Best Low Volume Cymbals Review: Let’s Make It Gentle

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What should we learn from Billie Eilish’s success in 2019? Some might say that she’s no singer at all with such a manner, and they would be wrong. Others may tell she’s well promoted; she is, but Billie is not the only one. The real reason I see relates more to the world than to Billie Eilish or other singers. As we listen to the music in our earphones, we appreciate the more intimate manner, as if a singer is whispering right in our ear. And, as our earphones get better noise cancellation features, we become able to perceive it physically.

That’s true about vocals, and that’s just as true about drums. What I have learned best for all my drumming years is that the power is not everything. Look at the big bass drum: The Force is strong with this one! But sometimes it’s the weakness that’s required. There are some missions Hulk is useless for, but Ant-Man is the right one. So it is with drums: if you want your performance to sound intimate and personal, you’ll need a quiet set that includes low volume hi hat cymbals, among all.

This sort of cymbals is irreplaceable for some sorts of music like easy listening, jazz, rock, soul ballads, or any sound that requires nuances rather than brutality. There’s another use for them: home rehearsals and learning, when you just can’t afford being loud. You can invent even more cases, but these are enough to reject any doubts: it makes sense to search for best sounding low volume cymbals.

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Some Low Volume Cymbals Review: Names and Impressions

This type of instrument is more popular than one could expect now. Home studios are still a thing, but now they go live. Even hip-hop heads aren’t good with FL Studio and a mic anymore. So when modern alloys allowed for producing low volume cymbals, they found their audience immediately.

They all provide the same feel as the original cymbals, despite lower weight, and that’s what makes them also great for practicing. If you cannot afford a properly soundproof rehearsal room, low volume cymbals are the perfect option to apply all your strength while making less noise. That’s another thing LVS have in common. So let’s observe the best sounding low volume cymbals for various situations and genres.

One of the Best Sounding Low Volume Cymbals: Zildjian L80 Low Volume 20″ Ride

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-20-Ride-Cymbal-1

Zildjian is among the oldest musical instrument manufacturers of the world. The brand was established in the XVII century in the Ottoman Empire by an Armenian alchemist, and the alloy he used for musical instruments was a side result of his attempt to turn them into gold. In fact, this helped Zildjians to build their musical instrument business that moved to the U.S. just before World War I.

That’s quite a long intro, but the vendor deserves it, because we’ll see many Zildjian cymbals on this list. The company continues to experiment with alloys to make the volume lower; and if silence is golden, then the alchemy works. In fact, these cymbals are also perforated, so their weight is as reduced as the sound.

As for this particular item, it retains the physical feel of its louder sounding alternatives, but produces only 20-30% of the sound the cymbals make. The manufacturer recommends this model as one for quiet gigs, it is also great for learning or rehearsals. In terms of the effectiveness, its sound is very similar to those of full volume, except for the loudness. Many musicians using low volume cymbals prefer this ride to its 16” or 18” versions.

Alas, as most lightweight analogs to full cymbals, this one isn’t very durable. My friends said they had to replace this item after less than a year, playing it in their regular manner. So be prepared to play it gently: fragile things need special handling.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 20" Ride Cymbal
  • 70-80 percent Quieter than traditional cymbals
  • Perfect for home practicing, lesson rooms and quiet gigs

PROS:
  • Preserves the feel of Zildjian cymbalsж
  • Unique recognizable design;
  • Low weight;
  • Can be combined with the rest of the series;
  • Cheaper with no accessories.
CONS:
  • Quite big;
  • Relatively pricey.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 20 Inch Ride Cymbal w/Cleaning Cloth and Cymbal Bag: the Expanded Edit

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-20-Inch-Ride-Cymbal-w-Cleaning-Cloth-and-Cymbal-Bag

In fact, this is the previous 20” ride. But in this version, it comes with the accessories for special handling – that is, with a bag for transportation and a cleaning cloth. This changes the experience: if you need this cymbal for a stationary spot, you should better opt for the previous version. But if you’re constantly out on gigs, teach or learn playing drums, and take your own set to the school frequently – well, then this one is preferable.


