V-Classic is a small custom shop in Turkey that specializes in reinventing the classic cymbal sounds of the ’60s for more contemporary applications. The company is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2017 with patented new designs, called V.16, that feature sixteen-sided edges and a few other unique tweaks. We were sent 24″ and 21″ crash-rides and a pair of oversized 17″ hi-hats to review.
All V-Classic cymbals are designed to provide a soft feel and dark sound that responds fully at low and medium volumes. They are hand-hammered and specially treated to have a vintage appearance as well as clear stick definition, controlled overtones, and long sustain. The company uses a unique high-quality B25 alloy (25% tin and 75% copper), which is a key component to producing a classic-style Turkish cymbal.
To make the cymbals in the V.16 series even more sensitive and articulate and to diminish additional unwanted frequencies, the company cut the edge to create a sixteen-sided hexagon. The 24″ crash-ride has a flatter profile than other V-Classic rides, and it features a mini-bell. Both of those elements helped tame this oversized cymbal so that it didn’t wash out quickly while still providing a lush, full crash when struck with the shoulder of the stick. I found that the 24″ V.16 played with more control than other Thin cymbals of this size while still being able to open up and roar when needed.
Its stick sound is clear and earthy but not overly dry, and the crash is rich and warm without excessive trashiness. The bell had a higher pitch than expected, but it’s also well integrated so that bell strikes elicited a soft bed of musical undertones.
I liked pairing the deep, dark tone of the 24″ with larger and low-tuned drums for big, earthy rock beats. It also was very expressive when played at lighter dynamics with a small, tightly tuned bebop kit. This is a very thin cymbal (2,522 grams) with a lot of flex, so I wouldn’t use it as a primary ride in louder situations. But in situations that called for a dark and washy-yet-controlled ride that could also supply a huge, dramatic crash, this big boy was a ton of fun.
21“ Crash-Ride With FX Holes and Rivets
The 21″ V.16 crash-ride is also sixteen-sided but features a larger bell than the 24″. It has two 1.75″ holes punched on opposite sides of the cymbal, 2″ from the edge. Three large brass rivets are installed 2.5″ apart from one another and 2″ from the edge. Contrasting with the silky smooth sound of the 24″ crash-ride, the 1,806-gram 21″ has a trashier and more complex tone that explodes when crashed but dies down quickly to a simmering sustain. I used this cymbal more for accents, but it has clean stick articulation and a deep-sounding, highly integrated bell.
Played lightly on the bow, the 21″ V.16 has a smoky old-school vibe that recalls the gritty ride sound of Art Blakey, Billy Higgins, and other hard-bop giants. The 21″ V.16 also sounds great when played at the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum for aggressive crashes. It hit with a big, bold punch but didn’t overwhelm the kit with lingering sustain. And it’s not as loud or trashy as other effects crashes and Chinas I’ve played. Fans of the complex, dry crash sound that modern jazz master Brian Blade often uses to punctuate fills and elevate improvisations will really dig this cymbal.
The V.16 17″ hi-hats are the only ones we reviewed in the series that weren’t polygonal. The top weighed 1,232 grams, and the bottom was 1,283. They’re thin cymbals, but they didn’t have as much flex as the rides. The bottom hi-hat had a 2″ band of traditional lathing on the underside edge, while the remainder of that surface was raw. The bottom of the top cymbal was raw, and the top side of both cymbals was softly lathed from the edge to the start of the bell.
V-Classics owner/designer Torab Majlesi describes these hi-hats as being “dark and groovy,” and they were exactly that. When used for mid-tempo Steve Jordan–type beats, they provided a dense, low-pitched closed sound, deep but fast barks, and a smooth, dark sustain when struck partially open. They had more presence, power, and clarity than you’d get from a pairing of two thin crashes, but they also had a soft, breathy character that sounded well balanced acoustically and when placed under microphones. These 17″ hi-hats are perfect for situations requiring cymbals to blend within the mix rather than sit atop it.