Keeping the noise to an acceptable level can be a big issue for drummers that don’t have the luxury of a dedicated studio. If you’re thinking about soundproofing your drum room, this is the guide for you.
Before you jump on to buying soundproofing materials, you should know what to expect. Soundproofing takes a lot of time, money, and resources to do right. So if you are thinking about it, make sure you know what you are getting into.
Acoustic treatment items like bass traps and scatter plates won’t do much in terms of soundproofing. The purpose of these are actually to balance out the sound correctly in your room.
If you’re not making the ideal sound-proof room (for example, constructing a “room within a room” in your drum room, which we’ll talk about later in the article), there is almost certainly going to be some level of noticeable sound leaving your drum room. In this case, you will be aiming for the most amount of sound reduction possible, though even reducing the volume by a few decibels can make a fairly significant difference.
If proper soundproofing is not an option for you due to your budget or living situation, there are still plenty of ways for you to get your drum practice in.
1. Sealing the Gaps
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.
2. Soundproof Doors and Windows
After you’re done with sealing, you will definitely notice a significant difference. Still, there’s more soundproofing to be done.
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.
3. Flooring – Carpets & Drum Mats
Flooring is the area that has been overlooked so many times when attempting to reduce noise.
Thick carpets or drum rugs can make a difference here. You want to minimize the amount of vibrations and scratching that occur, particularly when striking the bass drum, and having a thick surface below the drum kit can help with this.
Drum in the basement or ground floor if possible. This might not be feasible for every drummer, but if possible, it makes quite a difference. Most vibrations from the impact of toms and the bass drum will be absorbed by the earth below. Again, it won’t quieten your drums but can limit the thuds.
4. Tennis Ball Riser (Sound Dampening Riser)
A tennis ball riser is a cheap, DIY, and effective way of reducing vibration transmission through the floor. It’s good for electronic drum kits and acoustic drums.
You join two MDF boards with green glue. Take another board and glue tennis balls on the surface. Now glue the side with tennis balls with the two boards. Put a thick rug on top and you’re ready to go. Just make sure you cut the boards to size.
5. Get 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.
6. Make Your Drums Quieter
As much you wouldn’t want to, sometimes circumstances force you to reduce the volume of your drums. Don’t feel heavy-hearted, though. There are many ways you can make your drums quieter.
The best route to take is buying a set of mesh heads and low-volume cymbals. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and work like a charm.
You can also buy drum mutes and cymbal mutes to put on your drum heads. Or DIY with a cloth or thin towels. Lastly, you can try rute sticks and brushes to help your cause.
7. Alternative – Use an Electronic Drum Set
There are some great electronic drums sets available today that can completely replace an acoustic kit. The pre-set drum kits might not have an authentic sound, but there are some awesome drum VSTs to help you.
High-quality e-drums can be expensive, though. However, if you do have access to an acoustic drum set, you can settle for a mid-level electronic drum kit as a stand-by.
8. Alternative – Drum Rehearsal Spaces
What you’re going through is a common scenario. If none of the above options work for you for whatever reason, you can find rehearsal spaces.
Many studios rent out places by the hour to jam or practice their music. Find one near you and play there while you can practice your technique on a practice pad at home.
9. “Room Within a Room” Technique
Building a room within a room is an extreme but great proof solution to isolating noise within your room. Be warned, though, it takes a lot of work!
The room-within-room technique is an expensive endeavor and requires professional help unless you have extensive construction experience. Any lapses in the room could cause issues or leave some gap for the sound to escape.
If you still believe that room within a room is the solution to your problems, then it’s beneficial to know how it works.
Firstly, the outside room is sealed air-tight with a sealant. The inside room is then built by putting wooden panels for the sides, the bottom, and one big panel for the top. The inside room, too, is sealed to cover any gaps in between.
The room within a room isn’t directly attached to the surrounding walls. There is a rubber or foam layer to bridge the gap. The logic behind this is to create an extremely dense layer between the inside and the outside of your music room to absorb the incoming and outgoing noise.
Once the whole thing is constructed, the insides are subjected to sound absorption and acoustic treatment. The result is a sound-isolated chamber which reduces a very significant amount of the noise escaping the room.
Soundproofing is one of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing a drum room. 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.