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There’s been a resurgence here. A MEINL resurgence. Meinl have made a comeback in a big way with us, particularly their flagship Byzance range. Today we’re going to dive into the Byzance series and the 6 degrees of darkness available within. Ready?…
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We’ll kick things off with the Traditional line. Byzance Traditional are the ultimate choice when it comes to versatility in cymbals. These are the guys you want to cover all basis and situation. Traditional tone combined with sonic individuality is evident in every single cymbal. They’re hand-hammered so they have lovely dark warmth that fit within all genres. The crashes range from dark, shimmering thin models right through to focused, powerful heavy cymbals. Combine them with their melt in your mouth soft ride feel and you have a set of textures that work within almost all music genres. From Rock to R&B you can’t go wrong with the Traditional.
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Next up we have Byzance Vintage. A signature line by Mr Benny Greb, these cymbals are dark with a dry washy shimmer. The dry nature of these cymbals is due to their unique matte sandblasted finish, which allows for some great stick definition and a short sustain. You can really dig into these cymbals without bleeding into the higher frequencies from brighter, thinner models. A stand out from the vintage line are the Benny Greb Signature Sand Hi-Hats. The noticeable weight difference between the top and bottom cymbals creates a unique and articulate sound that allows them to fit into a specific frequency range. For dry shimmer, Byzance Vintage is your winner.
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Digging into a particular pallet, the Byzance Jazz range are so soft you’d think you were hitting a cloud. Unlike a cloud they produce a sound which most considered to be personalized. It doesn’t take a lot to open up these cymbals as a the large dimpling on some models that allows the dark tonalities to shine through without being over powering. As the name suggests, Byzance Jazz is best suited for Jazz and dynamic funk music, but you may also want to consider these cymbals for certain studio environments. The 22” Big Apple ride specifically captures the essence of the Jazz series with a small bell with plenty ping and a long-shimmering sustain. If you find yourself in need of shimmer with plenty of dark tonality, have a look at Byzance Jazz.
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Byzance Extra Dry is exactly as you’d think. They’re extremely dry cymbals and verge on the trashier end of Meinls Byzance sonic displays. You’d think they were loud and fierce due to their unlathed surface and hand hammering, but actually the opposite is true. They contain dark, earthy tones that actually spring to life when played more dynamically at lower volumes. A range within the Extra Dry series are the Duel line. Popular choices are the 15” duel hi-hats. The hi-hats of choice for Michael Schack & Calvin Rodgers as due to their slight increase in size they lock in underneath the frequency range of a vocalist. So if your singer is always complaining your cymbals are so loud the 15” hi-hats, and the Extra Dry series might be your cup of tea.
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Byzance Dark aren’t just dark in appearance, sonically they’re dark…and INTENSE. They’re unique sonic qualities are essential for music that calls for it, which makes them the go-to for a lot of drummers. The cymbals are oven-blackened by Meinl to add to their dark persona. The crashes are short yet distinctly punchy, while the rides have a lot of definition and clarity. Speaking of rides, the 22” Byzance Dark Spectrum, a Rodney Holmes signature. This cymbal has a unique spiral-lathing with a distinctive penetrating bell that allow the harmonic musical qualities to shine through and completely embody the Byzance Dark line of cymbals.
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Rounding off the Byzance line is the Brilliant series. The best way to think of these cymbals is a darker Traditional series. They become darker due to their finishing process at the factory which limits the high-end shimmer, but doesn’t completely eliminate it. They give off a distinctive warmth while delivering on the darker tonality making them an excellent choice for fusion/rock situations. Thomas Lang’s signature hi-hats, the Fast Hi-Hats, come in 13” & 14”. They are very responsive and unique. The bottom hat has a similar finish to the Dark series, while the top is buffed to give the Brilliant finish. The combination of these two cymbals creates the darker tone associated with the Brilliant line allowing them to be crisp and defined. If you want similar qualities to the Traditional line but not as dark as the Dark series, the Brilliant line is a perfect in-between.
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So that’s it! Six dedicated nuggets of information about each piece of Byzance available. We suggest using this blog as more of a reference for when you’re shopping for new cymbals to help guide you in the right direction. Of course, if you’d like to hear any of these cymbals and would like more face to face advice or information…come and see us. We’re all more than happy to help point you in the right direction. We really do recommend coming to hear these cymbals in person to get the best representation of how they sound.
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