PROS:
  • Preserves the feel of Zildjian cymbals;
  • Unique recognizable design;
  • Low weight;
  • Well combines with the rest of the series;
  • Comes with a cleaning cloth and a bag.
CONS:
  • Quite big;
  • Quite pricey.

One of the Best Low Volume Cymbals Set: Zildjian L80 Low Volume 13/14/18

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-13-14-18-Cymbal-Set

This is a smaller set made in America, by the vendor you already know. It includes an 18” ride that can be used as a crash as well, plus two hi hats – a 13” and a 14”. The design is quite original, so is the quality. It sounds just at 20-30% of the original set volume, which is perfect for practicing, rehearsals, and for playing tender music that requires accents more than power.

The aforementioned 20” ride by Zildjian would perfectly fit with this set. They boast similar design and feel, both made of the same special alloy and recreating that of the “bigger” cymbal sets. Alas, these items also share low durability. If you intend to play them like you play regular cymbals, you’ll need to replace them more often than you’d like. This is a great option if you use practice drum pads, but there is another one that fits real drums better.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 13/14/18 Cymbal Set
  • 🎶 QUIETER THAN TRADITIONAL CYMBALS: The L80 Low Volume Cymbals are perfect for Drummers looking for a Quieter Sound without losing the authentic feel of a Zildjian cymbal. They are 70-80% Quieter than traditional Cymbals.
  • 🎶 AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE: Allows for longer play, avoids Ear Fatigue or Hearing Damage. This is the obvious solution for quiet rehearsals and late-night practice at home.

PROS:
  • Sound and feel are similar to the bigger models;
  • Proprietary Zildjian alloy;
  • Exclusive retro design;
  • Can be completed with extra L80’s.
CONS:
  • Lack a real ride (can be bought separately);
  • Quite expensive.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Pack with Remo Silentstroke Drumheads

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-Quiet-Cymbal-Pack-with-Remo-Silentstroke-Drumheads

Effectively, it’s the previous set that comes with five Remo Silentstroke drumheads. With them, you can silence your entire drum set and complete the low-volume experience. These drumheads are compatible with most popular drum sets. This is a preferable option if you don’t have these silencers yet.

As for the cymbals, they are the same as in the previous set, in terms of both sound and selection. Silencers make all the difference. If you prefer the physical feel of the same drums you use for gigs or recordings, this is your choice.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Pack with Remo Silentstroke Drumheads
  • 🎶 Quieter than traditional cymbals: 70% - 80% quieter than traditional cymbals so that you can play longer without ear fatigue or hearing damage
  • 🎶 perfect match: perfect for apartment, practice rooms, dorm rooms or any “noise-sensitive” situations. These heads fit your acoustic drums to drop playing volume exponentially while still giving you the acoustic tone of your kit

PROS:
  • Sound and feel are similar to the bigger models;
  • Proprietary Zildjian alloy;
  • Exclusive retro design;
  • Comes with silencing drumheads;
  • Can be completed with extra L80’s.
CONS:
  • Lacks a real ride (can be bought separately);
  • Relatively pricey.

Agean Cymbals Silent R-Series Pack Box Set+18 Crash: Hand-Crafted Low Volume Cymbals Review

Agean-Cymbals-Silent-R-Series-Low-Volume-Cymbal-Pack-Box-Set18-Crash

And again (Ageain?), we see a manufacturer from the former Ottoman Empire. But while Zildjian had to flee in the 1910s, thus relocating its facilities to the US, Agean still manufactures its instruments in Istanbul. The cymbals are all hand-crafted: even the holes in them are drilled by hand. That makes the cymbals a sort of masterpiece, but, at the same time, they are pricier than their competitors (especially by Chinese upstart vendors like Wuhan).

