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The 5 Best Quiet Cymbals: 2020 Reviews and Buying Guide

Man playing music with percussion set that includes cymbals

Quiet cymbals are the music industry’s solution to noise complaints in residential areas. These are cymbals made from unique metal alloys that produce softer, shorter sounds than the traditional version of the instrument. Quiet cymbals are popular among musicians who need to practice in apartments, neighborhoods or sound studios where there are noise restrictions.

It can be difficult to play the drums at a reasonable volume, and the market is now awash with a broad range of products to choose from. Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you by isolating the best products and the traits you should look for in your next set of quiet cymbals.

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The Best Quiet Cymbals Overall


Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Set

The Zildjian L80 Cymbal Set is quieter than the traditional model while retaining the original sound and versatility. This versatility and the included two-year warranty make these cymbals a great choice for musicians of different styles.

Features & Benefits

  • Full set that includes a hi-hat and two crash cymbals
  • 70 to 80 percent quieter than standard cymbals
  • Can be played with sticks, mallets, brushes, etc.
  • Suitable for any musical style
  • Two-year manufacturer’s warranty for any flaws in the product
  • Weight: 8.5 pounds

Pros

  • The versatility of the kit means you can transition from practicing rock to jazz with no difficulty
  • The proprietary metal alloy is primarily bronze with a heavy mix of tin, which generates a high-quality sound
  • The holes are spaced far enough apart to produce a crisp sound without drag

Cons

  • Can have a heavy overtone if struck too hard
Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Set

Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Set

Editorial Review

If you want the best, look no further than the Zildjian L80 Low Volume Set. This set includes a 13-inch hi-hat, a 14-inch crash and an 18-inch crash made of durable bronze alloy. The myriad of holes are spaced out around each entire cymbal, producing an incredible dampened sound that’s 70 to 80 percent softer than that of the traditional Zildjian models.

These cymbals are well-known for producing crisp tones that blend well with any musical style, but the set is ideal for rock or light blues. While there’s no dedicated ride, the 18-inch cymbal can double as one when struck properly. Plus, the set is versatile and can be played with a stick, mallet or brush.

With these, you even get a two-year warranty in case something goes wrong during use.

What Others Are Saying

Positive: The Zildjian L80 Cymbal Set has a whopping 96 percent approval rating on Amazon. There are few negative comments about the set, and the positive reviews draw attention to the quality and clean sound of these quiet cymbals. Many users were also able to adapt the cymbals to their musical tastes and styles.

Negative: Only one negative review was provided, and it doesn’t contain much information. The user just claims that the cymbals were too quiet for his musical tastes, and that he’ll probably resell them.

The Runner-Up Quiet Cymbals


UFO Low Volume Cymbal Pack

The UFO Low Volume Cymbal Pack is less expensive than the Zildjian L80 set and contains all of the basic cymbal sizes seen in a regular kit. The material is high-quality and durable; plus, the cymbals can be stacked with standard ones for fun effects.

Features & Benefits

  • Includes one hi-hat, one crash and one ride
  • 70 to 75 percent quieter than standard cymbals
  • Stackable with regular cymbals
  • Made from zinc
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Weight: 8.35 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to install and can be used with electric kits
  • Carrying case makes transport to and from a studio easy
  • The ride has a diameter of 20 inches

Cons

  • There is no warranty
UFO Low Volume Cymbal Pack

UFO Low Volume Cymbal Pack

Editorial Review

At first, the UFO Low Volume Pack doesn’t stand out too much, until you take a look at the actual quality of the pieces. This set is made from zinc, which is more prone to damage than bronze, but also produces top-notch notes that are jazzy and low. Unlike other sets, the UFO Pack includes a 20-inch ride that complements the 16-inch crash and the 14-inch hi-hat.

This set can be used with an electric kit—although the triggering isn’t included—and comes with a carrying case for convenience. The pack is more affordable than the Zildjian L80 set and can be used by beginner and intermediate players who need to practice in their apartments or studios.

