Playing drums is one of the best things you can do. The feeling of expressing rhythms on a drum set and having them reflect loudly back at you is wonderful.
However, it can get pretty loud. So loud that it’s commonly agreed that neighbors hate drummers. As drummers, it’s our responsibility to keep noise levels down while still maintaining as much purity of sound from the instrument as we can.
This is where soundproofing comes in. Whether you’re in a bedroom, garage, or outside shed, there are some trusty ways to soundproof a room that will help keep the noise levels from your drums down.
Let’s look through them.
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Seal All the Gaps
The biggest reason for noise traveling is all the open gaps. Think about how the sound from the lawnmower outside won’t be as bad if you close the window. The same works with the drum sound going out. So, close all the windows and doors near your drums and you’ll already be able to eliminate a lot of the sound.
The next step is to seal all the small gaps that you can find. The biggest small gap to work with is the space underneath the door. If you close that small space up with a sound-insulating object, it will make a world of difference.
You may find some gaps in your windows. Although the window is closed, it may still be letting some sound escape from it. You can get tape that’s intended for sealing window gaps. It works like a charm.
The last place to look would be air vents. Sound will easily escape through these and get to the rest of the house. If there is one in your room, close it up and then get a fan or air-con ready so that you don’t overheat while practicing.
Once you’ve sealed every gap up, the sound from your drums should drastically decrease in the other rooms. Most of the time, sealing the gaps is all you need to do to keep the peace between you and your neighbors.
However, there are some more things you can do to soundproof the room even more.
Focus on the Floor
The floor is arguably the most important factor when it comes to sound. This is true for all situations, even when you’re not trying to soundproof a room. It sets the tone of a room and provides a base platform for sound to travel, especially for drums. We have already published a dedicated article on soundproofing floors.
The drums will vibrate on the floor and the sound waves will reflect back from it. So, if you have a bad floor, you’re going to have a bad sound.
To get a good drum sound that won’t be too loud, you need to have a carpet. Carpets for drum kits are essential in any environment.
That’s why drum companies sell carpets specifically intended to put drum kits on. They stop the drum kit from moving across the floor as well as insulate a lot of the sound.
If your drum room has tiled or wooden floors, a small drum carpet would be a good place to start. The drum kit being raised slightly off the floor makes a huge difference to the sound. However, just having a small carpet for the drums isn’t ideal.
A better setup would be to have the whole room carpeted. The more carpet you have, the more soundproofing it provides.
The full carpeted floor will cause the drums to produce a dry tone with minimal sustain whereas a tiled or wooden floor will cause the drums to resonate more, making them louder.
Once you’ve sealed all the gaps and carpeted the floor, you should have a fairly minimal drum sound that won’t travel too far past your house. If you want to stop the drum sound from hitting the rooms in the house, there’s one more thing you can do.
Pad the Walls
Now that you’ve sealed all the gaps and carpeted the floor, you need to add padding to all the walls. The first place to start is the corners.
Corners in a room are the worst possible thing for sound. That’s why you’ll see all the corners are covered in every studio you’ll ever go to.
There are a few companies that sell padding specifically designed to fit in the corners of a room. Choose some products and get place them strategically. If you don’t want to buy anything like that, you could use mattresses.
Using egg cartons is a myth that was busted a long time ago. They don’t work very well. So, you’ll need something thick and bulky to cover those walls up.
Once you’ve covered the corners, you can think about what to do with the walls themselves.
Many drummers like to hang draping around their rooms to make it look better when they record videos. Little do they know that the draping actually helps insulate the sound. The thicker the draping, the more sound it reduces.
So, get some heavy curtains and hang them around the room. There are some great products out there that are sold to studios to hang on walls.
Some are affordable while others are very costly. See what your budget is and then go from there.
Once you’ve sealed the gaps, carpeted the floor, and padded the corners and walls, you should have a decently soundproofed room to play drums in.
You most probably won’t be bothering anyone and you’ll be able to play as much as you want. However, your room won’t be 100% soundproofed. The only way to do that is to build a room within a room.
Room within a Room
If you want to play acoustic drums as loud as you possibly can at 3 AM, you’re going to need to build a room within a room. Think of how the drum sound is slightly reduced when you put the kit on a carpet.
When you raise the kit by a whole floor and then put an extra set of walls and a roof around it, there’s nowhere for the sound to travel.
You’ll see many drummers have outdoor sheds that are like this. Having an outdoor shed is the easiest way to build a room within a room that will allow you to play drums without having any noise escaping the place.
This is undoubtedly the most expensive option for soundproofing drums, but it’s the most effective. If you’re serious about playing and you need to play drums late into the night, this may be something you’ll need to look into.
Other Sound Solutions
The noise of drums has been an issue ever since they were created. So, there have been a lot of alternative products developed to help drummers keep playing and practicing without bothering their neighbors and family.
Two of the biggest alternative sound solutions are electronic drum kits and low-volume heads and cymbals.
The world of electronic drum kits has grown significantly over the years. What used to be expensive and inaccessible is now affordable and highly accessible by everyone.
Acoustic drums purists will say that electronic drum kits just don’t feel the same. However, technology has come a long way in the past decade and mesh heads are starting to feel more authentic as the years go by.
The benefit of electronic drum kits is that you get all the other features that come with the modules as well. Things like rhythm trainers, metronomes, play-along songs, and recording options are seen on almost every electronic kit on the market.
There are some electronic kits that resemble acoustic drums more than others. These cost a lot more though. If soundproofing a room just seems like too much work, consider getting an e-kit.
The other alternative is to get low-volume cymbals and drum heads. These have become increasingly popular in recent times, thanks to their authentic feel and ability to drop the drum sound by up to 80%.
Remo’s Silentstroke drum heads are the best option on the market. They have sizes for almost every drum and provide realistic stick response.
In terms of cymbals, Zildjian’s L80 cymbals are the best option. They sell them in cymbal packs, making it easy and affordable to acquire them. If you’re not a fan of electronic kits, these low-volume heads and cymbals are the way to go.
Although soundproofing a room can be a lot of work, it’s incredibly rewarding in the long run. Once you’ve done the work, you’ll be able to play drums without that constant anxious worrying about bothering your neighbors.
If you’ve ever been reprimanded by an angry neighbor, you’ll know that it’s one of the worst feelings in the world to experience.
Music is all about good vibes and enjoying playing. It’s a great feeling to lose yourself in the creativity that comes from jamming. So, make a plan to soundproof your room so that all you need to worry about is practicing and getting better at your instrument.