Sabian Cymbals Best to Worst – Complete Guide With Honest Reviews

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sabian best to worst

In this article, we analyzed all Sabian best to worst cymbal series. Sabian is one of the best cymbals manufacturers in the world but the same as every big company they have a wide range of products.

However, it is not always straightforward. There are a series of the same price and quality but are made of different materials and have a different purpose. Here is our comparison if the factor is the price.

Artisan
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HHX
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HH
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Crescent
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Paragon
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AAX
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AA
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XSR
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SR2
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B8X
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SBR
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Sabian Cymbals Price List

I’ve compared prices on sites such as Amazon.com, Thomann.de, Sweetwater.com. 16 inch crash is cymbal type you can find in every series. 

I need to emphasize that price can vary depending on the sub type for instance HHX – Stage, Evolution, Explosion and so on. So the price I took as a reference is golden middle.

Series Type Price
Artisan
Crash 16"
$380
HHX
Crash 16"
$280
HH
Crash 16"
$260
Crescent
Crash 16"
$230
Paragon
Crash 16"
$220
AAX
Crash 16"
$200
AA
Crash 16"
$180
XSR
Crash 16"
$150
SR2
Crash 16"
$130
B8X
Crash 16"
$80
SBR
Crash 16"
$60

Artisan Series

5/5
  • STYLE: Masterpiece
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

This is the highest class of Sabian cymbals and at the same time one of the most expensive cymbal series in the world. Whether they are the best or not, it’s up to you, but you can’t get wrong with these guys. If you browse through their website, you will notice that only the Artisan Series are marked as the masterpiece type. 

These are the premium cymbals with a darker sound made out of B20 (Bronze 80% copper 20% tin). Made versatile, they are a perfect choice for both live and studio situations. Because of the versatility, they can be applied in Jazz, Rock, Hip-hop, Pop, etc. The have just the right amount of volume and sustain.

The sound can be categorized under Vintage. The price of Artisan is very high, so you need to pay close attention to whether you like them or not for just one Artisan ride cymbal you can buy the whole pair of lower Sabian series.

Drummers who play Artisan series

HHX Series

4.6/5
  • STYLE: Modern
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

HHX Series come with a wide range of options. In the drumming community they are considered as one of the best sabian cymbals.  Although the whole series sound can be sorted as Dark, the pallete of the HHX series is vey wide, and the tone varies. HHX cymbals with brilliant finish have more modern, brighter sound while the ones with natural finish have a dryer, the more vintage sound.

If you are looking for professional series that can be used in different music situations Sabian HHX are a great choice. HHX Series have under categories like Omni, Evolution, Complex, Fierce, and so on. While this is professional series and it’s made out of highest quality materials, the sound varies from Modern more suitable for rock like Evolution series developed with Dave Weckl.

On the other hand, we have HHX Fierce, which are not so versatile, completely dry, and can’t be used in many situations. Somewhere in between lays down the HHX Complex and Manhattan great for jazz or the most versatile category, regular HHX.

Drummers who play HHX series

HH Series

3.7/5
  • STYLE: Vintage
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

HH is shortened for Hand Hammered. Although they can be sorted under the same price range as HHX, their sound is entirely different. First of all, they are probably the heaviest series from Sabian. The tone is kind of “serious,” dry with short sustain.

With heavy cymbals, it is harder to get the sound, but as they have a shorter sustain, it will be easier to control them.This whole series has that vintage jazz/rock, which makes it more suitable for old school drummers.

The series itself is not so versatile as the HHX but more in one direction. They are subgroups like Vanguard, Performance, Pandora, King, but they are all similar to vintage sound and short sustain.

HH series are an excellent choice for drummers looking for dry vintage sound great for both rock and jazz.

Drummers who play HH series

Crescent Series

4/5
  • STYLE: Vintage
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

Crescent series goes hand in hand with HH and HHX when it comes to price range. They are renewed, and the new series always get the higher price. So the price range is similar. They sound like somebody experimented with HH.

Sabian added few things, made them thinner, added a raw bell on some subcategories.Having that said, these series are the most similar to HH from Sabian only thinner. The great studio/jazz drummer Jeff Hamilton collaborated on the development of this series.

With that in mind, they are made for jazz mainly. Is would be uncreative to limit some cymbal series in just one musical direction. If you are creative enough, this series or any other can be used in all sorts of musical situations.

You will get the different sound, but as long as you don’t purchase a lower series, you will be able to maintain the sound quality.

Drummers who play Crescent series

Paragon Series

4/5
  • STYLE: Modern
  • SOUND: Bright
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

With the Paragon series, we are still on a professional level. The same goes for the price range. Neil Peart played paragon cymbals. The main focus of Paragon is to sustain the famous Sabian sound while raising the pitch and making them more modern.

If you like the high pitch and bright sound of Paragon, then you only need to decide whether to go with brilliant or a natural finish. Something I would like to emphasize is that only with AAX and HHX you can expect a full reach of the brilliant finish.

