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Istanbul Mehmet

X-Ray Series Cymbals

Dirty, trashy sounds from one of Turkey’s finest.

The Istanbul Mehmet brand is the brainchild of Mehmet Tamdeger, a legend in the cymbal-making industry who honed his craft in the 1950s while working in the K. Zilcan factory in Turkey. The company offers a wide swath of sounds, from the classic, old-world Heritage models to the cutting-edge Modern range and the specialized Custom and Signature series. For drummers favoring more unusual cymbals, there’s the Xperience line, which includes the X-Ray options we have for review.

All X-Ray cymbals are perforated to increase trashiness and decrease decay, and they are available with three different patterns of holes. The Random models (14″ hi-hats and 16″ and 18″ crashes) feature an alternating spectrum of large and medium-size holes. The Multi models (14″ hi-hats, 16″ and 18″ crashes, and 16″ and 18″ Chinas) have rays of four small holes emanating from the bell to the edge, while the X-Ray 6 crashes (16″–20″) have six large holes spaced evenly around the bow.

X-Ray Random

These 14″ hi-hats and 16″ and 18″ crashes have the most surface area removed, which makes them super-light and fast. The crashes decay fairly quickly and smoothly, and they have a sharp, trashy attack. The 16″ worked best for fast bursts, and the 18″ had a deeper tone for more dramatic accents. The 14″ hi-hats have a very dirty, trashy tone that sounds like electronic samples played through an overdrive pedal. If you’re a fan of riding on trashy, articulate stackers, consider tossing these bad boys on your hi-hat stand so you can explore an array of gritty tight and gnarly open sounds.

X-Ray Multi and X-Ray 6

These hi-hats, crashes, and Chinas feature multiple small holes, allowing the cymbals to ring out a bit more after the initial sharp attack. They sounded brighter than the Random models and had a firmer feel. The hi-hats had a strong metallic tone in addition to a gritty, trashy attack. They sounded best when played closed for a low-fi electronic-type effect.

The Multi China sounded super-trashy, as you’d expect, and the holes helped minimize gong-like overtones. The crashes had decent articulation for light riding on the bow, and edge hits elicited a nice amount of dissonance that removed discernable pitches from the sustain. The Multi crash and China models would work best in louder environments where you want more full-bodied tones to support the trashy effects.

The X-Ray 6 crashes (16″–20″) have larger holes placed at the midpoint of the bow. They are medium-thin, so they spoke quickly but still had enough mass to withstand serious punishment and cut through on loud gigs. The 18″ X-Ray 6 would serve well for players looking to bridge the gap between a China and a large, washy crash, while the 16″ has a quick, flashy attack and fast decay.

When comparing the trash-to-crash ratio of the X-Ray series, the Randoms leaned more toward the trash side while the Multis are closer to the full, open sound of non-perforated cymbals. The X-Ray 6s fall somewhere between the two, making them a bit more versatile and able to blend well within a cymbal setup of more traditional models.

Michael Dawson