Zildjian seldom releases signature cymbals (the A Armand series being a rare exception), but it frequently collaborates with drummers to create new designs. The K Custom Hybrid range is a good example of such a project.
Inspired by Japanese fusion master and long-standing Zildjian endorsee, Akira Jimbo, it was first unveiled in 2006. In 2008, the range was enlarged with five new additions and this year sees three more cymbals joining the ranks.
K Custom Hybrids feature two opposing finishes on each cymbal: the bell and the inner half of the bow are unlathed and highly polished while the outer half is regularly lathed. In common with many of the existing K Custom Hybrids, the latest trio are all odd-number diameters.
The 21" ride is a larger version of the established 20" ride, and the 13" Trash splash and 15" Trash crash are all-new designs.
While the ride is a regularly shaped cymbal, the two smaller Trash models veer off into more radical design territory. Square bells (meaning no curve; just a straight line from the centre hole to the bow) are mirrored by sharply turned down outer edges. At the point where the edges turn southwards, there are several bands of small but intense hammer marks.
These details have been incorporated for their propensity to induce trashiness.
At over 3kg, the 21" ride is quite a lot of cymbal. It feels surprisingly thin to handle, though. The lathed area gives a clean, slightly woody-sounding ping over a complementary wash. Crossing over onto the polished area brings an instant change in character, with the stick sound morphing into something altogether tighter and more pronounced.
A metallic edge adds focus, helping the cymbal project further without a dramatic increase in volume. By the time the bell is reached, there's virtually no wash remaining – just a clear, strong peal. Crashing the ride is simple and it opens with a bright, shimmering note that takes some time to decay.
The two Trash models offer similar responses to one another, being separated in pitch more than anything else. The 15" Trash crash is a fraction darker than the splash, but they both deliver high-octane trashy attack. Response is instant and high frequencies dominate.
We preferred the splash for the way it seemed to slice through the air, but the crash's bigger size arguably makes it better suited to louder environments.