10 Best Cymbal Packs (2020) – Sets for All Genres

Updated on by Brett Clur | Please note that there may be affiliate links on this page.

Cymbals are the most expressive parts of a drum kit. They have so many different qualities that allow you to create your own unique sound as a drummer. The problem is that they often cost more than the drums themselves.

This is where cymbal packs come in. Cymbal packs offer you a complete set of cymbals for a cheaper price than buying them one by one.

Here are some of the best cymbal packs for different budgets.

10 Best Cymbal Packs for Varying Budgets

The Zildjian K Customs are Zildjian’s high-tier cymbals that come in several different tone variations. The K Custom Dark is a set of musical sounding cymbals with a low pitch.

These cymbals are rich and warm with wonderfully dark overtones. They are low-pitched and subdued without sacrificing richness.

The 14” hi-hats have a cutting chick sound with a smooth-rolling tone. They sound warm when played open, providing a blending tone that will sit smoothly within a mix.

The 16” crash has a quick dark jab while the 18” crash sustains for a bit longer. The 20” ride cymbal fills out the overall sound of the cymbals and can be crashed on to get a huge deep tone.

The K Custom Darks are some of the best cymbals when it comes to playing in church. Their warm tones suit worship music exceptionally well. They blend into the mixture of pads and pianos instead of overpowering them.

Their dark sound also makes them great for recording. They don’t have a lot of sustain, making them easy to work within a recording environment.

The K Custom Dark pack is quite pricey. However, it would be a seriously good investment.

  • Wonderful dark overtones
  • Dark and warm sound
  • Great for worship music and recording
  • Expensive

The Paiste 2002s hold a legendary status when it comes to cymbals. They go all the way back to the 70s and were used by influential drummers like John Bonham and Steve Jordan. They’re just as popular in 2020, working well with heavy styles of music like rock and metal.

This cymbal pack contains some larger cymbals than other cymbal packs do. The crashes are 18” and 20”, while the ride cymbal is 22”. These cymbals are super crisp and clean without having any harsh frequencies.

The 14” hi-hats are full-bodied with a great upper mid-range tone. The 22” ride is big and thick, making it a force of nature ready to be bashed on. The 20” crash is the standout cymbal in this pack. It sounds so good that you’d assume it should cost as much as the whole pack alone.

The 2002s are great cymbals for rock and metal because they have a large, present sound that cuts through mixes easily. There are so many old rock records that used Paiste 2002s and there will undoubtedly be many in the future. So, this cymbal pack is a great option if you play heavy music.

  • Great for heavy music
  • 20” crash sounds seriously good
  • No harsh frequencies
  • Expensive

Not to be confused with the A Customs, the Zildjian A line of cymbals contains some versatile products that fit into a bunch of different situations. This A931 box set includes a pair of 14” New Beat hi-hats, 16” and 18” Medium Thin crash cymbals, and a 21” Sweet ride cymbal.

The sound of these cymbals is bright, yet mellow enough to gel with softer styles of music. They’re pretty crispy with a slight bit of dryness to them.

The 21” Sweet ride has a beautiful singing tone while the 2 crash cymbals provide solid wash. The bell of the ride has a significant ping, making it a great option for bell-heavy styles like latin or metal.

The New Beat hi-hats are famous for their versatility. The ones in this box set are a bit thinner than previous versions, which some people may not like. However, they still sound fantastic.

If you play several different styles of music and need a set of cymbals that will fit them all, the Zildjian A Cymbal set would be a good intermediate option.

  • Versatile
  • Great ping on the 21” Sweet ride bell
  • Not too bright
  • 14” New Beat hi-hats are thinner than its previous versions

Meinl designed these cymbals with metal drummers in mind. They’re made from a B10 bronze alloy with high tin content that makes them sound harsh. A perfect recipe for heavy styles that need some loud cymbals.

These cymbals are boomy, dark, and cutting. They produce a defined sound that is seriously responsive. The 16” and 18” crashes get extremely loud when played hard while the 14” hi-hats cut through dense mixes. The articulation of the hats allows you to play some solid grooves with every note heard.

