The Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbals are not the latest, however, they are still relatively new products in the market, which certainly need a little bit more time to become the classics that other cymbals from this renowned maker have. It is, therefore, a good idea to take a closer look at the parcel we have received from the Polish Zildjian distributor – the ADA Music company – and see for ourselves whether this segment of Zildjian‘s product range is worth drummers’ attention. The Low Volume series comes in three cymbal packs: LV38 (13″ hi hat, 18″ crash/ride), LV348 (13″ hi hat, 14″ crash, 18″ crash/ride), as well as LV468 (14″ hi hat, 16″ crash and 18″ crash/ride). We have received all of them for testing.
We test Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbals
1. The packaging.
All three Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbal sets are packed in original, hard cardboard boxes with a nice, big picture showing the series as well as its logo, while each cymbal is put inside an individual plastic wallet. Exactly the way other cymbal packs would be packed, both from Zildjian and the competitors. A decent standard. What else would anyone expect, really?
2. The product.
Regardless of a cymbal set, the Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbal look is reminiscent of the Gen16 series. One can easily see that the former must have been inspired by the latter when developing the new cymbal series. Also in the case of the Gen16, the objective was to reduce the volume level, which was achieved through perforation of cymbal surface. A similar solution has been applied in the case of the Low Volume, obviously, without the electronics that came with the Gen16.
Each cymbal is perforated practically on the entire surface, except for two solid strips – one around the edge and one around the cup, which is also perforated. There are two perforation zones: the holes are smaller and much closer to each other towards the center than towards the edge. Each cymbal bears a black ‘L80 Low Volume’ logo along with the familiar Zildjian logo. Very aesthetic, indeed.
3. The test.
Our Zildjian L80 Low Volume were tested in studio conditions. We used a Sonor Ascent drum kit with the following heads: Remo Ambassador Coated on the toms (Remo Ambassador Clear at the bottom), Remo Ambassador Coated on the snare (Remo Clear Snare at the bottom) and Remo Powerstroke 3 Coated on the bass drum (Powerstroke 3 Ebony as the resonant head).
The microphones used to perform the test:
- Overheads: Proel DMH3 (2 pcs)
- ROLAND R-26 recording device mics (4 pcs)
As our video shows, we didn’t stop at playing each of the cymbals separately and as part of a set. We also endeavoured to be slightly more adventurous with the Zildjian L80 Low Volume and used them in less orthodox ways, e. g. we put them on the snare drum and the toms (13″ hi hat), blended the hi hat cymbals with Zildjian S hats (the L80 being the top or bottom cymbal), and we used the Low Volume 16″ crash as an element of cymbal stacks together with a 10″ Zildjian FX Oriental China “Trash” (top or bottom) and a 12″ Zildjian FX Spiral Stacker 12″ (top).
4. Our impressions.
Zildjian L80 Low Volume are supposed to reduce noise levels from 123 dB (that is the peak value conventional cymbals reach) to the level of 83 dB. The manufacturer claims the noise level is reduced by 80 per cent. We did not have a measuring device in the studio, but we can certainly say that the noise was more than significantly cut down, both when hitting the edge, the body and the cup. Also, the decay is very short. All we needed to do was compare them to our Zildjian S set. You can hear it in the video (1.07 – 1.58). All high frequencies and overtones of the same nature have been eliminated thanks to the perforation, which reduces cymbal surface by more or less 50 per cent. The result is that the sound of a stick tip hitting the cymbal seems as loud as the cymbal itself, but it takes a few minutes to get used to and a player can start to enjoy playing without irritating the neighbours.
We should also point out that Zildjian‘s claim about natural feeling while playing is absolutely true. Indeed, despite all the differences in comparison to conventional cymbals, playing each Low Volume cymbal at all levels of dynamics gives a feeling identical to that of playing regular cymbals. It is probably because of the fact that they are not 80 lighter. This is due to the application of a special alloy, which does not reduce the mass to the same extent that the perforation reduces the noise.
When purchasing a set of Zildjian L80 Low Volume cymbals, one should realize that they are too quiet to be used on a regular acoustic drum kit. However, the number of possible applications is still amazing:
a. Practicing (together with pads or electronic drums),
b) Teaching, especially to young kids (we have already done it)
c) Cymbal stack element (an interesting sonic effect, see: 3. “The test”)
d) Placed on a snare drum or a tom (equally as interesting a sonic effect, see: 3. “The test”)
e) Quiet shows (perfect for small, quiet performances at a restaurant, café, art gallery or a hospital).
We are truly impressed!
6. Basic product specification
- Brand: Zildjian
- Series: L80 Low Volume
- Cymbal sets: LV38, LV348, LV468
- Volume: Low
- Overtones: Low and medium
- Decay: Short.
- Low noise level
- High frequencies significantly reduced
- Natural feeling while playing
- Interesting effects cymbals (stack, placed on a snare or tom)
- Excellent addition to practice pads or electronic drums
- Perfect for quiet shows
- Great look.
- Can’t see any