Paiste Cymbals Best to Worst – Complete Guide

January 14, 2024
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It’s not overstating that Paiste is one of the best companies ever in producing some of the most iconic cymbals. 

They have constantly designed, crafted, and released some of the most innovative shapes of cymbals, outstanding and innovative sounds, and materials.

Why most drummers love Paiste cymbals? It is not difficult to understand. 

They always put effort into meeting the needs of every drummer. Their dedication to deliver the highest quality gear made them one of the best on the market today.

One of the Big 4, the Paiste, has something for everyone – no matter the style or genre of music, be sure that you will find what you need with them.

Now let’s see what we have when it comes to series. I’ll try to explain the Paiste cymbals best to worst. 

You should keep in mind that what’s excellent for one may not be great for another, nor our budgets are the same.

Nevertheless, those who want to be the world’s first-class musicians should always aspire to the best.

Formula 602
Giant Beat
900 Series
Color Sound 900
101 Brass

Signature series

  • Signature
  • Signature Traditionals
  • Signature Dark Energy
  • Signature Reflector
  • Signature Precision

Signature is the first and highest series Paiste developed, and with its four subseries, they did their best to cover as many things they could to meet the needs of drummers.

Now, let’s dive deeper into this series and subseries.

paiste signature cymbals



Some of the best craftsmen in Paiste have been working on this series since 1989. These cymbals are forged from special Proprietary Bronze and have unsurpassed quality.

Many drummers go for these cymbals, as they are well-balanced and ideal for any musical scenario or volume setting.

You can expect expressive, full, clear, rich, and colorful sound – which makes Signature perfect for various music genres. Funk, Metal, Rock, Pop, R&B, Country, you name it, Signature is a top choice for everyone who wants to experience the best sound quality.

No matter if you are playing in a small or big set-up, be sure that the Signature series will enable musical excellence and creativity – enhanced sensitivity will allow you to practice and perform with accuracy.

paiste drum cymbals

Signature Traditionals


Signature Traditionals are on the market since 1996, and these cymbals are highly valuated not only from Signature lines but amongst other brands also.

Like other Signature series, Traditionals cymbals are also forged from Proprietary Bronze. Since they are high-quality, drummers that go for these cymbals are mostly those who aspire to a constant improvement of their drum setups with premium-grade products.

Any genre sounds great with Traditionals, and no matter if it’s a live or studio recording situation, these cymbals will amaze you. This series works excellent in acoustic and vocal-oriented music as well, not only in standard setups.

The sound is dark, layered, and smoky and will allow you to have outstanding control over volume and dynamics. Every single strike sounds extraordinary.

Signature Dark Energy


These cymbals unite fundamental characteristics of the “Signature” and “Traditionals.” The combination is a perfect mix of a dark character, multi-layered harmonies, and sound’s depth of these two series have.

Signature Dark Energy cymbals are perfect for professional drummers that aspire to a well-balanced character in their cymbals.

As with all other Signature series, this one is also great for live and studio recording and works well in soft to medium-loud settings.

nicko mcbrain paiste cymbals

Signature Reflector


Paiste took care that the Signature Reflector series employ extraordinary treatment techniques with a smooth, shimmering, and luminous finish.

When we talk about the sound, it does sound a bit darker since the sonic timbre and color of the cymbals is lower.

The Bell sound of the ride tends to be more distinct and separated, while hi-hats tend to be warmer and more compact. Overall weight, volume range, and dynamic intensity of Reflector cymbals are close to identical.

paiste jazz cymbals

Signature Precision


In 2013 Paiste introduced us to their new Signature Precision series that had typical hallmarks of the original Signature sound. Fullness, brightness, strong presence, and projection are what these cymbals have to offer.

The goal of Paiste was to create a more affordable Signature sound, and this is how Precision came on the market. So, if you love the classic sound of the original Signature and you are a bit on the budget, this series is the right one for you

Formula 602 series


  • 602 Classic
  • 602 Modern

Formula 602 is another great series Paiste has to offer. There are two series under this name – Classic since 1959, and Modern since 2013.

paiste alloy

Formula 602 Classic


The alloy from which Formula 602 Classic cymbals are made is CuSn20, also known as “Traditional Bronze,” or “602 Bronze.”

These amazing cymbals produce such a true and pure sound with much clarity and consistency. 

Precise and controlled sound will add uniqueness to your playing, especially if you are into cymbals with retro vintage characters – then these ones are for you.

The 602 Classic series works the best at low to medium loud settings. Although it’s perfect for live gigs, this series is especially well-suited for studio recording. 

