PRODUCT CLOSE-UP BY MODERN DRUMMER
Agean — R Series Low Noise Cymbals
Agean offers the unique R series cymbals, which are designed for low-volume practice and gigging situations.
by Michael Dawson
Premium bronze cymbals perforated for minimal volume output.
Agean Cymbals was established in 2002 by veteran Turkish artisans Halil Kirmizigul and Mustafa Er, who first started practicing traditional cymbal-making methods in 1978. Halil’s son Samet manages the business side of the company, which boasts an extensive catalog of traditional and modern-style instruments. Agean also offers the unique R series cymbals, which are designed for low- volume practice and gigging situations. It’s this line that we’re taking a close look at this month.
What Are They?
Like all Agean cymbals, the R Series Low Noise models are made from high-quality B20 bronze. Each cymbal is perforated with dozens of small holes across its surface, with several strategically placed bands—in the center, near the bow, and at the edge—that aren’t drilled. This design brings down the overall volume output without completely eliminating the rich, musical tones of the metal. We received a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, and a 20”ride. They’re all medium-thin and have no significant hammering or lathing. Aside from all the holes, R Series cymbals have the same profile and feel as conventional cymbals, so you won’t need to change anything about your setup, hardware choice, or playing style in order to make use of them. Now let’s move on to the bigger question….
How Do They Sound?
Having plenty of experience with other low-volume cymbals currently being offered, I was curious to see how the R Series would fit in the mix—and if they would provide anything unique within this particular niche. Unlike the other options designed for ultimate volume control, the Ageans aren’t coated with additional muting agents. Therefore they ring out more, produce fuller tones, and have a higher volume ceiling. But they do still have a limit that fell below that of Sabian’s FRX models, which feature small holes placed to eliminate harsh frequencies.
The Ageans sat somewhere in the middle of those which I would call practice cymbals and the frequency-scooped FRX models. I wouldn’t use the Ageans if I needed a near-silent practice/teaching setup; conversely, I wouldn’t expect them to have enough cutting power for gigs that push into moderate volume levels. At dynamics in between those two extremes, though, they worked very well.
I really enjoyed using the R Series cymbals for practicing on my acoustic kit, for instance. They produced pleasing, balanced overtones with rich spread, clean attack, and smooth decay, but they caused less ear fatigue than regular cymbals do. And for recording situations where I was using a heavily dampened kit, the controlled volume of the R Series allowed for a more even dynamic balance between drums and cymbals without my having to sacrifice cymbal tone by taping them up or hitting them lighter than usual.
The 16” and 18” R Series crashes were my favorites of the bunch; they sounded nearly identical to the thin B20 crashes I use in most situations—just at about half the volume. The R Series ride had
a nice blend of stick click and shimmer that was comparable to a medium-light ride, only quieter. The R Series hi-hats had the most contrasting tone. The holes gave them a more compressed and digital-type attack, yet they still had a rich, warm, open sound.
I played a super-quiet blues gig in a concrete and brick room a few weeks back where I had to barely touch the cymbals to keep them from washing out. Had I had these Ageans on the kit, I would have felt much less restricted. They would also be a great option for drummers using electronic kits who want to incorporate acoustic cymbals without creating excessive stage sound. The R Series cymbals are offered in prepacks or as individual pieces. Check out ageancymbals.com for more information or get them now on Amazon.