Last Updated on November 9, 2021 by Danny
A set of low volume cymbals are an asset for every drummer. They allow you to practice without damaging your ears and also without damaging your standing with your neighbors. While regular/standard/traditional cymbals are great they do have a few cons.
These low volume cymbals we have researched are not only silent but are also able to remain true to their tone. The four cymbals provide you with an authentic playing experience even when you are not on a stage.
In addition to the four best low volume cymbals, we have also added the two best aftermarket muting tools for your existing kit. We have also discussed why you should get low volume cymbals and what are the various factors you have to consider while buying them. We hope this article gives you an in-depth understanding of reducing the volume of your cymbals.
4 Best Low Volume Cymbal for Practice – Reviews
You can actually talk over the drums while being played
They’re quiet but they’re definitely louder than L80
Great for practice and Keeps cymbal volume low for music lessons
Good for gigs in smaller venues but expensive
1. Zildjian L80 Low Volume Quiet Cymbals
The Zildjian LV468 low volume cymbals pack features the Zildjian L80 low volume cymbals. The Zildjian L80 is one of the most popular low volume hi-hat cymbals out there. Each of the cymbals is manufactured to perfection by Zildjian. The special alloy of the cymbals along with a fully perforated surface gives you a 70-80% reduction in volume, hence the name L80.
The pack of low volume cymbals comes with two 14” hi-hats, 16” crash cymbal, and an 18” crash ride cymbal. Most low volume cymbals kits do not have a separate a crash cymbal and a separate ride cymbal. They are packed with all the features and sophistication you would expect from a Zildjian cymbal. These quiet cymbals have great tone and sound authentic. The cymbals do not have any mufflers or rubber pads, therefore allowing them to sound and feel natural. The cymbals also have a great response and allow you to play vastly and swiftly. The alloy material is also strong, so you will be able to play hard without worrying about cracking or denting them. These low volume cymbals also look great thanks to their beautiful matte finish.
You also get a complete set of Remo heads that allow you to quieten your entire kit; you will be able get up to 90% volume reduction. The heads are from Remo’s silent stroke mesh drum-heads line and you get five heads whose sizes are 10”, 12”,14”, 16” and 22”. The heads have a good amount of springiness, so you get tactile feedback when you play. The only issue with this set is that a few users have complained that the bass drum head is too soft. The drum heads are great as they produce low volumes without compromising playability.
Overall this is definitely the best low volume cymbals pack to buy for most people. It is a great deal, especially for those who also need quiet drum heads.
- Natural feel
- Authentic tone
- Massive reduction in sound levels
- Great quality
- Low volume drum heads included
- Bass drumhead is a little soft
2. Sabian QTPC501 Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal
The Sabian Quiet Tone Practice cymbals are a great set of low volume cymbals. While they are not as sophisticated as other low volume cymbals (like the Zildjian L80), they are considerably cheaper. These Quiet cymbals are made from a durable alloy that is resistant to any dents, so you will be able to practice hard without any worries. It features closely knit perforations which dampen the sustain of the cymbals and therefore effectively reduce the volume. The sound of the Quiet Tone range is also quite similar to a genuine cymbal, so you don’t have to worry about getting flustered when you play on a regular cymbal.
With the Sabian quiet tone cymbals set, you get a 13” hi-hat pair and an 18” crash ride cymbal. While the hi-hats are smaller, the area is still large enough for you to properly practice and improve your rhythm and hand coordination. On the other hand, the crash ride cymbals are quiet adequate. These are great quiet practice cymbals for those on a budget.
- Natural feel
- Perforated cymbals
- Tone isn’t perfect
- Doesn’t look great
3. Zildjian LV348 Low Volume
Unlike the LV468 above, this is completely a cymbal box set. The Zildjian LV348 is perfect for someone who already owns or doesn’t need head-dampeners.
These low volume cymbals are the exact same as the ones you get with LV468, except that you get different dimensions. You get a pair of 13” hi-hats(these hi-hats are quite exceptional), a 14” crash, and an 18” crash ride cymbal. There are also many other box sets of various other combinations. You also get a quality carrying bag with the box set, so you can carry them around comfortably without worrying about scratches.
Since these are L80 cymbals, they are made with the same proprietary alloy and are therefore lighter and filled with indentations, allowing a similar 70-80% noise reduction. The qualifying of construction is also impeccable, therefore giving you a realistic feel and a natural tone. The only difference between these cymbals and standard Zildjian cymbals is its volume.
- Natural feel and tone
- A massive reduction in sound levels
- Great quality
- Hi-hat is slightly small
4. Sabian FRX Low Volume Cymbal
The Sabian FRX (Frequency Reduction) series is Sabian’s other offering for people who want to manage their cymbal sounds. Unlike the other cymbals in this list, the FRX is not designed to be a completely low volume option. These cymbals are that can deliver as full-fledged full-volume practice or live performance cymbals while being slightly quieter.
All the cymbals of the FRX range are made from B20 bronze and have small bands of holes cut on the outer edge and bell base of the cymbals. These small holes allow the cymbal to significantly reduce the volume of the more cutting frequencies. The cymbals, therefore, sound like a standard pair of cymbals except that they are quieter in the higher range of frequencies.
The FRX cymbals are typically sold individually and are available in the following sizes: 14” hi-hats; 16”, 17”, 18”, and 19” crashes; 20”, 21” and 22” rides.
The FRX has been modeled after Sabian’s HHX series and therefore shares many of the traits. The FRX is just slightly quieter and doesn’t cut as sharp as the HHX. Once again, these are not low volume cymbals, they are just quieter than normal cymbals. These will be useful when you are a heavy-hitting drummer or if excessive cymbal noise is ruining your sessions. Overall, Sabian FRX is the cheapest low volume(sorta) cymbal that will perfectly fit in your budget. Just keep in mind that these are a bit louder than proper quiet cymbals.
- Natural feel
- Sound great
- Great quality construction
- Not a proper low volume cymbal
Aftermarket Muting Tools
If you do not want to spend money on buying a new set of low volume cymbals, attaching aftermarket muting tools to your existing cymbals is the cheapest way to make your cymbals quieter. These tools tend to be cheap, easy to install and eliminate the need to have two sets of cymbals. If you want silent cymbals you need to install these drum and cymbal mutes, if you want normal cymbals you simply remove them. However, a mute is not thee perfect solution as they do significantly reduce the playability and sound quality of your drum kit. Most of these mutes are available as complete packs for your drums and cymbals.
How Quiet are Low Volume Cymbals?
While low volume cymbals are not fully silent, they are significantly quieter than your normal cymbals. Low volume cymbals, like the Zildjian L80s, only produce about 83 decibels while a normal cymbal can produce over 100 decibels. While this might only seem like a 20% reduction, you need to understand that the decibel scale is not a linear scale but rather a logarithmic one. You can therefore expect a volume that is 80% lower than standard options with low volume cymbals. Just listen to both the types of cymbals and the difference will be obvious
Why you should get Low Volume Cymbals?
You should get low volume cymbals as it protects your ear. Real cymbals produces a sound that can go as high as 100 or 120 decibels. 120 decibels is the point at which the sound starts hurting your ears. Even exposure for a short time to such volumes can not only cause you pain but can damage your ears permanently. However, as mentioned before, low volume cymbals are 80% quieter than regular cymbals. Therefore, you will be able to practice for very long periods of time without risking any damage to your ears.
Low volume cymbals are also extremely advantageous when you want to practice your drums in an urban setting. Using real cymbals to practice in an apartment will lead to dozens of noise complaints from neighbors. A low volume cymbal is quieter so the number of complaints will be lower.
Also unlike an electronic cymbal, you retain the feel of playing on acoustic cymbals with these. While electronic cymbals are great, using these low-volume cymbals allow you to easily transition to proper acoustic cymbals with ease.
What to look for in a Low Volume Cymbal?
There are plenty of different important factors that you should look into while buying a low volume cymbal. The many low volume cymbal options can confuse you about what truly matters.
