New Crescent Cymbals Tested!
The Bigger The Cushion, The Better The Ride
Crescent has an interesting approach of applying different lathing patterns to the same cymbal template. As a reviewer, it was fun to have the opportunity to easily compare how lathing affects (and does not affect) the sound of essentially the same cymbal.
Despite their differences, these rides all have certain similarities. Each ride emanates a sonic range of overtones that is clean and focused. None of these rides is particularly quirky. None exhibited any trashy or clangy qualities, yet none sounded quite as pristine as some of the Euro-style cymbals. Each ride responds to the stick with a cushioned, comfortable feel. The response in the thinner models has more padding, while the medium models are a bit more bouncy. Still, each ride – even the thinner models – had enough springiness to allow me to easily play faster patterns. I found that as my speed increased with faster patterns on the thin models, the wash eventually overwhelmed stick definition.
Sonically, the Vanguard and Vintage rides both speak with a lower pitched, washy quality. The lathed Vanguard has more sonic sparkle, while the unlathed Vintage sounds more aged and slightly muted. Each of these rides has more breath than articulation, although stick definition is acceptable from soft to medium volumes. As volume increases, the thin rides evolve toward muted crash-like sounds, and stick articulation “washes” away. The smaller bells on the Vanguard and Vintage rides produce a pleasant tingy sound that is distinct from the cymbal bow (main playing surface) but not separate. These small bells approximate the same volume level as the rest of the cymbal, giving the entire cymbal an integrated sound. When crashed, these thin rides chime with a contained swell that is not explosive enough to sound like a crash cymbal, but sufficiently dynamic to give a crash-like emphasis.
Crescent’s medium-weight Classic (lathed), Eon (partially lathed), and Primal (unlathed) models produce a higher pitch, a more articulate stick sound and sit in a slightly louder volume range than the thinner Vanguard and Vintage models. Not surprisingly, the larger bells on these rides sound fuller and more cutting than the smaller bells on the Vantage and Vanguard models. Although all three of these rides have similar sound characteristics, the Classic is my personal favorite. For soft to medium volume settings, this cymbal has the sort of evenly balanced combination of overtones and articulation that make it extremely versatile for use in most musical styles.
The partially lathed Eon ride sounds similar to the fully lathed Classic model. However, I don’t like it as much because it has slightly less shimmer. Plus, the Eon ride I received has a particular high-pitched overtone that I find distracting.
The Primal ride has more stick articulation than the Classic or Eon models but almost no shimmer. This cymbal is easily controlled at any speed or volume, if that’s your goal.
I experimented with different sticks and brushes; as expected, they produce distinct sounds from these cymbals. Anything with a small to medium tip up to the 5A range gives acceptable stick articulation on all five rides. I tend to prefer sticks in the 5B or larger range. With these bigger sticks, I had difficulty getting decent stick articulation on the thinner Vanguard and Vintage models but was still able to get the stick definition I crave on the medium-weight models.
With brushes, the lathed Vanguard, Classic and Eon models have enough shimmer to carry through the brush sound in a dynamically responsive way. On the other hand, brushes on the unlathed models – because those cymbals lack shimmer – sound soft and could easily go unheard in anything other than low-volume settings. Still, if you play a lot of low-volume gigs, that may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Based on the sampling of rides I received, Crescent has hit the ground running with a line of professional-quality, handmade Turkish cymbals that sound, feel, and look good. If the Crescent splashes, crashes, hi-hats, and Chinas meet similar standards as the rides (I suspect they do), Crescent deserves to find its segment of the market for a professional, handmade Turkish cymbal. The question that remains unanswered, at least for me, is whether Crescent can distinguish its sonic palette from the many other handmade Turkish cymbals already available. Perhaps, that question need not be answered if Cymbal Masters, LLC does a good job at promotion and distribution. If the cymbals are available for purchase, the main considerations for me (and I assume most drummers) are whether the particular cymbal that is available sounds and feels good, and whether the price is right. The Crescent rides I received demonstrate Cymbal Masters, LLC made a serious and successful effort to offer a well made, well thought out range of cymbals that deserve any Turkish cymbal enthusiast’s consideration.
Models/Sizes MSRP (Street Price is 40 percent off)
20" Vanguard Ride $655
20" Vintage Ride $655
20" Classic Ride $572
20" Eon Ride $572
20" Primal Ride $572
Other than lathing differences: 1) The Vanguard (fully lathed) and Vintage (unlathed) are the same thinner cymbals with smaller bells; and (2) the Classic (fully lathed), Eon (partially lathed), and Primal series (unlathed) are the same medium-weight models with normal-size bells. All cymbals are handmade from a proprietary process utilizing B20 bronze.