SWAG- a millennial term that this generation uses to describe something or someone cool.
Drummers have this unique appeal and swag more than other bandmates. But for drummers to actually have this swag, constant practice is required. And that's where the problem lies. The impact noise of drums is unforgivable at times.
Drums are loud. Period. You cannot debate that. The thing is regular practice generates loud noise and if it escapes the studio, it will be a problem for your household and neighbors.
You can stop appreciating the swag by now and reserve that on the day of your drummer's actual performance.
For now, let's say you are the drummer yourself, focus on how you'll isolate the room you use to practice, that is how you'll soundproof room for drums.
In this specific project aimed, be real- expect some spending. You cannot achieve this successfully if you aren't prepared to let go of some bucks.
First, understand that soundproofing is different from Acoustic treatment. Here you'll learn the ultimate guide of soundproofing a drum room.
How is Soundproofing different from Acoustic treatment?
Before we divulge further on how to reduce the drum sounds from affecting nearby buddies, understand first the difference between the two terms that most people fail to do so-Soundproofing and Acoustic Treatment.
Understanding what you are really after narrows the choices to do or which option available and to follow.
Both are essential to musicians like drummers but even ordinary people can benefit from it.
One, there will be no unpleasant sound from outside 9 soundproofing and second, there will be no echoes thus good sound quality (acoustic/sound treatment).
You don't have to be musically inclined to appreciate that. Soundproofing simply means isolation.
It is the method of which sound coming in and out must be limited by blocking or minimizing sound.
It reduces sound leakage from source to environment or vice versa.
The truest meaning of soundproofing is hard to achieve in reality because it will call for a great expense.
Extra budget will have to be in your plan. On the other hand, acoustic treatment is your direct approach to the sound.
Treating the acoustics of the room means using materials that will improve sound quality.
The materials have to reduce reverberation (talk about that later) and echo inside the room. Your focus will be within the room.
For better understanding, take a cathedral for example. The whole venue is acoustically treated that is why you can notice how music from there beautifully reaches our ears.
Similarly, you have to spend also because materials to use are supposed to be of high quality. In a room for drums, doing both is very important.
The sound for drums must not affect outside or adjacent rooms and must be contained inside the room with superb quality for a fair assessment of our play.
Acoustic drums vs Electronic drum: CHOOSE WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU
"You only get better by playing", a famous line by a famous drummer.
Seriously, the practice of using drums must be regular for you to be a pro.
But in reality, it is just too hard if you only have a regular room in your house or worse, renting.
Depending on your room's location, the type of drum set you'll use is important. Mainly, there are 2 types: Acoustic and Electronic.
Noise from the drum set will push through due to its loudness.
One advantage of an electronic drum set is its feature to use earphones or headphones. No matter how intense you plan to play, it's sound does not go out plus no tuning needed.
And this is one disadvantage of an acoustic drum set, you cannot control the volume, sorry acoustic!
But wait! Acoustic drum sets have their own advantages too.
The feels- you cannot deny that acoustic sets have incomparable swag in it. The powerful vibration of hitting the drum with your stick.
No matter how evolved the electronic drum sets had, you cannot achieve the same experience with its plastic or mesh head.When it comes to price, the acoustic drum set is for the win.
They are a lot cheaper than electronic drums because of the numerous gadgets you got to use along with it. Its value quickly depreciates too unlike the former.
But hey! Electronic drum sets have a metronome that the latter doesn't have.
By the way, a metronome is a gadget that ensures you are in sync with your practices. Among the advantages and disadvantages of both sets of the drum, none is really quiet.
Even e-drums have its own such as pedal noise.
If your main concern is how to isolate your sound from disturbing others, please use the suggestions below because you have to reduce noise it will produce no matter what setting you choose. Be guided accordingly.
What is considered a Good Room for Recording Drums?
As you search for a new place to live in if you are a drummer yourself or one of the family is, chances are you pictured one room to be especially meant for your drums.
Good thing to consider foremost is the distance from the room to your closest neighbor. Yes, neighbor first than the adjacent room owner.
It will be much easier to talk to your family than the strangers outside, right? Choose the room furthest from your neighbor then.
