Wojtek Deręgowski is one of the brightest and still rising drumming stars in Poland. He is a busy touring and session drummer, specializing mainly in hip-hop, pop, R&B and electronic music. Wojtek has played with many Polish acts, including Monika Lewczuk, Sorry Boys, Marcelina and Rosalie, and is currently touring with Ukrainian singer, actress and TV personality Tina Karol.
Wojtek studied at Berklee College of Music and is also an educator who successfully conducts online lessons, master classes and classes for all levels of drumming on his website https://www.wdrumlessons.com/. He is also very active on social media, including his Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channels, where he regularly posts drum videos and lessons.
Wojtek is endorsed by Vic Firth sticks, DW Drums, Remo, Roland, 64 Audio IEMs and, of course, Meinl Cymbals. Who better to test a whole lot of Meinl cymbals?
The stack is a relatively new invention on the cymbal market, which, however, has gained many followers among drummers and it can be safely said that it has become a permanent fixture in most (if not all) cymbal manufacturers’ product portfolios. It is then high time we compared some of them. The first ones to be tested are five stackable sets we have received from Meinl.
We conducted the test in our new studio, i.e. in an acoustically adapted room. We used a DW Collector’s Maple 20″ x 18″, 16″ x 13″, 12″ x 9″, 10″ x 8″ drum kit and a DW Collector’s Vintage 14″ x 6.5″ Steel snare. The Meinl effect cymbals at hand include: a 10″/12″/14″ Meinl HSC Smack Stack, an 8″/10″/12″/14″/16″ Meinl HSC Smack Stack, a 10″/12″/14″ Meinl Byzance Smack Stack, an 8″/10″/12″/14″/16″ Meinl Byzance Smack Stack and a 12″ Meinl Pure Alloy Custom Trash Stack.
2. Product and sound
10″/12″/14″ Meinl HSC Smack Stack
The Meinl company have decided to give the opportunity to expand cymbal sets with stacks also to drummers who do not have a large budget at their disposal, and it should be noted that they did it in a commendable way. This stack sounds surprisingly good, convincingly imitating the sound of an electronic hand clap. The look is none too shabby either – it fits well with the other cymbals in this series. If we had to pick on anything, it would be that it lacks in volume a tiny bit, which makes it more suitable for less dynamic music genres.
Wojtek Deręgowski: “I’m glad that Meinl have come up with a budget solution in the Smack Stack field. A great solution for acoustic playing, where the sound of the odd electronic clap sound could come i handy.”
8″/10″/12″/14″/16″ Meinl HSC Smack Stack
The more expanded version of the HCS stack can be described in the same way as its 3-piece brother. Here, however, we get as many as five (yes!) elements, which gives a lot of possibilities when it comes to sound creation, because you can combine these cymbals in various ways. A very good idea!
Wojtek Deręgowski: “It’s definitely worth spending a little extra money on this expanded version of the HCS Smack Stack. We get a fatter sound that is more like an electronic hand clap. Takes up a bit more space on the kit and in the cymbal bag, but it’s worth it!”
10″/12″/14″ Meinl Byzance Smack Stack
While in the case of the HCS series we are dealing with a convincing imitation of the hand clap sound, the Byzance stacks are practically the physical equivalent of this electronic preset and sound deceptively similar to it. The raw, earthy look is also impressive. It is a top product in its category.
Score: TOP 5
Wojtek Deręgowski: “Deep, warm, piercing sound. Deceptively similar to an electronic hand clap, but even better, because it’s acoustic, so the player creates its sound 100%. My favorite Smack Stack combination.”
8″/10″/12″/14″/16″ Meinl Byzance Smack Stack
This combination does not differ significantly from the 3-piece version. Just because it couldn’t get any better. However, the possibilities of cymbal combinations and sound modifications are incomparably greater. The Meinl Product Development Department did a great job.
Score: TOP 5
Wojtek Deręgowski: “The difference compared to the 3-piece version is not overwhelming, but the great advantage for me is much greater freedom in modifying the sound. Who said that having 5 cymbals we have to use each of them? We can assemble a baby stack from 8″ and 10″ cymbals. We don’t need to use the middle cymbal. We can do lots of different things with the order of layers. Each combination produces a different, unique sound. Well worth the extra money as far as I’m concerned.”
12″ Meinl Pure Alloy Custom Trash Stack
Bardzo dobry stack. W konkurencji z tańszymi braćmi z serii HCS może przegrać, ponieważ nie bije ich brzmieniem na głowę, a plasuje się w wyższej półce cenowej. Z kolei perkusiści chcący mieć w arsenale stacka z najwyższej półki raczej wybiorą Byzance. Pamiętajmy jednak, że ci, którzy przekonali się do linii Pure Alloy Custom znajdą w tym stacku doskonałe efektowe uzupełnienie posiadanego już kompletu blach.
A very good stack. It may lose the competition with its cheaper brothers from the HCS series as it does not significantly beat them sound-wise, but it is in a higher price range. In turn, drummers who want to have a top-shelf stack in their arsenal will probably choose a Byzance stack. Let’s remember, however, that those who like the Pure Alloy Custom line will find this stack to perfectly complement the set of cymbals already owned by them.
Wojtek Deręgowski: “As a big fan of cymbal stacking, I am always curious about companies’ approach to creating ready-made solutions. If I came across such a sound in my stacking experiments, I would certainly stop looking further. Considering the small size, this one has everything – a piercing sound that does not irritate the ears but blends nicely with the rest of the set.”