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Sabian HHX Evolution Cymbals

Grounded at the Sabian cymbal factory during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, drummer Dave Weckl had ample time to test over 300 prototypes for his signature HHX Evolution line. Weckl teamed with Mark Love, Sabian’s head cymbal designer, to create a consistent sounding line of cymbals from B20 bronze that would project well in a high-volume situation but also have the subtle responsiveness of a traditional thin cymbal. The final product is amazingly accurate to what they set out to achieve.

The cymbals were created with a mix of hand hammering, lathed surfacing, unlathed bells and a special tone-projection feature that allows them to cut through when you really smack ’em. All Evolution cymbals come in a brilliant finish.

The current line mimics Weckl’s own cymbal setup with 7-, 10- and 12-inch splashes; 13-inch and 14-inch hi-hats; 16-, 17- and 18-inch crashes; a 20-inch ride; and a couple of specially designed cymbals, the Effeks crash and the O-Zone crash.

Both the 16-inch and 18-inch O-Zone crashes look like hubcaps with 2-inch holes drilled around the body of the cymbal. The O-Zones have a tone like that of a thin china or a trash crash. When struck hard, there’s a quick, bright response, more cutting than any other crash in the line. The 17-inch Effeks crash has a darker tone similar to a traditional china. Its turned-down outer edge makes the cymbal look like a sombrero.

The crashes have excellent, full-range tonal response with maximum sensitivity and sharp projection at higher volumes. The bells on all three crashes are bright and solid for accenting. The splashes also offer thin, dark responsive tones with biting attack. The hi-hats supply rich, deep, textured sounds with superb stick definition, and maintain a full-bodied tone with a cutting “chick” sound when played with the foot. The ride offers less stick definition than most HHX rides, but there’s plenty of wash and spreading tones when you dig into it. Don’t look for a sharp, piercing “ping” from this ride.

Weckl and Sabian have created an outstanding line of musically versatile and reasonably priced cymbals that are fully expressive at any volume.

Originally Published