IT’S FINALLY HERE!!! Our Arsenal Musical and Diril Cymbals giveaway has arrived at last, and I couldn’t be more excited. With this review, the excellent folks at Arsenal were nice enough to offer up this very set of cymbals to one lucky reader of Drum Gear Review!
If you’d like to be entered for a chance to win these beautiful cymbals, simply subscribe to the blog (with the email address your most likely to check – it’s how I’ll notify you) using the “Subscribe” box in the right side column of this page (if you’re having trouble with the subscription, email me at email@example.com, and I’ll make sure you’re entered to win). Easy as that! Contest open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Ends October 8, 2012 at 11:59PM EST.
But wait, there’s more! Because only one reader can win the Diril contest, the insanely generous guys at Arsenal are offering DGR readers an opportunity to buy this same set of cymbals at 20% off the list price with free shipping! Too much to handle!
Finally, unrelated to this review, but too awesome not to mention, the fine folks at Shakerstix have extended a special offer to Drum Gear Review readers as well. If you checked out our Shakerstix review, and want to snag a couple for yourself, head over to their site, pick your favorites, and enter the code DGR912 before October 31, 2012 to save a full 15% off your order. Thanks Robbie!
Alright, now that we’ve gotten all of the contest and discount news taken care, let’s talk bronze.
Diril Raw Bell Cymbals Review
In 2008, after decades of handcrafting cymbals for some of the world’s largest purveyors of fine brass, Ibrahim Diril struck out on his own to begin making pies under his own name. Combining traditional Turkish smithing techniques with an eye for the needs of today’s drummers, Diril Cymbals is carving out a nice little niche for themselves with an intriguing and professional selection of modern and classically styled plates.
For this review, Diril’s Canadian distributor, Arsenal Musical (who was also nice enough to set us up with the Wincent Drumsticks review), shipped over a gorgeous set of the company’s Raw Bell cymbals. With a stunning brilliant finish punctuated by an earthy, unlathed center, the Raw Bell series pack some series visual punch, but the fun doesn’t end there. Let’s dig a little deeper.
At first blush, the Raw Bells have a bright, updated look that screams ‘bright lights and big stages.” However, a closer inspection reveals evidence of a truly handmade instrument. Minor imperfections in the finish don’t, in any way, belie a lesser quality product, but rather offer a chance to see a cymbal that was hammered, lathed and polished until it was right instead of “done”. I hope that makes sense. This is a beautiful set of cymbals made even more attractive by a wholly authentic look. Plus, those unfinished bells just look awesome.
Alright, as easy as these plates are on the eyes, it’s time to get down to what matters: the sound. On the whole, the three Raw Bell cymbals I received had a very balanced and clean attack supported by a mildly trashy spread. Finding a really interesting space between modern pop/rock sounds and the traditional Turkish vibe, the pies had a fantastically versatile feel that fit right in with both electric and acoustic guitars.
Now, let’s get specific.
I loved these hats. Tight and focused with just a little nastiness at the end, the Raw Bell hats felt super funky at low to medium volumes. Wide open, they had plenty of cutting slosh, but they were really tremendous when closed. Swoops had a quick and dirty pop with a swift finish, and the top hat’s bell rivals the sound I’ve heard from some cup chimes. These hats performed excellently every time I brought them out. I’ll be very sad to see them go.
The Raw Bell crash was a really intriguing animal. Light swats and gentle crashes brought out a very rich, robust spread with a fast (but not explosive) attack. Hard hits, however, elicited a really sharp, trashy pang that could easily be mistaken for a completely different cymbal.
Occasionally, this guy kind of felt like the odd man out among the other RB models, but he really earned his keep in medium volume settings. The bell was bright, but not overwhelming, and the edge crashes were very satisfying. I’ve mentioned in other reviews that I don’t much care for 16” crashes, but I warmed up to this one pretty quickly. It had a nice decay that was just a hair longer than expected with a smoky wash to back it up. Just take it easy with this one, and you’ll surely be satisfied.
Not quite ping, not quite click, but somewhere in the middle. With a crisp attack and just a little grit, this was a really enjoyable ride. Perhaps a bit too bright to sit behind something like a trumpet- or saxophone-led combo, but it loved to back up a guitar of any kind. Speedy patterns had enough clarity to poke through even at high volumes, and every note was followed by a rich spread that never got in the way.
Under a little bit more pressure, the ride really opened up with a big round wash that felt very natural in a heavy music setting. Edge crashes had a little gong-iness, but nothing substantial enough to overshadow other instruments. And that bell is something else – perfectly capable of handling dynamic Latin rhythms or loud, guitar-driven rock with no problem, it’s a bell that will certainly make a lot of drummers happy.
As a set, the Raw Bell series from Diril Cymbals was a well-balanced unit that would work well in most any situation. The cymbals looked great under lights, offering an appeal that matched their sonic blend of modern and traditional qualities. To my ear, the 16” crash wasn’t a perfect fit, but it was a killer at low and medium volumes. The hats were spectacular all around, and the ride would be a great addition for the working player who wears a few different hats.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Raw Bell cymbals, and I can’t wait to see what else Diril has to offer.
Thanks so much for reading and good luck with the giveaway!