The Zildjian L80 and Evans dB One low volume cymbals are both quite popular and have lots of happy owners. If you’re looking for low volume cymbals it’s hard to go wrong with either of these. Let’s take a closer look and see what’s different between these two low volume cymbal options.
How Does the Volume Compare?
First things first, let’s look at the volume. The Zildjian L80’s are known for their extreme amount of volume reduction, and they are the king in that regard.
I can play Zildjian L80’s without any ear plugs and don’t hear any harshness or feel any issues with my ears. They are definitely quiet and live up to the 80% volume reduction goal that Zildjian claims.
The Evan’s are slightly more loud, but still very quiet. When I play them side by side with the Ziljian L80’s, they sound just a little more loud and they have some high pitched overtones that are more present than with the L80’s.
If was going to try to play either of them in an apartment, I think the Zildjian L80’s would have a slight advantage over the Evans dB One cymbals in terms of not annoying your neighbors, but it’s a minor difference.
How Does the Sound Quality Compare?
Volume isn’t everything, you still want low volume cymbals to sound good. Both of these cymbals sound just fine for practicing purposes but they might not be loud enough for jamming with friends.
The Zildjian L80’s have a very smooth sound with pretty much no annoying overtones or ringing in the sound. They sound very subdued and they resist projection of sound even when played harder. The sticking sound is very pronounced, especially when using a harder wood or nylon tipped stick, and the sticking sound is louder than the wash.
The Evans dB One’s have a little bit more of a metallic sound to them with some higher pitched overtones. It still sounds good, but it’s not as smooth or subdued of a sound as the Zildjian L80’s. The sticking sound on the Evans is about the same as the Zildjians.
Both sound very thin and don’t project sound very well, which is good since that’s what low volume cymbals are meant for. Just don’t expect them to have the full body sound and projection of a traditional cymbal.
If you want a little more lively sound, the Evans dB One cymbals might be the better pick. If you want a more subdued and smooth sound, the Zildjian L80’s are the better option.
How About Build Quality?
Both the Zildjian L80’s and the Evans dB One’s feel very well built with a nice finish. The Evans cymbals have a black coating while the Zildjian cymbals have a more traditional looking finish.
Both will hold up about the same. I’ve seen beat up versions of both out there, and they’ll both likely run into issues with bending or breaking at some point due to how so many holes are punched through them. In terms of longevity, either will hold up as long as you take care of them.
Personally, I’ve never broken either of them during play, but I play a lot more reserved when using low volume gear. If you’re more of a basher you’ll probably wear them out more quickly.
Do Either Have Rough Edges or Finish?
When comparing them side by side, the Zildjian L80’s feel noticeably more rough or sharp on the edges – both around the outside edge of the cymbal and in the holes that are punched into the cymbal.
When running my finger over the L80’s they feel noticeable more rough. That’s just the way they’re made. When running my fingers over the dB One’s, they feel much more smooth, both on the edge and in the holes that are punched into the cymbal.
The Zildjian L80’s will eat up sticks a little faster that the Evans dB One’s in most cases. The hi-hat especially seems to eat away at my sticks a little faster. That doesn’t mean that the Evans won’t eat sticks at all, they will, but it won’t be as dramatic.
How Do They Compare Cost-Wise?
The Zildjian L80’s are the more expensive of the two.
A set of Zildjian L80’s, which includes 14 inch hi-hats, a 16 inch crash and an 18 inch crash-ride will cost around $400 brand new.
A set of Evans dB One’s, which includes 14 inch hi-hats, a 16 and 18 inch crash, and a 20 inch crash-ride as well as a cymbal bag, is around $350 brand new.
The better value, if looking at price only, is the Evans dB One cymbal set. You’ll get an extra crash, a larger crash-ride and a cymbal bag. The Zildjian set has less cymbals but they have a higher resale value on the used market and they have a little better and more quiet sound overall.
Which Is The Better Pick?
I’d look at it like this. If you can afford them and you need to get as quiet as possible, and want to avoid any metallic overtones in the sound, get the Zildjian L80’s. If you don’t mind a slightly more metallic sound, want a wider range of cymbal sizes around the kit, and are looking for better value, get the Evans dB One’s.
After trying them both out, I don’t think either will disappoint anybody, but those minor differences could push a potential buyer either way.