Have you ever had someone complain that your drumming was too loud? It’s something we’ve all been through, and it’s never a heartwarming experience.
Unfortunately, drum kits produce too much volume for many people to play them comfortably, so they either have to stop drumming completely or create workarounds.
In this guide, we’re going to explain how you can soundproof your drum room so that you don’t need to worry as much about your neighbors anymore. Soundproofing a room isn’t easy to do, but it’s worth it when you can play the drums with peace of mind.
- 1 Soundproofing vs Sound Insulating
- 2 Choosing a Room for Drums
- 3 Real Soundproofing
- 4 DIY Soundproofing Strategies
- 5 When Soundproofing Isn’t Enough
- 6 Final Thoughts on Soundproofing a Room for Drums
Soundproofing vs Sound Insulating
Before we get to all the nitty-gritty of soundproofing, it’s important that you understand the difference between that and sound insulation. There’s a common misconception that hanging egg boxes or sound panels on your walls will do the trick. Sadly, doing that won’t make a big volume difference.
Sound insulation is when you place things around a room to control the sound more. All the harsher frequencies will be reined in, and you’ll get a better listening environment.
If the sound in your room has been insulated, you can clap, and you won’t hear any echo. That’s the main purpose of using sound panels.
When you soundproof a room, it means that you’re making additions to the room that will stop sound from escaping once you close the door. You need to make structural changes to the room for this to happen, and that’s why hanging panels on the wall won’t do anything for that.
Choosing a Room for Drums
Before working on soundproofing a room, you need to make sure that you’ve chosen the right room for your drums to be in. A lot of drummers don’t have the luxury of choosing spaces, but it’s good to know which spaces work better than others.
The biggest thing to know about soundproofing and volume traveling is that volume travels less when walls and floors are thicker. The more mass there is in a structure, the less sound will escape from it.
So, outside rooms and apartment rooms are the trickiest rooms to soundproof nicely with DIY methods. Outside rooms are doable, but not many people get it right with apartment rooms, especially ones with shared walls that are thin.
You’ll have an easier time soundproofing a basement room or a standard room that is inside a house. This is because the house walls are generally a lot thicker, and basement rooms are underground with the mass underneath the house surrounding them.
Another thing to note is that real soundproofing takes a lot of skill. It also costs a lot of money. If you want to soundproof your room in the same way that professional recording studios have done it, you’re going to need to hire a construction company to get the job done.
The only true way of stopping sound from escaping completely is to build a room within a room. That’s the golden rule of soundproofing, and that’s a lot easier said than done.
Having a room within a room will seal all the gaps in the room from airflow, and that means that truly soundproofed drum rooms also need to be treated for airflow so that they’re livable.
There are dedicated companies that do soundproofing for musicians. You can pay them to do the whole process for you. However, you’ll be set back tens of thousands of dollars.
This also isn’t an option for people who rent, so we’re going to look through DIY ways of soundproofing that won’t cost as much. These won’t completely block sound from escaping your drum room, but they’ll help reduce the volume fairly significantly.
DIY Soundproofing Strategies
Start with the Floor
One of the easiest soundproofing solutions to start with is raising your drum set off the floor. When your drums sit on the floor, the vibrations are stronger, and they travel through the walls and floors of the building.
Think of how when you’re in an apartment building and how you can often hear footsteps and other sounds coming from above you. The sound travels through the floor, and the bass drum is the biggest culprit when it comes to a drum set being played.
So, get a carpet or rug that you can place your drum kit on. If you want to have better separation, consider getting those thick mats that gyms use for the weight section. If you place one of those down and then a drum rug above it, you’ll have a great quiet base for your drum kit.
Focus on the Door
The door is the next thing to put your focus on. This is often where most of your drum sound escapes, so you need to seal all the gaps in the door to stop air from flowing through it.
You need two things to do this, which are weatherstrips and a door sweep. The door sweep will be placed at the bottom of your door, and it will stop all the sound from escaping through the bottom gap.
The weatherstrips need to be placed around gaps on the sides of the door frame, and their job is to keep the door airtight when it’s closed.
Another thing to note is that most doors are hollow, and sound can easily escape through their center. We suggest replacing your door entirely with a solid-core door, as those will stop the sound from traveling through your doorway.
Remember that more mass leads to less sound coming through, and solid-core doors have plenty of mass.
Check the Windows
The windows in a room are your other big area with the potential for sound to escape. You should get weatherstrips for these as well, and seal all the gaps where the windows open. Make sure that they’re airtightwhen you close them.
