Gear Review – Zildjian Pitch Black Cymbals

Zildjian’s Pitch Black series is the latest addition to their sheet bronze collection. Falling above the recently released ZHT series, Pitch Black is made of B-12 alloy and designed to be played loud. From Zildjian’s website:

The formidable sound and look of Rock at its absolute best. Pitch Blackâ„¢ cymbals were specifically designed to be coated and played loud… We then developed a proprietary coating process which allows the cymbal to be durable and strikingly beautiful yet still open up like a cymbal should. Eight new models unlike anything you or your fans have ever heard or seen before. The only way we could make these any more Rock would be to put leather pants on them.


Just from reading that blurb, I’m already turned off. Last I checked, music was more about the sound than the look. I completely understand stage presence and looking cool and all that jazz, but creating products with the look being the primary motivation behind it is a bridge too far in my book. My guess is that Zildjian created the series as a marketing ploy to make more money from young drummers who are not as much concerned with sound as older drummers might be. Perhaps they figured they could get a big name drummer from an up and coming alt rock band and scores of young’uns would flock to Guitar Center to get their hands on the Pitch Black series. I don’t know… just a thought.

Let’s talk about the sound.

It sucks. Even for a sheet bronze cymbal, this is pretty low grade. I felt like I had to smack the crashes with a sledgehammer to get it to open up. These are obviously meant for VERY loud playing situations. The overall weight of all the cymbals, even the 13″ splash, is very heavy. Very thick and dense. I can’t imagine getting more than two different tones out of each cymbal: crap and crappier. And that’s on a good day.

Back to the look. Zildjian engineered this “proprietary coating process” for this line. Sorry, I wasn’t aware dipping the cymbals in paint from Home Depot was proprietary. It felt as if I could chip the coating off just by scratching it. There’s no doubt in my mind the coating would not hold up under even standard playing conditions, much less the rigorous style these cymbals were apparently designed for. Now for the creme de la creme… the hi-hats.

While I like the idea of making sheet bronze hi-hats Mastersounds as they’ve done, they didn’t bother to apply this amazing coating process to the underside of the hi-hats. It makes the cymbals look tacky, as if Zildjian hadn’t gone out of their way to make that happen already.

Overall, I think Zildjian missed the mark on this one. They tried something like this a few years ago with the now discontinued ZXT Titanium line. No one liked it. They should have taken a page out Paiste’s book and realized that no one ultimately wants colored cymbals. You have to sacrifice too much in the process of making them a different color that you ultimately lose the sound. I give the Zildjian Pitch Black cymbals a 1 out of 5 mics.



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