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TESTED: Pro Drummer’s Favorite Cymbal Packs

While having good-quality drums is important, your cymbals are what really make or break your overall drum kit sound. A bad set of cymbals will overshadow high-quality drum shells. So, it’s important to get cymbals that sound good and fit whatever music you play. 

The most cost-efficient way to get a good set of cymbals is to buy a cymbal pack. Cymbal packs come with a group of selected cymbals that are coherent in their tones.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of the best cymbal packs to buy, and we’ve compared them according to their sound quality, value, and versatility.

Top 3 Cymbal Packs

The Zildjian K Sweet Cymbal Set is our Top Pick winner. It includes a versatile set of cymbals that sound great no matter what musical style you play them in. 

Our Budget Pick goes to the Sabian B8X Performance Cymbal Set. It has excellent B8 alloy cymbals that are a great fit for beginner drummers. They’re a worthy upgrade from the brass cymbals that most drummers start out with. 

If you have a big budget to work with, the Meinl Byzance Custom-Tailored Studio Set is our Editor’s Choice. It’s a dynamic professional cymbal pack that covers a variety of tones. It also comes with some epic cymbal accessories.

Best Cymbal Pack Reviews

Our Top Pick
Zildjian K Sweet Cymbal Set

Zildjian K Sweet Cymbal Set

A versatile set of cymbals ready to take on any genre of music.

One of Zildjian’s most popular cymbal packs, thanks to the musical tones of all the cymbals along with their unique sizes. The sweet sounds and raw, earthy bells work well for live gigs and recording in the studio.

If you want a professional set of cymbals that manage to cover every need, look no further than the K Sweet cymbals. These cymbals have warm tones with rich musicality, and we found them to blend incredibly well within instrument mixes.

Our favorite thing about this pack is that it comes with unconventional cymbal sizes. The standard blueprint for a cymbal pack is to have 14-inch hi-hats, 16 and 18-inch crashes, and a 20-inch ride. The cymbals here have an extra inch on each cymbal, making them feel larger and more responsive to play.

Although these cymbals blend, for the most part, we found no problem with making them sing strongly when playing to very heavy music. They had a lot of volume when we hit them hard.  

Verdict: The Zildjian K Sweet Cymbal Set has some of the most versatile cymbals on the market. The high-quality tones and musical response of each cymbal make this an excellent cymbal pack for studio drummers. The raw bells on each cymbal add extra complexity to them, and we love how earthy they sound.

Best Budget Option
Sabian B8X Performance Cymbal Set

Sabian B8X Performance Cymbal Set

A good beginner cymbal set that trumps any brass cymbals that come with beginner drum kits.

This cymbal pack has cymbals made from a B8 alloy. It’s an alloy used for entry-level cymbals, but it sounds much better than brass. The set is very affordable, and beginner drummers will immediately notice the better tones.

Sabian’s B8 cymbals have been a top beginner option for decades. The brand phased out the original B8 line and brought out these B8X cymbals, which are noticeably better. 

These cymbals are very bright. They sing out nicely, but we found that you have to hit them quite hard to get that effect. 

We wouldn’t recommend experienced drummers using them as they don’t have the needed dynamic responsiveness, but these are great cymbals for people just starting out.

We found the 18-inch crash and 20-inch ride to be the stronger sounding cymbals of the pack, but they all work well together to create a cohesive sound. 

Verdict: The Sabian B8X Performance Cymbal Set is an excellent cymbal pack option for beginner drummers. The pack has the most value out of most of the entry-level sets we’ve seen in its price range, since the others have a lower-quality brass makeup. This makes the B8X cymbals some of the best-sounding cymbals in the entry-level category.

Editor’s Choice
Meinl Byzance Custom-Tailored Studio Set

Meinl Byzance Custom-Tailored Studio Set

A finely selected set of professional cymbals for studio recording.

This pack includes some of the best cymbal options from Meinl’s premium Byzance line. These cymbals have the perfect kinds of tones that make them sound musical in tightly controlled mixes.

You get an array of amazing sounds in this cymbal pack. While many packs include the same types of cymbals in different sizes, this pack gives you different tonal options from varying lines within the Byzance series of Meinl cymbals. 

The 14-inch Byzance Traditional hi-hats have the strongest overall tone. We love how solid they sound, and you can get some serious volume when you open them up.

The 18-inch and 20-inch Byzance Jazz Medium Thin crashes both have an epic impact sound that decays very quickly, making them excellent studio crashes. 

