Drums are loud.
There’s no denying it, so unless you have a specially made soundproof drum room then the noise can cause problems for your neighbours and other people who share your home.
A simple solution is to opt for an electronic drum set rather than acoustic drums as you can use these with headphones. Be aware that they will still make some noise from the sticks hitting the pads.
That said you can’t beat (pun intended) the feel of an acoustic drum set, so if you intend to use an acoustic drum set at home then a soundproof room is a must.
Completely soundproofing a room requires a lot of work which includes pulling down internal walls, building a box within a box and installing soundproof windows and doors. This can be prohibitively expensive.
Fortunately a 100% soundproof room isn’t necessary, you simply need to reduce the amount of sound escaping from the room by as little as 10% can make a huge difference.
Because of the way sound carries if a noise which is 100dB loud is reduced to 90dB it will sound half as loud to anyone listening!
There are plenty of things you can do using sound absorption to reduce the impact of noise from your drum room without having to spend a fortune.
1. Seal Your Door
Most modern homes have hollow interior doors.
A hollow door doesn’t do much to deaden the sound of acoustic drums.
Your interior doors may also not perfectly fit the door frame. This allows sound to leak through the gaps around and under the door (it is not uncommon for interior doors to have gaps as big as 2cm between them and the floor).
Here are four things you can do to make your door more ‘drum-proof’:
Replace The Door
Swapping your interior door for a solid wood door will make a huge difference to the acoustics of your room, especially if you hire a carpenter to fit it correctly so that it fits your frame well thereby minimising sound leakage.
A used hardwood door can be picked up for around £40 / $50 on ebay and will typically cost in the region of £50 / $65 to have it professionally fitted.
Use Weather Stripping
Weather stripping is a very affordable and extremely effective soundproofing solution. It is designed to stop wind and rain getting in through external doors and windows.
Because it is designed to stop air leaking through gaps it is perfect for stopping airborne sound getting through the gaps around your door so it is definitely worth using on your drum room.
Fit Panels On Your Door
Adding density to your door is another option if you don’t want to replace it.
Screwing fibreglass panels to the inside of the door will help deaden the sound of the vibrations of the drums before they travel through the door.
If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a fibreglass sheet could attach a large sheet of MDF to the back of your door instead.
Block The Gap Underneath The Door
The gap underneath your door is often the biggest sound leak in a room.
Depending on this size of the gap fixing this alone could make a huge difference as it will block a lot of airborne drum noise.
There are two easy ways to do this:
- Use an acoustic door threshold - a door threshold is the metal strip that sits under your door, an acoustic door threshold is a version of one of these that features a raised lip. When your door closes it sits against the raised lip sealing the gap between the floor and the door.
- Use a door sweep - a door sweep is made of either bristles (like a brush) or rubber. It is fitted to the inside of your door so that sweep has contact with the floor when the door opens and closes. This means that when the door closes there is a seal between the door and the floor.
2. Reduce Wall Echo
Genuinely soundproofing a wall is hard work which usually requires stripping walls, insulating them, using resilient channels and more. This can be very expensive.
A lot of the noise that drums create is caused by the sound bouncing off the hard surface of your walls, if you can absorb the sound it will make your drums sound much quieter to any nearby non-drummers.
Here are a couple of simple ways to achieve this:
Acoustic Foam Panels
Acoustic panels are commonly used in recording studios and cinemas to improve sound quality within the room. Cover as much wall space as possible with them to reduce echoing and reverberation.
Use A Sound Absorption Sheet
A sound absorption sheet works in much the same way as the acoustic panels, it helps to dampen the sound reducing the impact of the echo. Simply hang these on the walls throughout your drum room.
3. Drum Proof Your Windows
Windows can let a lot of sound out, especially if they only have a single pane of glass.
You could swap them for acoustic windows but these are expensive to buy and installation isn’t cheap either.
A good budget solution is to invest in acoustic curtains, these are extra thick, multilayered curtains, designed specifically to deaden sound coming in and going out of your room.
Sure they aren’t going to make your window impenetrable to sound but, as we mentioned before, all you have to do is reduce the sound by a few dB for it to sound half as loud to your neighbour.
4. Fix Your Floor With A Drum Rug
If your drum is sat on a bare uncarpeted floor then the vibrations will travel straight into the floor below - your housemate or downstairs neighbour won’t thank you for that!
A very simple solution to reduce the transfer of noise through the floor is to make sure that your drum is sat on rubber mats.
You can get specially made drum mats however these are quite thin and are designed more to stop the drum from moving during a vigorous set than for soundproofing.
Instead we recommend that you get some interlocking gym mats, these are thick so do a great job of deadening vibrations before they get into the floor.
We hope this article has helped you to get the most out of your drums without irritating your family or neighbours.
Keep on drumming!