Anyone who has ever played with an acoustic drum kit knows that they are noisy beasts. I mean BAM – BAM- BOOM type of noise. Drum kits are not the most neighbor-friendly instruments, with a frequency range of 90-130 decibels, which is the equivalent of a jet plane or subway vehicle (read more about decibels on silencewiki.com). With that in mind, how to soundproof a room for drums so that you can practice without making anyone else crazy?
In this article, we’ll go over what you need to know about handling space to help minimize total volume for those around you, so you can drum in peace.
Soundproofing: What Can You Expect?
Before we get through the techniques and mechanics of really soundproofing a space for drums, let’s clear up one misunderstanding about what the term “soundproof” means. Unfortunately, absolutely soundproofing a room requires a large budget, a lot of construction work, and a lot of specialized expertise and experience with sound transmission.
Professional recording studios soundproof their live rooms by constructing a separate “space within a room” that is isolated from the outside walls by air holes and mountains of sound insulation. These rooms are not airtight, requiring their own ventilation and air conditioning. So a large amount of budget means really HUGE money! (more info about how to soundproof a room for drums on bettersoundproofing.com)
How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Room for Drums?
Although it can break your pocket, that alone isn’t to suggest that soundproofing a room for drums isn’t a good idea. It is largely dependent on a number of factors in the household. However, the high cost of completely soundproofing a drum room is due to the fact that soundproofing is much more involved than many people believe (read about 12 cheap ways to soundproof a room for drums on soundproofmaster.com).
It requires modifications to the room’s floor, walls, and ceiling. This could include replacing standard sheetrock with denser, more absorbent materials or, in some situations, constructing a room inside a room so that sound waves from the drums can not reach the house’s walls without a coating of sound dampening.
We’ve got you covered! We’ll look at some of the ways you can decrease the amount of external noise escaping from your practice room on a limited budget, helping to minimize the inconvenience to your neighbors and housemates.
How to Soundproof a Room for Drums?
Luckily for you, a soundproof room is not necessary. Merely that the volume of sound escaping from the room by as little as 10% will make a significant difference. Because of the way sound travels, a noise that is 100dB loud can sound half as loud to those listening if it is lowered to 90dB!
There are a number of things you can do about sound absorption to reduce the effect of noise in your drum room without spending a lot of money… (read about soundproofing materials on silencewiki.com)
Video: If You’re a Drummer Stuck Living in an Apartment, Try This
1. Seal Your Door
When it comes to soundproofing your practice room, start with the doors and windows. Fundamentally, they are the worst connection for sound transmission since they are the locations with the least mass and the most opportunity for air to escape, such as the spaces between the door and frame.
Hollow interior doors are used in the majority of modern houses. The sound of acoustic drums isn’t muffled much by a hollow door. It’s also possible that the internal doors do not completely match the door frame. As a result, the sound will leak through the holes around and under the entrance.
1. Use Weatherstripping
Weatherstripping is a low-cost but highly efficient soundproofing option. Its aim is to keep wind and rain out of external doors and windows. Since it is built to prevent air from escaping through holes, it is ideal for preventing airborne sound from entering your drum room through the gaps around your entrance.
2. Fit Panels
If you don’t want to rebuild your frame, you might add density to it. The sounds of the drums would be muffled by screwing fiberglass panels to the inside of the door before they pass through. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a fiberglass board, you might replace it with a big sheet of MDF.
3. Use an Acoustic Door Threshold
A door threshold is the metal strip that lies under the door, and an acoustic door threshold is a raised-lip version of one of these. When you shut the door, it rests against the raised lip, which covers the distance between the floor and the door.
4. Replace the Door
The acoustics of your room would improve dramatically if you replace your interior door with a solid wood door, particularly if you employ a carpenter to install it properly so that it suits your frame well and minimizes sound leakage. A used hardwood door can be found for around $50, with professional installation costing around $65.
2. Drum Proof Your Windows
Windows, particularly those with a single pane of glass, will allow a lot of sound in. You could replace them with acoustic windows, but these are costly to purchase and build. Investing in acoustic curtains, which are extra-thick, multilayered curtains designed specifically to dampen the sound coming in and out of your home, is a smart budget option. Sure, they won’t make the window soundproof, but as we previously said, all you have to do is reduce the sound by a few decibels to make it sound half as loud to your neighbor.
