Warmer and more controllable, but still fast and trashy.


We reviewed Meinl’s new 8″ Benny Greb Crasher hi-hats and the aggressive 18″ Thomas Lang Super Stack a few issues back. This month, we’re going to take a look at two additional Artist Concept special effects combos: the 18″ Anika Nilles Deep Hats and the 12″/16″ Luke Holland Bullet Stack. These pairings have unique voices within the short, aggressive, trashy tones that define the modern-day stacker.

18″/18″ Anika Nilles Deep Hats ($1,276)

July 2020 Meinl A

“What I really like about my Deep Hats is that they have so many musical applications,” says international drum star and co-designer Anika Nilles, via meinlcymbals.com. “They fill the sonic gap between my main hi-hats and my crashes. I play them half-open as a timekeeper—very similar to crash-riding—however the Deep Hats sound softer and more articulate.” These oversized hi-hats comprise two thin 18″ Byzance series cymbals. Both cymbals are made from B20 bronze that’s hand hammered, lathed with a narrow blade, and sandblasted to a soft traditional finish. The top features four round and four oblong holes evenly spaced around the circumference.

The Deep Hats come with an X-Hat boom arm and a clutch, which allows you to mount the cymbals to another stand. The tension between the cymbals can be adjusted to produce a loose, washy sound or a tight, trashy smack. Of all the Artist Concept stacks, these were the least aggressive-sounding and had the softest feel. These would be an excellent choice for players looking to incorporate a big, trashy stack that’s a bit subtler, warmer, and more dynamic than a typical China/crash combo.

12″/16″ Luke Holland Bullet Stack ($647)

July 2020 Meinl B

This unique combo pairs a thin, sandblasted 16″ Byzance B20 crash with a small 12″ B10 Classics Custom crash. Both cymbals are perforated: the 12″ is punched with four large circles and four smaller circles in the center of the bow, while the 16″ has four large circles and four oblong cutouts. Designed to be set up inverted with the 12″ on top of the 16″, this stack has a super-quick, abrasive attack and very fast decay. While it offers the fast, trashy attack associated with stackers, its tone is a bit more subdued than expected. Instead of jumping atop grooves and fills, the Bullet Stack provides an interestingly integrated effects sound that is a bit more dynamically balanced with other elements of the kit. And the decay can be expedited to an abrupt cutoff by clamping down the tension on the wingnut. It’s sharp, fast, and aggressive, but not deafening. Tons of fun, too.

We will complete our roundup of Meinl’s Artist Concept stacks in a future issue.