Every musician spends a big part of life in practice sessions. While that is great for us, it’s not that great for our families, neighbors and other people in the close environment. Many instruments are loud, but very few match the volume of an acoustic drum set.
Keeping the noise to an acceptable level can be a big issue for drummers that don’t have the luxury of a dedicated studio.
Someone would say that today’s industry offers a lot of modern products that can quiet down your drum set. There are low-volume drum heads and cymbals, which could be a great solution. Also, there are electronic drum sets, which are predominately used for practice.
However, sometimes you just want to play a full acoustic drum set. Those who aren’t too much into drums or other musical instruments probably don’t realize that the sound quality is the main thing that inspires musicians to practice. It is something that pushes us to work for hours every day to become better musicians. Therefore, if you’re planning to perform using an acoustic drums set, you need to get used to the nuances of playing on one of them.
For that cause, we need to keep drums loud, but to keep others from breakdown. Of course, it all leads us to good sound insulation. This could be either simple or complicated, cheap or expensive process, depending on how much you need to soundproof your practice room.
Here are some of the most important tips:
Sometimes, it would be enough to just feel the gaps in your room to notice a significant difference. Take a close look and you will realize that there are more areas to seal than you would probably expect. Check doors, windows, air vents etc.
Of course, doors are the most important. Unlike outside doors, for example, the door of your practice room probably doesn’t feature any sealing materials. Take a closer look and you will easily notice that there is a lot of space between the door and frame, even when it’s locked. The cheapest and easiest way to fill these gaps is to use a so-called weatherstrip tape.
This tape comes in various thicknesses, so chose carefully. Otherwise, you won’t fill the gaps completely, or be able to even close the doors if you pick something too thick. The same tape can be used for windows. You can get it in pretty much every store, or buy here.
Soundproof Doors and Windows
After you’re done with sealing, you will definitely notice a significant difference. Still, it probably won’t be enough, so the next step would be to start with some real soundproofing. Despite being sealed, most of the noise still comes out from your room through your doors.
There are two pretty common ways of doors soundproofing and both are quite simple. In both cases, you will use the same material, fiberglass. This material is widely used for soundproof purposes. It is particularly good for the impact noise, which is very important in this case. You can either go for door curtains or flat panels.
The lazier way is to get fiberglass curtains. Just hang them on the door and let them fall. In addition, use a couple of screwers to fix them better.
Fiberglass panels are probably a little bit more complicated to work with, but definitely provide better results. Keep in mind that these panels aren’t cheap, but definitely pay off. Of course, the thicker panels you get, the better insulation you’ll have. Also, it’s not hard to find these panels in different colors, so you can also work on the aesthetics of your practice room.
If you have nervous neighbors, you will probably have to soundproof windows as well. There are many ways to do this, but soundproof curtains are probably the cheapest and most convenient. Affordable price, easy installation, great aesthetics, and easy maintenance are some of the main reasons why you should get some of these.
Soundproof Room Walls
We have finally come to the walls. This aspect of soundproofing your practice drum room is probably the most complicated and most expensive. There are many ways to do this, but all of them are pretty much all about putting an additional layer of some material on your walls.
The most common material is a so-called acoustic foam. These panels are easily recognizable because of a familiar pattern. The first that comes to mind is an egg crate pattern, though there are many other designs as well. Some experts claim that the shape has some effect on the insulation but for most of us, it is nothing more than an aesthetical detail. You should care more about the thickness and the thing called NRC.
When it comes to thickness, things are pretty simple – the more, the better. The thicker the panel you choose, the better soundproof you can count on.
The NRC goes for noise reduction rating and pretty much every panel on the market comes with a product description that includes these ratings. Once again, things are pretty simple. The higher rating means better soundproof characteristics.
Another good way to insulate your room is to use mass-loaded vinyl. This material has amazing soundproofing characteristics, even better than typical acoustic foams, though you can’t on the same fancy aesthetical effect that turns your room into a real recording studio. On the other side, installation is pretty simple.
If you have some gaps in the wall, seal them with an acoustic acrylic sealer.
What about the floor?
In my own experience, this is the area that has been overlooked so many times. It is important for two big reasons. First of all, floor insulation is crucial for those who live in apartments. You want to keep free your under-neighbors from any noise and a good way is to get some floor underlayment roll. Today’s market offers lots of these products and these are usually made of some recycled synthetic fibers, which keeps the price quite affordable.
Also, keep in mind that drums are all about vibrations. Therefore, it is important to prevent your drums to interact directly with the floor. Some old carpet would do just fine.
Consider a Drum shield
A drum shield may be expensive, but it is one of the best ways to soundproof your drumming. These products have been massively used by professional drummers for decades, especially at smaller events where acoustic drums are too loud. So, there is no reason you shouldn’t use them in your room as well. However, keep in mind that a quality shield costs hundreds of dollars. Also, playing inside this shield feels a little bit claustrophobic.
Sound insulation is one of the most important things for every drummer. We all want to have a practicing space that won’t bother other people in the environment.
These would be just some of many ways to soundproof your drum room. Some are more effective, some are not. Some materials are cheap, while others would cost you a lot money.
The good thing is that you can also use plenty of materials that are common in the construction industry. For example, wood is an excellent sound insulator and could also have an amazing effect on your room aesthetics, which could eventually inspire you to practice and work on yourself more.
If you plan a renovation of your home in the future, also consider putting mineral wool between walls. It is one of the most cost-effective materials you can find on the market, which guarantees excellent sound and heat insulation as well.
Those would be some of the most common materials and cheap ways, but consider that you can soundproof your drum room in many more ways as well.