K Zildjian Cymbals
Costly but tasteful
This particular marque of cymbals started life in Constantinople in 1865. They were formulated by the patriarch of the Zildjian clan, one Kenope. When the bulk of the family moved to America and started to build a different type of Turkish cymbal under Avedis' direction, those 'Ks' were still produced back in the old country and exported all over the world. Indeed this practice went on far into the seventies. Eventually, it was decided, for one reason or another, to run the factory in Istanbul down and move some of its artisans to Boston, Mass. They began to produce the same cymbals in the US, but for some reason or other they simply didn't sound the same — soundwise, they simply weren't as dirty. (Up until then, the 'K' had always been a very mellow cymbal with a short decay, which I suppose you could say sounded old before its time. I must hastily add that this is not meant to denigrate it, there's something very musical in an Eastern way about 'K' Zildjians. So, to cut the story short, they worked a little on the formula and came up with an eighties version which was as close as modern technology could get to the real thing! The company have just sent me along several of the latest 'K's'...
I was able to test both a 20" and a 22" heavy ride and both had a lot of 'ping', no blur at high speed and a shallow profile. The larger one had a little more gong to it and a lower pitch. Neither of these would work as a 'Crash' cymbal. There was also an 18" 'Heavy ride' which seemed to me to be much thinner, with a delicate sound, rounder and with less 'ping'.
They sent along a pair of 'Flat top' Ks, also 20" and 22" diameter. Of course the overtone of these cymbals is minimal since they don't have a bell. The smaller one had, for me, a more silvery sound while the other had a somehow flatter tone with its middle frequencies more predominant.
I was also supplied with a pair of Dark crashes, a 15" and a 17". They were both extremely fast, especially from a distance. The smallest one had a higher pitch, of course. K Zildjian are making China Boys in what you might call intermediate sizes, ie 17" and 19". The larger one had a more raucous sound perfect for punctuation while the 17" was not only higher pitched, it was prettier.
Those 'Splash'-type cymbals would still appear to be in demand, even though they ain't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. 'K' make an 8" and 10", both of which have a very clean and bright sound, albeit with a little more middle than an Avedis. I have seen many of these sort of cymbals destroyed by enthusiastic over-use. They are simply not made for whacking; very much an effect instrument.
K Zildjian hi hats have traditionally had a mellow sound and the pair of 13s they sent along were no exception to the rule. I find them Jazzy and without the impact of (say) a pair of New-beats. However, they do have a very distinctive sound (like all Ks) and their softer sound may be just what you're looking for.
Now for the 'crunch'. K Zildjian cymbals are not cheap; as a matter of fact they are considerably more than Avedises. But, as I intimated they have a very special sort of sound characteristic which will obviously please certain players. It would be too easy to say that they are meant for Jazz players alone, since some guys use them in Heavy Rock. No, they are an all-purpose cymbal and my information is that drummers are buying one or two of them to either keep in reserve or to use with their normal set. Of course they're compatible with other Zildjians and this is a trait which was introduced on purposes. However, if you choose with care, you'll find them compatible with any make.
RRP: On application
Review by Bob Henrit
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