Best Low Volume Cymbals

Ultimate Buying Guide

Introduction:

Drums are one of those instruments that neighbors aren’t fans of. This is due to their noise levels. There’s nothing better than banging out all your frustrations on a drum kit. This gets a bit loud sometimes, causing us to make a plan to cut down on the noise. 

This is where low volume cymbals come in. They’re cymbals that are designed to feel like real cymbals but sound quieter. This allows you to practice without bothering anyone. They’re a fairly new concept, meaning only a few companies sell them. The ones we’re going to look at are from Zildjian, Sabian, and Agean. 

What Makes a Great Low Volume Cymbal?

A great low volume cymbal should feel similar to a regular cymbal. The point of it is to practice on something that feels like the real thing. You should also be able to play the low volume cymbals at gigs that have soft environments. This could be at coffee shops or restaurants. 

Great low volume cymbals should also be durable, lasting you a long time. It wouldn’t be a good investment if they broke not long after purchasing them. 

Table of Contents

The 5 Best Low Volume Cymbals

With a brass material that is 80% quieter than regular cymbals, the Zildjian L80 low volume cymbals are the perfect practice option. Ziljdian seemed to pave the way with low volume cymbals with the L80s being the most popular product on the market. The LV468 box set includes a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash, and an 18” crash/ride. 

These L80 cymbals feel just like regular cymbals, meaning all your technique and feel will easily transfer over when playing them. They have a very articulate stick sound that can sound a bit pingy to some. It’s better to play them with drum sticks that have wooden tips to cut down on that harsh sound. 

The crash cymbals have a great tone with a distinct difference in pitch between the 16” and 18”. The sustain fades away quickly, making them the quiet cymbals that they are. It’s great that there’s a difference in tone between the two crashes. This is something that low volume cymbals sometimes don’t have.

The hi-hats have a significant wash, meaning you can play aggressive styles of music with them and still feel the effect of open cymbals.

This box set doesn’t come with a Zildjian L80 20” ride cymbal. Zildjian sells it separately, so you’ll have to spend a bit more money to get it. 

For more about the Zildjian L80, check out customer reviews.

Build Quality
94%
Performance
95%
Price to Value Ratio
90%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Feel like regular cymbals
  • Great tone difference between cymbals
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Doesn’t come with an L80 20” ride cymbal

Agean is a fairly unknown cymbal company. They’re much smaller than the main brands. However, they produce some great cymbals. They’ve joined in on the low volume cymbal game, producing the Silent R-Series cymbals for drummers to use. These cymbals are made the same way as all the other low volume cymbals, having holes in them to reduce the noise. 

The main thing that differentiates these cymbals from the others, is that they’re a bit louder. This can be good or bad depending on the situation you need them for. If you need some quiet cymbals for playing gigs, these will work better since they’re still quite audible. They aren’t the best option for playing in apartments and places where noise is an issue. 

This pack comes with a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” crash cymbal, and a 20” ride. The sound of these cymbals is pretty good, with the hi-hats being the best part. They have a great chick sound that you wouldn’t expect from low volume cymbals. The crash and ride sound great as well, working for all kinds of playing styles. 

For more about the Agean Silent R Series, check out customer reviews.

Build Quality
94%
Performance
93%
Price to Value Ratio
85%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Look great
  • Work well for gigging situations
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • May be too loud for apartments

Sabian and Zildjian have been the two main competitive cymbal companies for decades. So, it’s natural that Sabian would have a set of low volume cymbals to compete on the market. These cymbals have hundreds of small holes in them to reduce the sound. They’re made of a hard metal alloy that makes them highly durable. These things will last you a long time. 

The great thing about this cymbal pack is that the cymbals come in standard sizes. This includes a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, and a 20” ride cymbal. 

These cymbals have a high-pitched bright sound. If you want to have low volume cymbals that cut slightly cut through a mix, they’re a great choice. They also have decent stick articulation, allowing you to hear every note clearly when playing. 

The crashes have a fair bit of wash to them, sounding great when crash riding. They also have an effective once-off tone that works well for accenting hits. The ride sounds a bit lower due to the bigger size. It has a lot of stick articulation which is great for swinging. The hi-hats have a lot of sizzle to them, sounding good open or closed.

Each cymbal in this pack has a fairly large bell. This makes them great for playing latin-style grooves as well as metal blast beats. These cymbals are versatile when it comes to playing, helping you fit into all styles of music. The bell of the ride has a certain part of it that makes it way too loud when hit. You have to play around and find that spot and then try to avoid it.

For more about the Sabian Quiet Tone Series, check out customer reviews.

Build Quality
92%
Performance
92%
Price to Value Ratio
90%
PROS: THINGS WE LIKED
  • Same size as normal cymbals
  • Includes 2 crash cymbals
  • Versatile
CONS: THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Ride bell can sound too loud sometimes

Things To Consider:

How do I make my cymbals quieter?

Regular cymbals can be dampened. One of the easiest ways to do that is to strap tape to the bottom of the cymbal. This takes away some of the sustain, resulting in a quieter cymbal. Too much tape will deaden the cymbal. So, you need to find a balance. You could also use dampening products like Moongels. 

Another way to make cymbals quieter is to hit them softer. This seems pretty obvious, but it takes skills to self mix as a drummer. 

What are the best sounding cymbals? 

Cymbals have different tonal qualities to them. Certain tonal qualities will work well in different situations. This means that the best sounding cymbals will be ones that work well in whatever style of music you’re playing. Bright cymbals sound best with rock and metal music. Dark cymbals sound best in church and jazz music. 

Every cymbal company has a top line of cymbals that sounds best with those tonal qualities. Zildjian has the K line of cymbals and Meinl has the Byzance line of cymbals. 

How does cymbal size affect sound?

The general trend is that the bigger the cymbal is, the louder it sounds and the more sustain it has. The sound also depends on the thickness of the cymbal. Thicker cymbals will always sounder louder than thinner cymbals. 

This really depends on how the cymbal is made though. There are a few exceptions to the general trend. 

Are bigger cymbals louder?

Bigger cymbals are usually louder. Just think how a ride cymbal is always louder than a pair of hi-hats. This is because the ride cymbal is a lot bigger. 

Bright cymbals are loud. So, if you have a big cymbal that is bright, it’s not going to go down well with your neighbors. 

What are the quietest cymbals?

The quietest cymbals have dark and dry tonal qualities. They’re also thin with minimal sustain. Sustain is one of the biggest aspects of a loud cymbal. The more a cymbal sustains, the louder it sounds for longer. So, a cymbal with a short sustain is going to be quiet. The dry quality helps with reducing sustain. 

The quietest cymbals are obviously the low volume cymbals from the list above. They’re specifically designed to be quiet. They won’t work well in gigs in large venues though. 

Conclusion

It will be beneficial as a drummer to have a set of low volume cymbals. You never know when you’re going to have to pull them out for a quiet gig or practice session. Low volume cymbals are also great for drum triggering, allowing you to produce electronic sounds from a drum module. 

Having a set of low volume cymbals along with a set of regular cymbals will help you go a long way as a drummer. 

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