The 7 Best XLR Cables for Sound Quality

Best XLR Cable for sound quality

XLR cables carry the audio signal from your instrument or microphone to mixing table, amp, PA and other devices. A good cable is crucial for the sound quality. No matter how expensive your gear is, it’s not worth much without a good cable.

When someone mentions quality gear, most people usually think of musical instruments, microphones, amps, mixing tables etc. On the other side, sound engineers know that every single piece of musical equipment is equally important. The quality of cables are an often overlooked element in the chain.

XLR cables are one of the most common types of cables when it comes to both studio and live performances. Many electric instruments still rely on classic line in/out cables, but XLR cables can be a much better solution, especially if there’s a long way from an instrument to a mixing table or other device. On the other side, microphones predominantly use these types for decades.

The 7 Best XLR Cables – Summary

Popular cable with a good balance between price and quality
High-grade XLR cable, designed for the pros
Budget cable with decent quality
Cheap and very popular cable with numerous color options

You will easily recognize an XLR cable jack by its pins. The most common are 3-pin jacks. When someone mentions XLR, people usually think of these. Variants with 4,5,6,7 and more pins are also available, but they are not used as often.

Just like every product on the market, these ones also come in various price ranges. Some are cheap, while some are designed for pro use. Even if your budget is tight, you can find a decent one. The things you should consider when choosing the best option are mainly about connector quality, cable core, and shielding.

When it comes to connector quality, online reviews from other users are a good indicator. You will easily find out if some connector is durable enough or if there’s some potential issue, such as unwanted buzz or similar things.

On the other side, cable core seems pretty straightforward. The thicker the cable, the better sound quality. If you want a cable with a top quality, go for a copper core. This core is oxygen-free, which should guarantee best-possible sound quality. However, most professionals actually don’t hear the difference.

Speaking of the shielding, there are three main types – Tin Plated Copper, Copper and Aluminum laminate. If you need a quality cable for live performances, tin plated copper would be the best choice, due to its great flexibility.

The last but not the least is the cable length. Do not get a long cable unless you actually need it, as this can have a bad effect on the sound quality.

Here is the list of some quality cables that you can find around:

1) Mogami Silver Series XLR Microphone Cable

If you’re looking for a quality cable with an attractive price, this one is a great choice. Mogami is a well-known name in the audio industry. For several decades, it has been a synonym for quality products.

Nowadays, it offers three series of XLR cables – Silver, Gold, and Platinum. As you may presume, it’s about entry-level series in this case. However, even this most basic cable keeps a high level of quality and durability.

The company claims every cable is hand assembled. It comes in different lengths, so you probably won’t have bigger troubles to find the one that fits best to you.

2) Monster Prolink Performer 600 Pro Audio Microphone Cable

For those who want premium quality, Monster Prolink Performer is an excellent choice. This is a top-grade product, so don’t be confused with its high price tag. With this one, you can count on spectacular sound quality.

Moreover, the company offers a custom XLR connection system, which offers additional flexibility and durability, so much important for live performers. Also, there is a unique shielding technology, which ensures crystal clear sound and keeps from any kind of unwanted noise.

3) AmazonBasics XLR Male to Female Microphone Cable

Among cheap XLR cables, this is a decent choice. This cable is cheap, but it actually has some quality to offer.

The first thing that you’ll notice on this cable is metal housings of connectors, which ensures good protection. Also, you can count on a quite decent copper spiral shielding, which keeps this cable pretty quiet. Of course, the cable comes in different lengths. A one-year limited warranty is included as well.

4) Audio-Technica AT8314 XLR Cable

Choosing a product from a renowned manufacturer is always a good option if you’re not so experienced. This cable comes from the famous Japanese company that has been considered as one of the biggest names in the audio industry. Among numerous other product, they offer XLR cables as well.

This one is a mid-range product when it comes to price. It offers good overall quality and some of the company’s unique design solutions. The first thing you’ll notice is the quality of XLR connectors.

Additionally, there is a quality PVC jacket, as well as dual cooper outer shields, which make this product very durable and reliable for live performances. Definitely a great choice if you want good value/money balance.

5) LyxPro Balanced XLR Cable

The LyxPro is another value option that I would like to recommend. Considering the price, this one actually doesn’t really feature any major points of weakness. It comes with quality PVC inner shield, which offers a 98% coverage.

With such figures, you can count on a great sound quality. In terms of durability, there are metal XLR housings. It comes in various colors. This can be quite useful for identifying different cables in complex set-ups.

6) Your Cable Store 10 Foot XLR

This is a very affordable XLR cable. The sound quality is good. Also, you can use it without any worries for live performances, considering metal housings.

The shielding quality is also on a decent level, so you won’t have bigger problems with noise. The cable comes in various lengths with different options for colors. Definitely a great budget cable.

