Preview
Meinl Cymbals Byzance 22" Traditional Medium Ride — MADE IN TURKEY — Hand Hammered B20 Bronze, 2-YEAR WARRANTY, B22MR
Cymbal
Byzance Traditional Medium
Sound
Dry, low pitch, long sustain
Great for
Pop, rock, funk rnb
More information
Best value for money series
Preview
Meinl Cymbals 16" Medium Thin Crash - Pure Alloy Custom - Made in Germany, 2-YEAR WARRANTY (PAC16MTC)
Cymbal
Pure Alloy Custom Series
Sound
Bright, mid pitch, short sustain
Great for
Rock, hard rock, metal
More information

Paiste

Preview
Paiste Signature Traditionals Cymbal Thin Crash 16-inch
Paiste Signature Reflector Cymbal Bell Ride 22-inch
Most versatile
Paiste Signature Series Dark Energy MKII Ride Cymbal 22 in.
Best value for money series
Paiste PST 8 Rock Cymbal Set - FREE 16 Inches Crash
Cymbal
Signature Traditional
Nicko McBrains's Signature Reflector
Signature Energy Mark II
PST 8 series
Sound
Mid pitch, semi-dry, bright
Strong attack, bright, high pitch
Soft, mid pitch, clear
Bright, higher pitch, mellow
Great for
Jazz, latin
Modern rock, hard rock, metal
Rock, pop, funk, rnb, jazz, latin
Rock, pop, funk, rnb
Preview
Paiste Signature Traditionals Cymbal Thin Crash 16-inch
Cymbal
Signature Traditional
Sound
Mid pitch, semi-dry, bright
Great for
Jazz, latin
More information
Preview
Paiste Signature Reflector Cymbal Bell Ride 22-inch
Cymbal
Nicko McBrains's Signature Reflector
Sound
Strong attack, bright, high pitch
Great for
Modern rock, hard rock, metal
More information
Most versatile
Preview
Paiste Signature Series Dark Energy MKII Ride Cymbal 22 in.
Cymbal
Signature Energy Mark II
Sound
Soft, mid pitch, clear
Great for
Rock, pop, funk, rnb, jazz, latin
More information
Best value for money series
Preview
Paiste PST 8 Rock Cymbal Set - FREE 16 Inches Crash
Cymbal
PST 8 series
Sound
Bright, higher pitch, mellow
Great for
Rock, pop, funk, rnb
More information

Zildjian

Best Jazz Ride Cymbal - 22" Kerope Medium

High Pitch
40%
Versatility
25%
Good Price
20%
Weight
50%

Although Zildjian has many rides that can be used for jazz I choose the Kerope because the entire series has a mellow sound with a soft attack. Steve Gad, Steve Smith, and many jazz drummers love the Kerope series.

In case you decide to look around more let me give you a few alternatives.

The Constantinople series is a great option if you play jazz. In comparison to the Kerope series, this one has a variety of options when it comes to ride cymbal.

K custom Flat top ride is the best for jazz in the K Custom series. Don’t forget about the K series, any ride from this series would fit in jazz.

In comparison to Kerope series both K custom and Constantinopole series are more versatile but the Kerope is just perfect for Jazz.

Best Rock and Metal Ride Cymbal - 22" A Custom Projection

High Pitch
60%
Versatility
50%
Good Price
90%
Weight
65%

It is one of the heaviest rides made by Zildjian. The entire A custom series is made in Brilliant finish with a slightly higher pitch than the rest series.

Also, they have a strong attack and they are able to pass through heavy guitar riffs especially when played on the bell.

What is great about A custom series is the price. This series is not as expensive as the K series.

Drummers like Lars Urlich, Tommy Lee, Matt Greiner play this series.

A great alternative but slightly more expensive would be 20″ K Custom Session ride.

Most Versatile Ride Cymbal - 20" K Custom Brilliant

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
85%
Good Price
35%
Weight
75%

The most versatile cymbal is the one in the middle. K custom is not in the middle of a price range but all the other factors are there.

It has a middle pitch with a not too aggressive attack. For jazz, it can be played on the body and it doesn’t sound too sharp. For rock, it can be played on the bell and get the strong attack.

It is not too dry but it doesn’t have the A Custom sound high pitch.

If you are looking for one cymbal to play all music genres this would be the one. You could dislike the weight of 3195g so the great alternative would be 20″ or 22″ K custom Medium. 

Another great series is K series, the most versatile series from Zildjian except for rock. Neither one ride has a large bell and brilliant finish but they can easily fit in all other genres.

