Low volume cymbals are much more quiet than some drummers expect, especially when you use the types of low volume cymbals that offer the most extreme volume reduction.
Exactly How Quiet Are Low Volume Cymbals?
We’ve recently done some sound tests where we put a decibel meter about 3 feet in front of a low volume drum kit. We tested Zildjian L80 cymbals and Evans dB One cymbals since they have reputations for being the most quiet of the low volume cymbals out there.
The Zildjian L80 cymbals were the most quiet and they generally showed decibel levels between 75 and 95 db depending on how aggressively they were played.
Evans dB One cymbals were slightly louder and they clocked in between 80 and 100 dB depending on how aggressively they were played.
Traditional cymbals typically will land between 100 and 125 db depending on how hard you play them. The range can vary depending on the type of cymbal.
Keep in mind that our tests are estimates and decibel levels can vary depending on the room acoustics and distance that measuring devices are placed from the kit. Our tests are probably more in line with what a drummer or somebody standing next to the kit will hear versus what somebody across the room or in another room will hear.
Sound Tests With Volume Comparison and Decibel Levels
It can be hard to get a really good idea of volume without hearing demos in person, so here’s the next best thing.
We have some sound tests where we compare the volume of a traditional drum kit to a low volume drum kit outfitted with low volume heads and cymbals. We keep the mics at the same level between the traditional drum kit and the low volume drum kit so that you can better hear the difference.
We keep a decibel level meter visible on the screen help demonstrate general decibel levels. These decibel meters aren’t always exact, but they can give a pretty good idea of generally what to expect in terms of volume.
The Zildjian L80 cymbals are the most quiet in my experience. They don’t project much at all. They have a nice, smooth sound and I can easily play them with normal amounts of aggressiveness without earplugs.
The Evans dB One cymbals are a little louder, but when put side by side with the Zildjian Cymbals they sound very close in terms of volume and sound levels. I think what makes them seem a little louder is that they have a little bit more of a metallic overtone in their sound. For that reason they also can sound a little more bright than the Zildjian L80 cymbals.
Hopefully this helps you get an idea of volume and sound levels. If you get a chance, try to find a local drum shop with some low volume cymbals on display as well, then you can hear the difference in person.