7) Planet Waves Classic Series XLR Microphone Cable

This list ends with the Planet Waves Classic Series XLR cable. This is also a quite affordable product, which comes with several strong points.

One thing that you’ll hardly find on other cables of this price range is a very good corrosion protection, which seems critical for the contact reliability. These connectors are nickel plated and feature metal housings, which guarantee great durability as well.

The shielding is also quite decent, so you can also count on a quiet operation. All in all, a very good value for the money. The product comes in different lengths.

Conclusion

Those would be some of the best and most popular XLR cables you can find around. As you can see, these products come in a pretty wide price range. Some are very cheap, while others are quite expensive.

So, identify your priorities and needs before purchasing. Determine your budget, and then check things like cable length, shielding, and connector quality and similar things. Once you’re done with these, the choice shouldn’t be that hard.

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The Best Drum Mics for Acoustic Drums

drum mics

If you are new in the world of drum mics, you should know that acoustic drums are probably the hardest instrument to mic. The reason is quite simple. Acoustic drum offers a large spectrum of sounds, you can count on a pretty strong signal picked by your microphone.

A quality microphone needs to deal with all unwanted noise and to be able to pick all the nuance and details, crucial for playing dynamics.

So, let’s say that you are a drum player that has never used microphones for live performances, or you want to start recording. The most natural choice would be to pick some quality drum mic kit.

These kits usually feature pretty much everything you need, including not just different types of microphones for different drum parts but also several accessories. The most important are mounting clamps of course. With them, you can easily mount the microphone on the drum and make so-called close mic.

Besides easy mounting, you will need some XLR cables, which is another piece of accessories that these kits usually include. Finally, expect to get some case, where you can pack all the mics and other parts.

The Best Drum Mics and Drum Mic Kits

This seems like a perfect choice for someone who is a complete beginner with drum mics. Not only that you’ll get all needed pieces in a single case, but you can also count that this kit will cost you less money than if you decide to buy each piece separately.

Another good thing to know is that there are different types of these drum mic bundles. If you need to mic drums for recording, you should go for studio microphones.

On the other side, live performance requires a microphone that will be able to deal with all the unwanted noise that comes from all directions. In this case, you should go for dynamic microphones.

Once you get known with these tools better, you can start building your own kit, by purchasing each piece separately. There are tons of quality microphones designed for specific drum parts, like overhead drum mic, kick drum mic, snare drum mic, tom mic etc.

These pieces usually feature much better quality compared to ones in drum kits. Of course, the price is much higher also, so you will need much more money to complete your own drum microphone kit.

Here are some of the best products you can find on the market:

Shure PGADRUMKIT5

This is a pretty basic drum kit that comes from a highly renowned manufacturer. This kit consists of five mics with different characteristics, perfect for specific areas. You can count on three PGA56 microphones that are especially for toms and other drums.

For the kick drum, you need something that perfectly collects sound from heavy bass sources, so PGA52 seems like a natural choice. This one can be used for bass amps as well. Finally, there is a classic PGA57 dynamic microphone. This universal microphone seems perfect for snares.

Besides microphones, you can count on all necessary accessories. There are cables and mounts for all microphones, as well as a nice hard case. The overall quality of this kit seems pretty decent, while the price is relatively affordable. Definitely a great choice for beginners.

Pyle-Pro 7-Piece Kit

This Pyle-Pro is a great drum mic bundle for beginners. It is cheap, reliable and consists of 7 microphones. Basically, there are three types of mics in this kit. As you may presume, there is one large unit, which is designed especially for low frequencies.

For snares, toms and other drums, this kit offers four smaller dynamic microphones, that can catch a pretty wide range of frequencies. Finally, you get two condenser overhead mics, which are perfect for cymbals, but vocals as well.

Of course, mounting systems for all microphones are included, while a fancy-looking hard case seems pretty convenient. Also, it is important to mention that all mics feature common dimensions and that can be mounted on various types of a microphone stand.

The overall quality isn’t spectacular, but you must consider that this is a low-budget product, with the attractive price as its strongest point.

Lewitt DTP Beat Kit Pro 7

If you’re looking for something highly professional, here is the kit for you. This is a top-grade product, which comes with 7 high-quality microphones. The most interesting piece in this kit is definitely a kick drum mic.

This bass mic features two capsules, both dynamic and condenser. Such design eliminated the possibility of common phase issues, while the sound quality is amazing as well. Rest of the kit is also all about top-quality mics. There are three DTP 340 TTS dynamic mics, perfect for toms.

On the other side, a dynamic MTP 440 DM takes care of snares. Finally, you can count on a pair of top quality condenser overhead units, which feature cardioid capsules. Of course, mounts and case are included as well. Definitely, one of the best kits you can find around.

Shure PGA52-XLR

For those who prefer building drum mic bundles on their own, the most important part of the kit would probably be a quality drum kick mic.