What Others Are Saying

Positive: Many reviewers enjoyed the reduced cost of this set and the ease of using the cymbals with older drum kits. While their zinc material is more malleable than bronze is, these cymbals can take a hit and are great for training and practicing, especially for young students.

Negative: There weren’t many negative reviews. However, a common comment was that the hi-hat has a slightly tinny sound, which stands out if it’s struck too hard.

The Best Budget-Friendly Quiet Cymbals


Sabian QTPC501 Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal Set

If you’re concerned about the cost of quiet cymbals, the Sabian Quiet Tone Practice Set will save the day by being both affordable and durable. These are excellent for heavy use, which they might undergo during band classes, private lessons or in-depth sessions.

Features & Benefits

  • Set includes a hi-hat and a crash
  • Each cymbal has a defined bell and edge that produces sharp, clear sounds
  • Respond like regular cymbals
  • Finished with a durable metal alloy
  • Resistant to dents and stains
  • Weight: 5.25 pounds

Pros

  • Can withstand being struck with a wide range of tools
  • Produce a clearly defined noise
  • Defined shape and bell

Cons

  • Kit only includes two cymbals
Sabian QTPC501 Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal Set

Sabian QTPC501 Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal Set

Editorial Review

The Sabian Quiet Tone Practice Set contains quiet cymbals that have been designed for heavy-duty practice. The material is slick and durable, and it can be struck with a broad range of tools, so musicians can experiment with sound and technique. The noise produced is sharp and clear, and tends to be higher-pitched than the notes traditionally produced by low-volume cymbals.

In addition to the crisp noise, another excellent feature is the overall shape of the pieces. While low-volume cymbals can suffer from having a flatter shape, these cymbals have a defined edge, bell and shape that clarify the sound.

When it comes to the availability of pieces, there’s a 13-inch hi-hat and an 18-inch crash, which are suitable for jazz and rock songs. Overall, the kit is affordable and will last a long time, making it a good choice for people on a budget.

What Others Are Saying

Positive: When it comes to ratings on Amazon, 85 percent of the reviews were completely positive, and roughly 15 percent were average but not negative. One of the greatest features cited was how this set’s producers didn’t sacrifice the unique cymbal sound to save on costs. Users were still able to produce high-quality notes while making 70 percent less noise. Teachers, in particular, found the cymbals ideal for band classes and private lessons.

Negative: The 15 percent of reviews that were average focused on the sound itself. Some users didn’t like the sharp sound produced by the metal alloy finish, and considered it quite grating but still serviceable.

The Best Quiet Traditional Cymbal


Meinl Cymbals Special Effects Set

These sets contain a quiet pair of cymbals that are durable enough to be used by musicians who practice and play shows all the time. Although they offer a reduced noise level, they’re designed for regular use in addition to quiet sessions at home. As a result, one of these sets is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to purchase two separate sets of cymbals.

Features & Benefits

  • Includes a bell, a crash and a china
  • Perfect for creating special effects and unique sounds
  • Custom-made
  • Precision hammered for ideal sound
  • Produce crisp, high notes
  • Weight: 6.6 pounds

Pros

  • Easy to install and use
  • Made from a durable yet crisp B10 alloy
  • Set includes unusual cymbals for special effects

Cons

  • Set does not include a ride or hi-hat, two of the more traditional styles
Meinl Cymbals Special Effects Set

Meinl Cymbals Special Effects Set

Editorial Review

At first, it was difficult to determine whether to recommend the Meinl Cymbals Special Effects Set or not. It’s definitely a low-volume option that still incorporates much of the sizzle and spark people associate with traditional cymbals. This set is affordable and is made from high-quality B10, which creates a durable finish that allows the instruments to stand up to a beating during practice and regular jam sessions.

Additionally, the sound of the Meinl Cymbals is on point. The notes produced are clear, crisp and on the lower end of the spectrum, which helps them slice through music without being so loud that they disrupt the rest of the song. This is one of the only sets of low-volume cymbals that actually produces a lower, drier sound. Most tend to produce high, crisp sounds, because of the reduced volume.

This set includes a couple of specialty cymbals that have been designed to produce less traditional sounds—these include the China cymbal, which can be utilized to add flair to music. Overall, these unique cymbals are great for beginners and experts alike.

