There are a lot of low volume cymbal options on the market now and not all of them are equal in terms of sound quality. Sure, they’ll be more quiet than a traditional cymbal, but which low volume cymbals actually sound good?
The Best Sounding Low Volume Cymbals
In our opinion, there are a couple stand outs when it comes to the best sounding low volume cymbals. One of them are the most quiet low volume cymbals available, and the other is a less quiet option.
Zildjian L80 Cymbals
The Zildjian L80 low volume cymbals have a reputation for being one of the more quality options available. They have a good but very quiet sound, good sticking definition, and they are very quiet even when played harder. You can definitely play them without ear plugs, even if you have sensitive or damaged hearing already. We think they sound the best due to their overall smooth sound and lack of annoying overtones that exist in some other low volume cymbals.
Agean Regular R Cymbals
The Agean low noise cymbals, such as the Agean Regular R series are also very good sounding low volume cymbals. They manage to retain more of the body of the sound of a traditional cymbal, but the volume reduction isn’t as strong. These types of low volume cymbals have a good enough sound that drummers can use them for live or recording scenarios to get cymbal volumes under control without losing the rich tones of a traditional cymbal.
Runners Up For Best Sounding Low Volume Cymbals
Below the top tier is the runner up zone. This range of low volume cymbals have a decent sound but can suffer from annoying overtones due to the materials used in construction. Any of the options here will sound good and will be fairly quiet, but will come up just a little short of the smooth sound and volume reduction attained by the Zildjian L80 cymbals.
Evans dB One Cymbals
The Evans dB One cymbals have been recently introduced and are becoming very popular. The look nice with their black finish and they have a good sound as well. They aren’t as quiet as the Zildjian L80’s, but they are pretty close. They have a good sound but it has a little bit of that metallic ring to it.
Sabian Quiet Tone Cymbals
The Sabian Quiet Tone cymbals are similar to the Evans dB One cymbals in terms of sound quality and volume levels. They have a lively sound and have a similar metallic tone as the dB One cymbals. These are another good option for low volume cymbals if you’re trying to find the sweet spot of value, noise reduction and sound quality.
Wuhan ORA Cymbals
The Wuhan ORA cymbals don’t offer as much noise reduction as the other options listed here, but they arguably sound closer to traditional cymbals than the others. The sound quality is good but the trade off is less noise reduction. These can be good sounding cymbals for the money if you are trying to take your drum kit volume down 30-40% of it’s normal volume. You’ll likely still need hearing protection for these cymbals but they’ll have much less chance of bothering your neighbors.
Budget Low Volume Cymbals
This is the tier where you can save a lot of money but sound quality can suffer. When we talk about budget low volume cymbals, think of the options that you see for a hundred bucks or less on Amazon. These cymbals are made with cheaper materials and many might even be the same cheap cymbal being sold by different budget brands.
The cymbals in this range will provide around 30-50% volume reduction and the tones will not be that great. They’ll possibly suffer from harsher metallic tones and annoying overtones. They can work fine if you’ve got a smaller budget and absolutely need some low volume cymbals – just don’t expect the greatest sound from them.
The Best Sound Will Cost A Little More
As you can see, to get the best sound you will need to spend more on the top tier or runner up low volume cymbals. That is the case with pretty much any cymbal though, low volume or not. It can be worth it to spend the money to get the best sounds if you have picky ears. Personally, I really like the smooth sound of the L80’s and the ability to play them without earplugs. And cymbals like the Evans dB One aren’t very far behind.