This is the same one that can be found in the company’s PGA drum kit. It might look expensive but definitely features amazing quality. One of its strong points is a cardioid polar pattern, which deals with unwanted noise very well.

Sennheiser E604 Dynamic Cardioid

When it comes to snares and toms, this is the unit you definitely need to consider. This cardioid dynamic microphone offers a great value for the money. It picks drum sounds amazingly well while keeping it clear from unwanted noise.

One of its strong points is great sensitivity, which is crucial for drummers who care a lot about playing dynamics. Also, the construction of this mic is very durable, while the mounting system guarantee installation in a matter of seconds. Another amazing thing about Sennheiser E604 is that the company gives a 10-year warranty.

AKG PERCEPTION 170

Despite the low price tag, this condenser microphone is a decent representative of the renowned company. Thanks to its cardioid design, this unit works pretty well not just for drum overheads, but acoustic guitars and other instruments as well.

It features solid metal construction and covers a frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Moreover, it comes with a switchable 20-dB pre-attenuation pad. A great value for the price. Definitely worth of buying.

Audio Technica AT2041SP

There is no need for some special introduction of this highly-renowned company. Pretty much all microphones that come from this manufacturer are characterized by excellent quality. What makes this condenser microphone so special is its stand.

Besides amazing sound, this mic comes with a stand that can be used to mic various kinds of instruments. Many use this one to mic a piano but for us, it seems amazing because you can easily mount it on a hi-hat. It also works perfectly as overhead drum mic.

Summary – The Best Drum Mics

These are some of the best and most popular drum mics that you can find around. Before you start with making your own mic bundle, be sure to identify your priorities and needs.

There are plenty of budget options, but on the other hand, there is a great choice of single unit drum mics for more experienced players who want to spend a bigger amount of money and get superior sound quality. In that case, a top-quality kit sounds great, but if you’re really picky about your sound, then buying single mics are the way to go.

Of course, it all depends on your budget and how much money you want to spend. All in all, the drum mics on this list are all good quality ones.

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Finding Your Best Pair of Drumsticks – How to Tell the Difference

drumsticks
Drumsticks come in many different sizes and shapes. A quality set of drumsticks is one of your most important assets as a drummer.

Junk drumsticks can be unbalanced, made from poor materials, and break easily. They can also be inconsistent across even the same models, which means that you may not get the same playability from different pairs.

I’m going to start by recommending some of the best all-round drumsticks. After that, I’m going to go in-depth to help you understand what different drum stick sizes mean.

Recommended drum sticks

Vic Firth American Classic Extreme 5AN with nylon tips

One of the most renowned producers of drumsticks, Vic Firth created the Classic Extreme 5AN type with nylon tips.

The Vic Firth 5A has become a very popular choice for drummers. The Extreme 5A sticks are a bit longer, and add a bit of extra reach to your playing.

These sticks are made of hickory, so their density mixed with a pinch of flex provide an articulated sound, appropriate for different drumming styles. Hickory is a well-known shock absorber, so they have a healing effect on drummer’s hands.

Note: On electronic drum sets I prefer to use this model. On acoustic kits I personally prefer the wood tip (Extreme 5A)

Zildjian 5B Nylon Black Drumsticks

The Zildjian 5B Nylon Black drumsticks are made of hickory. Similarly to the previously mentioned ones, these are a very good model for beginners.

The nylon teardrop beads on the tips of these sticks are also very useful for electronic drumming.

Also, its color and ornaments make give this model a pretty cool look.

Promark Select Balance Rebound Balance Drumsticks 535, Wood Tip

The third member of the holy trinity of drum producers, Promark brings to us the Rebound Balance 535 drumsticks.

Made from hickory and additionally adjusted to have the same weight, these sticks offer a consistent drumming feel that doesn’t wear out the player.

Drumstick sizes

In a nutshell, there are four main types of drumsticks that I recommend rookie drummers should choose from: 5A, 5B, 7A, and 2B.

The numerical part

As you’ve noticed, each of these types contains a letter and a number in its name.

The number in the type of a drumstick represents its thickness. The lower the number, the thicker the drum stick is and vice versa. For example, a 7A drumstick is much thinner than a 2B drumstick.

Further, there’s also the letter part in drum stick types. These letters originate from the period when drums entered the mainstream.

The letter part

The letter ‘A’ originally stood for orchestra drumming. These A-drumsticks were used by big band and large orchestra drummers, due to their thinness and softness, which recommended them for lighter drumming sessions.

However, they are now commonly used across many different styles. In fact, 5A is generally still my preferred stick size.

The letter ‘B’ comes from the word band. Logically, these drumsticks were meant to be used by band players, which is still the case today. They’re generally larger than the ‘A’ size drumsticks, and are used by players that want more power in their playing.

