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The Zildjian A Custom range was introduced to offer a contemporary alternative to the company’s longstanding Avedis series of cymbals, which have been a keen favourite amongst percussionists since their introduction. Zildjian did not introduce the A custom series to offer a departure from their signature sound; it is more an additional option which allows musicians to fine tune their sound.

The A Custom series offers musicians a range of choices in varied diameters to further hone their signature sound. The Fast Crash and EFX have experienced much commercial success, becoming popular lines. Other options include the Crash, Medium Crash and Projection Crash.

This choice allows drummers to mix and match their sound, creating a bespoke drum kit which is truly unique. As in true Zildjian style, the cymbals are made adhering to their traditional formula of 80 per cent copper and 20 percent tin, with the occasional glimmer of silver.

So if the formula used in manufacture is very similar to the Avedis range, what is it that makes the sound different? Well this is not so easy to determine, because of course Zildjian keep their exact methods of production very close to their chests, and so they should. It is the way these materials are mixed however, rather than a change in the ratio of materials used, which creates the higher pitched sound.

In terms of aesthetics, the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash cymbals have a brilliant finish and have been buffed, to quote the official Zildjian catalogue, “to a warm golden hue”. The cymbals’ lathing consists of neat bands, which start at the centre of the cymbal and work outwards towards the edge. Under stage lights, or even just the lights in your garage, the lathing bands create a shimmering effect which is magnified when the cymbals are struck.

What about the sound I hear you cry. The 14” is of course a very fast talking cymbal, although it is still able to produce a significant volume of sound which belies its small size. Compared to other crashes you may have had the pleasure to strike in the past, there is no denying the Zildjian A Custom 14” is relatively high pitched, but despite that, the sound is full, strong and by no means brittle. 

For a beautiful looking crash cymbal which enables you to create a sound very much of your own, the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash is fast enough and loud enough to do your talking for you. For the very best prices, take a look at the Zildjian A Custom 14” Crash here at Instrumania.

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The Marshall AS50D amp first saw the light of day back in 2007 as the successor to the AS50R, and is still my practice amp of choice to this day.

As a simple 50 watt combo amp, you might ask what makes the Marshall AS50D part of my practice setup, and it’s actually quite simple. It’s brilliant.

It features a redesigned tweeter, digital chorus and reverb, and an anti-feedback notch filter. The amp also has anti-feedback controls which allow you to play at higher volumes without feedback, and a good old fashioned Marshall master volume control.

This amp has enough for power for most non- professional players I'd say. it's perfect as a practice amp, and the DI output means you could use it in a gig situation. On it's own, it would be fine for a pub sized venue, but not much bigger.

I almost always use my schoolboy Ibanez electro-acoustic with the Marshall AS50D, and was very pleased with the full sound that it was able to produce. The amp is not noisy at all, even with treble full up there's only a faint hiss. Though advertised as an acoustic amplifier, it can also handle electric quite well. Though after testing a little Overdrive i doubt it could handle anything too rocky/distorted.

The best feature about the amp is the Twin channels, which allows the amp to support two people (me with a DigiTech Jamman, which means a microphone and guitar take one amp input) and the lead singer. The chorus & digital reverb can also be assigned by channel, so you may have reverb on the guitar and not on the microphone or the other way around. Both these channels also have separate volume and bass and treble controls on them as well.

When it comes to reliability and durability you know you can rely on Marshall to produce a sturdy amp. I’ve already had a few mishaps with the amp yet it’s withheld the abuse brilliantly.

If you are in the market for a well priced acoustic combo amplifier, which can take a few punches yet still offer a pure crisp sound. You’d be crazy to look at anything other than the Marshall AS50D. Check out the Marshall AS50D’s product page on Instrumania today!

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