Most drummers think that creating a soundproof drum room requires a lot of work. However, even though converting a room to become soundproof feels like a chore, it’s far from the truth.
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In reality, making a soundproof drum room is quite easy. Well, it is quite easy if you know the necessary tools and the science behind them. Therefore, I crafted this informative guide to help drummers make their DIY soundproof drum studios.
What is a Soundproof Drum Room?
A soundproof drum room is a specialized room for drummers who play an acoustic or portable drumkit. Having one provides drummers with perfect sound isolation from external noise sources. Thus, providing drummers with a better tone while minimizing unwanted reverb during recording sessions.
Furthermore, a soundproof drum room reduces the amount of noise that goes out of a studio. Consequently, eliminating noise that may reach neighbors which may cause inconvenience. Therefore, if you’re planning to create a drumming studio, you must soundproof your drum room.
What are the Things I Need for a Soundproof Drum Room?
Let’s be real, soundproofing a drum room can be an easy task; however, it won’t be a cheap one. As we know, a soundproof drum room requires a lot of noise-dampening materials. But do not fret because I am here to help you identify the things you need to drive the cost down!
Walls and Space
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of products, we must identify the must-haves in making a soundproof room!
Firstly, you must have thick walls from the get-go since a wall’s mass generally affects the isolation of sound. It is known that sound travels via air through vibration. Therefore, the thicker a wall can be, the better its capacity to block air.
Secondly, sound travels from one air molecule to the next; thus, we must also keep in mind a room’s space. In this light, eliminating space between your walls and your studio can be the key to a soundproof drum room.
When you go to a recording studio, the first thing you’ll notice is that most acoustic drums utilize a carpet. However, these rugs are far away from your standard home carpets.
Most manufacturers specifically design these rugs to become the base of drumsets. Thus, increasing the friction on the kit’s base for a stable playing experience but this is not its only function!
Drum carpets are an excellent addition to a drumkit since it adds mass between the kit’s base and the floor. Consequently, reducing excess vibration transferred to the floor; meaning, less noise for your downstairs neighbors. Not only this but having a drum carpet makes your drumkit’s aesthetic better!
Unfortunately, most cheap carpets on the market promise a non-compromise performance only to result in disappointment. As a drummer for 30 years and counting, I had my fair share of cheap drum carpets that doesn’t live up to expectations.
Therefore, if you want a soundproof drum room, you better not skimp on a drum carpet. In this light, I strongly advise getting carpets from brands such as Zildjian, Meinl, and DW to ensure their quality.
The Best Carpets for a Soundproof Drum Room
Acoustic Wall Panels and Blankets
As stated, having thicker walls help when it comes to soundproofing a room. However, even concrete walls are safe against vibrations and sound leaks. Therefore, to add mass and make your walls thicker, I recommend using acoustic wall panels and blankets.
Similar to drum carpets, no acoustic blankets and panels can absorb the same amount of noise. In this light, buyers must also pay attention to a panel’s 0-1 Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). For better understanding, a panel with a 0.5 NRC means that it can absorb 50% of incoming noise. Thus, having a higher NRC means better soundproofing performance.
Typically, a good NRC rating would be around 0.7 up to 1. Even though this cannot block all noises, drummers can layer acoustic blankets on top of panels for better results.
Cost-effective Acoustic Wall Panels and Blankets
Soundproof Drum Room Curtains
Window glass is thinner than concrete walls; therefore, windows are more prone to become sources of sound leaks. In this light, utilizing soundproof curtains is a must in every drum room that has windows.
Luckily, soundproof curtains are generally one of the cheapest ingredients for a soundproof drum room. However, drummers cannot utilize standard curtains since soundproof curtains utilize specific materials to dampen noise.
Moreover, soundproof curtains also provide rooms with better thermal insulation thanks to their thick construction. Not only this but soundproof curtains also efficiently block sunlight, providing rooms with better privacy.
After years of experimenting with different curtain materials, I highly recommend polyester-based curtains. In addition, velvet and suede are also excellent materials for soundproof curtains thanks to their noise-dampening capabilities.
Furthermore, soundproof curtains are excellent at minimizing room reverb, providing users with a genuine drum sound. However, soundproof curtains can only do so much when it comes to preventing exterior noise from entering the room.
Acoustic Door and Window Seal
Most of the time, windows have air pockets between the seams of their contact points with walls. As stated, air moves through waves from molecule to molecule; therefore, sound may enter these seams. A cost-effective way to combat this is by utilizing an acoustic sealant.
