Sabian HHX Legacy Cymbal Line
Review by: Eric Sands
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The new Sabian HHX Legacy cymbals are a part of the popular HHX line that were developed in collaboration with Dave Weckl. This is not the first time Dave has worked with Sabian master product specialist Mark Love, though – the two of them previously created the award-winning HHX Evolution series cymbals.In contrast to the brighter sounding Evolution cymbals, the new Legacy cymbals have a darker personality. Although the Legacy cymbals are built custom to Dave’s specifications, they cover a broad spectrum of tones and offer a rich, complex palette of colors. These are some of the most musical cymbals we’ve ever played.
Sabian individually handcrafts each Legacy cymbal from their B20 cast bronze, which is the same alloy used for the Evolution series. The Legacy cymbals have complex and unique hammer patterns that vary from cymbal to cymbal. All of the cymbals have finely lathed bells with the hammer patterns only applied to the bow of the cymbal.
The 22” Heavy Ride contains both larger oval and smaller ball hammer indentations whereas the 20” Ride cymbal has large oblong hammer marks on both the top and bottom surfaces. One characteristic that sets the 20” Ride apart from the rest of the cymbals is an unlathed band on middle of the bow underneath the cymbal. The O-Zone Ride has five evenly spaced two-inch diameter holes cut out of one half of the cymbal (in the middle of the bow section) as well as the larger oval hammer marks.
Both crash cymbals have a similar hammer pattern of small and large indentations while the splashes have a light hammer pattern that is hardly noticeable. The hi-hats have only the large oval depressions, but they are deep and give the cymbals a bumpy appearance. All these cymbals are visually stimulating with their hand hammered characteristics, yet they are not flashy or ostentatious.
All of the Legacy cymbals are hand lathed and have a natural finish. The top of each cymbal is adorned with the Legacy logo on the left side. The stylized “L” logo resembles a brush stroke and is tasteful at only a few inches tall. Beneath the “L” is the word “LEGACY” followed by the cymbal type and size in both standard and metric measurements. On the top right side of each cymbal is the “HHX” series brand in a thin, italicized font. One inch in from the edge is the Sabian logo stamped into the top. Underneath each cymbal is the Sabian logo with a small “Dave Weckl” signature (silk screened) on the underside of the bell, reminding everyone that they are in possession of something special.
The Sabian Legacy series includes the following cymbals:
We received three different ride cymbals for review, each providing a unique sound. The 22” Heavy Ride quickly became our favorite of the group. As its name states, this is a heavy weight ride that is the anchor of the series. It is a solid cymbal with a crisp stick definition for playing fast ride patterns. The hammer pattern breaks up the vibration and provided a warm, dry shimmer beneath it all with excellent sustain. The smaller 20” Ride (also available as a 21” Ride) is more of an all-around ride cymbal that provides versatility for different styles of music. Sabian states that the unlathed band on this cymbal controls the sound by “limiting tonal spread” – we agree.
Hole-y O-Zone, this cymbal was a blast! The 20” O-Zone Ride was another of our favorites, and a truly unique effects cymbal. Although it is technically a ride, we found that it worked great as a heavy crash and was perfect for creating a dark wash. The O-Zone had less stick definition than the other cymbals, yet its volume quickly rose to a feverish dirty shimmer with a faster decay than one would expect from a traditional ride. Now, you might be wondering if the holes drilled into the cymbals interfere with the playing experience. During the evaluation, we mounted the O-Zone on a cymbal stand with a very slight tilt toward the drummer’s position. Even with aggressive playing and laying into the cymbal hard, the O-Zone never rotated to a position where the holes were in the way. The O-Zone Ride is an acquired taste, but one that definitely pleased our sonic palette.
The only hi-hats in the line are the 14” Hi-Hats. These are a nicely balanced pair of a lighter top cymbal and heavier bottom cymbal that sounded crisp and had a warm chick pedal tone. These hi-hats offered excellent articulation for intricate sticking and had a dry, controlled sound that we found perfect for Jazz playing. When riding the hi-hats in a semi-open state, we heard the signature simmering effects of the hand hammering.
The Legacy crashes are offered in both 17” and 18” sizes. We enjoyed these cymbals as their thin, light weight provided excellent responsiveness with rich low-end tones. These crashes were punchy and sounded fantastic at all volume levels. Obviously these crashes work well when used for jazz/fusion playing due to their deep and dark personality, but we also feel they make great rock crashes thanks to their control and fast attack.
Sabian offers both 10” and 12” Legacy splashes to round out the line. These paper-thin cymbals had an extremely fast decay. It might sound contradictory to describe splashes as having low-end tone, but these ones do. They don’t have a lot volume, though, so use them wisely since they won’t cut through the larger Legacy rides and crashes.
Sabian provides online audio samples of their entire line of cymbals.
These prices are the manufacturers suggested retail prices. Searching various online retailers, you can typically find these cymbals selling at up to 40% off MSRP.
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