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V Classic Cymbals MD Review

Here is the fabulous review from Modern Drummer in 2012 for the V Classic Cymbals. Maxwell Drums is the exclusive US dealer for these great Turkish hand made B 25 cymbals.

V-Classic cymbals are the brainchild of Torab Majlesi, a Turkish session drummer and industry vet who’s had an affinity for traditional cymbal sounds since purchasing his first set of old K’s back in 1989. (The V in the company name stands for vintage.) Majlesi’s motto for V-Classic is “one model, one cymbal,” so rather than putting out dozens of  variations of splashes, crashes, rides, and Chinas, the company has focused on creating one or two basic models for each type (there are two weights of hihats: Light and Classic) that best encapsulate the sweet old vibe that Torab, and many other cymbal enthusiasts, treasure so deeply.

 

GROUP SPECS

We were sent a complete setup of V-Classic cymbals, consisting of 8" and 10" Vintage splashes ($99, $123), 14" Classic hi-hats ($345), 15" Light hihats ($390), 16" and 18" Vintage crashes ($204, $252), an 18" Vintage China ($271), 19" and 20" crash/rides ($288, $342), and a 22" Classic ride ($399).

All V-Classic cymbals are made of cast B25 bronze (25 percent tin and 75 percent
copper) and feature a unique finish that gives them an aged look with a noticeable patina. The surface of each cymbal also appears to have been smoothed out a bit with a light sanding process. (You can see slight circular markings emanating from the bell.) The crash/rides and rides are hammered and lathed from bell to edge, while the Chinas, crashes, hi-hats, and splashes aren’t hammered on the bell. The Chinas have a few bands of wide hammer marks on the flange, and the splashes have a single band of wide marks where the bell and bow meet.

 

VINTAGE SPLASHES AND CRASHES

The 8" and 10" Vintage splashes are paper-thin, so they responded instantly to stick strikes, brushstrokes, and even finger taps. Both cymbals produced clean and even tones that were very musical and fun to employ for accents and melodic flourishes. The 8" was somewhat glassier sounding than the 10", but neither was particularly dark or trashy. And the transition from the fast bursts provided by the splashes to the flashy, warm colors of the crashes was very smooth. I found myself returning to a simple four-note melodic motif played between the splashes and crashes—à la Terry Bozzio— throughout the testing period.

  
The 16" and 18" Vintage crashes are also paper-thin and were just as responsive as the splashes. They performed great for mallet swells, with a tone that was full and open, from super-light strokes all the way up to maximum volume. When used for accents with sticks, the 16" produced a quick, breathy tone, while the 18" sounded fuller, darker, and more “classic.” Both crashes offered warm, rich, and balanced timbres— not trashy or distorted ones—across all dynamics.

 

14" CLASSIC AND 15" LIGHT HI-HATS

The 14" Classic hi-hats feature a mediumthin top and a medium-weight bottom. This all-purpose combo is light enough to speak fully and quickly at very low dynamics, yet it’s heavy enough to have a clean, articulate foot chick, plus plenty of  headroom to withstand more intense stick work. The tone was fairly dark but not murky, and the hats had a lot of sibilance that dirtied up the sound a bit, whether the cymbals were played open or closed. The hats also had a nice, wornin feel. While the 14" Classic pair felt like a set of medium hi-hats that had been broken in from a few years of heavy use, the 15" Lights sounded and responded more like decades-old cymbals that had been around the world a few times—minus the fragility inherent with vintage models. These hats feature a thin top and a medium-thin bottom and had a fairly soft feel and a dark yet smooth sound. The foot chick was low pitched but quick, clear, and easy to manage. Whether played with the foot or with sticks, the 15" Lights blended seamlessly with snare drum comping patterns and low ghost notes.

 

VINTAGE CHINA

The 18" Vintage China we were sent for review is so thin that the edge had actually inverted during shipping. (I was able to pop the flange back into shape easily and with no noticeable effects on the metal.) Many Chinas are much too abrasive for lighter playing styles, but the V-Classic Vintage was one of the more musical ones I’ve played. It had that complex, trashy voice you’d expect from a China, but with a warm, even sound that was easily controlled via playing dynamics and touch. It provided a nice biting attack but still managed to blend well with the other V-Classics.

 

19" AND 20" CRASH/RIDES

AND 22" CLASSIC RIDE

The 19" and 20" V-Classic crash/rides are thin, so they opened up nicely with a warm, wide tone at any dynamic yet weren’t so washy as to be impossible to control when played as a ride. Of all the cymbals in this review, these were the most distinctly vintage sounding, as they reminded me of an amalgamation of the signature rides of many legendary postbop jazz drummers. The 20" produced a big, rich crash when hit on the edge, and riding on the bow introduced a nice stick click that poked through a dark, balanced wash. The bell sound was clear and musical. The 19" was a bit brighter and more articulate than the 20", and the wash didn’t build up quite as much. This was my favorite cymbal of the batch; it had that sparkling, Elvin Jones– type vibe that made it nearly impossible not to swing when playing it. While these crash/rides demand a bit more finesse than your average ride cymbal, they were a joy to explore. And if you’re looking to streamline your setup to include just one multipurpose cymbal, in the way that the funk/experimental drummer Billy Martin often does with Medeski Martin and Wood, either one of these V-Classics would cover it all with ease.  The 22" Classic ride is listed as being medium-thin in weight, but it has a lot of flex, and it doesn’t feel much heavier than the 20" crash/ride. This is a very dark, moody-sounding cymbal that had a nice ride sound, but it also had a grumbling wash that could get in the way of the stick attack if not played with care. Even bell strikes evoked a murmuring sustain. This cymbal sounded best when played at low to moderate volumes, where I could articulate quick broken ride patterns on top of the prominent, dark wash.

 

 

JUST LIKE THE OLD DAYS

V-Classic’s philosophy of “one model, one cymbal” harkens back to an era when drummers weren’t given hundreds of different types of cymbals to choose from. A ride was a ride; a crash was a crash. By coming out in 2012 as a new brand adopting a similar approach, V-Classic is making a bold statement. But these are bold-sounding and highly musical cymbals, and ones that will appeal to a specialized group of discerning drummers who demand nothing less.

 

 


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