The 22-inch Byzance Dark Raw Bell ride has a low-pitched tone that is warm and earthy. It has a fairly strong crashing tone as well. Lastly, the 16-inch Byzance Trash crash has an explosive tone. A little secret that we figured out is that it works wonderfully at the base of a stack too. 

Verdict: The Meinl Byzance Custom-Tailored Studio Set is an incredible set of cymbals to use in any recording setting. You get an incredible range of tones and effects from the varying cymbals, and the pack even comes with a Meinl Ching Ring and Sizzle chain to further diversify your cymbal sounds. This is a very strong option if you have a high budget.

Also Consider
Zildjian A Cymbal Set

Zildjian A Cymbal Set

A pack that includes some of the most popular Zildjian cymbals to ever be used.

Another pack of cymbals that work well for studio settings. All the cymbals in the pack are bright, making them sound strong in live music environments as well.

The Zildjian A cymbal line has been a favorite of drummers for decades. We rate this pack as a very safe option, considering that these cymbals have been used to record countless albums over the years. You just know that they’re going to work well

The 14-inch A New Beat hi-hats are the standout cymbal in the pack. They’re some of the most reliable hats in the industry, and they sound epically bright and punchy.

We think that the 16-inch and 18-inch A Medium Thin crashes have the most typical crash cymbal sound around. By this, we mean that they have a tried and tested crash tone that virtually everyone loves. 

The 21-inch A Sweet ride has a sharp, bright tone that is quite powerful. We love the bell sound the most, as it pierces through a mix with relative ease. 

Verdict: The Zildjian A Cymbal Set includes some of the most popular cymbals that Zildjian has ever made. These cymbals have incredible tones that are bright and punchy. While they fit well into any style, they work particularly well for styles like rock, punk, and pop, where brighter sounds are preferred.

Also Consider
Paiste 2002 Cymbal Set

Paiste 2002 Cymbal Set

One of the best cymbal sets for rock and metal.

A set of large cymbals with bright tones and massive projection. These were a favorite of rock drummers in the 70s, and they’re still loved for the same style of music in the modern day.

We love this cymbal pack for the sheer amount of power it brings to the table. Paiste’s 2002 cymbals sound huge, and you can imagine yourself playing in front of a packed stadium crowd when jamming with them. 

With a standard-size pair of hi-hats mixed with a larger ride cymbal and crashes, you get a good balance of sustain and short impact. 

The 14-inch Sound Edge hi-hats have a very strong washy sound, making them perfect for playing open grooves with a bit of oomph behind them. 

The 18-inch and 20-inch crashes have a strong initial crash tone, but we appreciate how they open up and blend when you crash ride on them. 

The 22-inch ride is the monster cymbal of the set. It has very articulate tones when you play the surface, and the bell sound is one of the loudest that we’ve heard from a 22-inch cymbal. 

Verdict: The Paiste 2002 Cymbal Set is a fantastic option for rock and metal drummers. The cymbals’ tones are loud and powerful, and they can be heard in dozens of rock albums that have been recorded over the years. They’re not the most versatile cymbals in the world, so make sure to only get this pack if you play heavy music.

Also Consider
Sabian HHX Evolution Performance Set

Sabian HHX Evolution Performance Set

One of Sabian’s high-end cymbal packs with cymbals that are packed with musical expression.

Sabian’s HHX cymbals are the brand’s top cymbal line. The HHX cymbals are known to have a dark and moody presence, yet the cymbals chosen for this pack also have a bit of explosiveness to them.

The Sabian Evolution cymbal pack is one that is often used by pop and gospel drummers. You get the dark tones that the HHX cymbals are known for, but the sizes and designs of the cymbals in this pack give them a louder and more energetic edge

These Evolution cymbals were designed with the help of Dave Weckl, who is a jazz and fusion drumming legend. They work well for jazz as well, but brighter and more punchy music is where these cymbals tend to shine the most.

The hi-hats, crash, and ride cymbal have similar tones that differ according to the size and type of cymbal. However, the 18-inch Evolution O-Zone Effects cymbal stands out compared to those. This trashy crash has an incredibly explosive tone that excited us every time we heard it. 

Verdict: The Sabian HHX Evolution Performance Set is another fantastic high-end cymbal pack to use in professional settings. They’re a good option for drummers who want dark and moody tones but also a bit of volume and energy. This combination makes them very versatile, fitting nicely into pop, jazz, rock, and gospel music.

Also Consider
Meinl Classics Custom Dark Set

Meinl Classics Custom Dark Set

An affordable pack of cymbals with low-pitched tones and plenty of aggression.

