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Zildjian: A Legendary Brand
I’ll admit. I’m still not very sure how to pronounce “Zildjian.” I just say it confidently enough and hope nobody notices. And this happens quite a lot, given that Zildjian is probably one of the world’s most ubiquitous brands of cymbals.
I remember the first time I took notice of what brand was written on the cymbals of one of my favorite bands at that time: It was watching one of Deftones hits: Be Quiet and Drive.
In this article, you will learn all about Zildjian cymbals: their series, materials, sounds, and much more. With this guide, you will know which cymbal is right for you and will help you make the best decision and know which one to buy.
My Top Pick
Zildjian 18″ A-Custom EFX
Zildjian L80 Low Volume 348 Box Set
Zildjian Family is one of the most popular cymbal manufacturers and one of the most legendary brands. Their products are created with the best technology, materials, and sound bordering on perfection.
They have series for all tastes, musical genres, levels, and prices, both in a pack and individual cymbals: crashes, rides, hi-hats, chinas, splashes, and a huge diversity of cymbals with special characteristics.
Zildjian is one of the oldest brands in the world, having been around since 1623, and is the largest manufacturer of drum cymbals in the world.
Ever been curious about how Zildjian cymbals are made? Check this out:
Since the 17th century, this brand has been held by the same family, surname Zildjian. This family title is very suitable for the product as the word in Turkish means “Cymbal Maker,” “Zil” which is cymbals (Cymbal) and “dji-ian,” which is a manufacturer.
The main protagonist of the foundation of the company is a character named Avedis, who was an alchemist creator of a special alloy of metals that produced a sound suitable for making excellent music.
In recognition of this achievement, the Ottoman Sultan presented him with 80 gold coins and christened him “Zildjian,” which eventually became the greatest treasure of his descendants. This happened in Constantinople, today Istanbul, Turkey, in 1623.
Zildjian and Sabian
IIn 1979, everything was going very well at the company until Avedis, who had the same name as the brand’s founder and CEO, passed away at the age of 90. The company was inherited by Armand and Robert, who had different views of the brand’s future. Armand advocated modern technologies, and Robert did not.
Robert wanted to make an economical line to reach the entry-level market. Armand was opposed to this idea. These differences grew and generated strong resentments between them, so much that in 1981 they decided to end their relationship. Robert kept the Canadian branch, which he named Sabian.
Today Zildjian produces a vast array of cymbals and other implements in every conceivable variety, for every market and every level.
Armand Zildjian continued his father’s philosophy that the Zildjian Sound Lab technicians maintain close relationships with the leading drummers of the day. Such as Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers, Gregg Bissonette, and Lars Ulrich.
Along with leading orchestral percussionists, universities, and others with strong ties to percussion and musical arts, so that the products are the best they can be. As a team, they listen to your music and turn your ideas into sounds.
Top Zildjian Cymbal Sets
Zildjian Planet Z Standard Cymbal Set
The Planet Z set has a bright and controlled sound at an unbeatable price. It is the most economical line of the Zildjian house. Although if you are starting out and need to practice, don’t be afraid to buy them; even though they are cheap, they respond well to the need to practice with the complete kit.
Do not expect the best response in terms of sound, although they fulfill their function if compared to the cost they have.
This set sounds really good considering its price point, making it a great entry-level set. Made out of brass, It includes:
- 20″ Ride
- 14″ Hi-hat
- 16″ Crash
- A pair of Zildjian 5A sticks
Zildjian L80 Low Volume 348 Box Set
The Low Volume responds to a need that all drummers have at some point in time: to have the option to play at a moderate volume, something that a regular cymbal does not offer. Zildjian managed to get around this perforating the cymbals. As it seems, the less material you hit, the less it resonates.
These cymbals are advertised as 80% quieter than any other while maintaining the quality of the sound in each hit. The Low Volume Set is perfect for small spaces, acoustic sessions, drum lessons, and practicing at home without disturbing your family and neighbors. In the set, you will get:
- 13″ Low Volume Hi-Hat
- 14″ Low Volume Crash
- 18″ Low Volume Crash / Ride
Made out of a special brass alloy, the price also sits comfortably above the previous set.
Zildjian I Family Pro Gig Cymbal Set
The Zildjian I Family is bright and expansive, replacing the former “ZBT” set. Although they are the continuation of the ZBT and their price is still very low, the “i” have new features that make them more attractive to bring out new and creative sounds, as they now include new FX varieties. They are made from a B8 bronze alloy.
They are only slightly more expensive than the L80 Low Volume Set or the entry-level Planet Z. Its name comes from the Turkish word “Illham,” which means inspiration. It is a very suggestive name for what awaits you with this new family.
In this pack, you will find:
- 14″ I Family hi-hat
- 16″ I Family crash
- 18″ I Family crash
- 20″ I Family ride
This set is a more intermediate-level player-oriented set. If you play rock, pop, or wish to develop a unique FX into your set, you should check it out.
Zildjian S Series Performer Cymbal Set
If you are a drummer who likes all kinds of music, the Zildjian S Cymbal Set is a great idea to add to your drum set.
S cymbals are expressive cymbals with plenty of projection. Built to exert a balanced sound on every stick stroke, this makes them very versatile for playing a variety of music genres. They are made from a B12 Bronze alloy (88% copper and 12% tin) and lathed on both sides, they have a very pleasant bright sound.
