Zildjian K Custom Medium Ride 20"
Zildjian K Custom Medium Ride 20"

K Custom Medium Ride 20", Ride Cymbal from Zildjian in the K Custom series.

drumster 07/14/2014

Zildjian K Custom Medium Ride 20" : drumster's user review

« Very versatile ride cymbal. »

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The K Custom Medium Ride is, in my opinion, one of the best rides cymbals ever created by Zildjian. I own and play a 20” model for over a decade already, and it has been with me throughout my professional career.

Aesthetics-wise, the K Custom Medium is an attractive-looking ride cymbal. It features a traditional-finished lathed top with hammer marks – a distinct feature among K Custom models. Its underside, however, features an unlathed brilliant finish. Viewing this cymbal from underneath, one might think that this is Zildjian’s classic and heavier sibling, the K Custom Ride. But its top surface is the difference maker, in terms of looks and sound.

I always thought of the K Custom Medium Ride as a slightly tamed-down version of the K Custom Ride. While the K Custom Ride is a louder and more cutting dark ride, the K Custom Medium Ride has a warmer vibe that beautifully blends in with the music. The hammering, lathing and finishing treatment of the top surface made the difference in terms of sound and feel. The K Custom Medium has a better playability compared to the K Custom Ride. From the softest touch to the most defined stroke, the K Custom Medium responds to a wider range of dynamics. It also has a beautiful tone that is versatile enough for various styles of music. The bell sound is clean, the ride sound is well-defined with just the right amount of overtones, and it can also be a dark, big-sounding crash if you want to crash on it.

In studio situations, the K Custom Medium Ride records very well. I’ve recorded pop, R&B and rock tracks using this ride cymbal, and this ride easily fit the music we were working on. I’ve also brought this ride to gigs of varying styles, from rock to jazz and everything in between. Hence, the K Custom Medium Ride is truly one of the most versatile rides.

My 20” K Custom Medium Ride is almost 2 decades old (based on the serial number engraving on the cymbal). It still sounds sweet, slightly mellowing as it ages. Despite my ride already having a hairline crack (no thanks to my occasional crash-riding), it still sounds beautiful. There’s magic in that K Custom sound.

There are drummers who like collecting several ride cymbals for various musical styles and applications. But if you need to have just one ride that can do everything for you, the Zildjian K Custom Medium Ride is a must-have equipment. Its sound easily fits various musical applications, and it’s an excellent choice for recording and live situations. I would highly recommend it to drummers who want a very versatile ride cymbal with a warm and defined sound.