Finally, there’s another sort of drumsticks – the ‘S’ type. Their first application was in street bands, which is where the initial letter comes from. Since playing in the street requires loudness and power, they’re the thickest and bulkiest of all these three types.

Choosing sticks by materials

Drumsticks are made from a variety of materials. Each of them has some special features regarding different drumming styles and sounds. Here are the most widespread drum stick types based on materials they’re made from.

Wood

The most popular drum stick material with the longest tradition, wood is perfect for drummers who need to play it fast.

As for the types of wood for drumsticks, oak, maple, persimmon, and hickory are the most wanted ones, each for different purposes.

Oak is a dense and hard wood meant for powerful, ‘heavy’ drumming.

Maple, on the other hand, is the lightest type of wood with low density, which is why it’s a great choice for fast playing needs.

Hickory is harder and heavier than maple, but softer than oak. Being such a middle-of-the-road wood type, it’s the most widespread wood in drumsticks. Also, its elasticity plays an important role in reducing the level of hand fatigue. Because of that, it’s a reasonable option for drumming beginners.

Finally, persimmon is the most exquisite of all the drum stick materials, and it’s usually produced for special drum stick uses, like concert stick sets for snares. It’s a durable, heavy, and dense wood that produces deep, dark sounds. As such, it’s different from other presented woods for drumsticks.

Carbon fiber

The greatest advantage of carbon fiber drumsticks over the wood ones is their durability. They usually last much longer than their wooden counterparts.

However, you might want to leave this drum stick type for later stages of your playing, since they’re more costly than wooden sticks. Plus, there are a more limited number of models.

The types of drum stick tips

In addition to the density of the material and length of drumsticks, their tips are of great importance when it comes to the quality and type of sound.

Nylon drum stick tips are the best choice for drummers who need a bright, resonating tone. Compared to wooden tips, they can be less harsh on playing surfaces (as the tips don’t splinter), which is why they’re a great option for drummers that play on electronic drum sets. Another plus on their side is long durability and wear-out resistance.

Wood tips are the most widespread type of tips. They usually provide a neutral combo of proper articulation and rich sounds on different elements of drum sets. Still, different types of wood tips will produce different sounds, which we’ve talked about in the previous paragraph.

Swizzle drumsticks have a dual tip. On one side there’s a regular drum stick tip, while the other side of the tips is enriched with a small synthetic ball. This combination enables you to get a smooth and warm mallet sound on tom drums or cymbals.

On Stage DA100 Drum Stick Holder

It’s always awkward dropping a drumstick on stage. Though it doesn’t have to be the end of the world!

When you’re on stage, you might need more than one pair of sticks by your side. Since it’s important to store your sticks properly after the gig, you should get a drum stick holder.

The DA100 drum stick holder can hold 8 pairs of sticks. Thanks to its C-shape clamp, you can place it easily on any drum stand, or other pieces of drum sets.

Also, you can easily take your sticks from it or leave them inside thanks to the extension part as you’re playing, due to the 45° angle at which it’s mounted. The cup can be easily taken off and cleaned so that your drums are always kept in a clean holder.

Conclusion

The type of drumsticks you use will depend on your drumming skills and playing preferences. Starting out with more neutral sticks and moving onto more unique ones that provide some special features sound like the most reasonable option.

It’s also important to learn more about the tips of sticks and whether they match with your drum set.

If you’re unsure, I’d recommend starting with a 5A model drumstick and working from there. It’s important to note that the information in this article about drumstick sizes should be taken as a guide. The actual implementation of these sizes varies based on the drumstick manufacturer. Therefore I recommend that you try numerous different drumsticks to help you figure out the best pairs for you.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with some valuable information that will help you choose the best drumsticks for your needs.

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Best Earplugs for Musicians – Protect Your Hearing Before it’s Too Late

musicians - hearing protection
I’m a musician that suffers from tinnitus. I suffer from constant ringing in my ears on a daily basis. However, I’m not the only one. It’s a very common complaint among musicians.

As a musician, if you’re not careful, you WILL be in the same boat unless you protect your hearing.

Hearing damage and tinnitus can really affect your quality of your personal and professional life. It is something that you can learn to accept, however the most important action is always to limit any further damage.

Hearing is a musician bread and butter. That’s why every musician has to take all the necessary measures to protect their hearing throughout their career.

However, exposing your ears to loud music during rehearsals, gigs and concerts could damage the way you hear and perceive music. Because of that, getting equipped with the best possible earplugs is a must in every environment in which music volume keeps extending 80 dBA for a longer period of time.

In this article, you’ll learn some important points about hearing protection. I also suggest some good earplugs that will keep you safe during exposure to louder sounds.

I personally wear either a set of in-ear monitors while playing gigs or a set of musicians earplugs like below.