Consider too that the room you'll choose to be enclosed and has few windows.
You might want less task of soundproofing. Besides, fewer windows equal less escape of your drum sound to the outside.
If you'll have to choose (provided that the room is already constructed & you have the freedom to choose), you may want to consider the basement rather than a bedroom or attic.
Basement rooms have usually one to no window, furthest and enclosed. The stage is now set and you are ready to soundproof it.
How to Soundproof A Room For Drums
Heads up! Soundproofing a room for drums is only possible if you have the time, effort and money to do so.
DIY procedures are available but they will still ask a few dollars. Be considerate of others like you don't want them to bother you too.
Here are cheap ways to soundproof a room for drums you can try. Some are acoustical treatment too, so it's a win-win set up for you and neighbor.
1. Find the and seal the leaks to control Airflow
Where there's airflow, expect hearing sound from it. In this sense, it is safe to say that air is one of the mediums of sound.
The best way to soundproof then is to seal all holes, cracks or gaps from walls, doors, and windows. If you happen to have an air vent, you are luckily ventilated.
But since this is strictly about soundproofing, you might as well deal on this too. The most effective by far is creating a sound maze for vents.
Air conditioners can be soundproofed too by placing an acoustic barrier. To determine if there's anywhere you have to seal, feel where there is airflow.
As simple as it may seem, feeling the cracks with your fingertips can be effective.
For more suspected holes like those on your door, detect it by turning off the lights in the drum room.
The lit part outside shouldn't be seen in your end, or else you know there are holes. Caulking guns and sealing tapes are used for small openings on doors.
They are easily available as well as to use. For more prominent gaps, such as the space between door and floor and door and the wall, weather strips are recommended. You can also use door sweeps.
You can use the strips on your windows too. If you happen to have one, seal it and a lot reduction will happen.
You can even design it with a cute curtain that is thick and soft but preferably the sound-blocking one.
2. Install Acoustic Bass trapper to Soundproof Walls
Most soundproofing technique we know focuses on mid-range to high frequencies. Little we know that low-frequency sounds can sometimes be harder to deal with.
It is the standing waves jumbled in your drum room. Bass traps are basically low-frequency absorbers.
They are placed in the tri-corners of your drum room to absorb the bass sounds of your drum set. Technically, bass traps are not a technique of soundproofing but rather an acoustic treatment.
However, it is essential in a drum room to contain its sound. So bass traps fall in soundproofing as well.There are two types of bass traps, resonant absorber, and porous absorber.
Resonant absorber also called pressure absorbers to take up less space than porous absorber because it is placed directly against the wall.
The latter on the other hand is spaced from the wall of at least ¼ of the wavelength of sound targeted.
Both offer superior absorption of lower frequencies but the lowest is difficult to the porous absorber.
Typically, it is made from very thick acoustic foam, fiberglass, and Rockwool. From a practical perspective, the porous absorber is by far the most common bass trapper for drum-beginners.
3. Use Drum Rug And Place It Underneath The Drum Set
If you're a renter, there's a low chance you are using the basement room. A greater bet is that your room is just above someone else's separated by your floor and their ceiling.
Practice of drums is a lot harder in this confined space. Since your neighbors aren't just on the sides but also below your room.
Drums produce vibrations and these vibrations will travel across the floor if not soundproofed. Meaning to say, one more part to soundproof is your floor.
To protect your housemates below, the basic option is to buy and use a good Drum rug over a carpet over an interlocking mat.
Quite exhausting? Not really. It's just the principle of soundproofing- thick and insulated part. A floating floor is highly recommended for drummers who rent their rooms.
4: Built a tennis ball drum riser platform
Decoupling is the go-to option but since it will be difficult to alter floors of apartments without permission of owners, One worth to mention is a DIY method of decoupling called Tennis ball riser.
To do this you'll need the following purchased:
- Cut out the MDF board according to the floor area you needed to isolate. Double the number because it'll be a sandwich to tennis balls.
- Mount the balls in the wood via the pool noodle using wood glue.
- Sandwich the tennis balls with another layer of MDF board.
- Drill holes in the four corners of each MDF board where you'll zip tie the sandwich for stability.
