Sabian vs Zildjian – What Cymbals are Better

August 18, 2023
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It would be tough to answer the eternal question; Is Sabian or Zildjian better?

Why? It is simple, every cymbal has its own tone that comes with a certain price tag. So, if we compare Zildjian K crash with a Zildjian Planet Z crash that is pretty straight forward and we can do that. But in order to compare cymbals from two different companies, we need to take similar series like A custom and AAX for instance.

Although this is a hard task I decided to try so here are some features I was able to compare.

Sabian VS Zildjian

Comparing prices

In order to compare pricing of Sabian vs ZIldjian, I decided to take something that exists in each and every series. That is 16″ crash cymbal. Let’s see the results I got.

In this graph, we used as a reference. Prices are in dollars.

I was able to compare the highest, the lowest level series, and series that have a similar sound. It looks like Zildjian comes with a higher price but if you prefer Sabian I wouldn’t flip sides over 10-20 bucks.

Zildjian and Sabian are top of the line cymbal manufacturers so don’t expect to go cheap. There are many cymbal companies nowadays and you hear a lot of drummers talking about how some of them are great.

I did tried over 10 different brands and they are not as good as Zildjian and Sabian. No one likes the high price but I guess it is justified. 

In this Zildjian vs Sabian price compare Zildjian wins by a little.

Comparing materials


Zildjian Secret Family Alloy
Zildjian Secret Family Alloy
B12 Bronze
B8 Bronze


B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B20 Bronze
B8 Bronze

The structure is kinda similar, the top series are made out of B20 Bronze while the lowest series are made out of brass. Zildjian uses “secret family alloy” to make the best cymbals. It’s a combination of copper, tin, and silver but the public doesn’t know the actual formula.

If you search for high-quality cymbals go for the series made out of Secret Alloy for Zildjian or B20 Bronze for Sabian.

The graph may fool you that Sabian has more series but it doesn’t. Zildjian classified them differently. For instance, the K family has 4 series within but all are made out of the same materials.

Comparing sound

It is useless comparing the sound because it really depends on what do you compare. What if I compare the highest cymbals series from Zildjian vs Sabian lowest.

You get the point right?

I made a comparison of Sabian cymbals.

I can tell you some impressions from my personal experience due to the fact that I play only Sabian and Zildjian.

The reason is not just the sound but the flexibility. These cymbals last more and do not crack that often as Meinl or Paiste. I think alloys they use or the process of making the cymbals is different.

I cracked so many Meinl and Paiste cymbals but still not crack Sabian nor Zildjian. Maybe I just learned to hit properly and relaxed or maybe these cymbals are really more flexible than others.

Both are very similar when it comes to tone. If you would compare them with Paiste you would notice that they have a more modern and versatile tone.

On the other hand, if you compare them to Meinl they have much brighter tone since Meinl focused on a dry and dark tone

Both companies have great sounding cymbals and it is just a matter of your personal preference.

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. Hello Denis,
    I have more of a question than comment, and you can probably help. I am looking for a cymbal family that sounds good, but has a darker appearance, and will not show fingerprints, smudges and the under the lacquer tarnish blemishes. Several years ago, I purchased a Zildjian K Custom 21″ Dry Ride, and have loved the sound and the look over the years. I looked into the Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Series, and it’s kind of what I am looking for, but was also interested to know what other cymbal manufacturing companies may offer something similar to the Special Dry Family look and sound? Thank you for your time and interest in my inquiry.

    • Hi Terry, I suggest you try Sabin Big and Ugly series it is similar to the Zildjian Dry series or Meinl Byzance Extra Dry, Dark. If you are only looking for a ride that Byzance Vintage has a few options. Hope I gave you a few fresh ideas. Cheers

  2. When Robert Zildjian left to form the SABIAN company he brought the “secret” family cymbal bronze recipe with him so there is no difference in the top of the line SABIAN and Zildjian metals.
    Do not forget that SABIAN was founded by one of Avedis Zildjian’s grandsons. What’s more, most of the boutique Turkish brands were founded by K. Zildjian workers or taught by men who worked in the old K. Zildjian factory. Even the Italian cymbal smiths have ties to the Turkish Zildjian factory.

    Only Meinl and Paiste cymbals represent traditions which are not directly derived from early 20th century Turkish Zildjian factory.

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