What Others Are Saying

Positive: These cymbals are highly rated, with 93 percent of the reviews on Amazon having a positive score. One of the key highlights musicians noted was the cymbals’ ability to cut through other instruments without damaging the ears or being annoying. People also enjoyed the smooth, bronze finish and the dry ring you can get from these cymbals.

Negative: The main complaint individuals had focused on the short decay of the sound.

The Best Expensive Quiet Cymbal


Agean R-Series Low Noise Cymbal Pack Box Set

These quiet cymbals were handcrafted in Turkey with B20 bronze, and have been designed to be ultra-quiet while still producing high-quality notes. While expensive, at more than $600, the Agean R-series is long-lasting and is meant to survive for decades.

Features & Benefits

  • Set includes a hi-hat, a crash and a ride
  • Cymbals produce 70 percent less noise than regular ones
  • Made from B20 bronze
  • Holes are drilled by hand
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Weight: 13.23 pounds

Pros

  • Highly durable and long-lasting
  • Produce clear sounds
  • Carrying bag included

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
Agean R-Series Low Noise Cymbal Pack Box Set

Agean R-Series Low Noise Cymbal Pack Box Set

Editorial Review

The Agean R-Series Low Noise Box Set is
ideal for individuals who want a cymbal package that will last for years. The
B20 formulation is extremely durable and has been designed to produce crisp,
clear notes that stand out. These cymbals produce around 70 percent less noise
than the standard Agean models and are handcrafted in Turkey, driving the cost up
to more than $600.

Each hole is hand-drilled into the metal to ensure proper placement and the correct sound. The complete box set has a 14-inch hi-hat, a 16-inch crash and a 20-inch ride. A carrying bag is also included, so you can get back and forth from a studio or apartment with each piece.

Plus, there’s a lifetime warranty on the
manufacturing. If something goes wrong, you might be able to get your money
back and a replacement set.

Overall, while these cymbals are super-expensive,
they can serve as a great collector’s item that’s also practical and beautiful
to use.

What Others Are Saying

Positive: Eighty-six percent of reviews for the Agean R-Series are positive, with these coming from buyers who enjoyed the beauty of the cymbals and the clear sound they produce. Many others were overjoyed to have a collector’s item that would be durable enough to last through years of consistent use. It was also noted that the cymbals were easy to install and carry.

Negative: Around 14 percent of the reviews were negative and focused extensively on the cost of the cymbals, because of the taxes required to import them. Some users also noted that the holes might have a rough quality, because they’re marked and drilled by hand.

The Bottom Line


Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Set

There are plenty of high-quality quiet cymbals out there. Overall, the best set is the Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbal Set because of the quality of the music and the high-pitched notes it’s able to produce. Still, there are great lower-budget options available, as well as some more traditional models.

Buyer’s Guide to Quiet Cymbals


Cymbals are an essential part of any complete percussion kit. The type of cymbals a musician has fundamentally affects what kind of sounds they’ll be able to make use of while playing. As with all cymbals, it’s essential to find the right set of quiet cymbals so you can play the music you want when you want, and these are some of the most important characteristics you should check out before making any purchase.

Low-Volume Cymbal Sizes

First, you want to get the right cymbal
size. The size affects the tone and the sound of the cymbals, with smaller ones
producing higher notes and larger, rounder models producing lower tones. The
shape can also be important, but that’s a topic for later.

Here’s a quick guide to the types of cymbals you can expect to find:

Splash cymbals (6 to 12 inches) – These are often used for accents within a broad range of music styles.
Hi-hats (13 to 15 inches) – These consist of two cymbals that are stacked on top of one another and played at the same time. The upper cymbal is heavier than the lower one to produce a better sound.
Crash cymbals (14 to 20 inches) – Larger cymbals typically used for accents, as with the splash models.
China – A China cymbal comes in splash and crash sizes, but has a curved bow.
Ride (19 to 24 inches) – The largest cymbal type that has one of the lowest tones.