The set includes:
- 14″ S Series Mastersound Hi-Hat
- 16″ S Series Medium Thin Crash
- 18″ S Series Medium Thin Crash
- 20″ S Series Medium Ride
Zildjian A-Series Box Set Sweet Ride
“The cymbals that match all rhythms.” The A Custom is one of the most sought-after series in the entire cymbal market. The name of this family is in honor of Avedis Zildjian III, “father of modern cymbals,” and in good faith, they were built taking into account the opinion of the most renowned drummers of several different styles.
It is a very varied line since it has cymbals from thin and fine to the heaviest, generating various tones.
Its sound is a perfect balance between bright and dark with great clarity and cleanliness of very good taste. They are modern cymbals, but with that nostalgic, vintage touch of the ’20s and ’30s, which never ceases to enchant—made out of 80% copper and 20% tin.
In this set, you’ll find:
- 14″ Avedis New Beat Hi-Hat
- 16″ and 18″ Avedis Medium Thin Crash
- 21″ Avedis Sweet Ride
The Custom A Zildjian is one of the best-selling series in the world; they adapt to many different styles and are aimed at professional drummers.
Other Top Zildjian Cymbals
Zildjian 14″ K’ Constantinople Hi-Hat
The Zildjian K Constantinople Hi-Hat is sonically and aesthetically very pleasing. Its sound, warm and dry with a strong resonance with medium frequencies, makes it a perfect pick for jazz and finesse genres. The shape allows a plethora of sounds depending on how you step in on closed positions. At just over 500€, it is definitely not an entry-level cymbal.
Zildjian 18″ A-Custom EFX
This 18″ crash cymbal is part of a custom series, with a brilliant finish and some eye-catching openings, laser-cut, and part of its unique response. This method of construction gives it a fast and dry accent, a prominent sound. It is very well suited for heavier genres. However, customer experience has revealed that it may develop cracks with heavy use.
Zildjian FX Cymbals Series – 10″ FX Spiral Stacker
This FX 10″ FX Spiral Stacker, as its name says, is used stacked upon another cymbal and provides a short sustain with a bright/medium sound.
Fx spiral stackers are cymbal stackers that allow you to create your own unique sounds and colors. Simply stack one on top of any cymbal (the same size or larger) to find the cymbal combination that suits your unique style.
Consider it an inexpensive way to start exploring cymbal stacking. Another unique aspect is the visual effect of hitting it because it moves like a spring, making it appealing to appear in video clips.
Options from Other Brands
Together with Zildjian, Meinl, Paiste, and Sabian are all very good and worthy cymbals manufacturers. Zildjian offers some of the more refined and expensive options, but that in no way should make you think less of the plenty of good cymbals out there. I will mention some of the most popular options if you are curious to know what else you might be missing:
Paiste 2002 Classic 18″ Crash
This is one of the top-rated crash cymbals out there. Its vintage sound, neither too explosive nor too sustained, makes it a well-balanced cymbal to make it into many different sets. It works very well for rock and metal, and at its price point, under 250€, it should not go unnoticed.
Meinl HCS1314+10S Cymbal Set
When somebody recommends a starter cymbal set, these are usually the first ones you will hear. The price is unmatchable, hands down. They cost less than 100€ and include a 13″ Hi-hat, 14″ Crash and 10″ Splash.
The sound is reasonable- there are many people who use them just as trigger cymbals, but they are thick and very well built. At this price point, you couldn’t consider them to be oriented towards any specific genre.
Sabian 18″ AAX AAXplosion Crash
A product from Sabian, Zildjians Canadian counterpart, this crash has a brilliant finish, made from B20 bronze. It has a loud and energetic sound, making it suitable and perfect for genres like the options above. It is also a direct competitor in the price range for the first cymbal on the list, with a slightly less durable finish.
Paiste Set 3 201 14 “HH/ 16 “C / 20 “R
For the sake of mentioning another entry-level option of a good set of cymbals, comparable to the “Planet Z” set, this set is marketed as Paiste’ highest ranking product. It shines for its price, not so much its sound, which is most suitable for practice rooms and home-sets. Made from B8 Bronze, it includes:
- 14″ Hi-hat
- 16″ Crash
- 20″ Ride
Answer: Zildjian produces Vic Firth and Balter products- drumsticks and percussion mallets.
Answer: Zildjian holds the upper hand when it comes to how brands are valued. But in a nutshell, both make very good products, up and down the price range.
Answer: Breaking it down into two sounds: [ZIL] and [JUHN]. If you still can’t get it, go check the video about how Zildjian cymbals are made further up in the article.
Answer: “Cymbal Maker” in Armenian.
Answer: To name a few: Anderson Paak, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Aki Hakala, Ben Gordon…
I hope this compilation of everything that the Zildjian cymbals brand can offer you will be useful to select the most suitable for you. The brand has a wide variety of musical cymbals so that, either little by little or all at once.
If you can afford it, you can assemble a complete kit with which you have the greatest variety of sounds and thus achieve greater dynamism to your percussion set.
With this guide, you now have the information and characteristics of each series so that you know what is best for your next purchase. Whether you go with Zildjian or another brand, you should compare them to what is in this guide to make a better-informed purchase.