Sabian B8 Cymbals
Two new types of budget cymbal from Sabian, priced at a level which will compete with the likes of Paiste's 200 & 400 series, Meinl's Laser and Pearl's own brand, for the attentions of the thrifty drummer.
These cymbals are pressed from sheet metal, a cheaper initial process than the alternative, casting method, where molten metal is poured into a mould. Despite being Sabian's first incursion into this area, they sound rather more convincing than the clang of assorted Kruts, Ajax and Zyns ever did when all I had were high hopes, a low credit rating and acne.
Although the difference between the two types may only appear to be cosmetic (the B8+ being a B8 with a "Brilliant" finish), this blend of heating and polishing does uniformly affect the sound of all the cymbals, adding extra zip to their higher frequencies.
Since these are the eventual tonal casualties suffered by any cheaper cymbal (they do wear out) the extra few quid seems a good investment.
Particularly with the hi-hats. The first thing an engineer will do to them in a studio is wind out the bottom end, making them sound tighter, more crisp and sibilant. No such knob twiddling will be required of the B8+ set, however. They have a wonderfully balanced, responsive sound which belies their price tag, and players investigating top rated brands should forget the inherent snobbery which often affects us consumers, and at least try them. (I well remember Stewart Copeland copping eight pairs of similarly rated Zanki hi-hats from a disbelieving shop assistant a few years back.)
The crashes all performed well, only really giving the game away at dynamic extremes (but this in comparison to higher priced makes). No problem to record or gig with. The rides do suffer from their lack of density, building up a humming overtone as you play but at this price could only offend those in search of the dead "ping". Here the darker sound of the B8 came good and both have cutting bell sounds.
If the 20 in Chinese doesn't choke off (like the Oriental original) and is thus a handful, the 16 is great fun, rain on a tin roof to ride on, bright, punchy and noisy to crash.
No review of new gear can tell you how well it will last over the years and this is the only potential Achilles heel of the B8 and B8+ which are otherwise great value for money. All I can say is that in the case of the B8+ hi-hats and 16 Chinese, I'll let you know in due course.
Gear in this article:
Review by Andy Duncan
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