Since its redesign in 2017, the K Custom Special Dry Collection has received accolades from magazine polls, music websites, and drum gear reviews, touting them as an extremely versatile, modern cymbal expression. Recently, we were honored to learn that the K Custom Special Dry Series swept the majority of cymbal categories in the 2018 DRUMMIES! Gear Awards. This was especially meaningful to us because these votes were cast by the drumming community and each model was up against some fierce competition.
But, if you don’t agree with polls or if you don’t believe everything you read on the internet, here are five reasons why we think you should grab a stick and head to your local retailer to check out the Collection for yourself.
1. They Were Ahead of Their Time…Like Way Ahead.
Sixteen years ahead to be exact. What many people don’t know is that the 21" Special Dry Ride was originally released in 2001, with HiHat and Crash models being added over the next couple of years. Back then, many drummers flocked to them for their unique mix of quick attack, dark tone and short sustain. The cymbals found their fans in Gospel players like Aaron Spears and Gerald Heyward, but modern, mainstream music was not quite ready for their deep sound or their raw, unfinished look. Popular bands of the time like Avril Lavigne, The Black Eyed Peas, Linkin Park, and 3 Doors Down were gravitating toward the brighter sounds of A Customs and Z Customs. By 2006, most Special Dry models were out of the Zildjian catalog, but their sound and their look had left its mark with early adopters...who begged us to re-release them.
2. The Best Metal For Your Cash
Music Radar / Rhythm Magazine, who deemed them the winner of “The 6 best new cymbals of 2017,” says that, "Zildjian has delivered exactly what it set out to do with this re-vamped range of Special Dry cymbals. Catering for more modern tastes, the cymbals are actually surprisingly versatile." We think that because of the vast array of sizes and models, it’s fairly cost effective to add just a 10” Splash (stack) or a 14” FX HiHat Top to give your set up a fresh sound, a bit of trash or some white noise. Just one crash can change things up in a way you weren't expecting.
3. Innovation Overdrive
Building on what we learned from earlier versions, the new K Custom Special Drys have been updated, upgraded and re-released with new lathing patterns, an innovative three step hammering process, distinctive shape and extra thin weight. According to their YouTube review, retailer Sweetwater Music says, “The K Custom Series is where the Zildjian Sound Lab went into innovation overdrive. K Customs arm you with a collection of modern K voices like no other. In this range you'll find sounds that set the standard for modern cymbal design. Whether it's the warm shimmering tones of a Ride cymbal, or the complex sizzle of a pair of HiHats, K Custom cymbals all create a uniquely beautiful sound. K Customs enable drummers to vary their K sounds to meet the demands of contemporary music.”
With 16 models available in this collection, from 10” Splashes to 23” Rides, these cymbals are easily integrated into anyone’s set up, from just one cymbal to a whole set. According to Mixdown Magazine, “Some players will love to go to town using these in random combinations from HiHat/Crash or stacks,” ...and we agree. These raw and earthy cymbals deliver a dry, funky sound with lots of dirt for a unique expression of personality. This sound, combined with the dark, dirty appearance make them exactly what today’s drummers and percussionists are looking for.
5. Some of the Most Popular Drummers are Playing Them
Some of the most cutting edge Artists in the world have made K Custom Special Drys part of their sound. Artists like Mark Colenburg, Ben Thomas (Rag'n'Bone Man), Rashid Williams, Nikki Glaspie and Kaz Rodriguez. Nikki reported in that, “Everyday someone asks me about my Special Dry Hats, the 22” Crash and the 21” Trash…without fail." Ben Thomas says, "Zildjian Special Drys are my new go to cymbals, they provide everything I need. They combine the decay and attack of a dry cymbal with a rich tone that blends so well with the rest of my kit, both in a solo and band situation." Rashid is playing the Special Drys with both John Legend and Jill Scott. He actually sets up two kits on stage - one with just all Special Dry Cymbals. He commented that, “Although these cymbals are dry and different from the typical Zildjian sound, you can still hear that Zildjian sound quality coming through when you hit them.”
The biggest Artist tribute however, comes from Kaz Rodriguez….who wrote a song about them called "Tron". “The K Custom Special Dry is indeed a very unique and and fierce cymbal, it has so many colours the harder you hit it. In my opinion it gives so much versatility in all genres of music, this is why it’s the best cymbal in the world."
“I’ve written a song based on the perception of these cymbals - it’s very rare I see three colours from my synaethesia when listening to one cymbal, in this case I see blue, yellow, and green all being unique characteristics within the K Custom Special Dry Series.“ Watch Kaz playing "Tron" now.
Now that's love.
According to Paul Francis, Zildjian’s Director of Cymbal Innovation, “The dry and dirty sound is something we had been looking to expand upon since the original introduction of the Special Dry models over a decade ago. However, we wanted to ensure the remastered collection featured the right sizes, styles and sounds to truly stand out across the industry.”
Well, Paul, mission accomplished.