Not much beats the Meinl Classics Custom cymbals when it comes to affordable options in the intermediate category. The Classics Custom Brilliant and Classics Custom Dark lines are incredibly popular, and so many drummers that I know have faithfully used them over the years.
The brand recently introduced a new line that combines the qualities of those together, which brings us to this Meinl Classics Custom Dual review.
These Classics Custom Dual cymbals are a lot more versatile than their siblings in the line, so I can see more drummers using them. I’m going to explore every aspect of them, and then you can decide from there whether you should try them out or not.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Meinl Classics Custom Dual cymbals are intermediate options that bring a lot of warmth to the table. However, their dark inner center brings out a bit of aggression that is great for high-energy drumming. They’re quite versatile and work well in most settings.
There is a fairly extensive number of options to choose from when it comes to cymbal types, but there aren’t as many options as the Meinl Classics Custom Brilliant or Classics Custom Dark lines.
Meinl Classics Custom Dual Cymbals
Before these cymbals were released, Meinl had another line of mixed cymbals called the Byzance Extra Dry Dual Series. Those cymbals are still available, but they’re quite expensive considering that they’re a high-end line.
I was always a fan of them, as mixing cymbal qualities is an interesting concept. However, getting a few of those was going to cost a pretty penny, so I steered clear of them.
Now that the Classics Custom Dual cymbals have become available, Meinl has made the concept of mixing cymbals a lot more affordable and accessible for many drummers.
These cymbals have made me incredibly excited, and while they don’t have the same dry and responsive qualities as the Byzance Dual Series, they have the same factor of getting two different cymbal qualities within a single cymbal.
The Classics Custom line from Meinl is quite popular, but all the options within it are quite focused. The Dark cymbals only cater to certain drummers, while the Brilliant cymbals cater to others. These new options are more versatile, which is a big selling point.
These cymbals are made from a B12 bronze alloy, which means that they’re comprised of 88% copper and 12% tin. The more tin a cymbal has in it, the more responsive and complex its sound will be. That’s why B20 cymbals have the highest-quality sounds since they have 20% tin.
The overall sounds of the Meinl Classics Custom Dual cymbals are quite warm. Since you’ll mostly be playing on the edges, you get the warmer tones that brilliant finishes offer. However, the dark centers of each cymbal add plenty of boldness. When I first heard these cymbals, I loved how they came to life when they were hit hard.
All of them are over-hammered quite deeply, and this causes them to have earthier tones than cymbals that haven’t gone through that process.
I don’t find them as musically responsive as B20 cymbals, but you often don’t need that for the settings where these cymbals would be appropriate in. Overall, they have great sounds that are warm and explosive when needed.
Out of all the Meinl Classics Custom cymbals, the Dual versions are the most expensive. Each cymbal costs $30 to $50 more than ones from the Dark or Brilliant lines. The Classics Custom Dual cymbal packs also cost a bit more. However, I think the higher prices are justified, considering that these cymbals have slightly better sounds.
Also, they’re still a lot more affordable than high-end cymbals that are made from B20 bronze. So, affordability is still a huge factor that may convince drummers to buy these.
This is one of the few affordable cymbal lines I know of that has 15” hi-hats available, and they only cost around $300. Larger hi-hats typically cost between $500 and $600, making the Classics Custom Dual hi-hats a great purchase!
There are currently only two Classics Custom Dual cymbal packs to purchase. This is the one letdown for me regarding these cymbals, purely because the other Classics Custom cymbals have several packs available with varying cymbal sizes and types.
Here are your options:
Meinl Classics Custom Dual Standard Set
The Standard Set is the more affordable cymbal pack to choose. It comes with three cymbals which are a set of hi-hats, a crash, and a ride cymbal. If you’re looking for a minimal setup, this pack will fit your tastes. However, I wish it came with an 18” crash cymbal instead of a 16” one. That’s a personal preference, though, and you may just love the smaller crash.
