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SABIAN 22″ Sr2 Heavy Review

The following is the fourth installment of a series of articles from SABIAN Community members who were asked to submit original reviews, road stories and drum/percussion articles.

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For those not familiar with the SABIAN SR2 concept,they are cymbals that
have been returned to the factory via trades and exchanges which are then
refurbished at the SABIAN plant. Note: The cymbals are not damaged, but once
used for artist clinics, trade upgrades, or have slight surface blemishes or
scratches. They are then assessed at the factory, and once it’s ascertained
that the cymbal is still compliant with the company’s high standard, the
cymbal then goes through ‘the process’. This, effectively, removes the cymbals
prior outer finish along with any scratches, blemishes or other surface
defects.

The cymbal is, again, checked by
SABIAN for sound quality before having the SR2 logo fixed. A point to note is
that, nowhere on the cymbal is the SABIAN logo in any shape or form. This is
not to hide the fact that this is a SABIAN product; it is to prevent the SR2 from being
viewed as a specific cymbal series, as they will not always be available.

All SR2 cymbals are made from
SABIAN’s higher end cast bronze AA, AAX, HH, HHX and Vault series B20 cymbals. And SR2’s are divided into three groups:
Heavy, Medium and Light. (Yes, I’m having very nostalgic flashbacks of when I
started playing. When life was simple, trains ran on time and we all lived in a
land of milk & honey!)

But, back to the one sitting in
front of me now. Immediately the very rough looking nature of the finish,
except the bell, jumps out: picture a cymbal being attacked by 5000 cats! I would imagine if I ever locked myself out of the
house, fitting this to a cordless drill would make short work of the front
door. But, I will admit, the rawness of the bronze finish looks stunning under
lights. The only printed adornments are the SR2 FACTORY RENEWED logo
front & back, and the title HEAVY 22"/56cm on the front.

So, to the most important thing in my eyes: How does it
sound? What immediately struck me is how bright this cymbal is. A very nice
clear ping played with wooden tips and a very cutting ping played with nylon
tips. Played at low volumes, I will admit it does sound ‘clangy’ and
uncontrolled with very little wash and a gong-like undertone. When you lay into it, you get a very clear and cutting ping with a nice balanced wash giving
the cymbal quite a lot of body and presence; the weight of the cymbal gives
it a nice balanced rebound.

From out front, the cymbal projects incredibly well, with a
very bright, clear, balanced sound; this is exactly what I expected from behind the kit. This cymbal is not for the faint of heart – it is a rock cymbal if I ever heard
one, in the truest sense of the word. From behind the kit, the bell sounds very
harsh, but out front it cuts with a bright ringing that will be heard for
miles.Subtle, no; fun, absolutely.

The only drawbacks I can see from the SR2 concept are:

1. SR2s are, in the truest sense of the phrase, one-offs;
so there is not a ‘root’ cymbal at SABIAN to give you an idea of what you are
getting.

2. Finding one you like will take a while, as there is not a
model designation (Stage, Rock, Crystal etc) to choose from.

3. They will not always be available, so adding to previously
purchased ones will be difficult.

4. At the moment, they are only available at select dealers in the United States – but,
if interest is there, you never know.

Personally, on the plus side, I can see some of these
becoming collectors items. With a little research (I was lucky enough to
compare this to almost 30 other labeled ride cymbals) you might be able to get
a very good idea of what the cymbal started off as. There are SR2s available for less than $200, but if they had a series designation, would cost upwards of $400. After comparing size, taper, bow, bell shape & bell size (and
picking the brains of some people I know), I personally believe this one started
life as a 22" Paragon Ride.

Personally, I applaud Sabian for, in effect, putting out
very high quality cymbals with a really affordable price tag. Yes, cymbal snobs
will avoid these, but for those of us who believe that sound really does matter, they are
a viable alternative to paying big money for a quality instrument that has
still been given the rubber stamp by the SABIAN Vault team. I know that the sound of a cymbal is entirely subjective, but I would really suggest trying some of these
SR2s out if you get the chance. I was pleasantly surprised enough to buy this
one.

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Written by: Gary Farrimond (Community Profile: gazfarrimond)

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