AAX Brilliant Thin Crashes and Ride and 14″ Medium Hi-Hats

Clean, clear, bright, and expressive.

Sabian’s AAX series was created especially for drummers playing in modern or mainstream music, in styles ranging from pop to heavy metal. They’re made from traditional B20 bronze but are processed in ways to maximize cut, clarity, and brightness. We recently received a batch of new AAX Thin crashes (16, 18, and 20), a 21″ Thin ride, and a pair of 14Medium hi-hats, all in shiny “brilliant” finish.

14″ Medium Hi-Hats
These are great all-around hi-hats, plain and simple. They have smaller than normal bells, which are unlathed but polished, and the bows are hammered extensively and with meticulous precision via a large, round peen. The sound is super crisp, fast, and solid, yet not overwhelmingly loud or bright. For live applications, they’ll cut right through any stage mix with crystal-clear articulation. And under microphones, they’re pre-EQ’ed for bright high end, more complex lows, and attenuated midrange. If you need a new go-to set of hi-hats for almost any modern-leaning gig requiring quickness, expressiveness, and cut, whether stomping 8th notes with the foot, rolling diddles with the tip of the sticks, or slashing sloshy quarter notes with the shank, give these 14AAX Mediums a try. List price is $364.99.


16″, 18″, and 20″ Thin Crashes
When I imagine the quintessential crash cymbal sound for contemporary applications, it’s often one that’s explosive, glassy, smooth, and quick to decay. In other words, I’m thinking of the tones of the new AAX 16, 18, and 20Thin crashes. Like the hi-hats, these models feature smaller, raw bells and the new large, round peen hammering. The hammering makes for a slightly darker timbre without sacrificing clarity and sheen in the high end. The 16 was super fast, smooth, and glassy, which made it perfect for quick punctuations and softer splashes. The 18had a throatier, deeper hum, but it still had a gorgeous shimmer and quick attack. The 16and 18 Thins paired very well together for a simple two-crash setup that covered a nice range of highs and lows.

The 20Thin crash was a bit slower to respond and had a deeper, wave-like roar. It didn’t have as much high-end shimmer or glassiness as the smaller models, but it doubled very nicely as a thin crash-ride when played on the bell or bow. While the 16and 18are ideal choices for textbook fast crash tones, the 20offers a bit more depth, volume, and drama. List prices range from $219.99 for the 16to $299.99 for the 20.

21″ Thin Ride
Sabian sent along a 21HHX Thin ride to compare with the new 21AAX model. Played side by side, the AAX had a significantly more open, sparkling sound that sat nicely atop the mix, while the HHX was a bit more muted and deeper in pitch. Even though I usually tend to prefer darker, drier-sounding rides, I ended up favoring the lighter and livelier tone of the AAX. Although it had a higher pitch, it was more dynamically expressive, and it occupied a nice spot in the upper frequencies that had me exploring more delicate patterns just as much as louder shoulder and bell attacks. List price is $329.99. For more info visit: Sabian.com