The genres with which you can use these cymbals are various, but some of the most represented are Jazz, Fusion, Blues, moderate Pop, and Rock.


paiste formula 602

Formula 602 Modern


Same as the Classic series, Formula 602 Modern is made from CuSn20, also known as “Traditional Bronze,” or “602 Bronze.”

The 602 Modern is not much different from Classic, but it still offers a new wide and dynamic sound dimension. This wouldn’t be possible if there wasn’t a close collaboration with Vinnie Colaiuta.

Top craftsmen from Paiste handcrafted this series according to Vinnie’s sound concepts for a wide all-around application – not only that 602 Modern meets the need of Vinnie, but also of many drummers worldwide.

If you like 602 Classic and Signature Traditionals, you will love 602 Modern. This series combines the essence of Formula 602 Classic with transparency, and darkness, richness, and a little bit of complexity of the Traditionals.


Paiste Masters

paiste cymbals crash



Other high-end cymbals forged from CuSn8 Bronze alloy, also known as “2002 Bronze,” have to be on top of this list as they are some of the best cymbals, I had a chance to try out.

The Masters series deserves its name for various reasons. The alloy used for crafting provides the widest frequency range you can imagine – this also enhances versatility, which makes these cymbals perfect for many contrasting genres.

The Masters are some of the best cymbals Paiste has to offer since 2011. 

The experience of cymbal making through decades and the inspiration of top drummers enabled the creation of these excellent cymbals.

These high-end cymbals work adequately in live situations, as well as in recording studios – from low to loud settings, you can expect to get broad sound, as well as deep, full, rich, and warm.

A wide variety of sound concepts makes these cymbals stand out. 

From dark to bright, pronounced to washy, smooth to strong, or dry to sustain, you can experience many things as each cymbal has its own sound character, all you need to do is play and experiment with what you’ve got.

Paiste 2002

paiste cymbals best



Since 1971 Paiste has been producing these legendary cymbals that defined many generations of drummers.

These extraordinary cymbals made from CuSn8 Bronze alloy, also known as “2002 Bronze,” are famous for their precise and bright sound that can effortlessly cut through in any kind of mix.

This alloy allowed cymbals to sonically compete with the increasing volume levels and new frequencies. 

Not only that the 2002 series use this alloy, Paiste also produces other series from it – but more on that later.

When I talk about the sound of this great series, I know what I’m talking about. The sound is great, clear, brilliant, warm, and strong at the same time.

Once you hit the cymbal, the sound will have powerfully reliable projection whatever and wherever you’re playing.

I already mentioned that these cymbals defined the sound of generations of drummers – especially those since the early days of Rock music – and nowadays 2002 series is expanded by more modern sounds that will fit most of today’s progressive and popular music.

2002 series is excellent for medium-soft to very loud settings, for live gigs, and recording. 

The genres with which you can use this series are versatile, but it’s best for Classic Rock, Blues, Punk, Hard Rock, Country Rock, Funk, R&B, Soul, and of course Heavy Metal and other Modern Metal styles.

vintage paiste cymbals

2002 Big Beat


The series that Paiste introduced us to in 2016 is a modernized and timeless interpretation of the outstanding 2002 sound.

Although there’s no difference in alloy – these cymbals are made from CuSn8 Bronze as well – there’s a difference in the new hammering pattern and slightly darkened semi-mated finish.

The logo also differentiates in color. 2002 has a red logo, while 2002 Big Beat has a simplified black logo, so that way you can distinguish the sets.

The sound of Big Beat is brilliant and warm, and what makes it stand out from the legendary 2002 is deepness, fullness, and wideness. This series adds particular depth, warmth, and complexity to any mix.

The cymbals from this series are perfect for soft to loud settings, live, or studio recording. 

The 2002 Big Beat set is great for many music styles, especially for Rock, Indie-Rock, Blues, Country, R&B, and Soul.


Paiste Rude

elloy casagrande cymbals



If your genre is Rock, Metal, or Punk RUDE series is the one for you. 

These cymbals came on the market in 1980 – the revolution of Metal and Punk music in the late 70s inspired Paiste to work on something new like the RUDE series.

RUDE cymbals are a leading choice for the raw and powerful energy that Rock, Metal, and Punk music share. 

Made from CuSn8 Bronze, also known as “2002 Bronze,” these cymbals will guarantee the quality of gear and sound.

They are perfect for live and studio recording, and they are well-balanced for medium loud to extremely loud settings.

The sound is outstanding, especially the bell from the Power Ride – many would say that it’s an upper-class cymbal. 

If you aspire to professional quality, raw, sparkling, energetic sound with extreme cutting power, these cymbals are the one.

