Swiss cymbal maker Paiste debuted the Masters series in 2011 with a collection of twelve unique, artist-inspired ride cymbals, all of which are handcrafted from premium CuSn20 (aka B20) bronze. The series was expanded in 2014 with low-pitched, complex-sounding Dark models and then again in 2017 with super-fast and smooth Thin hi-hats, crash/rides, and a swish. This year the company added ultra-articulate Dry and Extra Dry rides in 20″, 21″, and 22″ sizes. Let’s see how well they live up to their names.
The 20″, 21″, and 22″ Masters Dry rides are medium thin and are designed for low to medium-loud applications. Paiste describes their sound as “dark, dry, and deep” with a “fairly soft feel” and a “pronounced warm ping over dry, deep wash.” They have a gray matte finish that’s widely lathed to create concentric circles that radiate from the hole to the edge. The stick sound on all three sizes was super clean but low pitched, and the sustain was very controlled and even. The bells emitted a nice, clear chime that poked through the breathy wash without being jarring.
The 20″ Dry ride had the brightest tone of the three and the most silvery, focused wash. The 21″ had a deeper stick attack and more complex sustain. The 21″ Dry was the most versatile of the six we reviewed, especially for players desiring a deep, rich ride sound with crisp, woody attack and dark but contained tone. The 22″ Dry ride had the longest sustain, deepest voice, and broadest attack. This was the most “jazzy” of the bunch, sounding like a classic Turkish-style ride that’s been muted with a bit of gaffer’s tape.
Extra Dry Rides
Also available in 20″, 21″, and 22″ sizes, the Masters Extra Dry rides have almost no sustain, making them extremely articulate and controlled. They produce a clear point to every stroke,
and no matter how aggressively you hit them the wash remains tightly confined to a quick, restricted “puff.”
The 20″ Extra Dry had the most noticeable sustain. The 21″ and 22″ models had a gated-sounding decay that emphasized the dry, woody attack further. All three Extra Dry cymbals
had limited volume, not unlike a flat ride, allowing me to play with fuller strokes at lower dynamic levels.
While I had a lot of fun playing fast, fusion-style patterns on the Extra Dry rides, they’ll likely have more limited applications, primarily for note-dense playing styles. The Dry models will appeal to a wider range of players desiring a dark, dry sound with earthy stick attack and a smooth, balanced wash that’s very controlled but not overly muted.