One of Meinl’s most popular cymbal sets. They stand out both visually and sonically, having black finishes with aggressive tones that fit best within metal music. These are cymbals for metal drummers through and through.

This cymbal pack perhaps contains the most aggressive and loud cymbals on this list. The cool thing about them is that they’re low-pitched as well, whereas most other aggressive cymbals on the market have bright and high-pitched tones. 

We found that their aggressive sound is caused by the overtones that they produce. The 20-inch Dark ride has the most, giving a complex sustain sound every time you hit it. It’s quite heavy, and it may turn a few heads when you crash on it, but man it felt good to play.

These cymbals are good for the most aggressive style out there – metal. A bonus is that they’re really affordable. That naturally comes at the cost of versatility. 

Verdict: The Meinl Classics Custom Dark Set is a good option for drummers who want very aggressive cymbals that cut through dense mixes. They’re some of the best cymbals for metal drumming, and their dark appearance caters even more to that style. They’re very affordable, but they aren’t the most musical or versatile cymbals around.

Also Consider
Meinl Mike Johnston Byzance Set

Meinl Mike Johnston Byzance Set

An excellent cymbal pack for jazz drumming.

Yet another high-quality pack of cymbals from Meinl. This pack was put together with the help of Mike Johnston, and it includes his signature ride cymbal. He plays drums with jazz tunings, which is why these cymbals cater so well to the style.

The 21-inch Transition ride is arguably one of the best cymbals that Meinl sells. It’s the main feature of this pack, with every other cymbal supporting it sonically.

With the ride cymbal being so prominent, it’s only natural that these cymbals work brilliantly for playing jazz swing patterns. The Transition ride has epic clarity on the surface that seamlessly opens to a washing tone as you move the stick down the cymbal. 

The 20-inch Byzance Extra Thin crash works well as a ride cymbal as well, and the 18-inch Byzance Extra Dry crash gives an explosive tone that disappears incredibly quickly. The 14-inch Extra Dry hi-hats have a similar effect with a washy tone that is soft enough to be played very aggressively without having volume issues. 

Verdict: The Meinl Mike Johnston Byzance Set is an expensive yet highly sought-after cymbal pack. These cymbals work brilliantly for jazz drumming, having musical complexity and softer tones that aren’t overbearing. The Transition ride is the standout cymbal and a perfect drawcard for getting this set. The cymbals also work well for other soft settings, such as playing drums in church.

Also Consider
Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Cymbal Pack

Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Cymbal Pack

A full pack of dry cymbals with earthy tones and minimal sustain.

This pack is more affordable than the dry cymbal packs offered by Meinl. While these cymbals have the similar dry tones that Meinl Byzance cymbals are so well-known for, they have their own unique tonal qualities that make them stand out too.

The Zildjian K Custom Special Dry cymbals offer plenty of dry and earthy tones. We found that these are the kinds of cymbals that you can hit really hard and still have the sounds disappear within seconds

The great thing about this pack is that the sounds are extremely cohesive between each cymbal. So, the cymbals work well when paired together. They’re great for jazz or other low-volume styles due to their short sustain

The thing that sets these cymbals apart from the Meinl dry cymbals is that they have a vintage aspect to them. We thought they sounded fairly resemblant to the cymbals that were used in the early 20th century, and we love that. 

Verdict: The Zildjian K Custom Special Dry Cymbal Pack is a good option for drummers looking for cymbals that have minimal sustain with earthy, low-pitched tones. These cymbals work well for jazz and other styles of music where the cymbals need to blend instead of cut.  The cymbal pack is a bit more affordable than the ones with dry cymbals from Meinl, making it a very viable pick.

Also Consider
Meinl Ultimate Set

Meinl Ultimate Set

A large cymbal pack with an unbelievable price tag.

A cymbal pack containing nine types of Meinl’s entry-level HCS cymbals. It’s a beginner drummer’s dream cymbal setup, but it can also be used by experienced drummers for a few different setups.

While we don’t recommend any drummer use brass cymbals, the sheer amount of value you get from this pack makes it an exception for this list. 

You get a set of hi-hats, four crash cymbals, a ride cymbal, a small bell, a china, and a splash cymbal. 

If you’re a beginner and you want a giant cymbal setup to have fun with, this set is fantastic. However, we also think this set would be good for drum teachers who want to set up multiple kits in their teaching spaces

You’d save a lot of money by purchasing this one cymbal pack and using the cymbal across different kits. You’d just need to get one or two more pairs of hi-hats. 