With Paragon, HH, or Artisan briliant finish doesn’t change much of a vintage character.
If you want genuinely modern cymbals, go wit AAX or HHX with a brilliant finish.

However, the Paragon series are great for a drummer who likes high pitch and versatile cymbals. They are not so dry, and the sustain is longer than HH series.

Drummers who play Paragon series

AAX Series

3.5/5
  • STYLE: Modern
  • SOUND: Bright
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

AAX is a middle price range series but it can be sorted as the best intermediate cymbals. Many professionals use this series both for studio and live playing. Although it is cheaper than HHX or Artisan, the quality doesn’t decrease that much. This series is oriented to modern, bright sound, and it is the most modern series by Sabian.

You will not find a jazz drummer using the AAX. Their usage is mainly in Pop, Rock, Metal R&B.
Drummers who use the AAX mainly come from popular music like Tony Royster or, on the other hand, metal music like Mike Portnoy.

This series is the most popular among young rock and metal drummers who require a brighter, modern sound, and they already learned a few tricks and broke a few lower-level cymbals.

AAX is also the cymbals series, which has the best value for the many ratio. It does belong to a middle category, but as I said, the quality does not decrease that much while the price does.

Find out more about AAX in our best cymbals for rock article. 

Drummers who play AAX series

AA Series

3/5
  • STYLE: Vintage
  • SOUND: Bright
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

AA Series form Sabian are the first step into a lower category. It will be hard to find this series on a drum set of a pro drummer. As a young drummer, you continuously pay attention to what you role models are playing.

Please pay attention on endorsements. What does that mean? A list drummers will endorse the highest series. Superstar drummers for superstar series. But, the cymbal company still needs someone to advertise the lower series as well.

For instance, Mike Mangini uses a lot of cymbals, so here is very suitable to have 2 or 3 lower level cymbals up there. Mainly drummers who are not that popular or are playing in smaller bands will endorse the lowest level series.

Regarding the sound of the AA series; It is bright and modern, very similar to AAX but the sense of quality and that “expensive sound” miss outs from this point on.

Drummers who play AA series

XSR Series

2.5/5
  • STYLE: Vintage
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant
  • PITCH: Bright

The XSR is an excellent combination of HHX dark tone and AAX briliant finish and modern sound at a price orange lower than AA. Perfect match, even for professionals. Along with SR2, this is only Sabian series from whom you can get great sound for 100 bucks.

They are the most similar to AAX. The material used is also bronze B20 alike for the more expensive cymbals from Sabian. With price range, they fall under lower categories while with the sound they don’t. The quality is a little bit lower than the AAX.

They did keep the HHX darker tone, but the sound difference here is more significant. This series is the best choice for a young modern drummer who wants a professional sound on a budget.

SR2 Series

2.3/5
  • STYLE: Vintage
  • SOUND: Dark
  • METAL: B20
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

The SR2 are designed for beginners and amateurs who like vintage sound. The b20 is still used for this series, but the quality of the sound is far from the higher series like Artisan or HH.

These series have pretty good sound for this level. It is worth money to have the cymbal made of the same material as the pro cymbals—Sabian cymbals made of B8 or Brass loose all the sounds that are known for.

The interesting fact about the SR2 is that these are all refurbished symbals. They take the used HHX, AAX, or some top-notch series, from trade shows, artist loaners, store displays, refurbish them and make brand new cymbals.

Sabian likes to say that you get a cymbal that was HHX, AAX, HH or some higher-level series in the previous life but with at a much lower price.

B8X Series

1.6/5
  • STYLE: Modern
  • SOUND: Bright
  • METAL: B8
  • FINISH: Natural or Brilliant

You will notice that with the B8X series, metal changes from B20 to B8. This makes a substantial difference in sound quality. The first step of sound decreasing when it comes to Sabian best to worst compare is the AA series. B8X is the second biggest transition.

Although the AA is made out of the same material as the top-notch series, the sound decreases. The same thing is with B8X, only here the material is changed, and it falls out under a whole different price range.

B8X is the best Sabian series for beginner drummers. If you starting on drums, these would be an on-budget option.

SBR Series

1/5
  • STYLE: Modern
  • SOUND: Bright
  • METAL: Brass
  • FINISH: Natural

These are the cymbals that you will get with a beginner’s drum set. The only Sabian series made out of brass. The higher series are made out of B20 Bronze while the cheaper cymbals are made out of B8 bronze and Brass.

So, the cymbals made out of brass as SBR fall under the lowest cymbal category. The most suitable Sabian series for beginner drummers. Before you learn how to hold the drumstick properly and how to hit the cymbals, it’s good to have a great set of cymbals for practice.

The sound is bright and modern, but the quality of AAX almost totally decreases in this series.

To find out more about cymbals check our Best cymbals – Complete guide article.

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