View Full Version : Marching Cymbals

11-08-2011, 08:31 PM
I created a thread earlier and deleted it, but now that I have more experience I will post my findings for other people; perchance they stumble upon this.

The four sets I am reviewing are:
Sabian AA 20" marching cymbals, medium and medium-heavy
Zildjian Stadium 18", I believe these are med-heavy
Zildjian Z-MAC 18"

I am 6'0" and am in great shape. I have been working out for years. The 20" AA medium-heavy cymbals are a work-out like none other. They are simply too big to use for an entire football game. The Z-MACs are the lightest. The Stadiums do not feel too heavy for being "med-heavy."

I am not a fan of heavy crashes (Zildjian Z, Paiste RUDE, etc) and I completely loathe the medium-heavy AA's crash. Sounds like gongs. For drum set, I love big thin crashes, dark and bright. The main element is being thin. Stadiums and the AAs are certainly not thin. There is a downfall to them being thin, however. Because I am in great shape, I play incredibly loud. There are five cymbal players total in my drumline and I must make at least 50% of the volume. I have actually crashed so hard (I am not entirely sure which style you are supposed to play for marching band, but I play orchestral crashes when I am supposed to crash; I feel that these give out the loudest crash for the least amount of work) that I have inverted the Z-MAC in my left hand. Twice. This has only happened with the Z-MACs, but it is easy enough to snap back into place. I really do not feel as if this should happen, though.


Sabian 20" AA medium
Crash: 8/10
Click: 7/10
Slide: 8/10

Sabian 20" AA medium-heavy
Crash: 5/10
Click: 10/10, if you have the strength and balls
Slide: 8/10

Zildjian 18" Stadium
Crash: 8/10
Click: 6/10
Slide: 9/10

Zildjian 18" Z-MAC
Crash: 10/10
Click: 8/10
Slide: 10/10

By "Click," I know it is also referred to as "Hi Hat." I am also considering crunches and chokes into this section. The "Slides" are the Slide and Choke.

The Z-MACs sound best, hands down, at least in my opinion.

Another observation I would like to make is that the Z-MACs make everybody who play them sound good. They are just good. The AAs usually sound bad when other people play them because they are too big for them, meaning the player isn't in complete control over them. The Stadiums are what show the best musician. If you are BS-ing your part, they sound like s***; if you are genuinely good at playing cymbals, I think they fit the music better than the Z-MACs.

Finally, the AAs are the only cymbals that sound good as drum set cymbals, primarily due to their size. The 18's are too small for rides and have too much girth to be a crash. The AAs sound good as rides. Nice bell and bow.

Feel free to throw in any other ideas or questions.

11-15-2011, 05:05 AM
I am on the drumline (specifically cymbals) at East Carolina University and we use Zildjian Stadiums (18" and 20").

The "chicks" or "clicks" when done right sound great, but sometimes could use more attack and less sustain. The slides are wet and when "sucked" back in sound amazing. The crashes are awesome. the difference between the two sizes are noticeable but not too drastically different that they sound dirty. I love these cymbals.