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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the more common questions we've received.

Gen16 Name

Gen16 is a product family within the Zildjian Legacy Cymbal Families.

 No. Gen16 cymbals are not traditional cymbals in the sense that each model is designed to sound, respond, and play like a traditional cymbal but at 50% to 75% less volume or Sound Pressure Level  "SPL” (depending on size).
It’s short for Generation 16. The current owners; Craigie and Debbie Zildjian are the 14th generation of Zildjian cymbal makers, their daughters the 15th, and their granddaughters the 16th generation. A new generation of Zildjian’s, and a new generation of Zildjian products.
The brand name is Zildjian, the family name is Gen16.

The Direct Source Pickup
No, the pickup is not a trigger and cannot be easily configured to be used as a trigger.
The sensor is a unique patent pending device that will accurately transfer audio signal from a cymbal to the Gen16 DCP module (Digital Cymbal Processor).
Because of the sensor’s “focused” nature and the “nodal” vibration characteristics of cymbals, the sound you get from the Direct Source™ pickup is highly dependent on the location of the sensor on the cymbal. The most important factor is the distance of the sensor from the center hole (i.e., which “row” of perforations you use). However, just as each cymbal will have its own individual tone (even those of the same model), each location on a particular cymbal may exhibit variations in tone, even if they are the same distance from the center hole. This affords an extraordinary degree of “fine tuning” that we encourage users to experiment with to find the best sound for their own application.

The best overall cymbal sound on cymbals other than Hi-Hat for most users has been found to be in one of the top three rows of those perforations that are large enough to accommodate the thumbscrew. In the photo below, a sensor has been attached to the “second row” of those perforations.

Gen16 Support |FAQ 1

This mounting position explained previously may also be used for the Hi-Hat, however, some users prefer a location just outside the bell as shown below, which yields a “trashier” sound. If you use this location, be sure to ensure that it does not hit the preamp when opening and closing the HiHat.  We recommend you review the full User Manual.

Gen16 Support |FAQ 2

Gen16 Support |FAQ 3

Yes! The new Direct Source pickup allows for easy setup and eliminates all feedback, crosstalk, and mic-bleeding.

Not without enlarging the center hole.  Enlarging the center hole is a complicated process and should only be done by a trained technician!  DO NOT try to enlarge the center hole of a Gen16 or any other cymbal at home!

For a limited time, Zildjian will offer a free bottom Hi-Hat center whole enlargement. This offer is for a limited time only and ends April 1, 2014. It is offered to US residents only in the continental US at no charge other than you are responsible for the shipping fees to send your current Gen16 bottom Hi-Hat cymbal to Zildjian.

Note: For those outside the continental US, please contact the Zildjian distributor or local retailer. Remember, the free center whole enlargement offer is valid in the continental US only. Other programs may be offered outside of the USA, but each will be specific to a given country.

- Visit or – Support – RA# Request Form - Gen16 HiHat center hole enlargement form. Contact us, or call 1 (800) 229-8672 and reference the Gen16 Direct Source Hi-Hat “center hole enlargement" program.
- Complete the Hi-Hat “center hole enlargement" form and contact us via email, or call Zildjian customer service for a Return Authorization (“RA”) number.
- You MUST include the RA number with a copy of the form completely filled out in order to receive a replacement.
- You will be responsible for shipping fees to Zildjian
- A new Hi-Hat bottom cymbal with an enlarged center hole for mounting the Direct Source preamp will be sent back to the address noted on the form at no additional charge
- The turn-around time will average 10 to 14 days
The sensor is a unique patent pending device that provides audio management of the analog audio signal sent from the Direct Source sensor. The preamp has controls for an audio pad and lighting effects and sends the audio signal to the Gen16 DCP.
For proper use, the Direct Source pickup (sensor & preamp) must be used with the Gen16 DCP.

None that can be heard or felt; it’s as much as any microphone with digital processing.

Yes, they are designed for use with both Gen16 and traditional Zildjian cymbals.  When using on anything other than reduced volume Gen16 cymbals, we suggest you engage the Audio PAD to reduce over-driving the audio preamp.

Yes, they can be used with other instruments such as cowbells and tambourines but it will take modifying each instrument. We also suggest you download the DCP Access Tool software to fine-tune various audio settings and create customized Tone Shapes for use on other instruments other than cymbals. (See Support / Downloads)

Yes. A 3mm = 0.118 hole in the bell of the cymbal is required. We recommend using a 7/64 drill bit which provides a 0.1094 hole and enough space to clear the small threaded shaft of the sensor thumb screw. For other instruments you will have to find the instrument's “nodule point” or a spot where the acoustic tone is best.

No. A 3/16” diameter hole in the bell of the cymbal will not affect the sound of the cymbal or void the Zildjian warranty. Please note; rivet holes are twice the diameter.

Yes. There are 11 different colors, 6 different patterns and a “strike” effect that changes the light color when the cymbal is struck. The lights and effects can also be turned off from the middle position on/off switch on the back of the Gen16 DCP.

