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The 10 Best China Cymbals Reviewed for 2021

The 10 Best China Cymbals Reviewed for 2021

Cymbals are an integral part of any drum.

The distinctive sound they produce can make or break a performance, especially when it comes to genre. Rock cymbals and jazz cymbals are completely different. To achieve the best sounding performance, you need to purchase a cymbal that is appropriate for the music you play and your preferences.

China cymbals are some of the best available due to their crisp sound and durability. They are most often used in metal music or jazz performances with extensive drum solos.

In this guide, we will take you through our picks of the top 10 best china cymbals available in 2021. Let’s get into it!

Zildjian K China Cymbal 17’’

First on our list are the Zildjian K China Cymbals. Renowned for their darker and richer sound, they provide a distinctive warmth to any performance. Their name comes from their unique historic origins. The ‘K Cymbals’ were originally developed by Zildjian in nineteenth-century Turkey.

Their classic mellow yet pronounced sound has not changed since, though their performance is far more consistent. They provide a versatility that can accommodate both jazz and metal music. The B12 alloy composition provides a fully balanced sound over multiple frequencies, adapting to your play exactly as you need it.


  • Distinctive, rich sound
  • Exceptionally durable despite thin dimensions
  • Cast bronze cymbals for aesthetic appeal
  • Versatile for play in a variety of genres including country, jazz, and metal music


  • May not perform as well for the heaviest genres

Zildjian A Ultra-Hammered China Cymbal 19’’

Next on our list is another from Zildjian, with their A-series Ultra-Hammered 19’’ China Cymbal. If you are looking for a sound that is extremely bright, pangy, and sharp, then you have found the one. While the Zildjian K specializes in a darker tone, the Zildjian A provides an unmistakable bright addition to any kit.

The most unique feature of this China cymbal is its extensive hammering. This helps to provide its high-pitched tones while still maintaining considerable musicality. The primary strength of this cymbal is its volume. This is not ideal for the quiet jazz sessions. If you are looking to play some heavy metal music, this cymbal can deliver.


  • Exceptionally bright sound
  • High volume production, perfect for heavy performances
  • Highly durable
  • Cuts through competing sound easily


  • Not suited for softer performances

Istanbul Agop Xist Power China Cymbal 18’’

The Turkish capital of Istanbul is renowned for its cymbal production, dating all the way to the sixteenth century. This particular brand of China cymbals originally went into production in 1978, and they have maintained their popularity ever since.

The Agop Xist Power China Cymbals provide a mixture of modern sound with world-class history. This translates into powerful volume with a distinct, bright sound. The cymbal itself is crafted from B20 alloy, allowing for greater durability and response.


  • Machine hammered and lathed for greater sound quality
  • Cuts through noise easily
  • B20 bronze makeup


  • Sound may be too trashy for some playstyles

Istanbul Agop Turk China Cymbal 20’’ 1432 Grams

Distinctive in both appearance and sound, the Istanbul Agop Turk China Cymbals are densely hammered to provide their dark tonalities. Each crash from every strike is full, creating a heavy sound with a perfectly dark pay-off.

This particular cymbal is perfect for adding unique accents to your performance. The sound produced is much deeper than comparative China cymbals, so it succeeds in adding a new layer to your playstyle. These cymbals are especially good for jazz or metal music.


  • B20 bronze cast
  • Untreated surface creates a dry and compact sound with minimal overtones
  • Hand-hammered for greatest crash responses


  • Inappropriate for lighter performances that require a brighter sound

Meinl Cymbals Byzance Vintage Matt Garstka 20’’ Equilibrium China

What you will notice first about the Meinl Byzance Vintage Matt Garstka China cymbals is their unique surface. Sandblasted for maximum effect, it provides a soft feel and aesthetically provides a matte finish. This results in a low pitch and dark-bodied crash response that is neither too loud nor too soft. It represents the perfect middle ground!

There is very little sustain featured with these cymbals. This means you’re in complete control as you play, allowing you to add as many or as few trashy cuts as you want. The priority of this cymbal is in its title, ‘Equilibrium’. It represents an ideal balance between soft and hard, trashy and clean.


  • B20 bronze alloy for durability and sound quality
  • Perfectly balanced for gentle jazz performances and heavy metal music
  • Low sustain for maximum control over crashes


  • Cannot reach the extremes necessary for the heaviest metal playing

Meinl Byzance Dual China Cymbal 20’’

Meinl specializes in cymbals that make a statement. The Bynzance Dual is no exception to this rule. Hand hammered and lathed for the warmest sound production; they champion the versatility necessary for modern performances.

