Cymbal Packs

Zildjian A391 and Paiste PST7 Cymbal Packs

by Nate Bauman

Could a prepack be for you? Here are two excellent options.

So you’ve never considered a cymbal pack before and generally like to purchase cymbals one at a time based on what your needs are at the moment? That’s totally understandable. But could there be some great advantages to buying a handful of cymbals at one time? Like anything that can be purchased in bulk, you’ll often get a better deal.

A major emphasis in my gear shopping this year has been on increasing variety, while being mindful of finances. When it came to cymbals, exploration was key in finding what sounds worked best for me. Would I lean more toward bright or dark tone…brilliant or rugged finishes…thin or heavy weights…? The answer was all of the above, and the best part was that I didn’t spend a ton of money in the process.

After acquiring two cymbal packs, Zildjian’s A391 and Paiste’s PST7, I started with eight cymbals, and then narrowed down my final selection to four cymbals, which comprised two models from each pack. The other four were sold online. Let’s take a look at each pre-pack.

Ziljdian A391
Zildjian cymbal packThe Zildjian A391 series cymbal pack is a wonderful investment and one of the better options out there. You’ll be taking home 14″ New Beat hi-hats, a 16″ Medium-Thin crash, a 21″ Sweet ride, and an 18″ Medium-Thin crash. These timeless cast-bronze cymbals are a staple in the drumming world and have been used by the likes of Soundgarden/Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron, Smashing Pumpkins’ Jimmy Chamberlin, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Queen’s Roger Taylor, and many others.

The 14″ New Beats hi-hats come in a traditional finish and have a medium-weight top paired with a heavy bottom. Whether you are a heavy hitter or have a light hand, they respond equally well and are a joy to play because of their broad range of sound. The 16″ Medium-Thin crash cymbal has a perfect natural timbre with warm, rich tones. It also features a newer hammering technique that’s closer to that used on A series cymbals back in the ’40s and ’50s.

Many of the same attributes of the 16″ crash can be said of the 18″ Medium-Thin crash. It has a noticeably lower pitch and carries an overall bigger sound. When paired with the 16″, you’ve got a strong one-two punch with some awesome contrast.

The 21″ Sweet ride is a versatile cymbal with an array of tones. Something that has always been important to me is being able to get a strong crash sound from my ride. With the Sweet ride, I could crash it, ride on it, and use the bell, all within four bars of music, with clear separation between the three tones.

At $699.95, the Zildjian A391 is a professional-grade and well-valued pack for beginners, intermediates, and professionals.

Paiste PST7
Paiste Cymbal packAmong the things Paiste is known for is producing budget-friendly cymbals without compromising integrity. The PST7 series cymbal pack is a perfectly executed example of this. Though priced lower than the Alpha and 2002 series, the PST7s are made from the same B8 bronze as the popular professional-grade 2002s.

The PST7 pack comes with a 20″ ride, a 16″ crash, and 14″ hi-hats, in a choice of three weights: Session (light), Universal (medium), and Rock (heavy). There’s also an effects cymbal pack that includes a 10″ splash and an 18″ China.

One of the first things you’ll notice after playing these cymbals is how clean they sound, especially the crashes and hi-hats. The 20″ ride has nice overtones that blend well with the crashes. The lighter Session cymbal pack was my favorite of the three, and offers the closest alternative to the 2002 series for a fraction of the price.

Each of the three PST7 ride cymbals had a well-defined stick ping and full-sounding bells. The Session ride can be easily crashed. The Rock ride is most metallic, with considerably more ping. The Universal ride has a nice blend of sustain and a clear-cutting bell.

All of the PST7 crash cymbals sound fantastic. The Session crash is the fastest, and the warmer-sounding Universal was the most versatile. The Rock crash had the most volume and sustain.

I’ve always thought that Paiste produced amazing-sounding hi-hats, and the hi-hats in the PST7 packs are the most noteworthy of the family. When played closed, all three pairs sound crisp and full. Loosen them up, and you get a rich wash. You can find any of the three Paiste PST7 cymbal packs online for around $425. This is a steal, folks.

Alloy: B20 (Zildjian) and B8 (Paiste)
Sizes: 14″–21″
Sound: bright, clean, all-purpose
Price: $699.95 (Zildjian) and $425 (Paiste)