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Soundproof Drum Room

How to Soundproof a Room for Drums

How to Soundproof a Room for Drums

Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Miles Teller’s character in Whiplash. What do all these people have in common? They’re all known for being the absolute worst roommates and neighbors ever...probably. If you’re a drummer, trust that you’re in good company. A lot of people think that because we make soundproofing materials we must hate sound. But it’s quite the opposite, in fact we’re nerds for noise. And what is a purer expression of sound than banging away on a drum kit? Some of our best customers aren’t trying to keep sound out, but rather keep sound in. Drummers tend to get a bad rap, but just because you’re a drummer doesn’t mean you can’t be a courteous neighbor.

When people talk about soundproofing for drum rooms, they often focus on blocking sound so people outside the room can’t hear it. While this is important, we also want to discuss how to create better sound quality for you inside the drum room. This brings us to lesson #1 - soundproofing vs acoustics. Soundproofing is the practice of blocking sound from transferring into a different space. When you’re soundproofing, you’re satisfying all those people who don’t appreciate your talent. Acoustics however, refers to the sound quality inside of a space. By improving acoustics you’ll create better feedback and a clearer environment for recording. Both are very important for drum rooms, and we’ll help you implement strategies for each.

Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Miles Teller’s character in Whiplash. What do all these people have in common? They’re all known for being the absolute worst roommates and neighbors ever...probably. If you’re a drummer, trust that you’re in good company. A lot of people think that because we make soundproofing materials we must hate sound. But it’s quite the opposite, in fact we’re nerds for noise. And what is a purer expression of sound than banging away on a drum kit? Some of our best customers aren’t trying to keep sound out, but rather keep sound in. Drummers tend to get a bad rap, but just because you’re a drummer doesn’t mean you can’t be a courteous neighbor.

When people talk about soundproofing for drum rooms, they often focus on blocking sound so people outside the room can’t hear it. While this is important, we also want to discuss how to create better sound quality for you inside the drum room. This brings us to lesson #1 - soundproofing vs acoustics. Soundproofing is the practice of blocking sound from transferring into a different space. When you’re soundproofing, you’re satisfying all those people who don’t appreciate your talent. Acoustics however, refers to the sound quality inside of a space. By improving acoustics you’ll create better feedback and a clearer environment for recording. Both are very important for drum rooms, and we’ll help you implement strategies for each.

Free USA shipping
Free USA shipping

Popular Drum Soundproofing Panels & Materials


Acoustic Pro™ Fabric Wrapped Panel
Acoustic Pro™ Ceiling Cloud

Green Glue™ Noiseproofing Compound

Drum Rooms are Not the Same as Other Rooms

Drums are special, even in the world of soundproofing. While the steps you would take to soundproof other music rooms are similar, drums are a completely different beast. Normally when we offer tips, we suggest good, better, and best options - for drum rooms, there is only the best option. Here’s why drums can be more difficult than other instruments to provide soundproof rooms for;

Drums are loud. Like, really loud. Other instruments can either be volume controlled by an amp like a guitar or just played softer like a piano. Drums really require full impact to be played and recorded properly, which brings us to our next point…

Drums rely on impact. Impact noise, or structure noise, is sound that occurs as a result of one object “impacting” another and the vibrations being radiated through the object. Basically the sounds you hear from your ceiling of people running or furniture moving is defined as impact noise. To play drums you literally have to bang on them. That vibration passes through the instrument into the floor and radiates out. You don’t have that issue with something like a violin, unless you’re playing a raucous Irish fiddle and can’t help your feet.

Drums produce low frequencies. Because of the way low frequency sound moves, the sound waves perpetuate for much longer and are more difficult to block or absorb. Think of thunder. You can only hear the loud crack or bang of thunder when you’re near the storm, but the low rumble it produces can be heard for miles. This is the key when it comes to acoustics. Most music rooms implement acoustic foam which is usually a pretty great sound absorption product. However acoustic foam is the least effective option for absorbing low frequencies, which means it’s not a great choice for drum rooms. .

Because of these unique factors, there is no ‘halfway’ soundproofing a drum room. It’s all or nothing. But no worries, as long as you’re committed, so are we. Let’s get into designing the perfect drum room for you.

drum soundproofing in a carpeted room
drum soundproofing in a carpeted room

Find the Right Space for Drum Room Design

The ideal space for drummers would be a recording studio in the middle of a farm, or a floating room 100 feet off the ground. But since those are a little less than realistic, try to get as close to it as you can. Here’s a checklist that will help you carve out the right space for your jam sessions.

  • Ground floor so there’s no one below you to disturb.
  • High ceilings (ideally 12 feet or more). A kick drum creates over a 30 foot wavelength that hits the floor and the ceiling first. So the further away you can put the nearest surface the better.
  • Clear surfaces. You’ll need to add material to all 6 surfaces of a room (walls, ceiling, and floor), so use a space that is either empty or can easily be added to and modified.
  • Few doors and windows, if any. Doors and windows are always the biggest sound gap in any room. Trying to create a drum room in a space with multiple large windows will be extremely difficult.
  • Away from rooms where people spend time like the living area, bedroom, or office.

Chances are you won’t be able to check all these boxes 100%, but do your best. Our favorite spaces for drum rooms are basements, garages, and detached sheds. These areas are on the ground floor, usually somewhat isolated, and often unfinished making it easier to install soundproofing materials. Once you’ve picked a spot, it’s time to get to work.