Best Value for the Money Ride - A Custom series

High Pitch
60%
Versatility
50%
Good Price
90%
Weight
40%

I didn’t want to seclude just one ride from the A custom series because they all have a similar price – little over $300.

I am not saying it is not expensive but not as the K series and for that price it offers a great sound, Zildjian’s historical quality and enough versatility to adapt almost every music genre except for jazz.

Sabian

Best Jazz Ride Cymbal - 20" Manhattan Jazz

High Pitch
30%
Versatility
35%
Good Price
50%
Weight
40%

I choose this ride because it has the least amount of attack out of all Sabian cymbals I compared (over 20). 

It is a light jazz cymbal with a dark tone. In comparison to some HHX rides it has a very good price; under $400.

It is dry just enough, not too much and sustain can be controlled. I would go with 20″ model for jazz because it is quieter than the 22″ one.

As an alternative try out Jack DeJohnette limited-edition ride, 20″ HHX Legacy ride.

Dave Weckl plays Legacy series on jazz gigs and it fits perfectly.

If we talk about the Jazz series that is Artisan but the most expensive one. These cymbals are not light as classic jazz cymbals and they have a dark tone and short sustain.

Best Rock and Metal Ride Cymbal - 21" AAX X-Plosion

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
45%
Good Price
85%
Weight
60%

The AAX X-Plosion ride is not the heaviest ride made by Sabian but it is a ride with the strongest attack.

I like the AAX series because of the price and versatility, although HHX is premiums series AAX doesn’t fall too much behind.

The strong attack, large bell with high definition sound will cut trough guitar distortion easily.

It sounds like it needs a second to open up when you crash it but when it does, it provides a loud sound with long sustain.

The tone leans towards lower pitch but because of the great quality no matter how hard you hit it won’t’ produce uncomfortable sound.

Most Versatile Ride Cymbal - 21" HHX Evolution

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
85%
Good Price
45%
Weight
40%

HHX Evolution series has a reputation as one of the most popular Sabian series. The reason behind this is the versatility and quality of the series.

Made in collaboration with Dave Weckl a long time ago it is well established series in Sabian lineup.

The brilliant finish will provide a decent amount of attack but retain a sweet, mellow tone. The tone, sustain, volume, everything is in the middle.

If you like dry cymbals it would be a good idea to skip this one, but if you want cymbals to cover at least a few music genres HHX Evolution is your go-to series.

Best Value for the Money Ride - AAX series

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
85%
Good Price
85%
Weight
50%

It is hard to pick just one out of all the great rides in the AAX series. The prices vary 30-50 bucks so it doesn’t matter much which one you choose.

The subtype I like best is definitely X-Plosion. I agree the series is not that cheap with a price little bit over $300, but this is a higher middle range series although it provides a premium sound.

It is made out of B20 Bronze, the same material they use to make Artisan or HHX. Also, many big cymbal companies use the same metal.

To find out more about Sabian check out my Sabian Cymbals best to worst article.

Meinl

Best Jazz Ride Cymbal - 20" Byzance Jazz Tradition Flat

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
35%
Good Price
30%
Weight
20%

This is the sweetest sounding ride I was able to dig up. Like many jazz rides it doesn’t have a bell.

It is so thin that when you play it you can see how it bends and makes waves. It is very quiet so playing up-tempo jazz comes naturally to this ride.

Byzance is the highest cymbal class that Meinl makes so the price goes trough the roof. I don’t know if you have almost $500 to spend on the ride but if you do and you like this kind of sound, go for it.

Byzance Jazz series is dedicated jazz cymbal series but the Sand ride and Pure Light ride under Byzance Vintage or Foundry reserve series are perfect choices for jazz drummers.

Best Rock and Metal Ride Cymbal - 22" Byzance Brilliant Heavy Hammered

High Pitch
30%
Versatility
25%
Good Price
25%
Weight
85%

First I want to emphasize something I don’t like. You can get this kind of sound for less money with Sabian AAX or Zildjian A Custom. I don’t find these series to be better in any way.

All the new series from Meinl are focused on the dark, dry sound so the Brilliant series is a big exception. This cymbal has all features of rock or metal cymbals.

It is heavy, with a strong attack, dark sound, a large bell, and loud as hell. It is not as nearly versatile as A Custom and AAX, in matter a fact this would be something like Paiste Alpha Metal Ride for the rich people 🙂

If we put all cons aside this whole series is a perfect choice for heavy music. Check out 24″ Byzance Brilliant Pure Metal Ride also, they are very similar.

