Hands-On Review:Zildjian ZXT Titanium Cymbals- Unique silvery finish, professional sound, and an affordable price!

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Zildjian ZXT Titanium Cymbals
Unique silvery finish, professional sound, and an affordable price!

By Benny Wilson

Several weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a demonstration of Zildjian's new  ZXT Titanium Cymbals.  It was held at the Zildjian headquarters in Boston in the famous Drummer's Lounge. A full kit was set up on the lounge's riser surrounded by a cluster of the most striking cymbals I had ever seen - all a shining silver that gleamed under the lighting. The demonstration was given by none other than fusion heavyweight Russ Miller, who began explaining and playing the various cymbals in the ZXT Titanium Series.

Needless to say, it was a rare treat to hear such a fine drummer as Mr. Miller, but the real star of the show turned out to be the cymbals themselves. With the introduction of its  ZXT Titanium Cymbals,  Zildjian has created a real winner. They have struck a perfect balance between fine quality, style, durability, and affordability. These cymbals deliver fully professional performance and yet are priced to be accessible to virtually anyone serious about drumming. They are the result of a completely new technology from a company that has been making cymbals for nearly 400 years.

Cast and Sheet
Traditionally cymbals are made by individually pouring and casting molten metal. Each casting is cooled and sorted by weight for each cymbal mode. These castings are then put through a complex series of steps that include heating, rolling, shaping, hammering, and lathing. The techniques employed in each of these processes ultimately determine the  final appearance and tonal characteristics of each cymbal.

By contrast, ZXT cymbals,  along with the ZBT series, are made from a sheet of bronze alloy that is 92% copper and 8% tin. This bronze is first rolled to a uniform thickness, then each cymbal is cut from the sheet. The alloy's formula is no secret. What really distinguishes these cymbals are the exclusive (and secret) processes used to create them from a raw piece. These steps include precision hammering and shaping to loosen the alloy's molecular structure so it produces distinctive tonalities. Lathing is another step. Unique linear patterns are lathed into the cymbal's surface. The lathing interacts with the deep hammering to further enhance the cymbal's sonic character.

The result of these processes, in the case of the ZBT series, is a very affordably priced cymbal that makes an excellent choice for the new drummer just getting a first real kit together. The ZXT's employ more sophisticated hammering and lathing techniques from Zildjian's cast cymbal manufacturing, which results in a higher level of performance, greater tonal depth, and a richer character. They are a notch up in price from the ZBT's but still very affordable.

Add Titanium
The new ZXT Titaniums take the  ZXT family another step up. They are the first ever titanium-coated cymbals. Their look is distinctive and their sound is incredible. The titanium is applied using a new vapor deposition process, which results in a perfectly even coat which ultimately enhances their sound. Titanium is known for its wear resistance, light weight, and durability, and the finish on these ZXT's make them last longer, look better, and gives them their distinctive sound. Adding to their visual appeal is a laser-engraved logo that is classy looking and virtually impossible to wear off.

Generally speaking, the ZXT Titanium Cymbals have a bright and powerful sound, and are ideal for cutting through loud mixes. The ride cymbals have a clear ping and excellent projection. The crashes, which are available in a variety of sizes and weights, perform fantastically in any musical genre. The  Hi-Hats have a clear, defined chick and a full wash. The Titanium family also includes China and Splash cymbals, both with unique, bright, colorful sonic qualities. They make perfect add-ons for drummers wishing to extend the versatility of their existing setups.

Overall, I would say that the ZXT Titaniums come the closest yet of any sheet cymbal to rivaling the sonic richness of Zildjian's cast cymbals, and yet they are very affordable. They also offer the advantage of greater uniformity from cymbal to cymbal, which makes the process of selecting a cymbal much easier. Check out the models and prices below.  and score yourself cymbals that will really turn your groove loose.