Dynamic Music | Expect to pay: $1,999
For those new to world of drums (be it in the physical, playing sense, or in the not so physical, recording acoustic drum kits sense), one of the steepest and most apparent learning curves of all is when you start to come to terms with the sheer logistics of the drumset, and the justified expense of good quality drum equipment.
Probably more so than any other instrument, the live kit bears with it a particularly unique set of design considerations, often at odds with each other and completely independent of those found in practically all other instrument types.
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For one, with drums, our baseline intention is to religiously beat this beautifully crafted instrument with a stick until the stick (or the replaceable component, or the drummer themselves) inevitably break, at which point we replace said component and keep on hitting. It really is a life of abuse on the road and thus there is a certain level of investment required just to weather the rigours of continuous daily playing.
The second reason is purely sonic. Drums (or all membranophones for that matter) are one of, if not the most acoustically sensitive of all instruments, with the tiniest differences in tuning, bearing edge or beater having a massive impact on overall sound, especially under the microscope of recording. It’s universally understood that in the studio with eight to ten microphones draped around the kit, unpleasant resonances sound even worse, ratty hardware rattles even harder and cheap, shitty cymbals cymbals sound, well… Cheap and shitty.
Historically, most drummers have carried with them a couple of sets of cymbals, either for gigging or recording, but rarely one pair for both and this is where the awesome new K Sweet series from Zildjian comes in.
Zildjian are the preeminent name when it comes to cymbals, and for good reason, the beloved Turkish brand have been around for nearly 400 years. Yes, you read that correctly. Since 1623, Zildjian have been making some of the world’s finest cymbals, passing down the alloy recipe from generation to generation and making Zildjian one of the longest running businesses in the world.
The beloved K series, is possibly the most well known of their famous product lines and the K Sweet variant (the ideological middle ground between then brands K and A series) have been quietly garnering a stellar reputation amongst drum aficionados since they came on to the scene a few years ago.
The K Sweet Cymbal Pack extends the rich sounds of the K Zildjian Series in a sweet new direction that’s versatile enough for all differing types of music, from Rock and Jazz to live hip-hop and more.
The traditional finish and slightly unorthodox choice in sizing makes for a slightly darker but exceptionally balanced cymbal set, at a price-point that is sure to keep gigging drummers on side.
The oversized 15” HiHats feature a thin top and an extra heavy bottom, creating a noticeable wash while maintaining rock solid transients and accented notes throughout. In terms of volume, I found these to be particularly nicely balanced in most kit setups, sitting naturally in the overheads without the need for a designated hat mic.
The 15” diameter makes for massively accentuated open hat catches, perfect for hip-hop and R’n’B and other genres using syncopated open hat work. The heavy bottom also brings with it an added sense of durability and hardiness and not at the expense of tone. In fact the sound on these hats had me rethinking why I hadn’t thought to move to 15” hats earlier.
As far as crashes go, the 17” and 19” options included in the pack are more than enough to work with, being pitched differently and with a slightly darker vibe than one might expect. Being extra thin in weight makes for a lightning fast response and in terms of volume, they too sit nicely balanced in the overall kit sound.
Being slightly thinner than I was used to, I was pleasantly surprised at their musicality, eschewing the two second white noise drown-out that normally accompanies a hard crash strike when played on thicker, more resonant cymbals. The unlathed bells created a nice balance in the pitch and wash frequencies, making for an extremely musical sounding crash – if there ever was such a thing!
Given that the Ride is usually going to see plenty of action, it was nice to see that it was not only extremely sturdy, but also thin enough to double as a third crash if need be. At 21” and full of life, it provided bell-like upper harmonics and was a sound engineer’s dream at capture. The general low profile of the cymbals and mounting points makes it all the more crashable, while the richness of the bell tones cut through a busy mix like a hot knife through butter.
All in all, the Zildjian K Sweet pack is a perfect utilitarian option for those looking for that middle ground between tried and tested durability and unbridled sonic expression. The versatility of the ride and crash profiles, and the interchangeability of both allows for a whole manner of interesting textures and approaches to cymbal work.
The 15’’ hats with their extra inch of travel make for an explosive open hat sound, and the overall darkness of the traditional finish pairs well with all kinds of mic setups and recording applications in the studio. If you were looking for a set of cymbals that can do it all, the K Sweets are a damn good bet.