Most Versatile Ride Cymbal - 21" Byzance Traditional Medium

High Pitch
60%
Versatility
85%
Good Price
40%
Weight
40%

I though Byzance Dual is the most versatile series because it has dual finish but the sound doesn’t change that much when you change the hitting surface. 

I really like the Foundry Reserve series but it leans toward jazz sound. I picked Byzance Traditional series due to fact I can imagine every single ride playing jazz, rock, funk or latin.

Of course, you can’t play metal with either one of these rides but there is no such thing as a ride for all music genres.

21″ is somewhere in the middle as far as the pitch and attack go but I was surprised how soft some of these big rides sound.

Best Value for the Money Ride - Pure Alloy Custom Series

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
80%
Good Price
85%
Weight
50%

Pure Alloy rides cost little over $250 which is not too expensive having in mind that Classics Custom cost the same but are made from b10 Bronze instead B12 like Pure Alloy.

What I don’t like with Meinl is the fact they change material as soon as you step out of a top-class such as Byzance which is not the case with Zildjian and Sabian.

I personally don’t dig the Pure Alloy or the Pure Alloy Custom sound but the fact is, these are middle-quality cymbals at a great price. I would much rather go with Byzance but it is not as nearly affordable.

To find out more about Meinl check my article on Meinl cymbals best to worst.

Paiste

Best Jazz Ride Cymbal - 20" Signature Traditional

High Pitch
45%
Versatility
75%
Good Price
15%
Weight
50%

Love the sound, hate the price kinda situation. This ride cost almost $600, which is at least $150 more than you would need to pay for a good jazz ride by Zildjian, Sabian or Meinl.

I can’t find anything that justifies price this high. When it comes to sound it is very good but not through the roof if you ask me.

It doesn’t have the weigh of regular thin jazz cymbal but it does have the sound. sweet, soft, body playing friendly. As a good alternative, I found Paiste Signature Dark Energy Mark I and II.

Best Rock and Metal Ride Cymbal - Nicko McBrains's 22" Signature Reflector "Powerslave" Bell

High Pitch
45%
Versatility
40%
Good Price
20%
Weight
80%

I always loved Nicko’s ride sound. The old model was in the Paiste Alpha series and it was great for heavy gigs.

With price over $500 can’t fall under affordable but it is one of the best rock rides I was able to find.

It has a great attack with a little bit lower pitch but just right for rock cymbal sound. Just go listen to Iron Maiden and you will hear how that ride sounds in the live situation with 3 guitars and a bass.

Few rides can cut that much distortion and with a lower price, it would be easily the number one rock ride in the world.

Most Versatile Ride Cymbal - 21" Signature Dark Energy Mark II

High Pitch
60%
Versatility
85%
Good Price
30%
Weight
60%

Like all cymbals from Signature series, this one also comes at a high price tag. The versatility makes it more affordable since you can use it in many music situations.

Dark Energy Mark II comes in three sizes: 20″, 21″ and 22″, I picked the middle one but whichever you choose it will not let you down.

To be honest I still don’t understand why the highest class by Paiste is more expensive than other companies since Zildjian has the biggest market share. 

This is the only con I was able to find, other than that this cymbal is just perfect, not too loud, sustain and tone just right. I would play this cymbal at any time.

Best Value for the Money Ride - PST 8 Series

High Pitch
50%
Versatility
50%
Good Price
90%
Weight
45%

I criticized Paiste pricing a lot when it comes to premium categories. As far as the middle category goes, Paiste is actually the best. 

The sound of PST 8 and the price that goes with it you can’t get with other cymbal companies.

I played PST 5 in the beginning, later on, they made PST 8 which is basically a newer version of PST 5 and they introduce PST 7 that I also find great for that price level.

It is more of a rock series so I wouldn’t suggest playing jazz with it but overall this is the best middle category cymbal series in the world.

Conclusion

Let’s wrap up! Every company has its pros and cons the same as every ride I analyzed. I will summarize each company like this:

  • Zildjian – Overall one of the best with great middle series and versatile cymbals
  • Sabian – Cool sounding cymbals with a sweetest sound, wide range of choices in the lineup
  • Meinl – Very innovative company focus on dry cymbals with a lower pitch, the price can go very high on some pieces
  • Paiste – The most expensive top series cymbals. The best price and the sound on middle-level cymbals.
Check out my guides on Best cymbals and Best cymbals for rock.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *