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Zildjian ZBT – are they worth the price?

Updated on September 22, 2010

Zildjian is one of the most known cymbal brand in the world. Young drummers watch with awe their favorite musicans bashing it out with Zildjians. Being a newcomer to the drumming world is not easy because you need to dish out lots of money just to start playing. First off – you need cymbals. Unfortunately like with all things in this world you can not get high quality product cheap. And Zildjian is – like you would expect from worldwide known brand – very pricey. But like almost all manufacturers they have entry-level products to satisfy those, who do not need studio quality, just decent sounding cymbal set that can withstand some hard hitting and mistakes that begginers do. And for Zildjian the entry point is the ZBT series.

ZBT’s are made from sheet bronze, that means each cymbal is cut from much larger sheet of metal rather than being cast individually. Thanks to that and using machine treatment instead of hand hammering Zildjian can cut the costs and lower the price tag. B8 bronze alloy from which they are made is sturdy enough to withstand most of the heavy-hitters out there, but remember no cymbal is invicible. Zildjian is known for extremely durable cymbals but unfortunately neither sheet bronze series lives up to the legend. As far as durability myths go you must remeber no drummer plays the same and no cymbal is the same so durability can vary. One can play for years without any signs of material wear, others will find cracks after half a year. In general ZBTs holds up pretty well and, for what I have heard from fellow drummers, they are comparable to B8 bronze series of other brands.

ZBT sound quality is pretty decent that means they will do the job if you are making your first steps in the drumming world. They offer clean and bright sound, best fitting the pop/rock/metal and r’n’b genres. ZBT cymbals have fast response and high volume so if you are looking for cymbals to play jazz or blues look elsewhere. Comparing to other brands and series I found ZBTs sounding better than SABIAN’s B8’s but the difference was minimal and probably comes down to the personal tastes. Best part of the set was definitely the hi hat which sounded bright, powerful and cutting. The 16” crash is loud and has long sustain, but the pitch was odd. With the 20” ride I had mixed reactions, it rises too quickly and have long sustain, yet the sound was clean enough for me. Bearing in mind that this set is for beginners only I cannot say I was disappointed but I was not overwhelmed by it either.

Closing comments
Zildjian ZBT’s are decent sounding cymbals, however at this price tag you can find really interesting alternatives. Personally I would not buy ZBT’s but for those of you who really want to have Zildjian cymbals and cannot afford professional series yet, the ZBT series will do the job. For those who do not care about the logo I would recommend getting PAISTE 201 cymbals for their lower price, good production values and great sound. As always with cymbals the best way is to sit down with each set, test them and choose the ones that sounds best for you.


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