The cymbals have a wide range of tones from low to high. The only thing missing from this cymbal pack is a china, seeing how it’s best suited for a metal drummer.

The Classics Custom Dark box set isn’t the most versatile set of cymbals out there. These cymbals are made for a purpose and they fulfill that purpose extremely well. The box set is priced highly affordable, making it a great choice for someone looking for quality without spending too much.

  • Great for metal
  • Loud and cutting
  • Affordable
  • Not versatile

If you’re looking to upgrade from entry-level cymbals to some lower mid-range ones, these are for you. The Zildjian S Series falls somewhere between their ZBT and A lines. They sound a lot better than ZBTs but don’t have high production quality like the As.

These cymbals are bright and heavy, great for cutting through heavy mixes. They’re not sensitive and they don’t have delicate overtones. So, if you’re looking for some smooth cymbals for light playing, these aren’t the ones.

The standout feature of this cymbal set goes to the 14” hi-hats. They have a spot-on crisp sound that just makes you want to play them. The 16” and 18” crashes have a great blend of crash and sustain, with the 18” crash sounding the best out of the two.

The 20” Medium ride has a great bell sound. However, it’s got quite a loud ping when you play on the edge that could be too aggressive for a lot of drummers.

The S Series cymbals from Zildjian are great for loud players playing loud music. They’re an affordable set of cymbals that will equip you to take on heavy gigs.

  • Affordable
  • Great for cutting through a mix
  • Fantastic pair of 14” hi-hats
  • Not sensitive

Very dry, very dark, very musical. These cymbals are upper-tier products from Meinl that fit broad musical contexts. Mike Johnston is a world-famous drum educator and he put together this set of cymbals to cover a wide array of concepts that he teaches.

The 14” hi-hats shine with 16th note patterns, having a dry sustain and quick attack. The 18” crash has a very rich tone to it, almost sounding like a trash crash. It responds well at low dynamics and feels great to hit hard.

Mike Johnston refers to the 20” crash as the ‘bwoosh’ crash. It makes a deep thunderous sound that is great for finishing off phrases on the drums.

The 21” Transition ride was designed with the help of Mike Johnston to be versatile, similar to this set of cymbals. It has a great pinging bell and can be crashed on. However, you really have to lay into it to get a good crash sound.

These are some of the most musical cymbals out there. They’re the type of cymbals that will bring you out of a slump in your playing, simply because of how much they give back to you when playing.

They’re very thin, requiring good cymbal technique to play and keep in top shape. This makes them a bad choice for beginners. The rich sounds might be a bit weird for a beginner as well.

So, if you’re an intermediate or advanced drummer looking for some musical cymbals that are dry, dark, and versatile, these are for you.

  • Very musical
  • Versatile
  • 20” crash sounds amazing
  • Not for beginners
  • Expensive

The Zildjian A Customs are the sound that everyone has in their head when they think of cymbals. They’re one of the most played on series of cymbals in the drumming world, being a lot brighter than the standard A series.

The 16” and 18” crash cymbals get out of the way quickly while the 14” hi-hats are nice and crispy. The 20” ride has clear stick definition that will have you playing patterns on it for days.

These cymbals work really well together. There’s a good difference of tone between each cymbal, allowing for a broad spectrum of sound.

The brightness makes them great for rock, pop, metal, and gospel music. If you want a classic cymbal sound, look no further than the Zildjian A Customs.

  • Classic cymbal sound
  • Great tone difference between each cymbal
  • 20” ride has very clear stick definition
  • Ride isn’t great to crash on

This cymbal pack includes a set of bright and booming cymbals that have a wide array of tones between them. The AAX is one of Sabian’s intermediate to pro-level lines of cymbals, making this pack a pretty sweet deal!

The 14” hi-hats pack a lot of projection. The bell of the top hi-hat is a bit smaller than your usual hi-hat, giving the cymbal a bigger chick sound than usual. This makes playing 16th note grooves a breeze, allowing you to hear all the nuanced notes very clearly.