The most important factor of all is the material which is used to make the cymbal. Low weight cymbals(AKA thinner cymbals) tend to use composite alloys that are lighter than a standard cymbal. Composite alloys are used as they have much lower resonance than pure metals. Other than the sound, the material must also be durable. While a lighter weight alloy is more likely to be damaged while being played, you should ensure that it is still durable. If you buy lightweight cymbals with weak materials, you will be shelling out your hard-earned money on constantly buying replacements.
The other important thing to consider is the design and construction of the low volume cymbals. The entire surface of the cymbal must be covered in indents or perforations to help the cymbal absorb and diminish the sound waves. You will also want the cymbals to be in the same size and same shape as regular cymbals. This allows your muscle memory to develop properly and facilities easy transition to regular cymbals if needed. Having a good bell curve is important for a low volume cymbal to feel like a standard one.
The best low volume cymbals are made of strong but light materials and are designed to be quiet. (they should be able to retain sound quality too)
Ear Damage (ear fatigue)
Ears are one of the greatest assets to a musician. It allows you to listen to tones properly and know when you or your instrument go off. Being tone-deaf is nothing short of a nightmare for a musician. Therefore, you must always take care of your ears.
Exposing your ears to high volume levels for even short periods of time leads to hearing damage. A high impact sound can potentially damage and even break your eardrums, possibly leading to tinnitus (ringing in your ears) and hearing loss.
Short term tinnitus typically lasts for two or three days as long as you do not expose yourself to loud noises during the recovery period. However, if you constantly expose your ears to high impact sound for long periods of time you risk developing irreversible tinnitus. Not only do you get permanent hearing loss because of that but you will also get constant headaches and could become an insomniac.
Therefore, consider what volume would be most suitable for you and your ears and buy a low volume cymbal in that range. This is especially important for younger drummers as they have the most to lose as far as hearing capability is considered. These also protect your families ears at the same time!
Cymbal frequencies are way more important than you think. A high-frequency cymbal can cause way more ear damage than even a bass drum.
Typically cymbals do not have a fixed pitch, they rather produce waves that are multilayered. The sound waves are all bunched up together. A high-frequency sound from a cymbal not only has a high pitch but all the peaks are closer. Your ears are therefore being bombarded by a bunch of high-frequency sounds every time you strike your cymbals.
The other thing to consider is the cymbal size, the larger the size the greater is the sustain. The greater the sustain, the worse it is for your ears.
Electronic Kits are the ultimate way to get low volume cymbals. You get full volume control and you can have practice sessions that are completely silent. If you are in a place where you cannot afford to produce even the slightest of noises, using an electronic kit with headphones is the best way to remain silent.
However, even electronic kits can lead to ear damage as the headphones are very close to your ears. If you practice for long periods with the volume turned up, you will have hearing loss. It is quite easy to not notice that the volume is too high, so always check to ensure that the sound is in an appropriate volume.
Another disadvantage with electronic cymbals is their feel. Even the most expensive electronic cymbals cannot effectively emulate a normal cymbal. Therefore, if you learn on an electronic kit and play on a real kit down the line, you will find the transition to be really hard.
There is a huge range of different cymbal dampness and mutes available. These are either placed on the surface of your cymbal at specific positions or are attached to the skirt of your cymbal.
They are typically made from materials that absorb and reduce vibrations, therefore reducing making your cymbals quieter. They however have several disadvantages. They tend to clumsily attach to the cymbals and typically have a short lifetime. They also make the edges of the cymbals more bouncy, altering the response and feel. Attaching the dampeners also significantly reduces the visual appeal of the cymbals. Finally and most importantly, they do not lead to a massive reduction in volume levels.
A low-volume cymbal on the other hand is able to deliver tones that are musically appropriate while reducing the volumes significantly.
Low volume cymbals have an immense array of benefits. They allow you to protect your ears while also allowing you to practice freely without being badgered by complaining neighbors. While we are not advocating normal cymbals should be fully banned, there are many situations where low volume cymbals would be more suited. And the best part is that these cymbals have playability that is pretty close to an acoustic cymbal. While there is only a limited selection of the best low volume cymbals in the market, the ones on our list will perform extraordinarily.