Rehearsals, gigs, concerts

Many amateur musicians underestimate the loudness they’re exposed to during gigs. No matter if you’re a musician or just a gig-goer, think how many times you went to bed with a ringing sound in your ears after a gig.

The situation can be just as bad in rehearsal studios. And this is exactly where you could significantly damage your hearing if you don’t protect your ears properly.

Best earplugs for durable protection

When you’re choosing earplugs for your ears, you need to check the ergonomic features of the given set as well as the level of protection they ensure.

By comparing these elements, we’ve chosen the following earplugs as reliable protective agents for various musical contexts.

1) Eargasm High-Fidelity Earplugs

The Eargasm High-Fidelity Earplugs are a wise choice for all sorts of music events. Also, they’ll protect your hearing from noise in everyday life, from your work environment, to public transportation sounds.

The ergonomic requirements are met with the soft silicone material that has hypoallergenic features. Since they fit softly into ears, these earplugs can be worn for a long time without any pain or itching.

The manufacturer has anticipated that people have different ear sizes, as well. That’s why every Eargasm set comes with two different types of shells. These add-ons will help you adjust the thickness of earplugs to your ears. Still, if you have significantly smaller ears, think about getting the smaller version of the Eargasm ear plugs.

As for the sound quality, these plugs provide a high-fidelity sound, just like their name says, by eliminating the noise, only to sharpen the quality sound from the source. Unlike cheap foam plugs, these earplugs won’t hush the music or lower the quality of the sound.

To top it all off, the aluminum case comes with waterproof rubber, so that your earplugs are always protected from dust, moisture and unwanted rubbish.

2) Etymotic High Fidelity Earplugs

The Etymotic High-Fidelity Earplugs is a set of reliable and durable hearing-protective plugs that keep your ears safe from noise in different contexts.

From gigs and studio rehearsals to concerts and city noise, you’ll relieve a great deal of hearing stress with these earplugs. Also, you can use this plugs for motor shows or other similar events with strong sudden noises. However, it’s not recommended for high-level sudden noises, such as shooting practices. Musicians who like shooting or hunting should check out these earplug sets for those purposes.

Further, the Etymotic earplugs will provide you with the natural sound, as it’s produced at the source, but reduced for about 20 dBA. As a result, you still hear high-fidelity sound, but it’s adapted to the sensitive interior part of your ears.

As such, it also isolates the sound of your own instrument and makes you hear its fit with other instruments in a much clearer way.

It has the easy-fit design, which ensures that this set of earplugs easily adapts to various ear types and sizes.

3) Earasers Musicians Plugs (Medium)

Earasers Musicians Plugs (Medium) are a reasonable all-round solution for different noise environments.

With more than 40 years of tradition in manufacturing music equipment and top-notch sound features, Earasers suits various ear types.

No matter if you’re a music fan who often goes to concerts, or a musician, this set of earplugs will protect your hearing while retaining the sound quality.

The Earasers earplugs don’t muffle music and keep the sound genuine, as well as reduce the level of harmful noise. This is achieved by filtering out the unnecessary buzz and isolating the pure sound of music.

To cut a long story short, these Earaser plugs ensure a high level of protection and high-fidelity sound, thanks to the special V-filter.

As such, these earplugs help musicians concentrate on the tones they play, as well as to feel them more precisely when played with the rest of the band.

4) Mute Audio M-Series M7

The Mute Audio M-series M7 earplugs keep your hearing safe and ensure that you get top-notch sound quality.

Their high-quality noise filter funnels only the clear tones to your ears and removes all the unwanted noise and unclear frequencies. By doing so, it simultaneously protects your hearing and enhances your music performance. The M-series M7 earplugs are especially popular with session musicians, producers, and DJs, since all these three groups spend a lot of time in noisy environments.

What’s more, these people often have to wear headphones in such surroundings and the M-series M7 are easily placed under the headphones.

As fort the ergonomic features, these earplugs are made of silicone, so they easily adapt to different ear types and shapes.

Also, you can easily maintain them with soap and water, so that they last for a long period of time.

They come with a small, soft case that can be easily stored and barely takes an inch of space.

Day-to-day hearing protection

Apart from music events, sound engineers, producers and musicians need to take good care of their hearing in other situations, as well.

For instance, if you’re passing by a construction site, the level of noise might be unbearable. Similarly, long traffic jams can also leads to honking, revving and other high-intensity sounds that could put your hearing at risk.

Because of that, you should always keep a pair of earplugs with you in everyday situations. I always have a set of earplugs attached in a handy case on my keyring. That way you’ll be able to insulate your hearing from the outer world in case the noise becomes too intensive or threatening to your hearing.

Conclusion

The modern world is polluted with noise. Cars, construction machines, loud music in cafes and in the streets, as well as loud concerts and gigs all pose a threat to our hearing.