Here are the exact specs of what comes with the set:
- 14” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Hi-Hats
- 16” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Crash
- 20” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Ride
Meinl Classics Custom Dual Complete Set
The Complete Set is the larger option that comes with an additional cymbal. It’s a bit more expensive, but I’d much rather get this set than the previous one. The hi-hats and ride cymbal are the same, and you get a bit of variation with the crash cymbals.
The first crash cymbal is also 16”. However, it’s a Trash Crash, meaning it has trashier and more explosive tones than the 16” crash from the previous set. I much prefer this dynamic from a smaller crash cymbal. The second crash is a standard 18” crash that sounds warm and powerful.
Here are the included cymbals in list form:
- 14” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Hi-Hats
- 16” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Trash Crash
- 18” Meinl Classics Custom Dual Crash
- 20” Meinl Classics Custom Ride
- The cymbals mix two surface types to create a uniquely warm and explosive sound
- Affordable intermediate cymbals
- I’d suggest these cymbals for most musical styles
- Two cymbal sets available
- Not the best option for very soft styles of music
- More expensive than the other Classics Custom lines
Who are these Cymbals Good for?
These cymbals are amazing for drummers who want to get something a bit better than the beginner cymbals that they started with. Their lower prices make them more accessible, and I find the dual surface design highly appealing.
When thinking of their sound, I’d say these cymbals are good for any style of music that is energetic and punchy. They’ll fit perfectly in heavy metal and rock settings, but they’ll also work quite well in pop and rap settings. I wouldn’t suggest using these for jazz, as higher-quality B20 cymbals are the standard choice for that musical environment.
These cymbals are a lot more versatile than the other Classics Custom lines, so you should get these if you play multiple different styles of music and if you love the Classics Custom cymbals.
Before getting them, make sure to check out some other cymbal lines to compare them with. You may find that something suits you more. Here are some options:
Alternative Cymbals to Consider
Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Dual
If you love the concept of dual cymbals and you have a high budget, consider checking out the Meinl Byzance Dual cymbals. These cymbals are much higher in quality than the Classics Custom Dual, making them good professional options.
When it comes to their sounds, they have a mixture of dark dryness and trashiness. While dry cymbals are typically quite trashy, the edges of these cymbals control those tones a bit, making them a lot more usable in many settings. I’ve found that they have a bit more articulation than purely dry cymbals as well.
Unfortunately, you can’t buy these cymbals in any packs, meaning you’ll need to buy them individually. However, I haven’t seen any drummers rocking a full set of Byzance Dual cymbals, so it’s generally agreed that it’s better to just have one or two of them in your cymbal setup.
While the Classics Custom Dual cymbals weren’t a great option for jazz drumming, I think that these Byzance Dual cymbals are an amazing option for that.
- Top-quality B20 cymbals
- Complex tones with dry and trashy qualities
- Plenty of stick definition across every cymbal in the series
- Great for jazz
Zildjian S Family
The Zildjian S Family is the intermediate range of cymbals from Zildjian. These are strong competitors to the Meinl Classics Custom cymbals as they’re also made from B12 bronze.
The difference with these is that they’re a lot glossier in their sounds. The cymbals are quite thick, and they have high-pitch tones that shimmer after the cymbals are struck. They’re one of my top picks for beginner drummers who want something a little better than entry-level cymbals.
They also have more of a traditional cymbal sound, which many drummers may prefer compared to Meinl’s unique cymbal sounds. A pack of these will cost almost the same as the Meinl cymbals, so do a listening test and see which series you prefer.
- Excellent bright cymbals for intermediate drummers
- Some drummers may prefer the more traditional sounds
- A Zildjian S cymbal pack is fairly affordable
- Not as versatile as the Classics Custom Dual cymbals
The Sabian XSR cymbals are Sabian’s intermediate option. The big difference with these is that they’re made from B20 bronze, making them a bit more musically responsive. Somehow, Sabian has managed to put these at the same price as the previous cymbals, even though they’re made from a higher-quality alloy.