3. Put a Drum Rug
If you play your drum on a bare, uncarpeted surface, the vibrations will be sent directly to the floor below – your housemate or downstairs neighbor will not like it! Making sure the drum is sat on rubber mats or a purpose-made rug is a very easy way to minimize noise flow across the floor.
Placing a rug under the drums will help absorb more of the noise. There are rugs specifically made for this purpose. This rug is made in such a way that spurs and stands will dig into it, so you won’t have to think about your drums moving or tipping. If black is a little too dull for you, consider an oriental rug style, or really anything that suits your preference!
4. Add Acoustic Foam to the Walls and Ceiling
If there are heavy surfaces for the sound to bounce off of, drums sound much louder. Your room’s walls and ceiling produce a ricochet effect, in which sound bounces back and forth from one hard surface to another. The echo is effectively amplified as a result of this.
The acoustic foam should be used to protect the walls and even the roof to minimize the ricochet effect. This will really look pretty good! Acoustic foam is available in a variety of colors and patterns. If required, you can organize them in creative and imaginative ways.
2. Diamond-Style Panels
Panels in the shape of diamonds are a good choice. These panels help you sound better by reducing reverb and echo. You’ll need multiple packs to protect the whole surface. They come in a variety of shades, so you can switch them up or keep them easy with only one. If you don’t have enough money to cover the whole room, even covering 25% of the walls and ceiling would make a BIG difference. The more surface area you can occupy, the better; however, even a few panels would help.
Video: THE DIAMOND PANEL PATTERN WALL /// Experiment #001
What Other Solutions Can You Do?
These are other solutions you can do to soundproof your drum practice room:
5. Consider Using an Electric Drum Kit
Replacing your noisy acoustic instrument with an electric one is also a much easier and less time-consuming alternative to being able to drum anytime you want. Electric drum kits produce far less noise than acoustic drum kits, allowing you to simply put on some headphones and drum to your heart’s content without bothering your neighbors or housemates.
While any tapping of the trigger pads would be noticeable, and the bass drum pedal will emit any reverberation across the surface, it would be significantly louder than an acoustic kit.
6. Buy Low Volume Cymbals and Mesh Drum Heads
Many companies have recently released products aimed at changing your noisy acoustic drum kit so that it can be used for rehearsal at a much lower level. Low-volume cymbals are designed to mimic the feel and sound of a real cymbal at a much lower volume. When you pair these with some silent mesh drum heads, your set would be less than half the volume while maintaining the bulk of its playability.
Lastly, and the dream of any drummers out there!
7. Build a Drum Booth
Building your own drum isolation booth is a great way to be able to blast a noisy acoustic set without upsetting your neighbors. This soundproof room approach would be more costly than merely treating an existing space since more soundproofing materials would be used, but the effects would be much more important in terms of sound insulation if achieved correctly.
Video: DIY drum booth
Are these options capable of fully soundproofing your drum room? No, but they will absolutely help a lot, and the drum noise will be minimized dramatically. Most drummers feel that this less expensive method is sufficient. Keep in mind that it’s still important to be considerate. You may allow the drummer to play longer and louder without making anyone else insane by taking measures to minimize or remove sound emanating from the drum room.
It’s always a good idea to check with the neighbors to see whether there are any occasions that they can’t stand the sound of drum practice and to be sure your drummer keeps to a schedule that doesn’t annoy the rest of the neighborhood. However, following these measures would go a long way toward resolving any noise problems before they progress into a conflict.
I'm a 34-year-old freelance musician and soundproofing specialist, DIY enthusiast, blog author, and Silence Wiki founder originally from the Netherlands.
I've been a musician for over 15 years now - playing all sorts of instruments but especially guitar and saxophone. As a soundproofing specialist, I help people with their acoustic needs in order to make them happy! I also enjoy DIY projects around the house or wherever else they are needed - thanks to my wife who always has great ideas!