5 Newer Cymbal Companies

We can all agree guitar, synthesizer, and pedal circuitry is a formidable beast. While major brands exist across the board, hundreds, if not thousands of salon shop companies are making their products in small batches and DIY kits make even average Joes like myself feel pretty accomplished hooking up patch cables. But I’d take fumbling through piecing together a pedal any day over forging, hammering, and lathing raw metal into a cymbal. That’s some literal medieval stuff right there.

There’s a reason only a handful of companies run a monopoly on the cymbal market. Cymbal making is an intensive, difficult process closer to industrial metalworking than typical instrument building. In the contemporary cymbal world, Turkish cymbals, not unlike the Turks of the Middle Ages, have swept in and proliferated, capitalizing on the fetishization of "that vintage sound." Like any other genre of instrument, there are better and worse products made by better and worse companies.

Today we're touching on five of the best newer companies, including their formations and how their signature cymbal line sets them apart from the pack.


Soultone Cymbals is the brainchild of drummer Iki Levy, an established name with playing credits like Donna Summers and Tracy Chapman. Founded "after struggling to address frustrations with the major cymbal manufacturers over quality issues", Levy founded the company with the intent to create high-quality, small-batch cymbals. Hand hammered in Turkey, Soultone’s cymbals are crafted under the larger umbrella of Masterwork Cymbals and hold all the markings of traditionally crafted Turkish cymbals.

Reverb Featured Line: Extreme Series

Featuring only a lathed bow sandwiched between a raw bell and edge, the Extreme cymbals are out and large the most confrontational product in Soultone’s arsenal. Described by Soultone as "warm, dark, and deep", the series focuses on larger cymbals that trade heavy on sustain and decay. The dark timbre works well in creating atmosphere, but above all else these cymbals eat decibels and can easily slice through a mix. Undoubtedly created with Paiste’s RUDE series in mind, the Extreme Series would work well for a hard hitter also looking more dimension in playing.

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Supernaturals Cymbals

Of all the companies in this list, the least information is available about Supernaturals Cymbals. Founded in 2009 and based out of Orlando, Florida, Supernatural's built a steady distribution network out of the Sunshine State and continue to crop up in more music stores. After hiring two smiths from Masterworks, the company established its own foundry and functions as an autonomous operation. Nominated in 2011 for Best New Manufacturer and 2012 for Best New Cymbal by Music and Sound Retailer, the company is a fanboy favorite on drum forums, receiving praise left and right for their tonal quality and construction.

Reverb Featured Line: Heritage Series

Specifically designed for jazz applications, the Heritage Series caters to the need for controlled wash and clear stick articulation. Reminiscent of an artifact dug up on an archaeology expedition, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if I found out these cymbals spend a little time buried in soil (an old jazz trick used to alter the chemical properties of the cymbal and mute its tonal presence). The Heritage have a vintage feel both visually and sonically, and while they’d be quick to catch the eye and ear of a Charlie Parker fan, they would also work well for anyone after a solid "ping" and quick decay.

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Murat Diril Cymbals

Remember in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman tracks down the legendary Hattori Hanzo because he was the uberultramaster sensei of sword-making? After a glance through his resume, Murat Diril, founder of his eponymous company, feels like Hanzo except with cymbals instead of swords that cut Lucy Liu’s face in half. After assisting both Meinl and Paiste in development, Diril founded his company in 2001 with 22 years of cymbal smithing experience. Guarding a slew of manufacturing secrets guarded over decades spent around tin and bronze, Murat Diril is one of my favorite companies out of this list and one I’d peg to see blowing up its artist roster (and maybe prices) over the next five years.

Reverb Featured Line: Dizzy Series

Alright, first things first: these are some of the most gorgeous cymbals I’ve ever seen. The black striping throughout as well as the tasteful, understated white logo make me feel like I’d need to wear a tux while playing these. But does the sound match up? Yes, in spades. The tone and articulation is surprisingly bright and defined, characteristic of a much heavier cymbal. The crash breaks open evenly and lingers just long enough. The wash on the ride roars in relation to how hard the cymbal is stricken and cuts when you cut. The Dizzy Series is a perfect choice for rock, hip hop, fusion, pop: pretty much anything outside of jazz. An instant favorite.

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Zion Cymbals

Zion stands out a little way from the rest of the companies on this list in the way of endorsement muscle. Whereas the other upstarts are taking on a lot of promising unknowns, Zion holds endorsement deals with artists like Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies), Lil John Roberts (Janet Jackson), and Eric Green (Wiz Khalifa). No information is available online about the start date of the company, but they’re based out of Fresno, California and appear to own and operate their own foundry. In addition to a meatier artist roster, Zion is also separate from others on this list in that their cymbals are presented as "modern" renditions of Turkish-crafted cymbals, something of an introduction for the diehard A Custom or AA fan to small-batch, hand-hammered products.

Reverb Featured Line: Eric Moore Signature Series

It seems fitting the company with the biggest names on their roster would have one of their biggest artist’s signature line featured here. Everything in this line is bright, abrasive, and capable of cutting down a wall of half-stacks. The power you’d expect is present in the crashes, chinas, and rides, but I was most surprised by the splashes. These are some of the mightiest little cymbals I’ve ever come across. If you’re looking for an accent squared, take a look below.

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Dream Cymbals

How do you separate yourself from hordes of companies pumping out Turkish cymbals? Head east. Founded in 2005, Dream is the marriage of a Canadian operation and a centuries-old gong manufacturing plant in China, Wuhan to be exact. The result is a cymbal with an entirely different game than the others on this list. Dream was one of the first startup cymbal companies to implement the "Sound Pricing" model, i.e. same prices for every cymbal line, allowing the consumer more flexibility in choosing what they really want. Dream also has the second most decent artist roster, including Derek Travis (Big D and the Kids Table) and Ernest Larouche (Britney Spears).

Reverb Featured Line: Vintage Bliss

Alright, I can personally handle this one. I’ve used a 20” Vintage Bliss Crash/Ride for the past two years, and I love the thing. The Chinese origins come to the fore in crashing, emanating something between a crash and a china. I love it. Also, these cymbals are very dark on the spectrum and work beautifully in keeping a light wash on to create tension or atmosphere. While I primarily use mine for a crash, you get a light but defined articulation when using as a ride. Finally, I’m merciless behind a kit, and even though the cymbal is paper thin, it’s held up the entire time I’ve owned it. Stellar construction, great price.

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