This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Paiste’s Signature series, which features the company’s proprietary bronze alloy. This new line quickly became a favorite amongst drummers of all styles due to its rich, full, and expressive tones. While the Signature series is still immensely popular, Paiste decided to give the line a boost by adding 19″ and 20″ Fast crashes, 16″, 17″, and 18″ Mellow crashes, a 20″ Mellow ride, and a 22″ Full ride. A pair of 15″ Signature Dark Energy hi-hats was also introduced. Let’s check them out.
Larger Fast Crashes
Signature Fast crashes were previously available in 14″–18″ sizes. To serve drummers desiring larger options, 19″ and 20″ models have been added. Like all Fast crashes in the series, these new Signatures are medium-thin and are designed for soft to moderately loud situations. The stick sound on both is sparkling and washy, and the sustain is silky smooth and relatively short. They have a slightly bright and immediate attack that bursts with an array of warm, colorful, and shimmery overtones, regardless of whether the cymbals are struck with a light, glancing blow or an aggressive punch. Like all Paiste products, these new Fast crashes are incredibly consistent, and they have a fantastic, musical sound that’s ideal for applications requiring warm, broad tones with controlled—but not choked—wash.
Midsized Mellow Crashes
To complement the larger Signature Fast additions, Paiste created 16″, 17″, and 18″ Mellow crashes. These are medium-thin and are designed for soft to moderate dynamics. They have a looser feel and a breathier and more complex tone than the Fasts, but they aren’t exceedingly dark or dry. The decay is smooth and somewhat short. There’s not much of a bell sound in these crashes; they have a highly integrated character with minimal pitch variance. These Mellow models would likely best serve drummers looking for everyday recording and gigging crashes that aren’t too loud and have a hint of vintage vibe without losing the sparkle and smoothness that are hallmarks of the Signature series.
Mellow and Full Rides
The 20″ Signature Mellow ride is a medium-weight cymbal that complements the Mellow and Fast crashes nicely, providing a warm and balanced sound with an even mix of clarity and wash. The bell has a clear but slightly integrated tone, and edge strikes elicit a smooth, gentle crash with focused, midrange overtones. Ideal for lighter playing, the 20″ Mellow ride is a versatile cymbal that would serve well in a variety of situations requiring a more nuanced, expressive sound.
For applications requiring a musical ride with a bigger sound and more pronounced “ping,” Paiste developed the 22″ Signature Full. This medium-heavy cymbal maintains the balanced, rich tones of the Signature alloy while introducing a clear, crisp attack and a brighter and more separated bell. The sustain of the 22″ Full ride is full and washy but also controlled enough so that it never overwhelms the click of the stick. I envision this robust ride being called upon often by rock, pop, blues, funk, and modern session drummers alike. (The 22″ Signature Full reminded me of the ultra-defined but deep ride tone heard on countless modern-rock hits played by session great Josh Freese.) I’m not often drawn to heavier cymbals, but this one really caught my attention. There’s a lot of musicality within it.
Larger Dark Energy Hi-Hats
The Dark Energy subseries, which was originally launched in 2004, utilizes the same B12 alloy as the rest of the Signature series, but these unique-looking cymbals are finished differently so as to produce darker, drier, and meatier tones. Dark Energy hi-hats were previously only available in 14“. The new 15” version features the same pairing of a medium-thin top over an extra-heavy bottom. Both cymbals are loosely lathed on top and mostly unlathed on bottom, and the entire surface of both sides is pocked with extensive pea-sized hammer marks.
The stick sound of the 15” Dark Energy hi-hats is super crisp and crunchy, and the foot chick is robust and chunky. The open sound has a deep and throaty sizzle that’s reminiscent of a detuned breakbeat sample. Even though they’re 15“, these hi-hats are impressively responsive and articulate. If you like big hi-hats that have a strong and distinctive voice, these are some of the coolest sounding—and looking—around.