No. The unique patent pending design of the Direct Source pickup eliminates FEEDBACK. It also eliminates cross-talk and microphone “phasing” found when using multiple pickups or microphones to amplify/process cymbals and drums.
No. Because the Direct Source pickup connects directly to the cymbal itself, it only picks up vibrations and sounds that the cymbal produces.

Yes, they can be used with other acoustic instruments within a drumset or percussion setup with no leakage, mic phasing, feedback, or cross talk.


No, the pickup is a microphone and cannot be used as a trigger.

The pickup houses two condenser microphone heads.

None that can be heard or felt, it’s as much as any microphone with digital processing.

No, they are designed specifically for the Gen16 (reduced volume) AE Cymbals.

Yes, use the 2 position on/off switch.

Yes. While there is limited noise gates applied each pickup is a microphone and has to be treated as such.

- Place speakers below the cymbals facing up. Avoid line-of-sight placement (think of the pickups like microphones).

- Get the drum sounds loud and then mix in the cymbals (don’t assume they should be at the same level as the drums!).

- Make sure to not HARD pan any of the cymbals. If you pan something completely to the R or L, it makes it hard to hear and thus means you have to over drive the cymbal.

- Start with your primary cymbals; HiHat first, Ride, etc and get the levels where you want them (don’t assume they should be all at the same volume setting).

- Try a parametric equalizer for the cymbals to pull any of the frequencies starting the feedback.

- If all fails and you can’t get them loud enough, use a good pair of headphones!

Yes, just as a traditional cymbal microphone.

The Digital Cymbal Processor (DCP)

No. We refer to it as Tone Shaping and not modeling. Yes some presents change the pitch, add effects, and/or decay but this is not true tone modeling.

Yes. The DCP Access Tool 3.2.0 includes 10 presets designed for original Gen-16 Dual-Mic pickups and 10 presets designed for the Direct Source pickup in each channel. Presets 1-10 are for the Dual-Mics and 11-20 for Direct Source.
Yes. It is recommended that Access Tool 3.2.0 or later be used to administer this update. 3.2.0 includes 10 presets designed for original Gen-16 Dual-Mic pickups and 10 presets designed for the Direct Source pickup in each channel. Presets 1-10 are for the Dual-Mics and 11-20 for Direct Source, but there are no hard and fast rules.

"Cym3" channel is loaded with crash presets.
"Cym4" is loaded with presets designed for the Gen-16 splashes.
"Cym5" is loaded with presets designed for the Gen-16 China.

These preset assignments can be changed via the Gen-16 Access Tool program should you wish to do so.

No; doing so may severely damage the unit and, will void the warranty.

Yes. Using the line input / edrum input, you can submix / piggy back two DCPs.

No; the two are two separate technologies.

Yes; by (A) downloading Tone Shapes from (B) Installing the DCP Access Tool in your computer, creating custom Tone Shapes and uploading them from your computer to the DCP.

Yes. The power supply can adjust to the current if the plugs supplied fit the wall or plug socket.

Not at this time however Gen16 engineers are working with leading edrum manufactures to bridge some control functions.

This is for (free) online firmware updates.

The Gen16 Cymbal

It’s a special alloy mix (it is not a cast cymbal).

Not today, but we’re Zildjian; give us a moment!

No; each AE cymbal is nickel plated and buffed to their shiny finish.
Yes; watch video instruction for adding rivets and jingles to Gen16 cymbals.

The best place is the “Tips & Tricks” section of There you will find short videos that will provides tips as to how to reduce overtone, eliminate thumbing sound, cymbal spin, DCP quick-start and more.

Digital Vault
Leon Chiappini and Paul Francis (Zildjian’s master cymbal maker and Director of R&D / Quality).

The cymbals recorded for the Digital Vault are exclusive to Zildjian. No other engineer has been granted access to these cymbals.

They are what the Zildjian cymbal makers refer to as “reference cymbals”. These are the cymbals used to judge all other similar Zildjian cymbals (the best of the best).

Yes, in fact some cymbals are one of a kind or models recorded only for a handful of famous drummers and percussionist.

Generally they look like old cymbals without a logo but with hand writing on them. Sometimes they have a stamp with an ID number. Older “reference cymbals” have Armand Zildjian’s and Leon Chiappini’s hand writing on them.

No! In fact they have only left the Zildjian (tuning room) sometimes referred to as “the vault” in the factory by permission of the current Zildjian owners for recording of the Digital Vault series.

Files can be played back at 16bit (BFD eco or as 24bit files (BFD2)

Gen16 audio files are available in various levels of audio quality (size). When playing sounds from the Digital Vault please use high quality audio reproduction devices such as studio monitors (speakers / headphones).

When using artist groove tracks in marketing materials or demonstrations we would appreciate if you credit the appropriate Zildjian Artist.

No. The Digital Vault is a sound sample (Digital Audio File). The AE System uses analog signal (low volume / real cymbals) and microphones and process the sound using patent pending tone shaping. The two systems are not compatible.

Leon Chiappini and Paul Francis (Zildjian’s master cymbal maker and Director of R&D / Quality).

Digital Vaults were produced, played, recorded, and edited for Zildjian by sampling guru John Emrich.