Besides the air, solid materials on direct contact with each other act as conductors of sound.
When drums are hit, vibrations are produced. And sound vibrations are the noise you downstairs buddies hear.
The insulation is guaranteed because the tennis ball riser isolates the drum vibrations from the floor.
5. Use Acoustic Diffuser Panel
In the constant quest to limit sound escaping in and out from a room for drums, it is no wonder that several DIY soundproofing techniques have surfaced the internet.
One of the effective techniques you'll have to understand is Sound Diffuser. And there's a lot DIYs of this.
Diffusers absorb sounds and vibrations from your drum. It then scatters this for improved quality of the sound within a room.
If you have any idea how this looks, the different surface height of each block ensures that sound waves will reflect evenly in all directions.
For those who haven't met one, a diffuser is a panel consisting of towers and wells with calculated depth and height.
By manipulating these dimensions, frequency from low to high range. Generally, there are two main types of Acoustic diffuser, skyline and quadratic.
The principle of construction is the same but their appearance varies. The formerly used wells and the latter uses tower heights.
You can make your own though, simply cut woods according to your computer dimensions. Assemble it in a flat surface and mount to the wall opposite your drum sets.
With its unique appearance, your diffuser panel can even double as artwork!
6. Control Your Echo Vibration
Ever tried yelling in your bathroom? Or shout at the top of your lungs on the mountain peak? For sure, you heard your own voice getting back at you. Well, that's an echo.
Echo is the reflection of sound with a delay directly proportional to the distance of the reflective surface and source.
In a drum room where impact noise is ordinary, controlling the echoes and reverberation of drums is a must.
7: Build A SoundProof Room Within A Room
The A-E tips on how to soundproof a room for drums can all be incorporated easier to rooms you are willing to remodel. If you live in a complex, better not alter your room's interior. For the drummers out there who feel the need for their own practice room for a long time, building a room within a room is your best option.
Start with your drywall, layer it and use green glue. This glue converts the sound energy to heat energy. Damp your wall so sound from drums is muffled.
Vibrations produced by drums are also sound's way of spreading through solids. It crawls from adjacent materials so insulation is required.
Better yet, decoupling is a much more technical term of this technique. Decouple floors and wall. Let these parts "float" through air insulation or rubber isolation.
This is an expensive option so better think about it before doing so. Finally, seal all the gaps. And what you'll be doing in your door, do it too into your secondary door as well.
The idea is a room within a room so you must have two doors. One as your drum room door and the other the main room door.
Seal with weather strips and use door sweeps if needed. It's all about sealing but of course be well ventilated.
You can further soundproof your room with all the aforementioned techniques. Pretty sure, sound from your drums is not disturbing anyone anymore.
8: Drum Noise reduction by reducing reverberation time
Reverberation time is the time spent before a sound to decrease by 60 decibels from its original level. If a room registered 120dB, the time it will take it to be 60dB is your reverberation time.In layman's term, it is the time required for sound in a room to fade away or die.
Bare rooms are typically reflective of wall, floor, and ceiling. Sound bounces from these surfaces so reverberation time is longer than a room referred to be acoustically dead.
A drum room should be acoustically treated for it to contribute to soundproofing. The common practice is installing acoustical panels on the wall.
They are sound-absorbing panels marketed to help the noise of an enclosed room. The most effective is the fiberglass wrapped with fabric. Another sound-absorbent material is acoustical foam.
It is different from the panels mentioned because as the name suggests, this is made from thick, soft foam. This soaks the sound that will hit its surface.
Mass loaded vinyl is an absorber too. Like the first two material, you can attach this on the wall.
For cheap soundproofing through absorption, bookshelf may be added or mount a thick blanket on the walls, windows, and doors.
With these alternative options, you can practice your drums with less worry.
There is no problem aiming to be the best of what we do. If playing drums is what will keep you entertained and satisfied, then go on.
All you have to do is soundproof a room for drums. Practice all night and expect no complaints from neighbors or from family members living within the same house.
Keep hitting that cymbal and drums to your heart's content, given you did this guide.
Be the best! Keep that swag!
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.