The pack includes a 14″ hi-hat, two crashes – a 16″ and a 18″, a 20″ ride, and a carrying case for the entire set. The tones they produce are virtually the same as those by other Agean cymbals, but these are way more lightweight. Alas, when compared to other low-volume cymbals, they are heavier and louder. Instead, they preserve the original feel, as they are, in fact, perforated original cymbals. On the other hand, in theory, that should make Agean cymbals more durable. And if you do like the sound they make, it must outweigh all the other reasons.

Agean Cymbals Silent R-Series Low Volume Cymbal Pack Box Set+18 Crash
  • Hand crafted in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Made with B20, the R Series (the name is derived from the word “Ruhig” which is German for “Quiet”), is a handmade innovative silent cymbal.

PROS:
  • Excellent quality;
  • Handmade by Turkish masters;
  • Outstanding design;
  • Second pro.
CONS:
  • Very expensive;
  • Not as low-volume as others.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 16″ Crash Cymbal: by the Best Low Volume Cymbals Maker

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-16-Crash-Cymbal

We have already seen a three-piece set by Zildjian, and it didn’t include a 16” crash. Here it is, available separately, if you consider it a good addition or replacement. This crash cymbal follows the design (from the appearance to the alloy used) of the cymbals the set includes.

The features are about the same as of the cymbals reviewed above. The sound is quite natural, and it’s 70-80% lower than that of the original crash. It also lacks some brightness and crispness of the original model, alas. If you use it for rehearsing the music you intend to play later on Gen16 cymbals (or other adult models), you should keep that in mind.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 16" Crash Cymbal
  • 70-80 percent Quieter than traditional cymbals
  • Perfect for home practicing, lesson rooms and quiet gigs

PROS:
  • Good quality and sound;
  • Compatible with other L18 cymbals;
  • Feel similar to Gen16.
CONS:
  • A little louder than one might expect;
  • Yet not meant for playing music unless you need that small sound.

Agean Cymbals Silent Natural R-Series Low Volume Cymbal Pack Box Set+18 Crash

Agean-Cymbals-Silent-Natural-R-Series-Low-Volume-Cymbal-Pack-Box-Set18-Crash

Another set by Agean is also handcrafted by masters in Istanbul (hey, is this about music or about some horror involving ancient artefacts? The set looks like the latter). It includes a hi-hat pair, a 16” crash, a 18” crash, and a 20” ride.

Unlike Chinese and Dutch cymbals that look like colanders, this set conceals that it’s perforated all over its surface. To notice it, you’ll need to take it… or to hit it with a stick. The sound you will hear is gentle and jazzy, quite suitable even for serious gigs if you play in a small cozy place, and your music nuances won’t drown in the background noise. Maybe, it would make sense to check how it sounds with some jazz-oriented drum sets.

The design of the set is way more ancient and romantically inspired than that of the most mentioned vendor here – probably handcraft shows. The price tag, though, also seems crafted by hand, because it’s quite heavy.

Agean Cymbals Silent Natural R-Series Low Volume Cymbal Pack Box Set+18 Crash
  • Hand crafted in Istanbul, Turkey
  • It's sounds more like Jazz with its lowest mode.

PROS:
  • Jazzy sound that comes close to the real thing;
  • Great design;
  • Creates specific ancient feel;
  • Can be played for real if this gently sound is required.
CONS:
  • Very expensive;
  • Some may dislike its ancient style.

Zildjian L80 18″ China: the Best Low Volume Cymbals for Swish

Zildjian-L80-1-18-inches-China-Cymbal-Buffed-Bronze-18-Low-Volume-Single-LV8018CH-S-1

China cymbal is quite a specific type, brighter and crisper than the majority, and it isn’t included in any of the sets by Zildjian we have reviewed. But it is available as a separate item. So if you want to color your drum sounds with it, you’re welcome. It comes in a standard 18” size, which is compatible with standard hardware. But it makes the sound harsher and more aggressive, though dirtier and wilder.

No wonder that China cymbals are often accompanied by percussion sets, instead of traditional drums. That might be the reason why they are sold separately, despite being a part of the L80 series. Anyway, here it is for your attention.