Verdict: The Meinl Ultimate Set is a dream cymbal pack for beginner drummers. These brass cymbals don’t sound amazing, but it’s a lot of fun to have so many cymbals in your setup. This pack is a great booster set for setting up multiple drum kits as well. Finally, we found that most of the cymbals in the pack work well within stack combinations that even pro drummers can use.

Also Consider
Zildjian A City Cymbal Set

Zildjian A City Cymbal Set

A pack of small cymbals to match a compact drum set.

A unique cymbal pack with small cymbals that work well for gigging in tight spaces. They also offer a more comfortable playing experience for small children while maintaining high-quality tones.

Zildjian’s A City set is a perfect addition to portable drum sets that many drummers use when playing gigs in tight venues. 

We were surprised at how good these cymbals sounded, considering the fact that smaller cymbals always take a knock in tone due to having less resonance. 

The 12-inch New Beat hats are a great addition. They share all the valued qualities of Zildjian’s famous New Beat hi-hats. They’re just two inches smaller. 

The 14-inch A Fast crash is the cymbal that we were wary of, but it shocked us with how much tonal depth it actually had. It’s bright and very explosive

The 18-inch A Uptown ride is the star of the show. It had incredible stick articulation, letting us hear every distinct note played on the surface. The bell isn’t too prominent, but there’s only so much an 18-inch ride cymbal can do. 

Verdict: The Zildjian A City Cymbal Set is a great option for drummers who play frequent gigs on small stages. If you have a small kit, these small cymbals are an ideal addition to your setup. They’re some of the best-sounding small cymbals available, and they’re also a high-quality choice to add to a kid’s drum set.

How to Choose the Best Cymbal Pack

Cymbal Alloy

The alloy used to make cymbals determines their quality. The lowest-quality cymbals are made from brass, and every major cymbal brand has an entry-level line of cymbals that are made from brass. 

Brass cymbals are intended for beginner drummers, but we recommend getting higher-quality cymbals as you can find some for almost the same prices as brass cymbals

The next step after brass is cymbals that are made from a B8 alloy. These have slightly more tone, and they’re a lot more dynamically responsive. 

After that, you get B10 and B12. They’re also higher-quality alloys, and cymbals made from them are less shrill in their tone. 

The highest-quality cymbals are made from B20, so you should look for those if you want the best-sounding cymbals possible. 

The alloy used to make the cymbals also determines their price. Brass cymbals are the cheapest, while B20 cymbals are the most expensive. 

Cymbal Types

Most cymbal packs have a basic blueprint of including hi-hats, two crashes, and a ride cymbal. To have cymbals for a standard cymbal setup, that’s what you should be looking for. 

However, some cymbal packs have different types of cymbals in them, such as splashes, chinas, and stacks. These different cymbal types offer unique sounds, so make sure that you’re interested in them before getting a cymbal pack that includes one of these cymbals. 

Tonal Qualities

Tonal quality is one of the most important things you should look out for when selecting cymbals. Some cymbals packs have the same tonal quality across all the included cymbals, while others have a strong variety. 

The main cymbal tone qualities are bright, dark, dry, and warm. Bright cymbals are high-pitched, and they sharply cut through music mixes. 

Dark cymbals are low-pitched, and they blend within mixes instead of cut through them. 

Dry cymbals have less sustain, meaning they don’t ring as long as other cymbals. Warm cymbals are low-pitched, but they have a bit more sustain with sweet tones. 

These different tonal qualities cater to certain styles, so look for a cymbal pack with tones that suit whatever music you play. 

Brand Options

Paiste, Meinl, Sabian, and Zildjian are the biggest cymbal brands in the world, and they offer the most cymbal pack options. 

These brands tend to compete with each other, so you’ll mostly find that they sell cymbal packs with similar tones and features. 

You should compare the cymbal packs that you want and decide which brand option works better for your budget and needs.

Final Thoughts on the Best Cymbal Packs

The best way to find a cymbal pack you like is by doing thorough listening tests. 

Our top suggestion for overall quality and value is the Zildjian K Sweet Cymbal Set. The cymbals are versatile, and they sound incredible. 

If you’re a beginner drummer on a tight budget, we suggest looking at the Sabian B8X Performance Set. These cymbals are much better than any brass cymbals you’ll find at the same price. 

Our top pick for a premium cymbal set is the Meinl Byzance Custom-Tailored Studio Set. You get a wide array of pristine cymbal sounds along with epic accessories to change things up. 

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