We should all make an effort to protect ourselves from such loud sounds. If you’re a musician who makes a living through hearing, it’s essential that you always stay cautious and keep your hearing safe from any potential outside risks.

I hope the advice in this article will make this easier for every musician who reads it.

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The 4 Best Drum Thrones to Save Your Posture

drum thrones

Drum thrones may seem like an afterthought for drummers, but they’re actually one of the most important parts of your drum set.

Excellent posture is a pillar of your health as a drummer. Excess slouching and bad form can be quick ticket to ending your drumming career.

In this article, I’m going to explain what you should be looking out for. I’m also going to list and explain my top 4 recommended drum thrones. These are applicable to both acoustic sets and electronic drum sets.

Drumming for long periods of time while sitting on a junk drum throne is like running a marathon in bad running shoes. It can really cause you problems and injury in the long term.

In the next few paragraphs we’re going to talk about the key characteristics of ergonomic drum stools, and present some specific thrones.

The 4 Best Drum Thrones

EDITOR'S CHOICE - Our top pick as the best drum throne for comfort and posture
A light and affordable drum throne (Circular seat)
Great quality drum throne. Great for players with lower back problems.
A good, affordable drum throne (Motorcycle style seat)

Drum Thrones – What to look out for

A classic beginner drummer mistake is not putting any thought into their seating. Often times, players will just grab any stool or chair lying around the house. This is bad for a number of reasons:

  • These are not designed for the ergonomics of drumming

  • They are often not height adjustable, therefore the drummer may not be at the correct angle for the pedals or may be out of reach of the cymbals.

  • They often won’t include back rests that will work properly for drumming

Drum thrones can be a little on the expensive side. However, I’ve listed out some options below that are actually very reasonable. They are a serious investment into your drumming career.

This is what you should look out for when choosing a drum thrones:

  • Quick height adjustability: It’s very important to be able to make small changes to your height to ensure that you are in correct alignment with the kit. This feature is particularly important if you share a drum set with other people.

  • Seat shape and cushioning: Memory foam and comfortable seat materials help a massive amount when playing for a long period of time. The shape of seat is mostly a personal preference.

  • Back rest: This is not vital, however if you suffer from back problems then these are well worth considering.

ROC-N-SOC Nitro Throne

One of the most popular drum stools on the market, the ROC-N-SOC Nitro Throne delivers a bicycle-like shape for better posture.

As such, it also prevents your legs from exhaustion during gigs. In turn, it improves your playing ability and enables you to play longer music events.

The seat on this throne contains a nitrogen gas shock absorber, which provides a comfortable sitting position for drummers, regardless of the drumming style. The biggest advantage of this spring-like system is that it gives the drummer that bouncing feeling, which amortizes the pressure on their back and feet.

The ROC-N-SOC throne can be adjusted so that it fits drummers with all sorts of leg lengths. The height range is 18’’-24’’.

Also, the legs on this throne are double-braced, which adds to the stability of the entire structure.

Finally, the dimensions of this throne are 24.5 x 20.5 x 16 inches, with the weight of 14.7 pounds. It’s easily stored when you’re traveling to your gigs and simply installed.

Mapex Double Brace

The Mapex Double Brace throne delivers a slightly different approach to drumming ergonomics.

An ample round seat takes the central part of this stool. It’s a thick cushion that will keep your posture correct during shows.

This drum throne has double-braced legs. As a result, they can handle drummers of different weights and various playing styles. With that firm base, this throne is good to endure long drumming sessions.

When it comes to adjustments, there’s a tube collar lock in the middle of a steel tube that serves for setting the height of the throne. The height scope gives a lot of room for adjustment for drummers of all sizes and needs.

This is a light throne, practical for various gigs and stages, the Mapex Double Brace throne is a nice option for long and comfortable drumming performances.

Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider (with Backrest)

The Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider drum throne is a great pick for drummers who play long gigs or practice sessions, and those who have problems with their back.

The first thing you see when you take a look at this drum throne is the backrest. Its height and the vertical angle can be adjusted, which can really help to get the playing position to just right. Also, the rest is foldable with the seat, which is a practical feature for drummers on tour.

Thanks to that special feature for the back, this throne ensures great ergonomic value for every type of drummer.

As for the seat itself, it’s a blend of a traditional round shape and a saddle form. This hybrid seat delivers a great match of comfort and the drumming freedom of movement.

The special cutaway addition at the front gives an extra support and comfort for drummers in fast music genres. For instance, it’s a great perk for drummers who play the double bass drum.

The size specifications of the Tama 1st Chair Ergo-Rider throne are 20.8 x 19.8 x 13 inches. It weighs 20.7 pounds, mostly due to its double-braced four legs.

Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne

The Gibraltar 6608 Heavy Drum Throne is a valuable combination of price and value.

It ranks pretty high when it comes to ergonomics and durability.

