> > > BeatIt Test: Sabian XSR Cymbal Pack

Cymbals, cymbals, cymbals… Brilliant finish, traditional finish, modern, vintage, dry-sounding, dark, bright, holey, hammered, lathed…  Crash, ride, hi hat, splash, china… Objects of desire for all of us, drummers. There isn’t a single drum maniac from before Internet days who wouldn’t spend hours and days on end staring into cymbal catalogues, contemplating marvelous photos of those beauties, thinking: “Some day at least a few of them will belong to me”. By the same token, there isn’t a single young drummer who doesn’t do the same today, only browsing through cymbal maker websites and auction services.

When charming cymbal catalogues in the past, there was one thing nobody could even dream of, i. e. checking out the way the sounded. Today, drum stores all over Central Europe are expanding their product ranges from all kinds of companies, which makes the choice options broader and broader every day. Also, there’s those who make it their goal to help fellow drummers get acquainted with the options available in the market today. People just like us at www.beatit.tv. Producers and distributors have been sending in more and more gear that they think is worth drummers’ attention. We must admit none of those products so far have been straight up bad or low quality. Let’s see if that’s the case this time round.

The official Polish Sabian distributor, the Music Info company, have sent us a handsome package containing a set of XSR series cymbals, which was introduced last year.

Sabian XSR Cymbal Pack Test

Sabian XSR is a series which has replaced the highly popular Xs20 Brilliant family of cymbals. The set is comprised of the following: 14″ hats, a 16″ crash, a 20″ ride and an 18″ crash INCLUDED IN THE PRICE.

1. The test

The drum kit we used was a MES Midas Studio (birch/maple shells) with a Natal Arcadia Steel 14″x8″ snare. On those, we put Aquarian Performance II Clear heads as batter and Aquarian Classic Clears as resonance skins.

The microphones used to perform the test:

  • Overheads: Proel DMH3 (2 pcs)
  • ROLAND R-26 recording device mics (4 pcs)

2. Basic specification of the Sabian cymbals tested:

  • Series: XSR
  • Finish: Brilliant
  • Alloy: B20 bronze
  • Style: Vintage
  • Sound: Bright
  • Weight (14″ XSR Hats): medium top / heavy bottom
  • Weight (20″ XSR Ride): medium
  • Weight (16″ XSR Fast Crash): medium heavy
  • Weight (18″ XSR Fast Crash): medium thin.

To be exact, we must mention the fact that the Sabian XSR series is much richer than that. Additionally, it features an 18″ china, a 10″ and a 12″ splash, four hi hat types (apart from the one tested here), five ride types (apart from the one tested here), eight crash models (apart from the two tested here), as well as a stack cymbal called XSR Fast Stax. This is serious. Your usual budget cymbal series will not offer such a wide choice.

3. The sound

Sabian XSR cymbals, as successors of the Xs20 series, are bright-sounding, with a great deal of high overtones. This makes them a natural choice for drummers who prefer heavy music in the broadest meaning of the word (be it rock, metal, or extreme variations of the latter). However, this does not mean the cymbals can be so easily pigeonholed. There are several reasons for that. In order to support this statement, let us take a closer look at each element of the cymbal pack we have been sent. Although the 16″ XSR Fast Crash is a medium heavy, its 18-inch brother’s weight is medium thin, so the two don’t fight in the same weight class. This certainly adds versatility to the cymbal set. The bigger crash will do great when applied in such genres as pop, gospel, blues, funk or indie. The weight of the ride cymbal is medium, which doesn’t limit its applications solely to heavy metal, and means a drummer can also crash on it. As this ride has a lot of stick definition, crashing or crash-riding it isn’t particularly comfortable, but fairly feasible. The hats are the most rock-oriented element of the set. When open, they sound very mighty, big and “swooshy”, while the chick of the cymbals when closed is loud and has a lot of projection.

4. Summary

All the cymbals from the Sabian XSR set we have received are made with a diligence worthy of the brand’s reputation. They are both lathed and hammered. Their profiles and bells have been redesigned and reshaped in order to achieve response faster than that delivered by the Xs20 series. This effect is noticeable. Also, one should not overlook the price range these cymbals have been placed in. The equivalent of about 500 dollars for four cymbals located somewhere between semi-pro ranges and top professional models is a highly attractive price.

Producer: http://www.sabian.com/en/home

Distributor in Poland: http://www.musicinfo.pl/

SCORE: 5/5


  • Very well crafted
  • Diversity of cymbals withing the set
  • Fast response
  • Reasonable price


  • You what?! At this price???

Drummers and Drummerettes! It’s time you saw and heard for yourselves what Sabian XSR cymbals are really like! We hope you like them as much as we did!