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The Sabian APX cymbals series was launched at the 2008 NAMM music show and is aimed at drummers who want to make some loud, brash, and cool sounds. It's rock and metal all the way! They're marketed as professional cymbals and at the higher-end of Sabian's range.
They can be bought seperately or in a variety of packs including a crash with hi-hats and a ride, or an effects pack.
I'll be reviewing nearly the whole series here, that's a total of 22 cymbals including rides, crashes, hi-hats, chinas, splashes, and effects. Let's find out just how mean these cymbals really are...
Unlike many of Sabian's pro-level cymbals that are made from B20 bronze, the APX series are made from B8 bronze with a lower tin content. This is because the B8 bronze is better for creating the brash type of sound the APX series needed.
They've been made by first rolling out sheets of B8 from which the various cymbal shapes are then cut. Next, they are stamped into shape and hammered before finally being lathed by hand.
As you'd expect, the cymbals don't have any flaws and are very well made. The lathing is nice with deep grooves on both sides of every cymbal, except the chinas that have a little less. One thing that's really noticeable is that the cymbals vary in colour from orangey B8 to a brassier yellow, sometimes even on the same cymbal. But, that doesn't stop 'em looking sharp and cool.
So, after trying out the APX series and getting a feel for the overall sound, i'd describe it as explosive! There's a lot of high-end brightness, power, and volume across most of the series. But, there are two variations of some of the cymbals, regular which is slightly tamer, and solid which is a bit heavier and gives a denser, harder sound. Let's take a look at the individual cymbals...
The crashes come in 14", 16", 18", and 20" regular sizes with the biggest three also being available in heavier solid versions. The regular 14" crash is quite bright and has a nice high-end cut with good volume similar to the larger splash cymbals (see lower down), it performs well enough.
But, things really start getting interesting with the 16" regular crash. It's aggressive, fast to respond, and doesn't take any prisoners. Hitting it gives plenty of top-end cut and power, and it sustains pretty well too. But, if you want even more volume and power, the 16" solid crash brings it in abundance with a meatier mid frequency.
Following the same line, the regular 18" and 20" crashes have a bright impact and sustain, while the solid versions blast out a louder, more powerful mid frequency. Believe me, these are fun to play! On their own they sound really intense, while in a band they make sure they're heard and then some!
As for the ride cymbals in the Sabian APX series, you have the choice of a 20" or 22" size in regular or solid weight. The 20" and 22" regular rides have a the same top-end brightness as the crashes, but with a pleasing glassy 'ping'. As you'd expect, hitting the bell gives a more chunky, penetrating note that cuts through easily.
Even more penetrating though, are the 20" and 22" solid rides. These have a fatter 'ting' sound when you hit them, with more volume and projection while the bell is similar to the regular rides, just more in-your-face and louder. Overall, the rides stand up well and offer volume, power, projection, and brightness - exactly what the APX series is meant to do.
If a powerful sound is your thing, you won't be disapointed with the hi-hats either. The regular 13" and 14" hats are quite clean and tight when playing them closed, especially the 13" size. But, they give a wonderful, fat splash that roars back at you when they're played open.
The 13" and 14" solid versions are more of the same but with a harder edge. They're definately more attacking and sound that bit more dirty and mean. Nice!
Moving onto the the three splash cymbals in 8", 10", and 12" sizes, i was quite happy with the sound i got from them. The 8" splash is bright, but a lower note also comes through that doesn't quite work. Still, the 10" and 12" versions are much better with more top-end cut that sounds lively, bright, and projects well.
But, if you want to take someone's face off, by far the most thug-like cymbals in the series are the o-zone crashes in 16" and 18" sizes. These are just brutal! They have multiple 50mm wide circular holes cut out of them, giving a seriously loud, high-frequency sound with a hint of trashiness. I love them, but you'd have to be playing some pretty mean music for these to work in your set-up.
To round up the effects cymbals, the china's in 18" and 20" sizes give a quick response and are really trashy when you hit 'em hard. But, playing softer is just as fun and gives a sexy, cool, dark, swooosh. Like just about all the other cymbals in the APX series, they've got plenty of character.
The Sabian APX cymbals series was never meant ot be about delicate tones, intricate washes, or subtle sustains. They're about explosive rock power, and that's precisely what Sabian have delivered here! Virtually everyone of the cymbals i've tried works brilliantly, especially the o-zone crashes and the china cymbals.
The APX series doesn't just give volume and power though, there is plenty of body, and depth to the sound that makes them interesting and very musical too. However, unless hard rock and metal are you're kinda' thing, you'd be best staying away from the APX series - they'll over dominate most other styles.
Any downsides? I really can't say too much is wrong with these cymbals. Maybe the 8" splash doesn't work as well as the other splashes, and the slightly varying colours of the cymbals doesn't give a totally uniform look. But, other than that i think Sabian have hit the nail right on the head.
What about the price? The APX cymbals series is marketed as pro-level and the price reflects that. Where's the cheapest place to buy? Here's the cheapest site i've found. They usually have the lowest price and sometimes free delivery too, so I recommend checking them out for the best deal!
The final word: with the Sabian APX cymbals you're getting a very distinctive type of sound. That'd be loud, brash, bright, powerful, and cutting. If you play heavy music, these will be right up your street!
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