When buying an acoustic sealant, buyers must keep in mind the size of the door and windows they are treating. Finding the best fit that goes within the gaps of doors and windows will result in the best performance.
If installing an acoustic sealant is a tedious task for you, you can always utilize an acoustical caulk. However, acoustical caulks require curing, unlike standard acoustic sealants that feature one-sided adhesive.
Drummers tend to overlook the importance of drum shields when constructing their soundproof drum room. Although optional, drum shields can work great to soundproof your drum room!
Drum shields work best at reducing the overall noise of drumkits. In addition, drum shields also work great in improving the clarity of your tone by removing excess noise.
For the best drum shield performance, I suggest drummers get thick shields that feature polyester or acrylic materials. However, if you’re on a budget, foam shields will be excellent for you!
3 Durable Drum Shields for your Soundproof Drum Room
The Don’ts of a Soundproof Drum Room
I know how frustrating it is to become a drummer. A decent acoustic drum kit alone costs a fortune, not to mention the cost of soundproofing a drum room. Therefore, I understand the desire to go cheap; but, going cheap doesn’t mean it’s effective. Here are some of the things you should avoid when soundproofing a drum room.
Empty Egg Trays on Walls
One of the common misconceptions when constructing a soundproof drum room is the utilization of empty egg trays. However, this is far from the truth since the construction of egg trays is too thin to absorb noise.
Similar to egg trays, the mass of soundproofing paper wouldn’t do much difference in comparison with acoustic panels. Therefore, I don’t recommend using soundproof papers in a drum room.
Overloading the Room with Furniture
A misconception among musicians is that furniture such as beds, sofas, and rugs can help dampen the noise of drums. Not only this method is expensive, but it is also ineffective. Because of a piece of furniture’s low coverage, having a lot of them won’t be enough to block outgoing sound.
In summary, soundproofing a drum room is not that challenging given that you know the ropes around it. Although confusing at first, having a soundproof drum room helps drummers reduce excessive noise that may alter their kit’s sound.
Furthermore, making a soundproof drum room doesn’t have to be expensive. Most drummers tend to overcompensate when soundproofing their studio. However, you’ll only need the few things discussed in this article such as sealants, acoustic panels, blankets, and carpets.
Lastly, the most crucial part of a drum room is its walls since these will be your room’s soundproofing foundation. Having thick walls on the get-go ensures that you’ll get the best soundproofing possible. That’s why drummers must take note that they can’t build something great with a weak foundation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Soundproof Drum Rooms
How can I soundproof my drum room cheaply?
Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to cheaply soundproof your drum room:
- Thick walls
- Acoustic wall panels and blankets
- Drum carpet
- Soundproof curtains
- Acoustic sealant or caulk for doors and windows
- Drum shields
Can you soundproof an apartment for drums?
Soundproofing an apartment— given that they have thick walls— could be possible. If you have an apartment with thick walls, you can add acoustic panels and blankets for better sound dampening. You can also use curtains and sealants on windows to reduce the amount of noise that can pass through them.
For your downstairs neighbor, utilizing a drum carpet can help muffle the noise that passes through the floor. Moreover, utilizing drum shields can help lessen the sound acoustic panels and blankets have to stop.
How can you deaden the sound of a drum?
Deadening the sound of a drum is also a method that can help your soundproof drum room to become effective. Utilizing low-volume cymbal sets and mutes on your drumheads can effectively lower your kit’s sound.
Furthermore, filling the space between the resonant and beater bass drum head with foam can reduce the bass drum’s volume. Using these methods can help your soundproofing materials deaden the overall noise that passes through your room.
What is STC rating on drums?
The Sound Transmission Class (STC) is another gauge similar to the NRC which provides buyers with a product’s noise-reduction capabilities. The higher a product’s STC is, the better it is at preventing sound from passing through.
The ideal STC rating would be more than 60 as this indicates that noise is almost inaudible beyond the material. Conversely, an STC rating of less than 50 shows that noise can still pass through a certain material.
What do drum rings do?
Drum rings are effective tools to reduce excessive ringing and sustain on drum heads. They also provide users with a fat tone without losing tonality. However, they do not reduce the noise of drumheads, rendering them ineffective when soundproofing drum rooms.
With over 30 years of experience, drumming has been a huge part of Joe’s life. He has experienced every stage of drumming imaginable – from playing in my parents’ garage, to playing local venues and to doing national tours.
Today, Joe tutor kids on how to play drums and shares all the things he has learned about drumming to all of BasicDrummer readers. He also reviews the best drums and gadgets not only for kids but also for beginners as well.