Paiste Giant Beat

paiste big beat cymbals

Giant Beat


Giant Beat cymbals take great recognition amongst drummers and fans of Classic Rock and Country music – the sound they produce is recognizable instantly.

Made from CuSn8, also known as “2002 Bronze,” these cymbals are for professional players. Since 1967, the Giant Beat series worked well with amplified volume and frequencies.

Using proprietary manufacturing methods, the company created some of the best high-end cymbals Paiste has to offer. 

Each Giant Beat cymbal goes through a unique hardening process that ensures it will stand up to continuous heavy playing.

Although they weren’t on the market for a couple of decades, Paiste re-introduced them again in 2005. 

Amazingly, they didn’t give up on these cymbals that give brilliant vintage sound – this sound takes straight back to the roots of Rock music.

Paiste 900

new paiste cymbals



This series can cover beginner, middle-class, and even professional drummers, but – as I already mentioned before – every drummer who wants to be on the top in the music industry should aspire to the best of the gear.

Keeping that in mind, the 900 series cymbals allow drummers to get the similar sound of the 2002 series – since the alloy used for producing them is the same. 

This counterpart of the 2002 series is great to have if you can’t afford the best out of the best Paiste offers.

paiste color cymbals

Color sound 900


Color sound 900 can be polarizing – either drummers love the sound and look, or they think these cymbals are pointless. 

All in all, I already said that preferences are different and if you find these good for your drum set, go for it.

There are four different colors – purple, blue, red, and black – which can look interesting on stage. 

Although they are not high-end cymbals, they still have that similar sound to the famous 2002 series.

Crashes have a high level of deep overtones, the hi-hats are bright, and rides are great – cuts stand out as powerful and precise, which is what you want eventually to access.

Paiste PST

paiste accent cymbals



PST X series has several affordable effect cymbals, and each one can add an individual tone to your drum kit. They work well in all volume settings and all music styles.

What makes them compelling is the silky look and trashy voicing – you will surely catch someone’s attention with these cymbals.

best intermediate cymbals



PST 8 cymbals are great for the money value. 

This series has a unique handmade Reflector finish and traditional hand-hammering – it’s a perfect choice for medium-skilled drummers.

Although they have attractive prices, they are still affordable – compared to other professional series Paiste has.

These cymbals are working well in all volume settings and all music styles. When it comes to recording, you should avoid playing them in professional studios.

paiste cymbals cheap



The particular lathing process which Paiste craftsman uses when producing PST 7 cymbals resulted in a clear and warm sound with many bright undertones – this technique made these cymbals suitable for every musical style.

Personally, if I were starting with playing drums, I would probably go for this series, as the cymbals are affordable and have that preferable traditional look and sound.

paiste cymbals review



PST 5s are not supposed to be the high-end cymbals from Paiste, but they surely deserve to be medium – as you can expect great sound quality for money value.

The Swiss Sound Development Team that works for Paiste designed this line to meet the recent trends in the music industry. Since Paiste introduced PST 5 series, it continues to be one of its best sellers.

If you want cymbals at an affordable price, these are for you – they work well in all music styles and all volume settings.

beginner cymbals paiste



Drummers on a budget can go for PST 3 as they have surprisingly nice tones, with clean and powerful sound.

Although they are fine for beginners, I would still recommend PST 5 or PST 8 over this series – as they can sound semi-professional, and they come at an affordable price.

paiste cheap cymbals

101 series


Drummers on a budget can go for PST 3 as they have surprisingly nice tones, with clean and powerful sound.

Although they are fine for beginners, I would still recommend PST 5 or PST 8 over this series – as they can sound semi-professional, and they come at an affordable price.

Among Paiste cymbals series 101 is entry level and a great beginner series.

Where are Paiste Cymbals Made?

Paiste cymbals are made in Switzerland.

They have been producing quality products since 1917 when Estonian founder Michail Toomas Paiste began making cymbals from a copper-zinc alloy in his home country.

When the Soviet Union occupied Estonia, Paiste moved to Switzerland and continued his work, opening a factory in 1950.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

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  1. […] like hammering, lathing, craftsmanship, etc. Even some of the top cymbals, for e.g. some of the Paiste collections are made from sheet bronze. […]

  2. What about ALPHA?

    (Is there a difference between the alpha series which is just got a single ‘black triangle’ logo & the alphas with the 3 shapes?)

  3. What about 502? I have a 20 year old 10” splash that gets the job done live.

  4. Where do the Alpha’s Rate?

  5. Where do the Alpha’s Rate?…

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