I love these cymbals because they have almost as many cymbal type choices as the Classics Custom cymbals have. If you’re a Sabian fan, these will be the perfect alternative. If you’re undecided, you’ll just need to do some listening tests.
Just note that these cymbals aren’t hammered as much as the higher-quality cymbal lines from Sabian. Even though they’re made from B20, they don’t sound as good as the professional options. They’re marketed for beginner and intermediate drummers.
- Affordable cymbals made from B20 bronze
- Several cymbal type options
- A few cymbal packs available
- They don’t have as much hammering as other B20 cymbals, making them sound inferior
Answer: Yes. While Meinl have the most popular dual cymbals, they certainly aren’t the only company to make them. The first cymbals that come to mind are the Sabian Omni cymbals. These were created by Sabian with the help of Jojo Mayer, and they also give mixed tones thanks to the splitting of cymbal types across the surface.
You’ll also find dual cymbals from many smaller brands. These will be a lot harder to find, but they produce similar tones to the Meinl and Sabian ones. There’s a brand called T-Cymbals that have a line called the Alternative Series, which follows along the same lines.
Answer: This is my favorite question, as most of my favorite drummers are Meinl artists. The first drummer I ever saw using Meinl cymbals was Luke Holland on YouTube. He was just a cover drummer back in the day, but he’s gone on to become an incredibly sought-after name in the metal drumming world.
Another drummer that brought a lot of popularity to Meinl is Benny Greb. He’s a master clinician and a brilliant drum teacher. He’s known for being one of the grooviest and most creative drummers out there. There’s a whole list of popular drummers other than them, but here are some of my other favorites:
Robert ‘Sput’ Searight
Answer: The main three cymbals that you’ll find in every drum kit setup are the hi-hats, a crash cymbal, and a ride cymbal. If you have those three, you’ll be good to play almost anything. If you have to omit one, I’d suggest losing the crash cymbal, as many ride cymbals can be crashed on as well.
If you play metal music, you’re going to need a china cymbal as well. Chinas are vital when it comes to breakdowns and particular song parts. Those are all the basic cymbals needed. You can add more to your setup according to personal preference.
Answer: This depends on what style of music you play and the venues that you play it in. Let’s start with standard cymbal sizes, though. Standard sizes will work for every setting, so that’s what you should get if you don’t want something specific. Here is a list of standard sizes:
16” and 18” Crash Cymbals
20” Ride Cymbal
If you play electronic music or hip-hop, smaller cymbal sizes tend to work quite well. If you play jazz or Christian Contemporary Worship music, larger sizes are ideal. It’s a good idea to mix up the sizes of your cymbals around your kit. That will allow you to cover all the bases.
Answer: Absolutely. Buying used cymbals is the best way of getting top-quality cymbals at affordable prices. There’s a huge secondhand market in the drumming community. Since drums don’t have as much wear-and-tear as something like technology, it’s a lot safer to buy used gear.
However, make sure to check the cymbals and play them before buying them. Some cymbals may have a crack on the way, and you’ll be able to spot that quite soon before it happens. Also, make sure that you’re buying the cymbal at a valuable rate. If it’s being sold for just less than retail price, you may as well buy it new.
While the Meinl Classics Custom Dual cymbals are priced in the intermediate range, I think they’d be fantastic cymbals for any drummer to have. Professional drummers would benefit from only using one or two options from the lineup in their setup to add some unique tonal variety.
Beginners and intermediate drummers may benefit from using a full set of them. The Complete Set that Meinl offers is an awesome purchase, especially considering that it comes with a trash crash.
If you’re not entirely sold on this series, check out the higher-quality Byzance Dual line. There are dozens of amazing cymbals there that professional drummers regularly use.
Otherwise, check out the other cymbal lines that I recommended from Sabian and Zildjian. Those have some similar attractive factors for drummers looking at cymbals in this price range.
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