RE­VIEW paiste

From £467 Paiste em­braces the dry and even drier in a new as­sort­ment of rides that also in­cludes a lively crash/ride

Rhythm - - NEW GEAR - Words: Adam Jones

masters ride cymbals

It’s be­come some­thing of a cus­tom for Paiste to use the pres­ti­gious NAM trade fair that be­gins each year to drop a se­lec­tion of brand new mod­els. 2018’s show was no exception with a clus­ter of new cymbals from var­i­ous Paiste ranges be­ing un­veiled. As ever with Paiste, there is never any pre-pub­lic­ity or spoiler alerts – every­thing lands on launch day.


Up for re­view in this is­sue is the first batch of this sea­son’s Swiss debu­tants, which are all ad­di­tions to Paiste’s high-end Masters se­ries, namely a 22" Dark crash ride and sixDry and Ex­tra Dry rides (three of each in 20"/21"/22" di­am­e­ters). Paiste Masters be­gan life in 2011 and ini­tially con­sisted of 12 rides, many of which were in­spired by re­quests from Paiste en­dorsees. The range has slowly evolved to in­clude hi-hats, crashes, splashes and a sin­gle Swish, with the em­pha­sis re­main­ing on mu­si­cal­ity and ver­sa­til­ity. In­di­vid­u­ally cast from CuSn20 – which is Paiste-speak for B20 bronze – Masters cymbals are hand worked through­out ev­ery stage of the man­u­fac­tur­ing process. Though Paiste is packed with long-serv­ing em­ploy­ees, only the most ex­pe­ri­enced cym­bal­smiths get to work on Masters mod­els.

The 22" Dark crash ride is a com­pan­ion to the ex­ist­ing 20" model. Sev­eral pro­to­types were made and af­ter be­ing ap­praised by Paiste artists the fi­nal de­sign was set­tled on. Like it’s smaller sib­ling the 22" is lib­er­ally cratered with deep ham­mer marks, which catch the light from any di­rec­tion.

In con­trast, the Dry and Ex­tra Dry rides present an al­to­gether more muted ap­pear­ance. This is due to a mat fin­ish, which is banded on top of and cov­ers the en­tire un­der­side of each cym­bal. Paiste are typ­i­cally un­will­ing to share any pro­pri­etary in­for­ma­tion, con­firm­ing only that it is a fin­ish­ing process (ie not a coat­ing) unique to these cymbals. De­vised and tested over a pe­riod of years – in to­tal se­crecy – the start­ing point for the mod­els was Paiste’s ob­ser­va­tion that, ‘Many dry rides on the mar­ket lose their dry­ness af­ter be­ing played for a while.’ They are con­fi­dent that the new rides will keep their dry­ness no mat­ter how much stick action they see. While the two mod­els are ham­mered dif­fer­ently, due to the thick­ness of the fin­ish the ham­mer pat­terns are eas­ier to dis­cern on the Dry rides. In­ter­est­ingly, all the cor­re­spond­ing di­am­e­ters across the mod­els are prac­ti­cally iden­ti­cal in weight. When I sug­gested to Paiste that this was un­likely to be a co­in­ci­dence, the re­ply I re­ceived stated cryp­ti­cally that I was right: “We (Paiste) never get ac­ci­den­tal re­sults.”

Hands On

First out of the box is the 22"Dark crash ride; at the best part of 2.5kg it’s a hefty slab of bronze. The dark­ness of the note is ev­i­dent and, played gen­tly, it re­veals a but­tery stick sound sit­ting

A full-on crash is guar­an­teed to have any six and four-string col­leagues giv­ing you some sharp side­ways looks whilst fum­bling with the vol­ume pot on their amps

over a lush blan­ket of warmth. At this vol­ume the wash plays a con­ven­tional sup­port­ing role; up­ping the ve­loc­ity finds it chas­ing and then catch­ing the pulse as the cym­bal be­gins to open up and slide to­wards crash ter­ri­tory. Notch­ing things higher brings it to a rolling boil of wash through which ac­cents and nu­ances can still be punc­tu­ated – like the sort of churn­ing wave of cym­bal froth that Keith Moon made his own. A full-on crash drenches every­thing and is guar­an­teed to have any six and four-string col­leagues giv­ing you sharp side­ways looks whilst fum­bling with the vol­ume pot on their amps.It has enough sub­tlety to thrive at the more dy­namic end of jazz butI wouldn’t take it on a pi­ano trio gig; ist’ a lively cym­bal suit­able for many other gen­res and will do what­ever you ask of it.

The Dry and Ex­tra Dry rides are, un­sur­pris­ingly, dif­fer­ent ket­tles of fish al­to­gether. As well as be­ing vir­tu­ally in­dis­tin­guish­able in weight, each di­am­e­ter of Dry/Ex­tra Dry ride is re­mark­ably sim­i­lar in tun­ing and pitch; they only dif­fer sub­stan­tially in their level of dry­ness. The Dry rides are def­i­nitely in the dry zone and give a clear, ar­tic­u­late stick sound over a con­trolled and re­spect­ful wash. Pat­terns are re­pro­duced with watch­maker ac­cu­racy while a del­i­cate shim­mer builds be­hind. Play­ing the bells re­veals a harder edge and a few more har­mon­ics while crash­ing brings an earthy bloom. Go­ing up­wards in the di­am­e­ters brings a low­er­ing of over­all pitch but the char­ac­ter­is­tics re­main the same. Switch­ing to the Ex­tra Dry rides, the depth of dry­ness is quite pro­found; they are bone dry and give an even more pro­nounced stick sound over a wash that’s so min­i­mal it lies some­where be­tween stran­gled and nonex­is­tent. The pu­rity of note is ex­tra­or­di­nary and the ab­sence of any dis­cernible over­tone (even sym­pa­thetic) is al­most shock­ing on first hear­ing. These are prop­erly dry cymbals – drier than a gui­tarist’s bath­mat – that re­ally do stand out from the crowd.

Clar­ity mat­ters The Dry rides pro­vide a clean, fo­cused sound with min­i­mal spread

Re­as­sur­ingly ex­pen­sive Masters cymbals are painstak­ingly crafted by hand and such qual­i­ties don’t come cheap Rid­ing the crash The 22" Dark crash ride does ex­actly what it says on the tin Su­per-dry Cymbals don’t come much drier than the Ex­tra Dry rides

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