Zildjian make dozens of different types of cymbal, but the A sound is still the foundation. The A is an all-rounder which can enhance any type of music from punk to symphonic and it's still the biggest seller. This doesn't mean As are bland, more that they are harmonious, musical and definitive. They are not likely to shock or disappoint.
There are five new crashes covering each inch from 14" to 18". The A Zildjian range already includes a fair number of thin crashes and splashes. Generally speaking, the thinner a cymbal the lower its pitch, but the speedier its initial response. The difference is that while the new Fast crashes are indeed lightweight, fast and fairly deep in timbre, they nevertheless retain their brightness.
So yes, they're incisive, but they also have body and character.
Zildjian suggests this is in part due to the newly designed, smallish bell. The bigger the bell on a cymbal the more ride-like it becomes and crashing it can feel a bit oafish. So it was with great pleasure we found these new Fast crashes responded instantly and have that lovely silvery smoothness - Zildjian describes it as 'buttery' - which really does make your mouth water.
You know you can slip a Fast crash or splash in at will without getting the evil eye from your singer.
The smaller bell and lighter weight also mean the cymbals are not so loud, but are quicker to build up and to decay. They spark into life with the merest of glancing blows, provide just enough wash and then die gracefully. They don't hang around muddying up the sound.
Somehow Zildjian have achieved this without sacrificing too much body, so that the overall tone is extremely pleasant. There's an orchestral purity which is tasteful without being insipid. Starting with the 14" and 15" these are lightning strikes which will serve to make precise interjections in any style of music, adding colour and variety.
As you get to the 16" and 17" the pitch is getting ever deeper, but the leading edge is just as sharp. A beguiling mix. For some reason the 18" crash has a proportionally bigger bell than all the others. The result is that it does seem to have more of a 'ding' than the rest, with ever so slightly more complex undertones, although it blends in with the others perfectly well.
Making a splash
When these characteristics of light weight and small bell are transferred to the splashes, the result is the quickest response and decay of all the A Zildjian splashes.
Since the smaller a cymbal gets the greater proportion its bell takes up, all splashes tend towards a high pitched dinner gong 'ding' when you tap them. This is certainly noticeable on the 8" and 10" splashes. There is a razor-sharp, hissing attack followed by a bell-like afterglow. But once again, the fact the new bell is a bit smaller helps diminish this effect and it's nowhere near as off-putting as it is with some splashes we could name.
If you bash the 8" or 10" and then trap it with your other hand then you just get the sharp impact, and believe me, sharp is the right word.
The 12" by contrast is almost a mini crash cymbal and has correspondingly less of the bell sound and more of the silvery splash. It seems to us to sit neatly between the splashes and the crashes - which is a very handy niche to fill.