Thomas Lang is endorsing Meinl Cymbals for some years now, and is also collaborating with them with the concept and design of some products. Back in 2002, Meinl released a set of crash cymbals designed by Lang under the name “Tom’s Becken”, which belong to the Generation X Series. All the Generation X cymbals are designed to provide specific, new or different sounds, according to the new more-advanced musical styles and the effects that are needed sometimes in the studios. While these Generation X line is about innovation, the Byzance series is more about classic approach.
Meinl has shown this duality for several years, being open to new designs and ideas, but being also committed with the classic sounds and the traditional way of making cymbals in many cases. Both approaches have blended in the Meinl Byzance Brilliant Fast Hi-Hats. In the last years, many brands have created several “Fast” cymbals, with a very sharp attack and little sustain, mainly because many drummers asked for more control on the sound and feel. One thing is wanting definition and projection, and another very different issue is the cymbal’s sound lasting for three days. There have been different approaches to solve this, and Hi-hats have been no exception.
In the case of Hi-hats, here the challenge is a little specific, as they are two cymbals that open and close against each other. So here we look for a good control of the sizzle, sustain and volume. Meinl and Thomas Lang’s answer to this challenge consists in mixing two very different cymbals and adjusting the sound of each one separately. The idea is that the combination will work by contrast.
The Meinl Byzance Brilliant Fast Hi-Hat belongs to the Byzance Series, where cymbals are made from the famous B20 alloy (80% copper and 20% tin), but the two cymbals are completely different. The bottom one is pretty heavy and has a wild look. It has an untreated surface and is full of hammering marks. It has a dark, rugged sound with low end and very little sustain.
The Top cymbal plays the opposite part. It has a very polished brilliant finish that produces a very rich, colorfull sound with many tones. We don’t see any of the typical tribal drawings that Thomas Lang usually adds to his products. These cymbals come with 8 small holes scattered around towards the edge to ensure the speedy exit of air. Other brands have played with the same concept but have come with either different or opposite solutions. As an example, Zildjian’s Quick Beat has 4 bigger holes around the central part of the bottom cymbal. Meinl’s idea is that air moves towards the edge when we close or hit the Hi-hat, so their solution goes there. Having no scientific way to measure how air really works in a Hi-hat, the only way of judging if brands are right or wrong with their designs is looking at the results in terms of sound and control of the cymbal.
The Meinl Byzance Brilliant Fast Hi-Hats meet and exceed the highest expectations. Both 13″ and 14″ have a good sound volume but obvioulsy are designed for control, not for making noise. However, we can bash them hard and they will sound not louder but better than some Hats made for that. Obviously, the 13″ has a higher pitch and also more definition, with a precise chick and less sustain. The 14″ Hi-Hat has more power and a cruder sound.
The Meinl Byzance Brilliant Fast Hi-Hats have been very successfull and many people think of them as their reference pair of Hats. They are very versatile and adaptable to any situation, and they deliver what they promise: a good, easy to control sound with little sustain and lots of attack and precision.
- Style: Rock, Fusion, Funk, R’n’B, Reggae, Studio
- Timbre: Mid-bright
- Character: Brilliant, Rich
- Pitch: High, mid
- Volume: Medium
- Sustain: Medium
- Weight: Medium
- Finish: Brilliant
- Material: B20
- Lathe: Narrow blade
- SKU: B14FH – B13FH
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