Are Sabian XSR Cymbals Good? Top Cymbal Reviews

By Evan C

Sabian XSR cymbals

The New Sound With XSR

Drummers everywhere are always looking for a new sound to increase their creativity and elevate their performances behind the drum kit.

Among the several choices available, Sabian XSR cymbals emerge as a notable option. Renowned for their quality craftsmanship and impressive sound characteristic, the question often arises:

Are Sabian XSR cymbals good? Let’s delve into what makes these cymbals stand out in the competitive market of cymbals.

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Are Sabian XSR Cymbals Good?

Sabian, a prominent name in the cymbal industry, introduced the XSR series using their latest cymbal-making technology to provide a high-quality option at a great price.

For drummers on a cymbal budget seeking a professional-grade sound, you can’t underestimate these proven cast cymbals.

The Sabian XSR series inherits technology and designs from Sabian’s higher-end models, delivering a remarkable balance of affordability and performance.

More specifically, Sabian XSR cymbals are made using trickle-down technology from their award-winning Evolution and X-plosion cymbals. This unprecedented sound combination at the price range is an excellent deal.

Delve Into Cymbal Quality

While it’s easy to talk about the technology that goes into these cymbals, you can get lost in just pure facts. Let’s dig into a little more to answer, “are Sabian XSR cymbals good?”.

Quality Craftsmanship

Despite being positioned as an entry-level professional series, Sabian XSR cymbals don’t compromise on craftsmanship.

They are meticulously crafted using B20 bronze—the industry-standard alloy known for its rich tonal qualities, and pure Sabian b bronze.

The cymbals undergo a precise shaping process, followed by hammering and lathing techniques that contribute to their sonic versatility and enhanced profiles. They also feature re-shaped bells for faster sound.

When they started the XSR line it was with your typical medium ride, hats, crashes, etc. and everyone was quickly able to see the great value for the price point!

My quick and horrible illustration of the lathing and hammering of a cymbal.

Sound Characteristics

Are Sabian XSR cymbals good, like the sound of them? One of the standout features of Sabian XSR cymbals is their sound diversity. They offer a broad tonal range, from bright and shimmering to dark and complex tones.

The XSR series encompasses various models such as crashes, rides, hi-hats, and more, each with its unique sonic profile. Many drummers appreciate their responsiveness, projection, and musicality across different playing styles and genres.

Former or current drummers of Sabian include Neil Peart (RIP), Dave Weckl, and Mike Portnoy, to name a few.

Although they didn’t exclusively play this budget series, XSR gives that same oomph that would be needed in any of the genres those drummers have played in.

If you want the absolute best value, it’s always better to buy the cymbal packs rather than individual cymbals. 

Whether you’re looking for a bright sound, which you could get with the XSR super set cymbal pack, or you need the dark, washy, vintage sound from any of the Monarch XSR cymbals, you’re covered.

Sabian XSR Super Set

Sabian XSR super set cymbal pack

The Sabian XSR super set is one of the first cymbal packs they had available and comes in a brilliant finish and includes 14″ XSR hats, a few XSR fast crash cymbals (14″, 16″ and 18″), a 20″ XSR ride cymbal, and a free extra-thin 10″ XSR splash!

Drummers are actually surprised how good these cymbals are and more specific, this set! The crashes deliver a superb sound and open up beautifully with that classic B20 resonance.

The ride offers a pleasant wash and is crash-friendly. The bell produces a clean, musical tone that effortlessly cuts through most music styles.

As for the hi-hats, they boast remarkable versatility, are bright and snappy, and are comparable to others in this same price range.

The general consensus across the market is 80% rate this super set at 5 stars. This confirms that Sabian is absolutely doing everything right with XSR.

I played the Sabian XSR super set all throughout high school band. We were in need of lots of new gear and our band teacher, Mr. Smith, was on board to purchase these.

Considering the price range is phenomenal (and was even better back in 2008) and you don’t just get 1 good cymbal, but several, we were able to use them for many a musical style throughout band.

What’s even more nice is Sabian’s XSR expanded and they even keep adding to its arsenal. This Sabian series includes many of the same themes among others like the AAX line and HHX series including rock and fast crashes, stax, ozone and other effects cymbals, as well as mini hi hats.

The XSR Monarch is one of the more recent additions to XSR and features a dark vintage sound along with a raw bell, like on the Monarch ride. 

The Monarch ride cymbal features a larger bell and a medium-thin weight that contributes to its versatility.

It offers a balanced stick definition and clear articulation on the bow with a clean, bright tone. This ride is crashable, allowing for a dynamic range of playing styles from soft to loud without losing its clarity.

Sabian XSR Monarch ride
XSR Monarch Ride

With its focused and controlled sound, the Monarch ride tends to suit various musical genres. Its well-defined stick response and pronounced bell provide drummers with the capability to articulate patterns and accents distinctly across different playing styles, whether in jazz, rock, fusion, or other genres. Click here to check out the current price of the XSR Monarch Ride!

Drummers love the stick definition and the beautiful dry crash. They especially like how this ride compares with others almost twice the cost!

The XSR Monarch series has an overall positive outlook from drummers. This goes for the other Monarch products, like hi-hats, crashes, and ozone/effects cymbals.

Value & Affordability

So, are Sabian XSR cymbals good in terms of price?? For drummers seeking professional-quality sound without breaking the bank, Sabian XSR cymbals present an appealing option.

They offer a compromise between affordability and high-level performance, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced drummers looking to expand their sound palette.

You could easily spend a fraction less on an entire Sabian XSR cymbal pack vs. even a couple top-tier line cymbals from Sabian or any other cymbal manufacturer.

Me playing XSR cymbals at a Spring Concert during my 12th grade year

I think these are great cymbals and have used several cymbals from the XSR line over the years. Other than band class, I basically used to have an XSR splash. 

Well, it was really an XS20 splash (XS20 being the predecessor line to XSR). It was the perfect cymbal for accents and even had a very decent crash!

I ended up destroying it because I would use it SO much. The other cymbals I had at the time just couldn’t compare.

So, I just played heavy music and smashed the crap out of this 10″ splash until it eventually cracked and kept cracking. 😢

The Consensus on Sabian XSR Is Up

Are Sabian XSR cymbals good? In the world of cymbals, Sabian XSR stands as a testament to quality craftsmanship and value.

While they may not carry the premium price tag of top-tier cymbals, they offer impressive sound characteristics and durability, making them a worthwhile investment for drummers at various skill levels.

Ultimately, the choice of cymbals is a subjective matter, but the Sabian XSR series undoubtedly presents an enticing balance of affordability, quality, and sonic versatility that appeals to many drummers.

Are Sabian XSR cymbals good? 179 results from Musician's Friend proves the popularity of this cymbal line.
179 Results from Musician’s Friend proves the popularity of XSR.

Do You Like XSR Or No?

Do you have any experience with Sabian’s XSR line or are you looking into it? What do you think of the cymbal technologies of today? Let me know if you have anything for me! Leave a comment if you want!

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Until next time, stay attuned!

-Evan C.

About the author

Hi there, I'm Evan and I love drums.. Also, I love music! I've been playing drums for most of my life and nothing beats the thrill I get from it. I hope to be able to provide you with insightful tips and reviews on things within the drum and music world!

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