For years, the famous Zildjian name has maintained a certain family of cymbal lines and we know them well. It’s not often that Zildjian introduce a totally new line, so let me be the first to introduce you to the S family. The research and development team at Zildjian have spent two years on the S project – a mission designed to take the B12 alloy (88% copper, 12% tin) and see what was possible. The goal was to discontinue the ZHT line and fill the void in the range with a far, far superior product that even the pros would want to get their hands on. Not to give anything away, but the S cymbals are in another league to ZHT. The price however, is in the same range. Interested? You should be.
This is a full range of cymbals. There are 44 individual models and 2 cymbal sets in a range of weights depending on the cymbal – thin, medium thin, medium and rock. You have the choice of Mastersound hi-hats, crashes, trash crashes, splashes, chinas, splashes and rides. As mentioned, these are non-cast cymbals using a B12 alloy. They have a lathed top and bottom and feature an amazingly brilliant finish with extensive hammerings unique to the S line.
The Mastersound hats are available in 13” and 14” sizes, but also in a 10” mini hat if that’s your thing. The bottom hat features the characteristic ripple along the edge. The sound is very crisp, bright with great stick definition and a nice ‘chick’ – particularly on the 13”, which is really sharp. It’s not overbearing though and the overall sound blends with the drums. Open them up for some serious cut if you need though.
Here’s where things get serious. You can choose from thin, medium thin and rock weights in sizes from 14” to a massive 20”. The crashes are the first big surprise to this new line of cymbals and the reason for this is when you see the price. The sound to the professional has a slight link to the expected sound of a non-cast cymbal but really, the sound is so much closer to a full pro cast cymbal than you’d ever expect.
Possibly my favourite of the crashes are the new Trash Crashes, which continue the tradition of EFX by adding strategically placed holes in the cymbal for a real bite to the sound. They sound WAY more expensive than they are and yes, these stretch to 20” also – which is awesome by the way. I loved them – thin, responsive and angry when you want them to be, but not overly trashy. The 18” especially, nearly blew my face off when I got into it.
Finally a cost effective splash option that is great. These splashes are available as 8” and 10”. They’re thin, bright and high-pitched but warm too – opening up quickly with a short decay. There’s a shimmer without too much note and a musical volume. The pick for me were easily the china splashes that just had a little more attitude to them. Very musical and an easy addition to any set up. Check them out.
I only had the pleasure of trying one 16” china. To put it simply, it sounded like a shorter, more focused Trash Crash with that added typical angriness that can only come from a china. It cuts and projects with a high pitch and a nice sustain, but not too much. You can ride it just as you would with any other china and you won’t be looking to move somewhere else because it’s cheap and nasty. Far from it.
The rides are medium thin to rock in weight. To be honest, for me, they’re all slightly leaning towards being a bit heavier, but the medium thin has the best blend of stick definition and wash. The good thing is that if for some reason the rides are too heavy for you, try a medium thin 20” crash. There are options! Regardless, even though, they’re heavier, there’s still a great sound – bright and full without that annoying gong tone that sometimes-cheaper cymbals can have.
Overall, get ZHT out of your mind because the S family is so much better it’s really is chalk and cheese. These cymbals are really good. Well-done Zildjian. I’m sold.
For more details, head to austmusic.com.au.
Hits and Misses
Fantastic sound for this price point
Amazing trash crashes and china splashes
Sound way more expensive than they are
The true cymbal guru may hear some non-cast qualities
Rides are mostly on the heavier side