Before purchasing any quiet cymbal, make sure you know what size you want for your kit. If you already have some cymbals and would just like quieter versions, you can make a decision based on that information and then move forward.

The Right Cymbal Style for You

The style of cymbal you possess will change how your music sounds. If you’re trying to play a particular style, such as jazz or rock, then you want an instrument that will produce the correct sound.

In general, jazz and the blues are more compatible with the drier, darker sound that’s often produced by larger, rounded models. If you play pop or rock, then you’ll want a bright, crisp sound that will cut through the rest of the instruments. The cymbals that make this type of sound are typically smaller.

With this in mind, ride and large crash symbols are ideal for jazz and the blues. If you’re a rock musician, then you’ll want hi-hats or a smaller crash or splash to produce clean sounds.

Your Budget

Next, there is your budget to consider. Because cymbals vary in size and quality, there’s also a broad range of prices. While it’s possible to get a cymbal or even a set for under $100, these will be of low quality and won’t always sound great.

On average, a drummer can expect to spend
between $150 and $350 outfitting their set, sometimes with only a single
cymbal. This sounds like a lot, but an instrument at this price point will be
in good condition and will last for a long time, which is why musicians choose
to invest so much.

For people who want to be as fancy as possible, there are cymbals that cost upwards of $500 and $600 for a single piece. These are super-durable and meant to last, but can also break the bank for you if you don’t budget accordingly. For this reason, only the most experienced or dedicated musicians buy these models.

Available Materials

When it comes to cymbals, there are four materials you might run into: bronze, brass, nickel-plated stainless steel and proprietary alloys. Each one affects a cymbal’s durability and the sound produced by the cymbal when it’s struck. For this reason, you need to know what metal has been used to make any cymbal you’re interested in; otherwise, you might end up stuck with a quiet cymbal with the wrong sound.

Bronze

Bronze is the most common material and is
used in a number of alloys, or combinations of metals. Bronze itself is actually
an alloy made of copper and tin. These two base metals will have a serious
effect on the sound of your cymbals, with a brighter sound coming from those
that include more tin.

Numerous quiet cymbals are made of bronze, while also carrying amounts of copper and tin. These are given labels like B20, which is made up of 80 percent copper and 20 percent tin. B20 goes by many names, depending on the brand you choose—for example, Zildjian calls this mixture the “Zildjian Secret Alloy.”

If you see a quiet cymbal with a B8 label,
it’s still made of bronze. This is an alloy made up of roughly 92 percent copper
and 8 percent tin, which makes a cymbal cheaper but also brighter and higher-pitched.
You might see a trend here: Any cymbal with a label that has a “B” and then a
number is telling you how much tin is in the piece. This can help you choose a
cymbal with the right tone for your music.

Brass

If you’re getting new cymbals, avoid brass.
This rigid metal is used in cymbals that are meant for beginners, and is prone
to cracking and producing awkward notes. It also produces high tones that might
sound out of place in your set, and with brass, it’s difficult to recreate
styles that rely on low, dark or hollow tones. In general, you won’t be able to
find quiet cymbals made of brass.

Nickel Silver

Nickel silver is a malleable material that’s
typically placed over a broad stainless steel cymbal. It’s an alloy made of copper
and nickel and can be used by beginner, intermediate or even advanced musicians,
depending on how much nickel is used.

In general, nickel silver produces a bright
tone, but lacks shimmer.

Proprietary Alloys

Unfortunately, this guide can’t tell you the components of a proprietary alloy. When you see this, it means the manufacturer is using a unique mixture of metals and has made the formula a company secret. Some companies, such as Zildjian or Sabian, use this style of alloy.

Conclusion

Individuals who need to practice in a crowded environment or in an area with limits on sound should invest in a set of these high-quality quiet cymbals. They come in a broad range of materials, tones and even sizes, so there will always be a set that’ll work well with your musical style.

Just be sure to pay attention to some of the features highlighted above, including the style of the cymbal and the primary material each one is made of. These features will have a strong effect on a cymbal’s sound and can even affect just how quiet the cymbal is capable of being.

Featured image: Pixabay

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