Cymbals are arguably the most important sounding component of your drum set. Anyone can make a cheap set of shells sound great. It’s truly the cymbals that make a kit shine. Unfortunately for us drummers, cymbals are expensive.
In a hurry? Our favorite is the Benny Greb cymbal pack from Meinl.
One high-quality crash cymbal from, say Zildjian, may run you upwards of $400. Larger cymbal companies have begun putting out cymbal packs, not just for entry-level cymbals, but for high-end ones as well. Read on to see our reviews and our favorite cymbal pack of 2019.
Best Cymbal Pack – Our Favorite Picks
The table above lists our favorite picks from each cymbal company. While each cymbal maker has many different lines of cymbals, we believe these are the best in both value, performance, and durability.
Below we will be discussing each cymbal maker in depth with each cymbal pack they offer currently.
All cymbal packs listed below will be ranked from highest quality to most budget-friendly. Happy reading!
Zildjian Cymbal Packs
Zildjian’s K Series cymbal set is top of the line. I suggest drummers who are shopping for their first set of cymbals wait a little bit on these ones.
Included in the kit are four cymbals:
- 14″ K Hi-Hats
- 16″ K Dark Thin Crash
- 18″ K Dark Thin Crash
- 20″ K Ride
If you have ever heard these cymbals, you’ll know that they are very dark and beautiful. They just sound expensive.
As with any thin cymbal, durability is going to be less than that of a thinker cymbal. If you play Zildjian K cymbals, especially the thin crashes, be advised that these cymbals will crack easier.
If you play hard rock, you may want to consider buying a separate set of cymbals for recording only, as touring with these will get quite expensive.
Another of my favorite lines from Zildjian is the A Custom. Included in this pack are four cymbals:
- 14″ A Custom Hi-Hats
- 16″ A Custom Crash
- 18″ A Custom Crash
- 20″ A Custom Medium Ride
Compared to the K Series, the A Custom cymbals are going to be a bit brighter but still maintain an expensive sound. I personally like the K Series over these.
Moving away from darker sound cymbals to brighter, we have the Avedis line from Zildjian. These were actually the first cymbals I played and still love them today. Included are four cymbals:
- 14″ Mastersound Hi-Hats
- 17″ Medium Thin Crash
- 19″ A Medium Thin Crash
- 20″ Ping Ride
We’re moving to a little bit thicker of cymbals when we’re talking about the Avedis line. You can be a harder hitter and still get a lot of life out of these cymbals.
As stated previously, this cymbal pack is ideal for touring drummers who have what I like to call touring cymbals. Leave the more expensive ones at home, folks. Unless you’re Neil Peart.
The S Series from Zildjian is a newer line of cymbals aimed at younger students and intermediate players of all ages. These are made from 88% copper and 12% tin.
The cymbals overall are very bright and don’t have as much body like some of the higher end lines. You definitely can tell that this line of cymbals was designed to be an upgrade (small, albeit) from the ZBT line.
The durability of the S Line cymbal pack is fantastic. This cymbal pack will last until you decide to upgrade to a more expensive line of cymbals.
Being that these cymbals are thicker, expect them to be good for rock, pop, country, metal, and more. Don’t worry about cracks!
As the name implies, this is absolutely a beginner cymbal pack. For any aspiring drummer, this line of cymbals is a perfect entry-level choice. Included are three cymbals:
- 13″ Hi Hats
- 18″ Crash Ride
- A bonus 14″ Crash
Again, this is another thicker cymbal pack, a common theme you’ll notice among cheap cymbal sets. The durability of the ZBT starter set is great.
This set of cymbals can last you or your young drummer many years. The sound won’t be amazing, but it’s a great set of learning cymbals.
Sabian Cymbal Packs
Sabian knocks it out of the park with Hand Hammered cymbals. There’s something special about the handcrafted touch of them. The sound is so dark and full of life.
I have always loved Sabian’s higher end cymbals, specifically Hand Hammered. These cymbals sound extremely dark, yet very warm. They really wash when you play them.
As with other thin cymbals, durability will be an issue for harder players. I would consider these to be studio cymbals.
Sabian’s XSR line of cymbals fosters to more of a rock and metal sound, in my opinion. They aren’t necessarily bright but are think enough cymbals that can take a beating. Included in this pack are four cymbals:
- 20″ XSR Ride
- 18″ XSR Fast Crash
- 16″ XSR Fast Crash
- 14″ XSR Hi-Hats
It’s a great value for four cymbals (technically five if you count hi-hats as two).
The only grief I have with this cymbal pack is the small cymbals: they just sound so weak. Take a listen in the video below.
Sabian’s XSR line of cymbals can definitely take the hits of a powerful drummer. While these aren’t the most expensive sounding cymbals, they are perfect for an intermediate student or young player.
If you haven’t heard of the B8 line from Sabian, you’re probably living under a rock. Jokes aside, the B8 cymbal pack is the best cymbal pack for an entry-level drummer or percussion student.
These cymbals do sound pretty terrible (better than the ZBT line), but for someone learning to play the drums, they do give a nice feel and accurate representation of what more expensive cymbals would be like to play.
Listen to this salesman awkwardly try to pitch these…
Meinl Cymbal Packs
The pack we originally referenced in this article was the Mike Johnston signature set, which appears to no longer be available (edit: it’s available on Sweetwater still).
Benny Greb’s cymbal pack is very similar in tonality and timbre. I love the sound of the Byzance line. There’s a reason the price tag is so high.
These are extremely dry and dark sounding cymbals. I love the sound of the Byzance line. You really can’t go wrong. Even Mat Halpern from Periphery uses this line. For metal! While the cost is high, the sound you get is equally expensive.
The only gripes I have with this cymbal pack is the ride cymbal. It’s so dry that there’s barely any sustain to it. Take a listen in the video below.
These are our favorite! We have picked this our best cymbal pack!
Meinl is quickly gaining my love over the past few years. Every high-end cymbal I hear from them (minus that one ride cymbal) I seem to adore. Meinl’s Classics line is the best cymbal pack for a student interested in jazz and fusion.
Despite such a low cost, these cymbals sound like they should be way more expensive, on par with Sabian’s Hand Hammered line and Zildjian’s A Customs. I was truly blown away by these cymbals.
The HCS line is very much on par with the Sabian B8 line. It’s a very cheap line of cymbals that works great for students and beginner players.
The sound quality you will get from the HCS line isn’t great at all (really any of the lower end cymbals), to be honest. If this is going to be your first line of cymbals, go for it. If you really enjoy playing drums and know you’ll upgrade in the future, save your money.