7 Quietest Options for Playing Drums at Home
Friday June 11, 2021. 02:00 PM , from Sweetwater inSync
drums are not an instrument for the faint of heart or feeble of wall. These
instruments were built for war, for broadcasting marching orders to troops and
instilling fear in opposing forces. So, it should come as no surprise that an
instrument this boisterous can be tough to contain under 21st-century living
conditions like your home or apartment.
If sound levels are a concern wherever you break out the big kit — be it at home, onstage, or on the worship platform — then there are a number of products on the market today that have been designed solely for the purpose of containing those massive SPLs. Sweetwater brings you seven of our favorite solutions for taming acoustic drums so you can shred later, practice longer, and be more carefree.
Option 1 — Swap Out Your Sticks
sticks and technique are ground zero for reducing the roar of your drums. As
Nick D’Virgilio is quick to point out, at the end of the day, you as the
drummer are responsible for setting the dynamics of your drums. “Even in a 10 x
10 bedroom?” Yes. “Even if my guitar player’s amp is too small?” Yes. If that
means choking up to the shoulder, then that’s the price we pay for the
privilege of playing real drums.
If you’re not open to changing your technique, then you can still meet your neighbors and bandmates halfway. Rods (rutes), brushes, and mallets are great for shaving some dBs off your drumbeats. They can also open up the road for sonic exploration in a normal performance setting.
Vic Firth Rute Bundled SticksExplore Rods
Vic Firth Heritage BrushesExplore Brushes
Timber Drum Company TMD2 Soft Rubber MalletsExplore Mallets
Option 2 — Outfit Shells with Gels
simply cutting down on the resonance of your drums can result in a sound that
is, if not quieter, at least easier to listen to. This has traditionally been
accomplished through the use of sticky tape, shirts, and towels. But a more
elegant option today would be gels.
Products like RTOM Moongel have been a secret ingredient in the tool bags of drummers and engineers for decades. Taking up the mantle today are options like the Revolution TruTones, Drumdots, Meinl Drum Honeys, Remo Crown Control Gels, and Studio Lab Drumtacs. Though some gels are better suited for certain jobs, all accomplish the same task: to spot-control resonance and over-ring without leaving sticky residue or obscuring the playing surface of your drums.
RTOM Moongel Drum Damper PadsLearn More
Revolution TruTones Drum DampenersLearn More
Drumdots Drumdots Original Drum DampenersLearn More
Meinl Percussion Drum Honey AssortmentLearn More
Remo CC-1000-00 Crown Control GelsLearn More
Studio Lab Percussion DrumtacsLearn More
Option 3 — Meet Your Muffler
Slightly less commitment than gels are muffling rings. Like gels, these plastic rings slip on and off your drums to supply on-demand spot treatment of ring and sustain when you need it. But, unlike gels, rings never need cleaning and maintenance to keep them working properly. Even better, you can remove them with the flick of a stick mid-song for live performance. Evans E-Rings, Remo Tone Control Rings, and the BFSD Steve’s Donut are some of our favorites.
Evans E-Rings Rock PackLearn More
Remo Tone Control RingsLearn More
Big Fat Snare Drum Steve’s DonutLearn More
Option 4 — Recruit Some Mutes
are where you can really start to feel the noise levels of your acoustic drums
melt away. These full-coverage containment products are typically made from
high-density foam, cloth, or rubber to inhibit the energy of your heads and shells.
Compared to gels and muffling rings, acoustic-drum mutes offer a dramatic
reduction in volume — to the point that volume is much more contained for
Full-kit slip-on solutions we recommend include the Vic Firth Drum Mutes, Evans SoundOffs, and Ahead Drum Silencers. These head and cymbal mutes fit neatly onto drums and mount easily onto hi-hats, crashes, and rides.
If your kick drum is the culprit, then the Evans SoundOff and Aquarian Super-Pad bass-drum mutes are available on their own. They’ll reduce a good deal of the “woof” and punch of an acoustic kick drum.
Somewhere between rings and mutes sit the TAMA Soft Sound Rings. These mutes leave the center of your head exposed to deliver a more natural response at the expense of some volume reduction. And, if you’re into drier drums, they’re also great for recording!
Vic Firth Drum Mute PrepackLearn More
Evans SoundOff Rock Set Drum MutesLearn More
Ahead 8-piece Drum Silencer Practice MutesLearn More
Evans SoundOff Universal Bass Drum MuteLearn More
Aquarian Drumheads Super-Pad Low-volume Bass Drum SurfaceLearn More
Tama Soft Sound Ring SetLearn More
Option 5 — Shed Those Heads
For longer-term dampening solutions, specialty mesh drumheads can supply a massive drop in decibels without dramatically changing the fundamental feel, or tone, of your drums. You’ll still hear the snap of your snares and feel the growl of your floor toms, just with a massive reduction in output. Sets of Remo Silentstrokes and Aquarian Super Mesh heads won’t set you back a king’s ransom. And, for particular drums that’re earning you unexpected visits from local law enforcement, you can also dress shells with individual heads of these series alongside those from the Pintech Reaction, Evans SoundOff, and Roland PowerPly lineups.
Remo Silentstroke 5-piece PropackLearn More
Aquarian Drumheads Super Mesh 5-piece Kit PackLearn More
Pintech Reaction Series Black Mesh DrumheadLearn More
Evans SoundOff DrumheadLearn More
Roland Powerply Mesh DrumheadLearn More
Option 6 — Yield to Shields
Acrylic drum shields can help put some space between your drum sounds and loved ones. These wraparound clear shields (affectionately known as “fishbowls” by worship drummers) deflect the high-frequency sizzle of a cymbal and snap of a snare away from listeners’ ears to the wall behind you. In a stage setting, these shields can work wonders on their own. But, when it comes to home treatment, you probably want to go nuclear by installing bass traps and broadband absorption panels behind the walls of your shield and around the perimeter of your room. These treatments alone won’t soundproof your drum room, but they can certainly soak up excess bass and directionality.
ClearSonic IPB IsoPac B Portable Isolation Booth with LidExplore Acrylic Drum Shields
Primacoustic 2 inch London Bass Trap KitExplore Bass Traps
Auralex 2 inch Studiofoam WedgiesExplore Absorption Panels
Option 7 — When All Else Fails, Go Electronic
“Blasphemy!” “Anathema!” We hear the voices of those drummers who would rather pick up the accordion than take up electronic drums. But trust us: even the most sold-old acoustic drummers at Sweetwater will tell you that having a set of electronic drums, if only for practice around the house, can be a true relationship saver. And who knows? You just might stumble across fresh inspiration when you sit down to practice and jam. Whether it’s channeling your inner Bonham or Blackman through the use of concert and world percussion or the ease of recording you discover through direct recording and MIDI capture, there’s a wealth of low-noise excitement to be discovered by going electronic.
Explore Electric Drums
Craving a Quieter Drum Setup? You Know Who to Call
If you’re searching for ways to dial back your drum levels at home or wherever you play out, then give your Sweetwater Sales Engineer a call at (800) 222-4700. They can set you up with some custom solutions that’ll make drumming manageable even under the most adverse acoustic conditions.
Explore All Drums & Percussion
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