Zultan AEON series cymbals review

B25 bronze meets dual-finishing for a blend of traditional and modern cymbal sounds

  • £87
Zultan AEON
(Image: © Zultan Cymbals)

MusicRadar Verdict

Affordable, pro-quality cymbals with a lot of versatility


  • +

    Comprehensive sounds, B25 bronze, affordable pricing


  • -

    They might not be as well suited to extremely heavy-hitting styles

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Zultan AEON cymbals: What is it?

The last couple of years have been busy for Zultan Cymbals, with its affordable, Turkish-made cymbals offering premium-level design and features at a cut price. The latest AEON series brings the full range-count of the Zultan catalogue to a total of 14 different lines, and with so many options available it’s tricky to think what hasn’t already been covered. So where does the AEON line fit?

For a start, it uses a slightly different alloy to most of the rest of Zultan’s ranges (which are largely B20 bronze), with only he CS line featuring the B25 alloy. Here, the cymbals are cast from a B25 alloy, giving us 5% more tin than the classic B20 for a 25/75 ratio of tin to copper. 

The entire AEON range comprises 6 rides (20”, 21” and 22” and ‘light’ versions of each size); 7 crashes (17”, 18”, 19”, 20” and thin versions of the largest three), two pairs of hi-hats (14” and 15”), three FX crashes (14”, 16” and 18” an FX stack (14” FX crash with a 16” china) and one 10” splash. they all feature natural, unprocessed bells, while the rest of the cymbal is hand-lathed and hand-hammered in Zultan’s Turkish factory.

Zultan AEON cymbals: Performance and verdict

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan Cymbals)

That’s a lot of cymbals, and Zultan specifies that the AEON range is suitable for any style of music, with the description of the AEON’s sound as “Bright, earthy tones” being almost contradictory.

In the flesh, the AEON cymbals give off a hint of Zildjian’s K Sweet series, at least in appearance, with the raw bells contrasting against the finished bows. Armed with a full set, we started our review by picking out a set of the larger sizes (22” ride, 18" and 20” crashes, 15” hats) and swapped and added from there.

Ride cymbals

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

Cymbal characteristics can fall to specific personal taste, and ride cymbals - particularly for drummers who play genres that require a lot of mileage from the ride - are no different. 

It’s also the spot where Zultan’s bright/earthy description makes the most sense. There’s a definite theme across the three sizes, with a medium-bright stick response that’s followed by a darker, sustained tail of overtones. 

With repeated strikes, this blooms into a wash, with the stick definition still apparent but slightly buried. The sustain and darkness is understandably at its fullest on the 22” ride, with the pitch raising and overtones following as we move up in sizes. 

The regular versions of each cymbal are thicker, and while that gains some ‘ping’, you will lose a little of the ability to crash on the ride at controlled levels. With that said, these are by no means dry cymbals, and crash-riding is still very much an option, you’ll just have to hit them harder.

Or, you could consider one of the thinner, Light models. These exhibit similar tonal qualities to the regular versions, but being thinner they’re a little easier to control. We still get good separation with faster strokes, but the wash is tamer when playing on the bow. 

Move to the edge, though, and you’ll find that getting the rides to open up into a full crash requires less effort. It’s not quite as explosive as say, a Zildjian A Sweet, but the AEON Light Ride models do remind us of the versatile response. 

 The raw bells, while pronounced, aren’t as overbearing as you might expect. If anything, the un-finished nature means that they offset the rest of the rides’ washiness by providing a dryer, faster bell sound. It blends well with alternating strikes between the bell and the bow, volume-wise, and rather than giving a piercing, bright sustain, it’s darker, and faster to move out of the way.

Crash cymbals

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

We’ve seen many trends in cymbals over the last few years, to the point where options are no longer limited to high-end ranges. From dark and dry to loud and heavy and everywhere in-between, there are now plenty of sonic choices to be made when it comes to crashes, to the point where cymbals that sound like…cymbals have almost become pedestrian choices for some. 

Like the ride cymbals, the AEON crashes come in two options: regular or thin. There’s no doubt that the regular-weight crashes project more than their lighter siblings, and in reality there are few surprises going on from these models. 

You glance them, they crash at an averagely-loud level that isn’t overbearing but will definitely cut through. While that appraisal may sound like they’re slightly underwhelming, it’s not intended to. 

The AEON crashes sound like nice medium, meat and potatoes traditional crash cymbals that are likely to sit as great additions within your current setup. They may not withstand pummelling in a metal context, but for classic rock and related styles they’re going to deliver.

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

The thin models are where our ears really pricked up, though. Like the lighter versions of the rides, these are easier to coax a full crescendo out of at more controlled levels, while definitely not being ‘quiet’. They’re fast, too, with the crashes exploding, then dropping back unobtrusively. 

