Best Zildjian Cymbals
Ultimate Buying Guide
The Zildjian name is synonymous with cymbals. The Avedis Zildjian Company has been around since 1623, making it one of the oldest instrument manufacturers in the world.
This tells you that they know their stuff! Every drummer has come across a Zildjian cymbal at some point in their drumming career. So, we’ve put together a list of some of the best Zildjian cymbals to give you an idea of how high-quality they are.
These are Our top Picks Summarised For:
2nd December 2020
- Cymbal Set with Exotic Character
- Dark, mellow sound
- Hand-lathed by skilled artisans
- Oversized, Extra Dark Hats
- Unlathed bells are complex and penetrating
- A classic sound, but refined
- Cast bronze cymbals for premium tone
- Natural crash tones
- Bright, not too high, not too low
- A Powerful China
- Trashy attack
What Makes a Great Zildjian Cymbal?
The things that make great Zildjian cymbals are the same things that make other cymbal brands great as well. However, Zildjian has a long history of cymbal making, meaning all that experience gets put into the production process.
A great cymbal will fit the sound that you’re looking for. If you’re a rock drummer, you should have cymbals that are bright and cutting. If you’re a jazz drummer, you should have cymbals that are dark and musical. Zildjian has a wide array of options that cover every cymbal property that you may need.
Table of Contents
The 6 Best Zildjian Cymbals
Best Zildjian Cymbal Pack
Zildjian offers several cymbal packs that provide you with a complete setup. The K Custom Dark cymbals give a dark tone that overflows with musicality. Included in the pack is a pair of 14” hi-hats, 16” and 18” crashes, and a 20” ride.
They have a rich sound that fits well in different styles of music from jazz to country. The mellow tone blends within a mix instead of cutting through it, giving you a warm tone that many sound engineers are in love with.
They record extremely well in studios. They also sound fantastic when played live. They’re dynamically responsive, giving a full tone when played quietly. Overall, the K Custom Dark cymbal set is a great choice for anyone wanting to buy all the cymbals at once. They’re high quality and will add so much to your drum sound.
The one downside is that the set is pretty expensive. However, it’s a lot more affordable than buying K Custom Dark cymbals separately.
Best Zildjian Ride Cymbal
The Zildjian 22” K Constantinople Medium Thin ride can easily be considered as one of the ride cymbals of the pros. So many accomplished drummers have used this cymbal thanks to its attractive sound qualities.
This cymbal has amazing stick articulation with just enough warm wash and sustain. It’s extremely clear even when playing fast patterns, making it great for jazz. The spread and sustain when crashed sounds just about as beautiful as a cymbal can get.
The bell has quite a robust ping, making it great for cutting through a mix.
This ride may not be the best option for heavier styles such as rock and metal. However, you’ll struggle to find a better cymbal for playing in small jazz ensembles. It’s expensive for a ride, but every penny is worth it.
Best Zildjian Hi Hat Cymbals
Standard hi-hats are 14”, so the 15” size might seem a bit weird. However, these K Sweet hi-hat cymbals are some of the best sounding hi-hats you’ll hear. They have a warm and luscious sound that makes you want to play them more.
The top hat is light and delivers a smooth wash while the bottom hat is heavier and provides a solid chick sound when you play the hi-hat pedal. These hi-hats have a fair bit of volume and attack thanks to their size.
The bell is unlatched, giving the cymbals a complex tone that is great for most styles of music. The dark sound of them is great for both studio and live applications.
They’re pricey, but we promise you won’t be disappointed with their sound.
Best Zildjian Cymbals for Rock
The Zildjian A Customs produce that classic cymbal sound that everyone knows. They’re not too dark or bright, sitting somewhere in the middle. Included in this pack is a pair of 14” hi-hats, a 16” and 18” crash, and a 20” ride cymbal.
The crashes produce an attacking sound and then get out of the way quickly with little sustain. The 16” crash sounds a little shrill. However, that’s to be expected from 16” crashes.
The hi-hats have a distinct chick sound that will cut through any mix, giving you authority when playing grooves. The ride cymbal has a bright tone with a nice ping.
Overall, these cymbals provide a lot of projection and are a great choice for rock drumming. They may be too aggressive for other styles like jazz and indie.
Best Zildjian Crash Cymbals
As we said above, the A Custom has a classic cymbal sound that everyone knows and loves. The Zildjian 18” A Custom crash allows for delicate and nuanced playing. It reacts to the slightest touch, meaning it has a huge dynamic range. It gives a huge sound when you dig into it, making it a seriously good crash cymbal option.
It cuts through mixes like butter without having too many harsh overtones. It’s pretty versatile, working well in most styles of music. It really shines in rock setups though.
Overall, the 18” A Custom is a reliable crash cymbal that will benefit any setup it gets added to.
Best Zildjian China Cymbal
The Zildjian 21” A Series Ultra Hammered china is probably one of the biggest china cymbals on the market. Along with its size comes a huge sound. It’s extremely loud, making it a great china option for drummers needing some serious punch.
It has a low pitch that cuts quite well. It’s the perfect china for rock and metal. However, it does respond well to different types of sticks for different styles. It’s not going to be soft though.
It has a fair bit of sustain, but not too much to become overbearing. It’s quite thin for a china and the edges wobble when you hit it. However, it’s extremely durable and can take a beating.
If you need a huge sound for your metal breakdowns, this is what you need.
Things To Consider:
What are the best Zildjian cymbals?
Zildjian’s most famous lines of cymbals are the A Customs and K Customs. The K Customs are commonly seen as their accessible top range of cymbals. They have several lines of cymbals within the K Custom range that cover all types of cymbal qualities from dry to dark to sweet.
The A Customs are a bit more affordable. They’re also better for rock and metal.
What is the best brand of cymbals?
This is a great debate that will never have a final answer. There are many drum and cymbal brands and all of them have great products. The four most popular cymbal brands are Zildjian, Sabian, Meinl, and Paiste. Zildjian is arguably the most popular brand out of these. Each brand offers unique qualities in their cymbals and different drummers have their own opinions on them.
Some smaller cymbal companies are TRX, Istanbul, Soultone, Heartbeat, and Centent.
Are Zildjian ZBT cymbals good?
The Zildjian ZBTs are entry-level cymbals, designed to be affordable for beginner drummers. They’re included with a lot of entry-level drum kits, meaning many beginner drummers use them.
They have a bright and heavy sound, making them great for rock music. As a beginner, a ZBT cymbal is a perfect starting place. It has an aggressive sound with limited dynamic response.
The ZBTs are not great for experienced drummers. They’re not musical and they’re a bit too heavy.
Which is better Zildjian or Sabian?
This comes down to personal preference. Each company produces cymbals that differ in sound slightly. Some drummers love Sabian while others love Zildjian.
Zildjian has an active social media presence. Their Zildjian Live videos are hugely popular on YouTube. This could potentially make them more popular as a brand.
You can’t go wrong with Zildjian cymbals. They provide products that will fit any situation. If you’re the type of drummer that likes to stick with one brand, Zildjian would be a great one to go with. Pair those cymbals up with a good drum kit and you’re good to go!