The glass in windows is typically quite thin, so you’ll have to add more mass to them if you want to soundproof your room as much as possible.
You have two possible options here. The first one would be to use thick soundproofing curtains to cover them. The second would be to cover the window frames using sound-insulating panels.
Both options have plenty of mass, and they’ll do a good job of cutting down the sound that gets through your windows.
Find Other Areas Where Sound Can Escape
Apart from the windows and door, you should look for other parts of your drum room where air may escape. You need to seal those up as well to stop your drum sounds from getting through.
Some rooms have decorative glass that may be a bit thicker than the glass on windows, but you should still do your best to cover that spot up by adding more mass.
You should also cover air vents, as those are also a spot for sound to escape.
Add Mass to the Walls
Once all your gaps are sealed, and you feel that your sounds aren’t escaping as much as they used to, you should think about adding more mass to your walls. As we said earlier, the more mass there is, the less room there is for sound to get through.
Some drummers lean old mattresses against their doorway when playing drums. While this doesn’t look pretty, it’s proof of how extra mass works very well for soundproofing.
This is where you should consider hanging sound panels on your walls. They’re not going to magically block sound, but they will add mass to stop a bit of sound from getting through. They’ll also make your room sound amazing.
If you want something that works better than sound panels, consider hanging acoustic blankets along your walls. The problem with these is that they don’t look too pretty. If you’re someone who wants to record drum videos, the blankets in your shot will make your videos look amateurish.
If you’re keen on building a room within a room but you don’t want to alter the structure of your room in any way, consider creating a drum booth inside your room. The best way to do this is by setting up a 360-degree drum shield.
You’ll need to get one that also has a roof cover so that every aspect of the drum kit will be covered by the shield.
You’ll only be able to do this if you have a large drum room, as drum shields get quite big. You’ll also need to make a plan for allowing airflow so that you can breathe.
When Soundproofing Isn’t Enough
Unfortunately, soundproofing your room to allow you to play drums at all hours just isn’t possible for a lot of people. You can do your best with soundproofing strategies, but there may still be too much sound coming from your room for people around you to be happy with it.
In that case, here are a few things that we suggest you do to allow you to keep practicing:
Speak to Your Neighbors
Speaking to your neighbors about your drumming is something that many people don’t think of. Everyone assumes that neighbors will hate it, but you’ll be surprised at some of the responses you may get.
One of the best things to do is to explain your drumming situation to your neighbors so that they understand your passions and goals.
Discuss with them what times they’re not home or when they won’t mind you playing, and create a practice schedule based on that. Also, explain to them that you’ve done your best to soundproof your room for their convenience, and they should be very responsive to your drumming.
Low Volume Heads and Cymbals
Different drum brands offer low-volume drumheads and cymbals that you can use on your acoustic kit. These are purely meant for practicing, and they reduce your drum volume significantly.
If soundproofing your drum room isn’t an option, we suggest going this route if you still want to play on your acoustic drum set.
Some drummers buy cheap acoustic sets and equip them with these low-volume drumheads and cymbals. This gives them a practice set to play on whenever they can’t make a noise.
Low-volume products allow you to play drums without even bothering people in the room next door to you.
Electronic drums would be your other option if soundproofing doesn’t work out. However, you’ll still need to apply the soundproofing methods we mentioned if you have an electronic drum set in an apartment building.
The sounds of pads being tapped on travel through walls and floors, so you’ll need to raise the electronic kit off the floor, and you’ll need to add mass to the walls where you can.
If you live in a standalone house, your neighbors won’t hear electronic drums unless you blast the volume through an amp.
Our final suggestion regarding soundproofing is to work on self-adjusting your volume. Drummers all understand that there is no better feeling than playing the drums like you’re at a Rolling Stones gig. However, your neighbors won’t understand that at all.
You’ll be less likely to get complaints if you keep your volume down, and you can do that by controlling your own dynamics when playing.
Work on playing grooves and fills quietly, and you’ll have a much better relationship with your neighbors. You shouldn’t only do that, though, as playing the drums with all your energy is an essential thing to do at times. You just need to find a balance.
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing a Room for Drums
Keeping your neighbors happy is something that just always comes with being a drummer. If you’re in a tight neighborhood, you’ll need to apply these DIY soundproofing methods to keep the peace.
If you’re in an apartment building, you most likely won’t be able to play acoustic drums, and you’ll need to use low-volume drumheads and cymbals or an electronic kit.
If you want your drum room to truly be soundproofed, you’ll need to hire a professional company to get your room treated. It will be expensive, so we suggest testing out the methods that we mentioned before making that investment.