All Byzance China cymbals are hand-hammered, meaning each is completely unique. They all possess their own sound with their own distinct tones, all wrapped up in a dark warmth. This depth doesn’t detract from the cymbal’s crisp sound, either. They are clear and cut through competing sounds easily.

The cymbals themselves are thinner than you might expect but don’t mistake them for flimsy. They are sufficiently durable for even the most powerful of strikes while providing a cutting sound that is both clear and consistent.


  • Fully hand-hammered for a unique sound in each cymbal
  • Full-bodied, warm tones with each strike
  • Thin discs provide clear-cut tones without sacrificing durability


  • Will not suit lighter, brighter performances

Paiste 2002 Novo China Type Cymbal 20’’

If power is your priority, the Paiste 2002 Novo China Cymbals are the perfect addition to your set. Unlike many of the cymbals on this list, these Cymbals do not possess an 80/20 alloy. Instead, they are made up of 92% copper and 8% tin, which is unique to Paiste’s Cymbals.

The result of this makeup is a clear, brilliant sound that excels in both projection and sustain. This allows it to achieve versatility that other China cymbals do not quite achieve. Different strikes will create different sounds through the Novo’s unique resonance, meaning you can get completely creative with your playstyle.

This cymbal does differ slightly from its comparatives in its makeup and design, but that might be the perfect thing for you. It offers some modern twists on an undeniable classic, which could lead to you making some innovative performance decisions of your own.


  • Full, bright sound provided by each strike
  • Impressive sustain and resonance on crashes
  • Unique, high quality 92/8 bronze alloy for brilliant sound quality


  • Differs slightly from the traditional path of China cymbals, which may not suit some players

Paiste Formula 602 Modern Essentials China Cymbal 22’’

The second Paiste China cymbal on our list, the 602 Modern Essentials certainly earns its place. Most immediately notable is its size, with a circumference of twenty-two inches. Carefully crafted in Switzerland, this particular Cymbal modernizes the Signature Traditionals while retaining that classic, full sound so many players have grown to love.

The Modern Essentials series emerges from a collaboration between Paiste and Vinnie Colaiuta. The latter has played drums for a myriad of stars, including Celine Dion, Duran Duran, The Beach Boys, and Tori Amos. The 602 Modern Essentials China Cymbal features a similar versatility, perfectly accompanying genres from jazz, fusion, blues, all the way to R&B, folk, and pop.

Adding to the appeal of this China cymbal is its longevity. First introduced in 1959, the 602 Modern Essentials hasn’t dropped in popularity since. Aesthetically it is complementary, as it presents as a muted bronze with the tiniest branding, we’ve found on a China cymbal so far. Subtly is its strong point, until you start playing!


  • Highly versatile, can adapt to multiple genres
  • Greater circumference size allows for wider distribution of sound
  • Bright, cutting sound without ever sounding harsh


  • Potentially out of budget for many players due to the higher price tag

Sabian AA Holy Chinese Cymbal 21’’ Brilliant

Potentially one of the loudest additions to our list, if not the loudest, the Sabian AA Holy China Cymbal packs some serious punch. It was designed specifically with heavy metal music in mind, which is why it can perform so loudly with no distortion and no harshness.

The cymbal itself features sixty-four holes in its twenty-one-inch base, with a large raw bell and a wide lip. When all of these factors come together, they create an incredible sound that fits right at home with classic rock. Bright, explosive, and effective. The perfect cymbal for the heaviest performances.


  • One of the loudest cymbals available on the market
  • Creative design for innovative players
  • Ideal for classic rock
  • Sturdy, high quality design


  • Not appropriate for lighter genres

Sabian AA Holy Chinese Cymbal 17’’

If you liked the sound of the above Sabian China Cymbal but felt it might be a little too much for your set, then meet your new best friend. The seventeen-inch Sabian AA Holy China Cymbal is the little brother to the twenty-one-inch, but it packs just as much punch.

Featuring fifty-one holes as opposed to sixty-four, the smaller Sabian is still capable of incredible noise without taking up quite as much space. If you are newer to heavy genres, or simply prefer a smaller set, this is the one for you. Regardless of size, this Sabian AA features just as much versatility as the larger China cymbal. Jazz, funk, rock, or blues, it’s your personal preference!


  • Packs a powerful punch
  • Designed with heavy genres in mind
  • Versatile, capable of traversing multiple genres


  • Smaller size makes for a less powerful crash than its larger edition


The best China cymbals vary between players. The ten we have listed represent the superlatives, but feel free to experiment with multiple before you find your own favorite. Various sizes, designs, and brands all carry their own pros and cons. One of the biggest appeals of owning a drum kit is how creative you can get with differing pieces. So, innovate!
6 months ago