Drums can cause issues with acoustics and miking on stage. While other musicians have to amplify their instruments, drums need to quiet down and cause less interference with other mics.
Singers want to hear themselves, engineers can’t mix all instruments right when drums are too loud, etc. Therefore, the best way to block some of the sound is to use a drum shield.
You might think drum shields are reserved for people with big budgets, but that’s not always the case. Some acoustic shields are extremely expensive, however there are many decent drum shields that can be purchased for a relatively low price.
Our Pick of the 6 Best Drum Shields
1. Drum Shield DS4
This is a popular drum shield on the market and there are several good reasons for that. First of all, this is a pretty basic shield. You won’t find any deflectors or similar things, just regular acrylic panels.
There are five of them, with 5ft height, which ensures decent noise protection. Of course, it won’t lower the volume significantly but should be more than enough to ensure convenient performance for both bandmates and sound engineer.
In addition, you get four full-size living hinges, which are flexible and ensure excellent stability. Finally, we like the fact that the price is quite affordable.
1. Drum Shield DS1
If you want to keep things simple, and also don’t want to spend too much money, this pretty basic set is the right choice for you. Drum Shield DS1 is a 4-section drum shield, which comes with four 2ft. x 4ft. panels, which makes it a typical partial front shield. The panels are made from crystal clear acrylic, which isn’t just great for noise suspension but also allows a perfectly clear view.
The shield comes with six hinges, which are designed to be both stylish and easy to use. Of course, they are also quite durable and functional and will hold these panels with ease.
The thing we like most about this shield is that it is compact and doesn’t require too much time to setup. Also, we like the price.
2. Drum Shield DS7D
If you are looking for a professional drum shiel, the DS7D is the one you should check. This is a 6-piece shield, which consists of six large 2ft. x 6ft. panels, which are connected with five full-length hinges for excellent stability and durability. Additionally, this product comes with deflectors, so the noise obstruction between the drummer and stage is actually pretty amazing. There are 6 deflector panels, which measure 12×24 inches, also made from crystal clear acrylic.
Despite a large number of parts, this set is actually quite simple and easy to install, so it won’t take too much time to set up. The price might seem high to some, but keep in mind that noise protection is amazing.
3. Clearsonic Isopac B Isolation Booth
For those with a big budget that need something that can reduce drum noise by 60%, Clearsonic Isopac B Isolation Booth might be a great choice. As you can see, this is a full coverage drum shield, which ensures excellent noise protection from all directions. Panels are made from acrylic and there are also height extenders if you want to cover cymbals as well.
Despite all these parts, this shield has a pretty compact footprint, so there is no doubt it will fit any stage your drumset can. Besides panels, this booth also includes SORBER baffles to provide extra absorption for drums, as well as a low-noise fan.
4. Drum Shield DS6L
Pennzoli Drum Shield DS6L is good mix of price and value is the thing that makes this shield a good deal. This is another product that comes from Pennzoli and once again, you can count on crystal clear acrylic panels. In this case, there are six 6ft.x 2ft. pannels, which come with five full-length hinges, which ensures perfect stability.
All in all, it offers pretty good noise reduction, even though there are no deflector panels. Some will consider this as a drawback, others will find this shield more convenient and easier to setup.
5. Pennzoni Drum Shield DS5D
Compact in size but very useful. DS5D shield isn’t as tall as most shields that come with deflectors. If features 2ft.x 4ft. pannels, which makes it compact and transport-friendly. There are six panels that are attached with chrome hinges, though you can opt for living hinges as well. Also, there are six deflectors, so the overall height goes up to 5ft.
Pros and Cons of Drum Shields
A drum shield is an amazing tool for musicians but like every other thing in the world, it has both good and bad sides. When it comes to benefits, there is no doubt that the best thing about these tools is the fact that the on-stage volume is much lower. This allows other musicians on stage to play conveniently. Singers will finally hear themselves, while other musicians will be able to use in-ear monitors with ease.
Besides your bandmates, another person who will feel a great relief is a sound engineer. Live mixing is one of the hardest things to do if drums are too loud. It’s not a rare thing to hear drums on singer’s or other musician’s microphone and it seems impossible to deal with that unwanted noise in a proper way. Thanks to drum shields, sound engineers can count on a clean signal from each microphone, which allows each instrument to be compressed differently, as well as different EQ settings.
Of course, there is a couple of drawbacks as well. The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that too much noise will remain inside the shield. As the sound bounces inside the shield, you will probably need protection or in-ear monitors at least.
Another big issue is the setup time. Drummers already need a lot of time to set up and tune a drumset before the show, so setting up a drum shield would require even more. Also, this means transport issues, so make sure that the shield you want to buy is compact when packed.
Finally, some of you could feel a little bit claustrophobic inside this strange acrylic construction.
Types of Drum Shields
Basically, there are three main types of drum shiels. Those would be full coverage, full front, and partial front.
As the name says, a full coverage drum shield will prevent drum noise to go out from any side. Of course, panels are installed all around the drum set. Moreover, they are also above the drummer, so your set will be sealed. According to most manufacturers of such drum shields, you can count on about 65-70% noise reduction, as well as on no hot spots out in the room.
Full front drum shields are the most common type you can find on the market. As you may presume, these panels are positioned in front of the drum set, lowering the volume on stage.
Partial front shields feature a similar design to full front drum shields, but these are lower. Practically, panels are tall enough to reduce the noise of most drum parts. On the other side, these shields are allowing the drummer to have a better view of the stage and better communication with other musicians on the stage. Of course, these shields have the lowest percentage of noise reduction.
DIY Drum Shields?
As you’ve probably noticed, most drum shields come from the same manufacturer. There aren’t many drum shield makers around and the reason lays in the fact that many drummers prefer custom-made shields. Simply, everyone wants a shield that perfectly fits his drum set. Therefore, there is no reason why you shouldn’t do the same.
Of course, this would require decent craftsmanship skills. Still, keep in mind that you probably won’t save too much money, considering that acrylic (plexiglass) panels are usually quite expensive. Therefore, if money savings are your motive, you probably won’t have too much luck. On the other side, if you want to build a shield that perfectly meets your demands, there is no better thing than to make it yourself.