You might know the name Zyn if you are i) English and generally over a ‘certain’ age, or ii) into old cymbals and cymbal brands. If you’re neither, chances are you’ll never know the name or anything about the line that was.
Borrowing from Wikipedia, ‘Zyn cymbals were introduced by Premier Percussion in 1948. They were marketed as affordable instruments with a priority of functionality over musical quality. They were made of nickel-silver alloy and could be purchased with Premier’s Olympic-series drum kits. Pairs of concert cymbals were available for marching bands and orchestra.’
The line moved through a few guises until 1984 when production stopped.
In the 1990’s and 00’s, the Zyn name was revived, albeit as cheaper models made in Germany and China respectively. That is, until recently.
New Zyn models are now being designed in England and being produced to ‘take the traditional K sound and brings it in an alternative direction with fresh tonal colours.’
I was recently given some new Zyn models to try but because they’re quite different I thought I’d split the review into two. This time round, I looked at some of the Vintage models.
So, first off, the immediate impression is that these look like pro cymbals.
I make that observation based on what I mentioned above and that previous incarnations of the name haven’t really associated themselves with that level.
The four models I had to try were some 14” Vintage Medium hihats, a 20 and 22” Vintage Raw Bell rides and a 20” pang, although they are plenty of other models and sizes to choose from.
They’ve all got a clean and shiny finish to them – I won’t say they’re a brilliant finish – with a Zyn logo engraved into the metal. It looks nice and I think adds to the perception of the higher end.
I didn’t dislike any of these cymbals but I think these were my favourites all the same. They have a bright, solid, clean sound with a distinct chick which I think would fit most types of music. They felt to me like they were very sure of what they were and there to do. To me, they’re very ‘medium’ in that they’re not too heavy, nor too light, and I liked that.
The 20 and 22” Vintage Raw Bell Ride models were fairly similar to each other with respect to their inherent characteristics. The bow sound between the two was very relative with the 20” being slightly higher in pitch.
Both models have unlathed, low profile bells that were in keeping with the overall context of each cymbal. Each model was very crashable, producing a big wash and tone with overtones underneath. They’re not overly heavy and the sound they produce reflects this, with there being a balance between the clarity of the bow sound against the wash it produces. As noted, I think these two work well as a pair but depending on what you were after sonically, you could go either way with them as a choice since for me the 20” was a bit brighter with the 22” being slightly darker.
The pang was lovely with a sharp, cutting attack. The bow was quite rideable too. With mallets, the pang had a nice uniform buildup.
Out of all of these models, this was the one which seemed to have a ceiling to it in terms of volume. Not that’s a bad thing or any real concern, because the initial attack it gives is probably sufficient in itself to get any point across.
All in all though, I really enjoyed these cymbals. I think they are probably the highest quality cymbals produced under the Zyn name to date. They’re very playable and seem to have fulfilled the design brief from my time with them.
Personally, I’d be using these ones for more jazz/blues/soul type music because they had that vibe for me but that’s not to say they couldn’t be used for other considerations.