The overall difference in sound could be summed up by an additional ‘shimmer’ quality to the thin models. The 18” and 19” cymbals supplied in our set are pitched a nice interval apart, despite the one-inch difference, but it’s the 20” model that wins the day.

Larger cymbals often equate to preconceptions of big, heavy sounds, but the 20” Aeon Thin Crash was a joy to play. Placing it on the stand gives us an idea of how much give there is, with the edges feeling flexible before we even strike. 

It creates enough of a full metal racket to ride on the edge, but without taking over. We could see the Thin Crashes being perfect for applications where larger cymbals are required without the volume, but equally useful in recording environments where the cymbals might need taming.

FX Crashes and Splash

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

FX cymbals are big news, and one of the easiest ways to add some additional colour to your sound. The AEON series is home to four FX cymbals, plus a not-really-an-effects-cymbal 10” Splash. The most distinctive is the AEON FX Stack, which comprises a 16” china and 14” FX crash. 

Curiously, the stack is the only way to get your hands on the FX China, which like the crash has been drilled with a dozen holes, arranged into a square pattern. Stacks are a lot of fun, and we like it when they’re fast and sharp, as opposed to clang-y and sustained. This sits somewhere in the middle, depending on how you mount and tighten it. 

The combined sizes make it a good all-rounder, giving more projection than some of the smaller stacks on the market, but without getting into ringing bin lid territory. It’s just washy enough, but not so tight that it sounds like a pair of X-hats tightly clamped. Of course, you can also use these as two individual cymbals in their own right, so they present some strong creative options.

Next up are the FX Crashes, which are essentially the AEON’s version of an O-Zone crash. The 14” model from the FX Stack is available on its own, but it’s joined by 16” and 18” models too. 

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

As you’d probably expect, these sound like crashes, but with an additional trashy edge added. It’s not as overly apparent as we’ve heard in some more extreme examples of FX crashes, perhaps due to the size, placement and number of holes, but it’s definitely noticeable. 

The trash culminates in an additional layer of zing to the cymbal’s top end which gives us the brighter element of Zultan’s description. Along with the removal of metal thanks to those holes, there’s also a removal of some lower frequencies, making these cymbals less cluttering and carving out a notch for them to cut through. 

The tonality smoothens out as you move up in sizes, with the 18” giving us the darkest sound (but you’d struggle to say this is a ‘dark’ cymbal). All in all, they’re ideal for their intended purpose of adding accents!

 It’s a similar story for the (undrilled) splash cymbal too. It falls more into the ‘mini-crash’ flavour of splashes rather that the drier, throaty chiming style. Like the FX cymbals, it’s brighter, almost to the point of Oriental-type sizzle, and is quite reminiscent of the Sabian AAX 10” splash we compared it to. 

Splashes aren’t the ‘on-trend’ addition that they were, but to a certain type of player (hands up), they’re still one of the best additions to a cymbal collection for adding busy flourishes, and in that respect it’s a shame that there aren’t a couple more sizes available in the range.


Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan AEON)

Last, but by no means least are the two pairs of hi-hats. For everyday use, there’s a pair of 14” hats, but if you fancy something a little different Zultan has also offered them as 15” models too. 

The 14” pair are likely to be the most popular, and with good reason - they deliver all the hallmarks of ‘medium’ hi-hats. The stick sound is soft, but pressing them closed tightly gives a harder, more cutting ‘chick’ and the medium-high pitch means that they bark and slosh nicely in a way that’s going to work - as Zultan says - for pretty much anything.

Zultan AEON

(Image credit: Zultan)

But, the 15” hi-hats have an extra level of darkness that translates to a fatter stick sound, sustained when splashed with your foot, and a washy slosh when played semi-open. If you’re looking for a pair of hi-hats for blues and vintage rock styles, you won’t go wrong with these.


At first, the AEON Series seems like it might be suffering a bit of an identity crisis - dark and sustained while claiming to be bright, with plenty of accent and FX cymbals which by their nature need to be fast and responsive. But after playing them the description makes more sense. These mix-up traditional tonalities with some more modern features, so if you want some variety without breaking the bank or having to go for ear-piecing modern cymbals, check these out.  

Zultan AEON: Hands-on demos


Drums Bonedo



Alloy: B25 Bronze
Origin: Turkey
Ride cymbals:
20", 21", 22" (Light versions in all sizes)
Crash cymbals: 17", 18", 19" 20", 18", 19" 20" Thin Crashes
FX cymbals: 14" crash/16" china stack, 14", 16", 18" FX Crashes, 10" splash
Hi-hats: 14", 15" pairs
Set available? Yes

For more information, visit the Zultan website. To check the latest prices, visit Thomann.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.