TRX New DRK Series Cymbals
Warm, dark, classic sounds with pre-drilled holes for rivets.
by Miguel Monroy
The original DRK line used an ultra-thin cast b20-plus bronze formula, along with an unlathed, natural finish, to provide dark, earthy tones. The focus of the New DRK series is to capitalize on the warmth and darkness of the original line, while providing more power and projection by offering a little more brightness and clarity.
The New DRK cymbals are still made from ultra-thin cast bronze, but now they feature a natural finish with deep lathing and heavy machine hammering. The result is subtle, dark overtones with enough brightness to cut through a mix and project in a live setting.
The set of cymbals that we received for review consisted of 14″ hi-hats ($625); 18″, 20″, and 22″ crash-rides ($425, $550, and $600); a vented 20″ Thunder crash ($550); and an 18″ China ($500). Each crash-ride and China is drilled with nine holes to accommodate the use of TRX’s removable rivets ($25 for a pack of nine).
The 14″ hi-hats were one of my favorite options from the New DRK lineup, although they offered the least amount of projection. They displayed a slightly darker tone than the other cymbals, leaning more towards the earthier overtones of the original unlathed version than its deeply lathed counterparts in this series. These hi-hats gave a deep “chunk” that resonated ever so slightly when the cymbals were hit on the edge. Furthermore, they were thin enough that I could control the pitch of the closed sound by changing the amount of pressure applied with the foot.
Although these hi-hats weren’t as loud as the other cymbals we received, they still had enough brilliance to project in a live setting without sacrificing the dark overtones that make them unique. They helped to create an atmosphere where I felt free to explore subtlety and intricacy with my cymbal work without the fear of the sound getting lost on stage.
The New DRK crash-rides provided more of a classic/vintage vibe and allowed me to play fast, syncopated rhythms as well as bigger accents. The 18″ and 20″ options provided nice stick definition, while a subtle wash began to grow as I played longer phrases or with more force. The 22″ felt like a ride cymbal in terms of its responsiveness. As I began to play harder accents and hits it maintained clean and articulate projection. As advertised by TRX, the full line of crash-rides felt right at home in both a jazz setting and more contemporary and harder-hitting situations. I especially loved the ability to easily add rivets for certain gigs and then remove them for others.
The 18″ China sounded best when we put a few rivets in the pre-drilled holes and used it for accents that left a lingering sizzle. Compared to the other cymbals in the series, the New DRK China projected a much harsher overtone when used for ride patterns, which is something that may be less evident in the larger options. The harsher overtones became more apparent as I moved closer to the center of the cymbal. However, if I played ride patterns on the lip of the China, it provided a much better balance between stick definition and sustain.
This was my favorite cymbal of the bunch. The 20″ vented Thunder crash is very dark and trashy, and felt perfect for accents and hits that needed to get out of the way fast while still leaving a subtle wall of overtones in the background. I even found that using this cymbal for ride patterns was a great option when I needed less articulation but still wanted to push the music with an array of warm, dark nuances.
Alloy: b20-plus bronze
Sizes: 13″ to 23″
Finish: natural with deep lathing and heavy hammering
Features: 9 rivet holes in crash-rides and Chinas