The seat is filled with top-notch memory foam, which easily adjusts to various sizes and types of drummers.

Three double-braced legs ensure stability of the entire structure.

The Gibraltar 6608 throne comes with handy height-adjustment features – you just fix the memory lock when you find the right throne height for your drumming needs.

What also makes this throne so attractive is the vintage motorcycle design of the seat. If you play drums in a hard rock or metal band, it might be a great music accessory for your music image.

Extra Ways to Improve Your Drumming Posture

In addition to choosing your drum throne, I would highly recommend that you put some time into doing some basic exercises that can help improve the strength of your lower back and hamstrings.

The following bodyweight exercises can make a big difference. You can sometimes even notice the difference just by trying these every other day for a few weeks:

  • Plank

  • Bridge

  • Squat

  • Single-leg deadlift

If you would like to learn more, check out these articles on back exercises and hamstring exercises.

Conclusion

There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to drum thrones. If you don’t have any problems with your back, the ROC-N-SOC Nitro throne comes as a great blend of comfort, ergonomics, design, and value. It’s an affordable stool that should serve you good for a long period of time.

But if you have any issues with your legs or back, the Tama 1st Chair is a great solution. Although it is a bit more expensive, it will support your back and legs by keeping your posture in alignment.

Picking any of the above is a great investment in your drumming health. Even if you don’t have a big budget, it’s really worth getting a decent drum throne, which is specifically designed for drumming.

Write a comment below if you have any questions on drum thrones. I’d be delighted to answer them!

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The 3 Best Drum Practice Pads – Advice From an Experienced Drummer

My drum practice pad
The practice pad I’ve owned for 12 years. It’s still in great shape.

This is the first question I ask when a drummer asks how they can improve their drumming skills: “Do you own a practice pad?”

If they say no, that’s almost always the first port of call.

A practice pad is an exceptional tool for any drummer. It allows you to perfect your rolls and rudiments quietly, consistently, and when you’re on the move.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much my drumming improved after just a few weeks of consistently practicing on one of these bad boys.

For example, your drum kit fills will instantly improve after you practice your single or double stroke rolls consistently on one of these.

I’ve identified the top three drum practice pads that I think you should consider. There are many different options out there. However, I think the following pads cover the main types of practice pads that you’re going to find. I also really think these are the best ones out of each of these categories:

The Real Feel – Evan’s 2 Sided Drum Practice Pad

I own the both the 6-inch and 12-inch versions of this pad. I’ve had the 6-inch version for 12 years of pretty consistent practice.

I’ve given this drum practice pad a right beating. Including a large number of heavy hits!

That’s an insanely large amount of value for the low price tag. This comes in two versions. The 12-inch model and the 6 inch one. If this is your first practice pad, I would recommend the smaller model.

However, the 12 inch is a great option if a bit of extra weight and space is not a problem for you. You also get a lot more space to play with for your drum strokes.

This pad is double-sided. One side is made of a gum material, which gives solid rebound. This is great for practicing snare and cymbal strokes.

The other side is made from more of a rubber material. This is useful for putting your muscles to work. This is useful for practicing on deeper tuned drum heads that don’t give a lot of rebound.

Both of these practice options are very useful, as it allows for practice across different surfaces.

Also, Evan’s is one of the biggest names in drum head manufacturers.

 

The Drumeo P4 Practice Pad

The previous practice pad makes use of two surfaces. However, the Drumeo practice pad takes this premise to the next level.

This pad consists of four different materials, and it allows you to quickly switch between surfaces at once. It can help you to develop the versatility required to move between different playing surfaces such as a drum set.

This is also a very quiet practice pad, so it’s useful for drumming practice situations where you can’t make much noise.

This drum practice pad was also created by Drumeo, one of the biggest online drum education websites in the world.

This pad is a little bit more expensive than the others, but you get a lot of value for your price.

Check out the video below. It will show not only the Drumeo practice pad in action, but it will also give you a flavor for what you can practice using one of these.

 

The Remo Tunable Practice Pad

This drum practice pad is a little different to the previous one mentioned. This one really simulates the bounce of a real drum, but at the expensive of being a little louder than the other practice pads.

It’s also tunable, which enables you to simulate drums of different tension.

This practice pad has one serious benefit. It’s tuning and slightly higher noise makes it a lot easier for you to listen out and observe your drum strokes.

Therefore, you should really consider this if ultra quiet practice is not a top priority of your drum practice pad.

It’s manufactured by Remo, one of the top drum head manufacturers. If you choose this pad, you’re going with an exceptional brand (It’s also the brand of drum heads that I have been fitting to my acoustic drums for years).

 

The most important things to consider before buying

The size of the practice pad

This may have a lot of bearing on how often you use your practice pad. For example, if portability is important for you then I’d highly recommend a smaller pad as it could easily fit in a bag. I often carry around an Evan’s RealFeel 6 inch pad while traveling.

