If you’ve decided to buy a drum set or maybe even already have one, then you’d be familiar with how loud all that drum noise can be. Drums and the best overhead drum mics are not exactly a quiet set up which is both part of what makes them so appealing and part of what makes them so obnoxious to others.
Whether you’re in an apartment complex or a solo house, your drum noise could possibly annoy someone nearby. Whatever your living situation, it’s important to have the right materials and set up for when you play on your drums so you don’t end up with noise complaints.
Luckily, soundproofing your room is quite easy. You can find most of the materials quickly at local stores or online as well as helpful videos for setting them up.
If you want to completely, 100% soundproof the room, then you may want to call a handyman as that will take much more time and work than necessary. You don’t need a room to be 100% soundproof to be efficient at blocking noise. Not even drums need a completely soundproof room.
Anything from 10% soundproof or higher will drastically reduce the noise. Your new soundproof room will leave your neighbors and housemates much happier.
Before you actually start soundproofing your room for drums, there are a few things you need to know.
How Does Sound Travel?
Understanding something a little bit more can improve your work and the topic of soundproofing is no different. Sound and the way it works can get pretty complicated, so we won’t go fully into that. Instead, this is just to give you a little better idea about how sound moves so that you can more effectively soundproof your room.
There are two types of sound that exist: airborne and impact.
Airborne sound travels—unsurprisingly—through the air. Most common things that make noise make airborne noise such as dogs barking, people speaking, or even your TV or radio playing. Drums also make airborne sound.
When airborne sounds collide with a wall or other solid object, they must travel through it. This lessens the amount of sound on the other end of the object, but it can still be fairly loud. For example, if someone is shouting in another room, you can still hear that the speech is loud even from behind a closed door.
Objects don’t stop sound waves like some people may believe. A wall will certainly lessen the noise from your drums, but it won’t cancel it out. With the right set up though, airborne sound can be stopped—or at least severely lessened.
The second type of sound is called impact sound. This sound occurs when something hits or makes impact with another object. You hear impact sound when you hear people walking on the floor above you, a chair being shoved and moved, or when a door slams against the wall.
Impact sound travels through the surface it hits. It sends vibrations across the structure and these vibrations travel to your ears. While impact noise may not be as sharp or shrill as airborne noise, it is still certainly a nuisance.
Unfortunately, your drums will also make impact noise. The motion of you hitting the drums with your sticks or tapping the foot pedal will make impact sound, so when soundproofing a room for your drum, you have to take both impact sound and airborne sound into account.
Methods Used for Soundproofing
If you are about to soundproof a room, it may be a little helpful to know what methods there are. Of course, you could just go around your practice room and move or add things however you think will help, but there are real methods professionals use when it comes to soundproofing.
Here are the top four methods for soundproofing a room.
Mass or Materials
Playing drums in an empty or sparsely furnished practice room will only add to the noise levels. However surprising that may be, it’s true. If there is nothing but the main walls for the sound to bounce off of, then when the sound passes through, it will be much stronger than if it had had to go through multiple other objects first.
One of the easiest soundproofing methods is to add mass or materials to your room for drums. At the very least, fill it up with all that junk you never use. If you have full bookshelves on one wall, a pile of old quilts and mattress on another, and multiple other trinkets lying around, the sound will be weaker when it passes through the wall.
Luckily, you don’t necessarily have to make your drum room a junk room, but we’ll cover that more under the How to Soundproof a Room section.
Damping is just a fancy way of saying reducing the resonance. Perhaps you are familiar with the term if you are a well seasoned musician. Damping will disperse the sound before it can even really build up and prevent it from getting too loud both inside the drum room and outside.
Decoupling cuts the sound off before it can reach the other end. Not entirely, of course, but it does do a great help. When you use decoupling, you cut the transmission line of the sound so that it can’t get through, therefore reducing the overall noise and keeping most of it from escaping.
Now you may actually be familiar with this method of soundproofing. Absorption allows for certain materials to take in—or absorb—the sound before it can escape. Absorption prevents air cavities from producing and resonating sound, something you may not think of as a sound transmitter, but most definitely is.
How to Soundproof a Room for Drums
Now that you know how sound travels and the four main methods used for combatting it, it’s time to begin the actual soundproofing process. You don’t need to hire a handyman or someone to come take apart your house. All you need is to find a few materials either at the store or online, and then you’re good to go.
1. Seal Your Doors and Windows
The gap under your door plays a huge part in helping sound escape. If you can’t afford anything else, at the very least, seal your door. This will drastically reduce the noise of your drums and is pretty easy to install.
You can find a soundproofing door strip at just about any hardware store. Look for a “weatherproofing door strip” and make sure it will fit your door. Once you buy it and get it home, follow the instructions included for an easy set up. It does a stellar job at stopping air leaks and sound.
2. Reinforce Your Door
Unfortunately, many wood doors are built hollow and can therefore transmit sound easily. You don’t have to buy a new door for this. If you want, you can hang a thick blanket over the your drum practice room door then close it. Even that will help reduce sound. However, if you want something a bit more effective and not as old-school, you can search for fiberglass door panels.
Any door panel that can be attached to the door will help, but fiberglass door panels tend to be built more for soundproofing purposes which is why we recommend them.
3. Find a Good Quality Drum Rug
There are some great drum rugs out there that will greatly help with the soundproofing of your room. If you can spare the expensive, purchase one that’s good quality and not on the cheap side of things.
Drum rugs soak up lots of sound, but they also keep your drums from shifting or tipping. They’re built specifically for drums to be set on, so no matter how hard you bang on your drums or how enthusiastic you play, the rug will help keep your drums in place and steady.
4. Add Soundproofing Foam to the Walls
Many companies make soundproofing foam panels specifically for those who don’t want to take apart an entire drum room. Acoustic foam is an affordable sound absorption method and using it to soundproof an area that isn’t super expensive. You can buy it in various quantities, colors, and shapes and can make it into a bit of an art form when putting it up.
You don’t need to cover every inch of the walls and ceiling with these for them to be effective. Even just adding a few to each wall will do loads in terms of sound absorption, but if you can do half of your wall space, you should be pretty well set.
Now that you have a few different ways to soundproof your drum room, it’s time you get out there and start making music. Once you’ve set up your soundproof room for drums and have a set all ready to go, you won’t have to wonder if you’ll find a noise complaint outside your door or unhappy roommates.