CRX Stack Packs
by Michael Dawson
Pre-paired cymbals for a variety of short, trashy effects.
CRX is the China-made sub-brand of TRX cymbals designed to offer professional-quality sounds at competitive prices. The latest offerings from CRX include a collection of ten Stack Packs designed to create white-noise special effects. The collection comprises various combinations of splashes, Chinas, and perforated Stackers from the Classic, Xtreme, and Rock series. We were sent eight of the ten pairs to review. We’ve divided those eight into two groups: those incorporating 8″ to 12″ cymbals and those incorporating 10″ to 14″ models.
The smallest Stack Pack in our review group, the Hi-Trash, included an 8″ Rock splash and a 10″ Classic China. It produced a short, tight, controlled burst with no discernable pitch or sustain. The Hi-Trash is a good option for playing fast, syncopated rhythms at softer dynamics. (Mark Guiliana’s playing style comes to mind.) The next smallest pair, the Hi-Flange, included a 10″ Rock Stacker (with five 1″ holes) over a 10″ Xtreme China. This combo also produced a short, tight sound with a hint of metallic overtones.
For a slightly wider but still controlled tone, there’s the 10″ Rock Stacker over 12″ Rock China (Mid-Flange) and the 10″ Rock splash over 12″ Classic China (Mid-Trash). Both pairs had a nice, trashy attack that opened up with a bit more white noise. The Mid-Trash was my favorite of the smaller group of Stack Packs; it produced a quick but balanced trashy sound that could be used for short, bursting accents or as a ride source for articulating fast rhythms or forceful quarter notes. The Mid-Flange had more midrange overtones, which gave it a more electronic-inspired voice.
For effects sounds with a bit more sizzle, CRX has paired a 10″ Classic splash over a 14″ Rock Stacker (Lo-Sizzle), a 14″ Classic Stacker over a 14″ Rock China (Crasher), a 12″ Xtreme splash over a 14″ Classic China (Lo-Trash), and a 10″ Classic Stacker over a 14″ Xtreme crash (Mid-Sizzle). The Mid-Sizzle had the longest sustain plus a lingering rattle. The Lo-Sizzle had the second longest sustain and a higher pitch. The Crasher had the tightest tone and shortest sustain, and the Lo-Trash had the most familiar “stacker” sound, with a medium-length sustain and a dense, trashy tone.
The Crasher and Lo-Trash pairs are the best choices if you’re looking for a stacker that can be used to play single hits or to articulate tight rhythms, while the Lo-Sizzle and Mid-Sizzle are better for single accents because they take a bit longer to settle down. My favorite of the larger models was the Lo-Trash, but they all offered something unique within the world of compact special effects cymbals.
The prices of the Stack Packs are very competitive, ranging from $139.99 for the small Choke combo to $259.99 for the larger Crasher pair, so you might want to experiment with a few different sets to home in on which ones work best for you.