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Paise New Signature Dark Energy Cymbals

Paiste has always been known for remarkably consistent manufacturing standards, with each cymbal line having a consistent and identifiable sound. This is wonderful if you have to order a replacement cymbal and don’t live near a shop where you have the luxury of auditioning cymbals in person. With Paiste, you can expect that your new cymbal will blend well with your other cymbals from that line. But what if you’re looking for something more unique? Perhaps you want that one-in-a-million cymbal that haunts your dreams, or just a cymbal with a lot of old-world character? Paiste has created a new cymbal series that eschews a cymbal-series sound, instead striving for individual cymbals with unique characteristics that stand on their own. Dubbed the New Signature line, the cymbals are positioned between the Signature and Traditional lines and are priced the same as Traditionals. Within the New Signature line are two general types of tonalities, Mark I and Mark II. I was sent four of these cymbals to evaluate, all from the Mark I group.

The eight-inch New Signature Dark Energy Mark I splash ($228 list) is a small thin splash with a lower-pitched fundamental than I was expecting. Hit it hard and the sound is sharp, bright and short, and its attack will cut through a small band. There are several very high overtones present in the cymbal’s attack that die off quickly leaving a lower pitch that decays more slowly. It has the slightly thin sound common to its size, with overtones that reminded me a little of a clock chiming. The bell of this cymbal produces very little sound. Striking perpendicular to the edge of this cymbal produces an interesting sound that I liked a lot and could easily find a use for when recording.

The 10-inch New Signature Dark Energy Mark I splash ($260) is definitely the big brother of the other one. They share very similar tonalities, but the larger cymbal has a lower pitch and longer decay. I found each cymbal’s projection and volume to be similar to each other when played strongly. Their pitches were a good ways apart from each other. If you like one of these cymbals, you’re sure to like both. One of my favorite uses for these cymbals was to strike and rapidly choke them. They were loud, interesting and cutting. By themselves, they sound interesting, but they really shine when played from behind the kit. I own several Paiste Signature splashes (eight-, 10- and 12-inch), and these New Signature models have a much more complex sound than I’m used to but that is definitely growing on me. Used for accents, they blend together well and have the complexity that only really fine cymbals can offer. Paiste might consider offering a nine-inch model too, since there is enough of a pitch difference between the eight- and 10-inch models to justify one.

The top of the 20-inch New Signature Light Dark Ride Mark I ($596) has unique textured lathing that’s coarse to the touch, and because of its stippled surface it grabs whatever light hits it. This lathing pattern is interrupted by the cymbal’s deeper hammering marks, giving it an unusual look and feel. Both the bell of the cymbal and its underside are unlathed. The pitch is fairly deep, and as the name suggests it has a dark, faintly Far Eastern quality with complex overtones. It has ample spread and a controlled wash when hit with light to medium weight sticks. Fortunately, this cymbal won’t get away from you during uptempo riding. I loved crashing this cymbal and giving it a shoulder poke now and then. Crashing on this ride produces a very satisfying deep crash that’s wet and long. The bell of this cymbal produces a clear tone for Latin tunes, with interesting overtones. Stick definition is not “pingy,” projection is medium and the cymbal decays smoothly. Because of its surface texture, it responds well to cymbal scrapes, too.

The 20-inch New Signature Dark Energy Dry Ride Mark I ($596) is unlathed, top and bottom, and almost appears to have been sponge-painted with a variety of gold and brown hues. Like the Light Dark ride, it too has a pronounced hammering pattern. This cymbal has a higher fundamental pitch than the other and, being thicker and heavier, is noticeably drier too. Because of its weight, it doesn’t crash as easily or satisfyingly, responding with a slight clang amid the crash. Its bell is higher pitched and has an equally good tone as the other cymbal that will find its way through a big band if necessary. Its darker, drier tonality complements the Light model too. I could see owning both, but my wallet wouldn’t permit it.

Based on the selection sent to me, and others I’ve heard, Paiste’s New Signature class offers some interesting and musical cymbals that warrant the attention of any drummer looking for a high-quality cymbal with a complex, individualistic sound. These are not good generic cymbals. These new cymbals, though designed to fuse the characteristics of Paiste’s Signature and Traditional lines, strike me more like Paiste Traditionals with an attitude. It’s an attitude I like a lot.

Originally Published