How to Soundproof a Room for Drums

Walls and ceilings

One of the ways you can measure how well a wall blocks sound is through something called an STC rating. Contractors aren’t particularly concerned with soundproofing when building houses so a typical wall in a residential home has an STC rating of about 30-34. It does the job but you can definitely hear when the TV is too loud. For your drum room, you want to get the STC rating over 60. So we’ll be doing a little more than stapling egg cartons to the wall (which for the record, don’t do squat).

Sound is nothing more than vibrations, and vibrations need a conduit to keep moving. As they travel through any medium (even air particles!), friction kicks in and they start to dissipate. Which is why you can hear someone jumping on the floor above you but not someone two floors up. So the ideal drum room… is a room within a room. This sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually easier than you think because you can accomplish a good bit of this without literally building a new wall. By adding another layer of drywall and ‘decoupling’ it from your original structure, you will make it harder for sound to travel farther into your home.

To do this install RSIC (resilient sound isolation clips) with a 25 gauge aluminum hat channel to the studs in the walls and ceiling. On top of that add ⅝” drywall. This is thicker than your typical drywall and much better for wall and ceiling soundproofing. Seal up any edges and gaps with acoustic caulk. From here you can further improve your soundproofing by adding an additional layer of ⅝” drywall with Green Glue backing. Green Glue a flexible soundproof polymer that also acts as a decoupler between your two layers of drywall, improving performance.

Once you’ve finished with the drywall, look for every air gap in the room. Check between the drywall and the floor, around outlets, vents, pipes - we even recommend running your hand across the walls and feeling for air. Sound moves like water, it will flow to the weakest point and go straight through. Once you’ve identified these points, seal them up with acoustic caulk to create the best possible sound proof walls.

For things like vents that can’t be permanently sealed, we recommend creating a removable cover. Try adding mass loaded vinyl to a cut piece of plywood or a soundproof panel for a simple, effective solution that you can easily remove when you’re done drumming.

soundproof drum room
soundproof drum room

flOOR

Due to the impact noise we talked about earlier, floor soundproofing is absolutely key to your drum room, especially if you aren’t on the ground floor. Add a rubber underlayment across the entire floor and then install new flooring on top. This should increase the STC rating of your floor by 15 - 20 points. In addition you can install heavy carpeting and lay out heavy rugs for extra sound absorption. Be sure to use a rubber mat underneath your drum kit. This will help prevent impact noise where it starts and will also keep your drum kit in place.

DOORS AND WINDOWS

These are the absolute biggest weak points in any soundproofing project. Hopefully you’ve found a space with limited entryways. Now let’s get to work on sealing them up. First, check your door to see if it’s hollow - this is standard in most homes. Replace any hollow core doors with a solid core door. Next you’ll need to attack the gaps all around the door. A Door Seal kit is great for this. The kit is made up of 3 adjustable seals for the top and sides of the door, and 1 bottom seal. When the door is shut and the kit is installed, the bottom seal will release to apply pressure to the floor and turn any solid core door into a soundproof door. You can apply similar treatments to your windows with window inserts which will provide a soundproof seal as well as an added bonus of thermal insulation. Depending on the size, number, and construction of your windows you may need to take it a step further by hanging a soundproof blanket that completely covers your window. Remember that sound waves are looking for gaps, so a blanket will be great for absorption if hanging off the wall, but not so much as a barrier.

You also have the option to explore custom soundproof windows and soundproof doors specially designed to have a high STC rating, however we really only recommend this to people who need professional-level studios.

Acoustic Treatments for your Drum Room

Now that you’ve tackled soundproofing, let’s work on acoustics. It’s important that you focus on sound absorption and not just soundproofing. If you only soundproof your room, but don’t do any acoustic treatment you’ll end not being able to hear anything and just blow yourself out of the room. If you’ve effectively soundproofed the room, that means you’ve sealed all the leaks, so the sound has nowhere to go. If the sound has nowhere to go it will be even louder than it was before in your drum room.

As we mentioned earlier, acoustic foam isn’t particularly effective for low frequency sounds like drums create. So you should focus on acoustic treatments within the sub 500 frequency range. Here’s a quick guide to see the range of sound levels created from different parts of a drum kit;

Look for materials that are very thick? We recommend acoustic panels and bass traps. Start with at least 2” thick acoustic panels along the walls. Cover a minimum of 2 adjacent walls with acoustic wall panels or acoustic blankets as well as the ceiling with acoustic clouds to best disrupt and absorb sound bouncing around the room. For an added bonus, install the panels 2” off of your wall, which will expose even more sound absorption material surface area to absorb echo vs reverb.

To make sure you get enough coverage, follow the Rule of 40%. Take the length of room x width of room x 40%, the number you get is the square feet of acoustic paneling you should install. So if you’re in a 10’ x 10’ room, that would be 10’ x 10’ x .40 = 40. This means you’d want about 40 square feet of acoustic panels for a 10 foot by 10 foot room.

Next, set up triangular bass traps in all 4 corners of the room. We recommend bass traps because they’re designed to capture low frequency, but you can also use thicker acoustic panels instead (4”) with an air gap behind them.

Due to the impact noise we talked about earlier, soundproofing the floor is absolutely key to your drum room, especially if you aren’t on the ground floor. Add a rubber underlayment across the entire floor and then install new flooring on top. This should increase the STC rating of your floor by 15 - 20 points. In addition you can install heavy carpeting and lay out heavy rugs for extra sound absorption. Be sure to use a rubber mat underneath your drum kit. This will help prevent impact noise where it starts and will also keep your drum kit in place.

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.866.570.5440