25 April 2010

China made Dream Cymbals for drummers

Dream Cymbals entered the global cymbal market in 2005, as a Canadian operation selling handmade cymbals from China. Chinese cymbal smiths have been creating forged percussion instruments for millennia and Dream cymbals represent the pinnacle of Chinese b20 bronze working. The brand may be relatively new, but its factory in China’s Wuhan region has produced world-class gongs for generations.
The completely handmade aspect of these cymbals shows through in some of their imperfections. When placed on an angled cymbal stand, most of the 20–24" models settle to a resting place caused by a slightly heavier sweet spot. Some of the cymbals’ edges are not quite straight or slightly sharp to the touch. I’ve never been bothered much by such cosmetic irregularities in cymbals. To me, the most important thing is the cymbal’s sound and feel. However, if you’re looking for a perfect-looking cymbal, some of the Dreams may not live up to your expectations.

24" Contact & Bliss Rides - Both provide excellent, woody stick definition with the ping of a flat ride, no doubt due to their relatively flat bow. The 24" Contact ride offers more aggressive stick articulation and an underlying dark swell, while the 24" Bliss is more delicate and glassy, with a small yet distinctive-sounding bell. I enjoyed both 24" models, but the subtlety of the 24" Bliss appeals more to my jazz sensibilities. Despite its large size, the 24" Bliss ride possesses a controllable dynamic range that allows it to work well as a main ride cymbal for many styles of music.

22" Vintage Bliss Ride - When played lightly with stick tips, it projects a warm, woody articulation surrounded by a swell of low, sizzling overtones. At louder volumes it retains stick articulation, which is never overpowered by the underlying overtone spread. When crashed, this cymbal roars and then decays quickly enough to begin a ride pattern again almost immediately. It also exemplifies how cosmetic imperfections do not necessarily negatively affect a cymbal’s sound.

22" Bliss Paper Thin Crash/Ride - Thin enough to invert by hand, but flexible enough that I don’t think it would crack easily, this cymbal explodes with a trashy wall of sound indicative of a small tam-tam. Despite its “crash/ride" label, it works best as a crash, although you may not crash it throughout a song. Still, it’s an excellent effects cymbal for more selective use.

20" Bliss Crash/Ride - 20" Vintage Bliss Crash/Ride This fine-sounding crash maintains decent stick articulation when played as a ride. Again,  Dream could drop the “ride" part of the label, because this cymbal plays much more like a crash, bursting with a powerful wash of lows and personality. But while it provides acceptable stick articulation, it had slightly too much pitch and swell to work as a main ride.

13" And 15" Bliss Hi-Hats - These hats lack air holes, flat or wavy bottoms, rivets, un-lathed bells, or any of the other features found on many modern hi-hats. But these cymbals didn’t need gimmicks to consistently give clear and crisp foot chicks without air pockets, splashy open foot sounds, and a truly comfortable foot feel. Even the 15" set is relatively light in weight.

When played with sticks, the hi-hats provide an articulate and wide dynamic range that emphasizes the spizz-aspect of the sound. As one would expect, the 15" hats have a lower pitch and more chunk to their sound, while the 13" hats sound lighter and crisper. However, if you’re a fan of 15" hats, you should definitely give these a try because they’re excellent.

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