The Sabian Cymbal Company is the second largest cymbal manufacturer in the world behind Zildjian.
The company was founded in 1981 in Meductic, New Brunswick, Canada by Robert Zildjian, son of Avedis Zildjian III, the head of the Zildjian Company. Family tradition had it that the head of the company would only pass its secret knowledge down to the oldest son, but Avedis III gave this information to both his sons, Robert and Armand. This led to a major family conflict resulting in a legal battle and Robert eventually leaving Zildjian to form the Sabian Company.
The legal settlement gave Robert Zildjian the Canadian plant, which at that time manufactured 40% of the production of the Avedis Zildjian Company, and the entire K Zildjian line.
Robert agreed not to use the Zildjian name, so he formed the word “Sabian” from the first two letters of the names of his three children, Sally, Billy and Andy.
The Sabian Company initially released two lines of cymbals, HH and AA, both of the traditional bell bronze alloy.
The HH, or “hand hammered” line, were widely regarded as just being K Zildjian Cymbals with a new name, but there was nothing in the legal settlement to prevent this from being the case, however Robert was prevented from claiming that it was true.
The AA Cymbal line was machine-made from bell bronze with a slightly different sound that also provided a level of consistency, which was at that time, new in a line of bell bronze cymbals.
The most notable difference between the Zildjian Company and the Sabian Company is, Zildjian uses a softer, mellower sounding alloy while Sabian uses a more tin-based alloy.
Some other interesting differentiating characteristics are, Sabian Cymbals are relatively thinner for their advertised weight. They also have longer sustain than Zildjian, with a few exceptions, but Zildjian Cymbals have a faster response. The cymbals of the two companies can be distinguished by sound fairly easily by anyone who has played with both of them.
The Official Sabian Website
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