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.
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 2022.
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.
And a quick side note—Cymbal Swap offers a subscription model that lets you try out tons of cymbals for a monthly fee. You can even buy them once you try them!
Zildjian Cymbal Packs
Zildjian is one of the most popular cymbal makers around—they’ve made cymbals since 1623. They’re a global leader in manufacturing cymbals, drumsticks, and mallets.
1) Zildjian K Series Cymbal Pack
The K Series cymbal pack is ideal for jazz, fusion, gospel, light rock, and pop. It's an excellent choice for serious or professional drummers.
The 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.
2) Zildjian A Custom Cymbal Pack
The A Custom cymbal pack is ideal for rock, pop, gospel, fusion, worship. It's a great intermediate choice for great quality cymbals at a decent price-point.
Another of my favorite lines from Zildjian is the A Custom (Sweetwater). 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.
3) Zildjian A Rock Cymbal Pack
The Rock cymbal pack is ideal for touring drummers. Suitable genres include rock, metal, country, and gospel.
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 (rest in peace).
4) Zildjian S Performer
These are perfect for intermediate players and students. They sound much better than the stock ones that likely came with your drum set.
The S Series from Zildjian is a newer line of cymbals aimed at younger students and intermediate players of all ages. They’re 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!
5) Zildjian I Series Starter Cymbal Set
The I Series pack is ideal for first-time drummers, students, and young players.
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 I Series 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
Sally, Billy, and Andy—Sabian. If you’ve ever wondered where the name originated, it’s comprised of the first two letters of Robert Zildjian’s three children. Sabian spawned out of a dispute when Robert was not chosen to be the main CEO of Zildjian.
Sabian Cymbals is another trusted cymbal maker drummers across the globe love playing. The company offers plenty of lines from professional to affordable.
6) Sabian HHX Cymbal Pack
The HHX cymbal pack is perfect for pop, rock, R&B, worship, hip hop, and fusion. These are some of the best cymbals you'll ever hear.
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 HHX. 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.
7) Sabian XSR Cymbal Pack
The XS cymbal pack is a great intermediate choice for rock and metal drummers.
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 thick 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.
8) Sabian B8X Performance Pack
The B8X is an entry level pack of cymbals recommended for first-time drummers and young players. All genres are ideal.
If you haven’t heard of the B8 line from Sabian, you must be living under a rock. They might be the most popular entry-level cymbals on the market.
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.
Meinl Cymbal Packs
Meinl makes some of my favorite cymbals you can get today. My most recent purchase is an 18″ Byzance Extra Dry Thin Crash—it sounds massive. Meinl makes everything from cymbals to percussion.
9) Meinl Benny Greb Sand Pack
Benny Greb's signature cymbal line from Meinl sounds incredible. Perfect for the professional looking to upgrade.
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.
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.
10) Meinl Classics Custom Dark Pack
This pack sounds incredible for the price. It's great for beginners looking for the Meinl sound without the high price tag; ideal for all genres.
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.
11) Meinl HCS Cymbal Pack
The HCS line of cymbals is basically like your ZBT or B8 from the otherr big dogs. They are great for all genres and are great for new players.
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.
My Favorite Cymbal Pack?
Out of all the cymbal packs in this price range, nothing beats Meinl in my book!
- Huge sounding cymbals
- Plenty of variety
- Thin cymbals can crack easier, so play with proper technique
I originally had listed the Custom Classics Dark pack, but if you’re truly looking for the best pack this is the one I would be picking.
There are a number of other great cymbal manufacturers out there, such as Paiste, Dream, Soultone, TRX, just to name a few. They all make wonderful sounding cymbals, but I figured on focusing on three of my favorite brands in this post.
I also didn’t mention Wuhan for a particular reason: they aren’t the best company. When we say best cymbal pack, we don’t mean cheapest. I recently did a post on Wuhan Cymbals, which are some of the most affordable cymbals around.
Have you bought a cymbal pack before? What’s your favorite cymbal pack on this list?
Oh, and hey, if you’re buying cymbals, don’t miss my roundup on cymbal bags to protect your investment!
If you have any questions about cymbal packs, feel free to leave a comment down below. Thanks for reading.
What are your thoughts on the Istanbul cymbals?
I haven’t owned any myself, but I’ve always loved their sound. Definitely pricey! The 24″ Istanbul Agop Traditional Dark Ride would be a dream ride to own. Big, dark, and washy.