If you need to take the volume of your cymbals down a few notches – or more than a few – the Zildjian L80 cymbal line is definitely worth taking a look at. With these Zildjian low volume cymbals, you know you will be getting the quality and tone that comes from a well known cymbal manufacturer.
Zildjian claims that these will take the volume down up to 80% compared to normal types of cymbals. Drummers who actually use them will tell you it’s probably somewhere between 60-80% less volume than their normal cymbals, depending on playing styles and what they use for regular cymbals. Now you can play at lower volumes without making big sacrifices in acoustic sound quality.
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Feel & Playability
Drummers who use these cymbals generally love how they feel. The feel is probably the greatest strength of cymbals of this style. While the sound is a little different tonally, you are still using drum sticks on metal cymbals that are mounted like normal cymbals. As a result, these cymbals have a stick attack feel like normal cymbals, stick rebound like normal cymbals, and move and give like normal cymbals when you hit them.
These types of low volume cymbals will feel a lot better in practice than a rubber cymbal pad. And the sound from volume lowering cymbals like this is much more dynamic and natural sounding than an electronic cymbal sound with a cymbal pad.
Zildjian claims these cymbals are up to 80% more quiet than a normal cymbal – and that’s probably about correct, depending on your playing style.
Drummers who give lessons like to use these cymbals since they can talk over them while playing and teaching at the same time.
Those who practice at home like these cymbals since they take the volume down for family, roommates and neighbors who have to listen to you practice.
Drummers who play live venues where lower volumes are desired also find the tone of these cymbals to be good enough that they can stage these cymbals. That is pretty amazing for a cymbal designed to be more quiet or for practice scenarios, and it says a lot about the usable tone as well.
The tone of these cymbals is definitely different than what you might expect from a normal cymbal. The volume lowering properties make it so that the sticking seems a little more pronounced compared to the wash of the cymbal. The tone feels a little more thin and light, which is to be expected.
Hitting the edges vs sticking the top of the cymbals produces sounds that are naturally dynamic and respond to the types of sticks you use.
The bell is even functional on these cymbals. While the bell is not as pronounced and sounds lighter, it still gets the job done. If you take a close look at the cymbals you will notice that the volume lowering holes are also all the way up the bell.
Materials & Finish
These cymbals are made of brass with a matte finish. They have a less bright look than you might be used to from other cymbals, probably due to the matte finish. They are lighter in weight due to how they are manufactured with all the holes, but also have similar thickness compared to normal cymbals.
The first thing I thought when I looked at these cymbals is – “Well, I’d probably break those in a few days.” The main reason I thought that was due to all the holes punched into the material to make these work the way they do. I thought they looked fragile. And as a metal drummer, I’m pretty conscious about cymbal durability.
After playing these, and after giving them a few good whacks, I realized that these would probably stand up to my playing just as much as a lighter or thinner regular style cymbal would, and after that realization I didn’t feel like I needed to take it too easy on them while playing. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it, as any cymbal can break if you play them haphazardly enough. And any cymbal can wear out over time if given enough use and abuse. But they are a lot more durable than the pictures would make you think.
Drummers who have used these for an extended period of time can have mixed results. Harder players will find that they might crack or start to wear after a year or two, depending on playing style. Lighter players will get many years out of them.
If you want to extend the life of these cymbals as much as possible, it’s best to play them with light or normal sticking, and try to avoid really smashing them consistently hard like a metal or hard rock drummer might.
As we mentioned earlier, drummers have found that these have good enough tone to play live. Of course, it will depend on the tone you are going for, but it’s possible. These aren’t just relegated to being practice cymbals or training cymbals.
Cymbal Types & Cymbal Packs
Zildjian currently offer the L80 cymbals in the following types and sizes:
- 13 or 14 Inch Hi-Hats
- 14 or 16 Inch Crash
- 18 Inch Crash Ride
- 20 Inch Ride
- 10 Inch Splash
- 18 Inch China
There are also cymbal packs available which include the following:
- Cymbal Pack with 14 Inch Hi-Hats, 16 Inch Crash, 18 Inch Crash Ride
- Cymbal Pack with 13 Inch Hi-Hats, 14 Inch Crash, 18 Inch Crash Ride
- Cymbal Pack with 13 Inch Hi-Hats, 18 Inch Crash Ride
- They really are a lot more quiet than normal cymbals
- They feel like normal cymbals when playing
- Tone is good enough to potentially use in live situations
- Might not be as durable for aggressive players
- Sound, especially the bell, is a more thin tonally than typical cymbals
- Sticking sound is more pronounced due to lower wash volume
If you want to get some low volume cymbals, the L80’s from Zildjian are pretty hard to beat. They sound good, are durable enough and will give you a pretty nice cymbal sound at a way lower volume than you are used to. Plus they are made by Zildjian, who has a good reputation for producing quality cymbals over a long period of time.
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