If you mostly want to plant your practice pad on top of a snare drum then a bigger one like the 12 inch Evan’s RealFeel would be a better option.

The quietness of the practice pad

Not all practice pads are equal in the scale of noise. For example, the remo tunable practice pad is louder than the others mentioned above.

I often used my pad as a means of practicing when it was too late to play my drum set. Your practice pad is also a great way to work on your rudiments for long and consistent sessions. Doing this on a loud pad could get tedious if noise is a concern.

However, a slightly louder pad also has it’s positives. You can hear the difference in your strokes, which can be very helpful in getting your strokes just right.

The variety of playing surfaces

Some drummers want a very basic pad so they can focus exactly on their practice material at hand. Others prefer multiple playing surfaces like the Drumeo pad, as it can give them a better workout of varying different playing surfaces. Tunable practice pads allow you to alter the bounce level of the playing surface, which can better simulate playing an actual snare drum.

If you want the most variety of your playing surfaces, then the Drumeo practice pad is a great option.

What to practice first

Rudiments

When you get your practice pad, you should identify what your weak spots are with your drumming. If you have a drum teacher, they may have already hinted at certain parts of your strokes and playing.

If you’re unsure, then work through some of the basic drum rudiments, such as single stroke rolls, double stroke rolls, paradiddles, flams, etc. I would also highly recommend practicing with a metronome.

You should quickly be able to identify which ones are uncomfortable or unfamiliar to play. This is especially the case at high or very low speed.

Technique

Your practice pad is a great tool to try out new techniques. For example, try out the Moeller technique or perfect your rebound.

It’s a great idea to use your practice pad on front of a mirror, as you may quickly spot errors in your playing. If you use the matched grip (holding both sticks the same way), it’s easy to recognize discrepancies. I’d recommend that you get good feedback from a drum teacher, and then use a mirror to ensure that you’re following the correct directions.

When I initially bought my practice pad, I spent countless hours simply perfecting my stick bounce at very low speed to a metronome. It’s amazing how initially difficult it can be to play very slowly. This is also the case for playing drum beats or songs on your drum set. You might be able to play them at their normal tempo, but what happens if you decrease the tempo by 40 BPM? It really makes you ask yourself if you have really learned to play the beat. You can easily start to second guess yourself as there is a lot more space and time to make mistakes.

Your timing – Use a metronome!

The solid ability to stay in time and play at different tempos is your main objective as a drummer. A sure sign of a novice drummer is one who goes in and out of time often while playing.

I highly recommend that you practice to a metronome as much as possible while using your practice pad. I have found that improvements in timing can be noticed within a few weeks.

Getting comfortable playing with a metronome actually has two benefits. Firstly, many bands use metronomes for both recording and live performances (e.g. through in-ear monitors), you’re at a major disadvantage as a drummer if you can’t easily play to a metronome. Secondly, once you practice enough, your ability to stay in time substantially increases.

Some beginner drummers think that drumming to a metronome will make them dependent on it. The truth is actually the opposite of that. A metronome improves your timing and therefore will make you more confident in your ability to stay in time, even without using a metronome.

This improvement in timing will translate to playing on a drum set and playing on other musical instruments.

Stick tricks

This one is pretty superficial, but some drummers and fans love it. Many stick tricks involve hitting the drum and working with your rebound. The practice pad is a perfect place to try these out.

What drum sticks to use

drumsticks

This is a matter of personal preference. I would recommend that you get a pair of heavier sticks for a real workout. These can be great for practicing your speed and endurance. You will notice the difference when you go back to using your lighter sticks.

Otherwise, just play with your regular sticks if you are warming up on the practice pad before playing on your drum set.

However, don’t just take my advise, play around with different stick types on your practice pad to see what suits you the best.

Learning resources to use

There are many amazing drumming instruction videos online. Check out Drumeo if you are interested in getting access to top quality online drum tuition.

You could also buy the fantastic book “Stick Control: For the Snare Drummer” by George Lawrence Stone. This has been referred to as the drum bible.

Personally, Dom Famularo’s book “It’s Your Move: Motions and Emotions” was one of the best resources I ever had for drumming. It’s first few chapters really paved the way for me to improve my technique.

If in doubt, you should always try to seek the tuition and help of a local drumming instructor. It can be quite difficult to identify bad habits for yourself. An experienced teacher could identify them in a heartbeat, saving you so much time, and possibly saving you from injury from bad form and technique.

Summary

I hope this article has thought you the importance of using a drum practice pad.

If you are still unsure what one to purchase, I would highly recommend the Evan’s 2 sided practice pad. I really think you can’t go wrong with this one. As I’ve previously mentioned, this has been my go-to pad for years.

Also, this pad is an extremely popular choice for drummers.

Do you have any questions? I’d be very happy to answer them below.

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