DRK-BRT and DRK-X Hi-Hats
Cross-matched options for a blend of grit and crispness.
TRX was founded in 2006 in an effort to provide traditional Turkish-made cymbals for modern applications. All of its professional-level models are made from high-quality B20 or B20-plus bronze, and the company has been careful to curate the series in its catalog so drummers can dial in their setups quickly and easily depending on their specific needs.
Three of the series—DRK, BRT, and X—exemplify the range of tones TRX offers: DRK provides dark and earthy sounds, BRT is bright and powerful, and the X line is characterized by a traditional, warm, and complex sound. The company recently began combining these three series in 13“, 14“, and 15” hi-hats that consist of either a BRT or X series top and a DRK bottom. We were sent all six pairs to review.
This highly contrasting pairing combines a heavy, polished BRT top with a heavy DRK bottom that’s lathed on the bottom side and raw on top. Aside from the differences in hammering and finish, the BRT and DRK cymbals are identical in size and shape, sporting the same profile and cup. Due to their weight and design, I expected the DRK-BRT hi-hats to have a limited sound that would only work in loud, aggressive situations. What I found, however, was that they were surprisingly versatile and musical, with a ton of articulation as well as a full-range wash.
The 13” pair reminded me of a combination of the infamous crispy yet warm hi-hat sound used on many mid-’90s fusion records by legendary drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl and the dry, sample-type tone of modern electronica master Jojo Mayer. The 13” DRK-BRT pair spoke very quickly and had a strong foot chomp, as well as a throaty but controllable wash. They’d be a great choice for contemporary R&B, hip-hop, fusion, electronic, or any genre requiring fast, focused, cutting hi-hats.
The 14″ DRK-BRT had a similar sound, response, and feel to the 13″ pair, but they had a lower pitch, a broader wash, and more power. They worked best when played at higher volumes and in more aggressive styles. The 15″ were surprisingly articulate and clean while producing a big, broad tone. Rather than recalling the wispy timbre of two washy crashes used as hi-hats, the 15″ DRKBRTs performed more like crisp 13s with a lower pitch and deeper roar.
Contrasting the DRK-BRT, the DRK-X hi-hats consist of a heavy, raw DRK bottom cymbal and a traditionally lathed, medium-weight, and slightly flatter X series top featuring additional wide and deep hammering. The X top introduces darker and more complex tones, and it has a slightly softer and more broken-in feel.
The 13″ DRK-X hi-hats were even more Weckl/Vinnie-like, and they had a more nuanced wash and stick sound that would make them appropriate for more dynamic playing styles, like classic jazz and soul. The 14″ DRK-X pair would be great for all-purpose recording and gigging. They were articulate without being bright, and the open sound was breathy without losing presence. The 15″ DRK-X were the funkiest of the bunch, inspiring me to play big chopping beats, à la Sly Stone’s Greg Errico, as well as denser funk/rock grooves where the deeper texture of the hi-hats blended seamlessly with ghost notes on the snare. They were chunky enough to produce a strong, powerful sound while remaining expressive and musical at lower dynamics. Very cool.