If you want to practice playing a set that includes a real China cymbal, you’ll probably need a low volume one for this purpose. Here it is, by a famous vendor (and not Chinese, as controversial as it sounds). The class of the cymbal, though, shows its efficiency. The item produces a good sound of its class, but its character follows the golden rule: you can have one or another. Muted down, it wouldn’t sound as explosive as it should. So you will have to play the set more gently if you want to make less noise. This changes the very way it feels.

Still, it’s the problem of the class, not of this particular item. Within its rate, a China cymbal by Zildjian is among the best. And, as for its flaws like less reduced volume, or too high sensitivity – you just have to take it.

Zildjian L80, 1, 18 inches China Cymbal, Buffed Bronze, 18" Low Volume Single (LV8018CH-S)
  • 70%-80% Quieter than traditional cymbals - play longer without ear fatigue or hearing damage
  • Perfect for apartment, practice rooms, dorm rooms or any "noise-sensitive" Situations

PROS:
  • Good for training a realistic China cymbal;
  • Sounds trashy as it should, despite the reduced volume;
  • It is one of the best low-volume Chinas;
  • Compatible with other L80 cymbals.
CONS:
  • Physical feel differs from that you can experience with the full-volume China;
  • Sound is not reduced as severely as in other L80’s;
  • Requires a special manner of performing.

Zildjian L80 Low Volume 10″ Splash Cymbal: the Best Low Volume Cymbals of 10”

Zildjian-L80-Low-Volume-10-Inch-Splash-Cymbal-w-Geartree-Cloth-and-Cymbal-Felts

And here comes another great addition to your set. If you need a smaller cymbal with sound as muted as in other items on the list (that is, reduced to 20-30% of its normal volume), you better complete your Zildjian set with this one. The cymbal comes with a Geartree cloth and four cymbal felts. Not that it’s the game-changer, but this attention to details contributes to the overall impression.

Despite the reduced volume, the sound of this little instrument is bright and clear. It also decays quickly, making it sharp and abrupt, no matter how well soundproofed your room is (not that you’re allowed to neglect it, even with the best sounding low volume cymbals!) Note that such a small cymbal is necessary for any musical genre. But if you do need one for practice, there is little competition to this one by Zildjian. Try to find this cymbal: it works as well as it looks in a set with other L80’s.


PROS:
  • Sound reduced to 20-30%;
  • Great sound characteristics;
  • Comes with accessories;
  • Compatible with bigger L80’s.
CONS:
  • Not necessary for most bands;
  • Quite rare.

Zildjian LV38 LOW VOLUME L80 13/18 BOX SET w/Gig Bag, Hat, Cloth

Zildjian-LV38-LOW-VOLUME-L80-13-18-BOX-SET-w-Gig-Bag-Hat-Cloth

Are you already tired of running into this Oriental name? The Zildjian family is not to blame that other manufacturers couldn’t deliver Oriental drum traditions to the Western market. This set, however, offers no revelations. It contains an 18” crash ride and a pair of 13” hi hats. The items are, in fact, the same as in the aforementioned set, except for a 14” hi hat replaced with another 13”. If you need to make your drum set as compact as you can, it’s quite an option, though your sound will shrink in diversity. It’s also easier to carry around.

And – mobility is the word! – the manufacturer sells it with everything necessary included. The set comes with a carrying bag, a cloth by GearTree, and even with a hat – not a hi hat, but one to wear on the drummer’s head.

Its acoustic properties are common for the entire L80 series. Hats and the crash produce only 20-30% of the original sound, and this makes the set compatible with very few environments but perfect for practicing in urban settings. As for the genre of music these cymbals are suitable for, it must be something very fine and tender. Otherwise, they just won’t be properly heard.