Nuendo 4 was used to record these samples with the following signal paths:

Direct mic – Nevaton MC49 – ATI 8SMX2 preamp

Over Heads – Violet Flamingo Stereo – API 3124+ preamp

Room – Pair of Violet Vin50s – API 3124+ preamp

Ambient – Nevaton MC404 stereo mic – Metric Halo ULN2 +DSP preamp

The Digital Vault is now being offered exclusively through FXpansion as a downloadable product. The downloadable version includes sounds from all 3 original Digital Vault versions. This includes; A and A Custom, K and Z series, and FX series cymbals. The downloadable Digital Vault does not include BFD eco. You can purchase the Digital Vault sound samples by using this link.

Groove Tracks - Zildjian Artist MIDI Groove Library

No. Grooves can be downloaded from a MAC or PC and used in any device that supports GM (general MIDI) standard MIDI files or within BFD2 (this included the Gen16 Digital Vault and BFD eco).

Each “Groove Bundle” is transferred/downloaded in a ZIP file format.

No. Grooves can only be purchased in specific bundles chosen by the Groove Tracks producer.

Yes. Please note you are purchasing MIDI files of a given drummers performance and not drum sounds.
Yes. You can change the note number assignments in your music software.
You can play the Grooves in any device or software which supports GM standard MIDI files.
You can edit/manipulate the grooves in you favorite music software which supports GM standard MIDI files.
The Zildjian Artist Grooves (groove tracks) are now being offered individually on and as a bundle exclusively through Platinum Samples:
- Individual (ala cart) groove bundles:
- 24 artist groove bundles (best deal): at Platinum Samples Web Site

Groove Player

No. Beats (grooves) can also be purchased from and then transferred to an iPhone or IPad.

If you ugrade you iPhone or iPad after purchasing GroovePlayer, you can restore it by syncing your new device to your iTunes account or, or downloading it from your iTunes purchased Apps history.

AE Rack System

Yes; The rack has been designed for both acoustic and e-drum kits.

Yes. However you may have to take them off to allow the rack to be completely folded.

Either model as it depends on your setup however most edrums will work well with the short rack.
The short rack will accommodate up to a 20” bass (kick) drum.

The tall rack will accommodate up to a 24” bass (kick) drum.

Between 8 and 12 depending on the diameter of each cable.

Aluminum. Please note, aluminum is softer then steel, when transporting please use caution as scratching will occur.

Yes. A clear lacquer is applied to help reduce tarnishing. Note; this lacquer finish may show scratches or chips.

Simple window cleaner and a paper towel or cloth towel will take most finger prints off.

Yes. You can take them off to reduce the overall foot print as well.

The material is a form of plastic (ABS).

Very strong, however anything can break.

Use common sense and try not to over stress a clamp. Do not use or tighten clamps if they are either extremely hot or cold.

Not at the current time however one is being developed specifically for the AE Rack System.


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Zildjian is always looking for talented people to join our family. You can write to us at our mailing address to request an application. We will keep your completed application on file should any openings come up in the future.

Zildjian's mailing address is:
Avedis Zildjian Company
22 Longwater Drive
Norwell, MA 02061

The Zildjian Store

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Cymbal Care

Zildjian does not provide this service and does not recommend reapplying logos that have faded. The process to remove what remains on the existing logo and cleaning process to accept the new logo could cause stress to the metal of the cymbal resulting in damage. Additionally, a hand-applied paint could alter the sound of the cymbal.

Zildjian cymbals are precision crafted. Their life expectancy depends largely on usage. A cymbal played with care and good technique will last longer than one played rigorously with poor technique. Proper care helps maintain the musical integrity of the instrument. Abusive treatment, neglect, and incorrect playing habits all contribute to metal fatigue which can diminish tonal quality or even cause cymbal fractures.

Follow these five easy guidelines to ensure a long life for your Zildjian cymbals:

1. Avoid Metal-To-Metal Contact

Place a sturdy sleeve around the cymbal tilter rod when mounting your cymbals to prevent center hole deformation and cracking. Always use top and bottom felts.

2. Keep It Loose

Do not over-tighten the wing nut. This can cause cracks around the center hole.

Also, a clamped cymbal will not vibrate freely and often sounds choked. For HiHats, keep the clutch medium-tight so that the top cymbal moves freely.

3. Play It Right

Avoid striking cymbals directly on their edge. Crash cymbals, especially, should be hit with a glancing blow, a little off center. Striking with a slight twist of the wrist also helps avoid breakage and allows crash cymbals to "open up."

4. Choose The Right Cymbal

The sound quality of a Zildjian cymbal is determined by its alloy content, size, shape, hammering and lathing pattern. Trying to force a cymbal to produce volume beyond its range can cause breakage. There are Zildjian cymbals for every style of music. Match your cymbal to your specific needs.

5. Protect Your Investment

Always carry your cymbals in a padded cymbal bag or a protective cymbal case.

Store your cymbals immediately whenever you break down your drumset.

When cymbals are not in use for prolonged periods of time, wrap cymbals separately with a piece of cloth to protect their edges and surfaces; be especially careful of the bottom edge.

Keep your cymbals away from extreme cold or heat.