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Frequently Asked Questions

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


Gen16 combines acoustic and electric components to create a new approach to cymbals. The cymbals are the acoustic portion of the mix – they’re no different from any other Zildjian cymbals except that they've had some of their mass removed to reduce their volume by 60% to 70%.  This make them ideal for low volume applications and to be combined with electronic drum kits. 

Our Direct Source Pickup is a unique sensor that captures the sound of these cymbals much like how a microphone would but with two powerful advantages - there's no threat of feedback or picking up other parts of the kit. The captured signal is then digitally processed by the DCP module using EQ's and other signal processing effects to shape the tone of the cymbal. This allows you to get many different sounds from the same sound source.

The greatest benefit of Gen16 is that it allows the player to get the same feel and responsiveness of an actual cymbal in an electronic environment. Dynamics and articulations are fully translated in your playing.

Gen16 cymbals carry a two year warranty, from date of purchase, against manufacturing flaws. We require that all cymbals for warranty replacement be returned to us for review. If you need to return a cymbal for replacement, please request an RA number here.

Gen16 electronics carry a one year warranty from date of purchase against manufacturing flaws. This includes the Digital Cymbal Processor and Direct Source Pickups. The warranty does not extend to the power supply, cables, mounting parts, or other miscellaneous hardware components.

Your local Zildjian dealer can special order any Gen16 replacement parts system. You can also find the parts list here.


The Gen 16 Digital Cymbal Processor will accept a drum module’s audio output into the Drum input jacks.  This will allow the two units to blend the audio playback.

Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-229-8672 or

Gen16 Buffed Bronze Cymbals

Buffed Bronze cymbals are made of B8 Bronze.

They are 60% to 70% quieter than traditional cymbals and also quieter than rubber cymbal pads.

Yes, all Buffed Bronze singles are sold without the electronics.

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

In addition to being made from a new material, the Buffed Bronze cymbals also feature subtle design changes that give them a warmer sound and much greater durability than the original nickel plated cymbals.

Mild soap and warm water is all that is needed to clean the Gen16 cymbals.

The Direct Source Pickup

The Direct Source Pickup is a unique patent pending device made up of a preamp and sensor that captures the sound of the cymbals much like how a microphone would but with two advantages - there's no threat of feedback or picking up other parts of the kit.

The Direct Source pickup is not a trigger, it is an audio cymbal sensor that picks up the actual sound of the Gen16 cymbal.

The pickup’s unique design eliminates the possibility of feedback and picking up other parts of the kit.  It will only capture the sound of what it’s attached to.

It is recommended moved d to place the sensor on the bell section of the cymbal. The closer the sensor is to the top of the bell, the more high frequency content will be picked up.  As the sensor closer to the bottom of the bell where the bow section meets the sensor will pick up more low frequency content.  Remember to place the sensor away from the striking area of the cymbal to avoid unwanted distortion.

The O-ring should be placed between the sensor and the bottom of the cymbal. It is ok to use a second O-ring on the top of the cymbal for additional metal contact isolation.

There are 11 different colors, 6 different patterns and a “strike” effect that changes the light color when the cymbal is struck.

The small joystick on the bottom of the preamp controls the light colors and effects. Press up and down to change the idle color, left and right, and click to change the light pattern.

The lights can be turned off entirely by putting the DCP power switch in the middle position.

Yes the Direct Source pickups will work with an acoustic cymbal. It is recommended to engage the preamp’s audio pad to reduce over-driving the preamp.

A 3mm = 0.118 hole in the bell of the cymbal will need to be drilled to install the Direct Source pickup. It is recommended to use a 7/64 drill bit which provides a 0.1094 hole and enough space to clear the small threaded shaft of the sensor’s thumb screw.

Note that putting the hole in the bell of the cymbal will not affect its sound or void the cymbal’s 2 year warranty.

They can be used with other instruments such as cowbells and tambourines, but it may take a modification to the instrument. It is recommended to download the DCP Access Tool software from the Gen16 Downloads Page to create customized Tone Shapes for non-cymbal instruments.

The Digital Cymbal Processor (DCP)

The DCP digitally processes the audio signals captured by the Direct Source Pickup to change the cymbal tone.  The saved settings of the signal processors in the DCP are called Tone Shapes.

There are 23 tone shapes per channel.  A list of the tones is available on the Gen16 Downloads Page.

To find the latest tone shapes please visit the Gen16 Downloads Page.  An USB connection between the DCP and computer is needed to access the DCP Access Tool software.  The DCP can store 99 presets per channel. 

The Gen16 Digital Vault is a software instrument meant for the DAW environment while the DCP is meant for a live application.

Multiple DCPs can be linked by sending the output of one DCP into the input of another.

The power supply can adjust to the current of most countries. Simply use one of the provided plug adapters.

Original Gen 16 Cymbals

The original Gen16 cymbals are made of a B8 alloy that is coated in nickel.

They are 60% to 70% quieter than traditional cymbals and also quieter than rubber cymbal pads.

The individual cymbals are now sold without the electronics.

Mild soap and warm water is all that is needed to clean the Gen16 cymbals.

The Original Dual Condensor Pickup
The original pickup is a microphone and cannot be used as a trigger.

The pickup houses two condenser microphones space 180 degrees from each other.

None that can be heard or felt.

The pickups are specifically designed for the original the Gen16 Cymbals.

Yes, using the middle position of the DCP power switch.

Yes, since the pickup is a microphone the potential for mic bleed and feedback is possible.

For crashes, align the microphone capsules at the 9 and 3 o’clock position.

For rides, align the microphone capsules at the 12 and 6 o’clock position.

When setting up monitor speakers it is best to avoid line-of-sight placement.  This way the microphone element in the pickups has less of a chance for feedback.

 Adjust the drum mix or playback mix volume first and then mix in the cymbals.

Make sure to not hard pan any of the cymbals. If you pan something completely to the R or L, it can make the stereo field harder to hear and thus means you have to over drive the cymbal input on the DCP to compensate.

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.

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