Zildjian LV38 LOW VOLUME L80 13/18 BOX SET w/Gig Bag, Hat, Cloth
  • Up to 80% quieter than a traditional Zildjian cymbal.
  • 13" L80 Low Volume HiHat pair

PROS:
  • Contains a necessary minimum;
  • Reasonable pricing;
  • Comes with accessories;
  • One of the most portable options by Zildjian.
CONS:
  • Lacks diversity in sound;
  • Is harder to find.

Kasza Cymbals Quiet on the Set Series: Any Size You Wish

Kasza-Cymbals-Quiet-On-The-Set-Series-Low-Volume-Practice-Cymbal-Set-14-Hi-Hats-16-Crash-18-Crash-20-Ride-W-Bag

What a contrast! – while Zildjian has a story to build a TV series upon, Kasza has no even official signs of its existence (except for the instruments it makes). A brief research gave me a shiver down my spine: these cymbals are made in China, and more than that – the fabric that produces them also works for Wuhan! Yes, it actually is made in Wuhan, so I wonder why they don’t offer a CYMBAL-19 item on this set.

Instead, it offers two 14” hi hats, a 16” and an 18” crash cymbals, and a 20” ride cymbal. They are perforated just like others in their class, but, while ones by Zildjian look like art with their holes, these ones can rather foster your trypophobia.

But as for the sound it produces, this product offers a good physical imitation of the “adult” series by the same vendor. The sound is really quite decent, and the volume is seriously decreased, though the way the cymbals sound is quite preserved. But remember that playing a lightweight cymbal in a regular manner can be harmful for its condition. Even Zildjian ones are vulnerable, and Kasza support won’t be as friendly to you even if you manage to find any.


PROS:
  • Excellent value for the price;
  • Physical feel of the full-fledged cymbals recreated;
  • A carrying case included.
CONS:
  • Design is inferior;
  • The vendor is virtually unknown.

UFO 20″ Quiet Ride: the Best Low Volume Cymbals from Europe

UFO-Low-Volume-Cymbals-20-Quiet-Ride-Cymbal

This standalone ride is a good replacement, in case you have lost or damaged the original low volume ride. Not as fantastically looking as the ones by Agean or Zildjian, it sounds quite decent for its sort. You could have bought entire sets by UFO; I found them on the vendor website, but not on Amazon.

As for the design and materials, these cymbals strongly resemble ones by Kasza; it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were manufactured at the same factory in Wuhan. However, a little research has shown that the producer is located in Denmark.

UFO Low Volume Cymbals | 20" Quiet Ride Cymbal
  • QUIET REAL FEEL CYMBALS: The UFO Low Volume Cymbals lets you play cymbals at a low volume. Still, the feel and response from these cymbals are very similar to your regular cymbals. They are perfect for apartments, practice rooms, dorm rooms or any other noise-sensitive situation.
  • REAL SIZES: The sizes of the UFO cymbals, are the same as you know them from your regular cymbals. This makes them feel more natural to play.

PROS:
  • Compatible with various sets;
  • Affordable price;
  • Can come with a set.
CONS:
  • Looks low grade;
  • Harder to find.

Keep It Low: the Conclusion on Best Sounding Low Volume Cymbals

Although low volume cymbals are for training, they may have other uses. For example, if your music is full of air, leaving frequencies empty, at low tempo, meant for hi-end tech or live performances with little to no background noise, you can play this item seriously. In the era of AirPods Pro and Sony WH series, low sound makes its way to the audience.

There are no “best low volume cymbals” for any sort of music. Some are better for rock, some for jazz or funk, some for ethnic styles, and so on. If you have an option of listening and playing them offline, you better not neglect it.

Making a low-volume drum set also requires silencing drumheads or training pads. It’s up to you what to select. It can make sense to use drumheads just to keep in touch with the actual drums you play. But if you alternate your cymbals anyway, maybe, it’s better to have two separate sets for training and actual playing? Think of it. The answer is up to you.

Have you got any experience of playing low volume cymbals? Or, perhaps, you want to ask some questions – then, you’re welcome. I’d also like to hear your stories. Hope we’ll have a great jam session down there.

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