The 21” ride cymbal has great wash, letting you crash on it to get a big sound. The 16” and 18” crash cymbals are incredibly responsive, sounding full when played softly and loudly.

These AAX cymbals are very durable, allowing you to play them hard and long without worrying too much about wear and tear.

These are fresh cymbals from Sabian, meaning they have the new logo. Most of the drumming world has agreed that Sabian’s new logo is a bit of a letdown, making this a small downside to these cymbals.

  • Highly durable
  • 21” ride has great wash
  • Very responsive
  • New Sabian logo

This set comes with 6 different cymbals for a ridiculous price. It’s an absolute bargain. So, why is it so affordable? Well, Meinl’s HCS series of cymbals are made from an MS63 brass alloy.

Brass cymbals are considered entry-level and the HCS cymbals are some of the best entry-level products around. They’re designed in a way that keeps costs quite low.

This cymbal set includes a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, a 20” ride, a 10” splash, and a 16” china.

The cymbals all have a distinct bright sound that decays quite quickly. The hi-hats are crisp, the crashes are loud and the ride has a full sound with a distinct ring. It isn’t common to see a splash and china in a cymbal pack, making them a great addition.

These are entry-level cymbals, meaning they don’t have the most musical tones. They’re best suited for first-time drum kit buyers.

A little secret is that they work great for cymbal stacks, making them useful for some intermediate and pro players.

  • Highly affordable
  • Includes splash and china
  • Best entry-level cymbals
  • Not the most musical cymbals around

Wuhan is a cymbal company that isn’t as well-known as some of the bigger ones. However, they produce seriously high-quality cymbals. The Wuhan Traditional cymbal set contains great sounding cymbals that can compete with many mid-range ones.

The 14” hi-hats are trashy with loose sound, causing them to blend into mixes. The 16” crash is full and musical with a dark tone. It has a fair bit of dynamic range for a 16”.

The 20” ride is clear with substantial stick definition. It doesn’t have a great bell though. The bell tends to get lost when mixed in with the rest of the cymbals.

You won’t find better sounding cymbals at this price point. The set also comes with a free cymbal bag!

  • Great sound at an affordable price
  • Free cymbal bag
  • Versatile
  • Ride bell isn’t great

Things to Know When Buying Cymbals

Types of Cymbals

Cymbals come in many shapes and forms, but there are certain types of cymbals that every basic drum kit needs. These would be hi-hats, crashes, and ride cymbals. A drum kit should have at least 1 of each.

Cymbals that are smaller than hi-hats are called splash cymbals. Those weird upside-down cymbals are called china cymbals.

Other types of cymbals would be called effects cymbals. Companies will do some innovative design with them like giving them rivets or holes.

Cymbals layered on top of each other would be called stacks.

Cymbal Characteristics

When it comes to drumming, cymbals are where the sound differs most between each drum kit. Every cymbal sounds a bit different. They are made in certain ways which affect the tone and loudness.

Thick cymbals produce a bright tone that is high-pitched and thin cymbals produce a dark tone that is low-pitched.

Some cymbals are hammered in certain ways that affect their sound. The hammering causes the cymbals to produce musical overtones.

Dry cymbals have a quick sustain that is quite dark.

Cymbal Size 

The size of your cymbals should depend on your preferences and situation that you’re in. The standard size for a pair hi-hats is 14”. However, many drummers use 13” and 15” because they prefer the brighter or darker tones.

A drummer should typically have 2 crash cymbals. These can range from 16” to 20”. You should then have a ride cymbal which ranges from 20” to 24”.

Conclusion

The key factor in buying cymbals is knowing what kind of sounds you like. Some drummers can’t stand dry cymbals while others exclusively play with them. It also depends on the environments that you play drums in.

Metal drummers are going to need some loud and cutting cymbals while jazz drummers are going to need some smooth and musical ones.

So, decide what you need and then go get yourself a cymbal pack.

Brett Clur

About Brett Clur

Brett has been playing drums for 18+ years. He's a huge drumming gear enthusiast and also teaches drumming to his students. He's most active on Instagram (@brettclurdrums), where he regularly uploads drumming videos.

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