Every drummer knows that having a place to practice without disturbing neighbors or other people in the building is critical. If you want to practice your drums without being disturbed, having people complain, or having to stop playing due to the noise, then some sort of soundproofing is necessary. Fortunately, the process of soundproofing a drum room is not as complicated as it may seem.
Soundproofing a room for drums is possible in varying degrees. Constructing a room within a room is the best option, but basic procedures such as covering the door with sound insulation work well. Hang sound blankets in the room for maximum effectiveness, and block any holes that lead out of the room.
Soundproofing of some kind is important for a drum room. Whether the room is used for practicing or recording, keeping the sound contained within the room allows a drummer to play freely, knowing that no one will complain. This process seems daunting, but with some simple tips and steps, soundproofing a room for drums is doable. Let’s find out how!
Soundproofing vs Sound Treatment
Before we begin learning how to soundproof a room for drums, it is important to discuss the distinction between soundproofing and sound treatment, as this will determine the steps you take moving forward.
Soundproofing is the process of treating a room with the intention of sealing as much sound within the room, preventing it from leaking outside the room and causing a disturbance.
Sound treatment is the process of treating the inner surfaces, edges, and environment of a room to make the room sound better, specifically regarding reverberations, echoes, snapback, and unwanted frequency anomalies.
The process of soundproofing a room does not focus on sound treatment and vice versa. Soundproofing aims to keep sound contained within a room, while sound treatment aims to make that room sound better. These processes are vastly different.
If you need to soundproof your drum room to keep the sound contained within the space to prevent causing a disturbance outside the room, then you have come to the right place.
In this article, we will discuss the materials used for soundproofing a room, the process of soundproofing a room without rebuilding the room entirely, and how to perform basic soundproofing on a budget.
Permanent Drum Room Soundproofing
Drums are one of the loudest instruments around, and controlling the sound generated from playing the drums is incredibly challenging. This issue has plagued drummers for decades, and as people are living in closer living spaces than ever before, the need for controlling drum noise has never been greater.
The best way to soundproof a room for drums is to install permanent soundproofing solutions. There are several ways to achieve permanent soundproofing, but the most effective way to soundproof a drum room is to build a room within a room.
This sounds strange but building a room within a room is a tried-and-true method for soundproofing a drum room that is used by many drummers and recording studios all over the world.
The room within a room concept is the idea that building a soundproof room within the shell of a slightly larger room is the best way to contain the sound of the drums, as this process allows for the creation of several critical soundproofing elements that would otherwise be impossible without completely rebuilding the structure from the ground up.
If you lack the ability or finances to demolish the section of the building where you play your drums and completely rebuild it, then the room within a room solution is the best option for you.
Constructing a drum room within a larger room shell is ideal because this allows for insulation and air voids to be used to best contain the sound by preventing vibration transfer points out of the room. This process also allows the drum environment to be decoupled from the rest of the building, which is among the most effective soundproofing methods possible.
These concepts are important because sound travels via vibration. If any two surfaces are touching, sound can travel along the joint and into the next space. The same is true for air gaps, as the sound of the drums is able to easily leak out of the room through any and all exposed areas that lead into another space.
For this reason, constructing a room within a room is the very best way to keep a drum room soundproof and prevent as much sound as possible from leaving the room.
Let’s learn the best process for building a soundproof room within a room that functions perfectly for containing the sound of drums.
How To Soundproof A Drumming Room
To soundproof a drum room, follow the following steps for constructing a room within a room for the purposes of containing drum noise.
Step 1: Measure the room – measure the internal size of the room to understand the space you will be working with, its dimensions, and how much room you have to spare.
Step 2: Always account for an air void – air is one of the best sound insulators. In all of your calculations and planning, always account for a gap of at least 40mm between the outer wall of the inner room and the wall of the main room shell.
Step 3: Start with the floor – the first step in constructing the room within a room is to build the floor. Use floor suds or 2x4s to construct a lattice covering the existing floor, leaving the aforementioned air void space. Fill the gaps in the lattice with sound insulation, and place rubber pads below the lattice frame to decuple the new structure from the existing room.
Step 3: Build the walls – once the floor is completed, construct the inner room walls with studs and drywall. Remember to leave space for the air void. Plaster the inside of the drywall, install sound insulation and prepare for the wall completion.
Step 4: Construct the ceiling – the roof and ceiling of the inner room do not have to have the same size air void as the walls and floor, and the sound is less likely to cause a disturbance if it leaks from this area of the room. Construct the walls with cross beams and fill the voids with sound insulation.
Step 5: Complete the walls – finish the construction of the walls and plaster over the drywall twice. This thick layer of plaster will help to absorb much of the frequencies generated within the room and prevent the transmission of those frequencies through the wall.
Step 6: Complete the flooring – once the walls and roof are in place, cover the floor lattice with a structural wood of your choice. This wood should preferably be a composite wood that is less likely to transmit vibrations. Cover the flooring with thick carpet for the best results.
Step 7: Finish the room – at this point, the room is ready for practice. The final step is to complete the interior of the room with features such as air circulation, lighting, paint, doors, and any furniture you may desire within the structure. Be sure to install a solid-core door with insulation padding on both sides.
Step 8: Seal the door – sealing the door is an often overlooked step in soundproofing. Use a flexible sealant such as Greenglue soundproof sealant or weather stripping. This will keep the door as soundproof as possible yet still allow it to open and close freely.
Once this inner room is completed, the entire room should be almost completely soundproof, and if the construction was done properly, it should be more than soundproof enough to contain the sound of a drum kit.
This process is expensive and very time-consuming, but your neighbors and any other people that live in your building will appreciate the effort.
This room will allow you to practice, record, play, and make a noise without ever receiving a complaint, without being disturbed, and your drums will sound better than they ever have before due to controlling the noise that they produce.
How to Soundproof a Room for Drums on a Budget
Not everyone has the finances or the capabilities to construct a room within a room, and this solution is only accessible to those who own the space in which they set up their drums or those who are willing to tear it out when they move.
The price of the room within a room is substantial, and this leads many drummers to seek less expensive, ore attainable methods for soundproofing a drum room.
The great news is that it is more than possible to install some soundproofing on a budget, and even though it is not entirely soundproof, the room will sound significantly better and be significantly quieter for those outside the room once you have performed these basic soundproofing procedures.
Let’s learn how to soundproof a drum room on a budget:
Step 1: Examine the room – this initial process involves searching the room for gaps where light and air can enter and exit the room. If light and air can enter and exit, then sound can too. Stopping up these gaps is the first step to soundproofing a room.
Step 2: Block any gaps that you find – this is especially important for the door. Use a flexible sealant, a basic door-sweep, and insulation foam to the door to block any gaps. Repeat this process for any other gaps you find in the room.
Step 3: Deaden the floor – this is a little-known fact about soundproofing, but the floor is one of the most crucial focuses when going through this process. Place a thick rug under the drum set to prevent the vibrations from the kit from transferring to the rest of the building.
Step 4: Replace the door – this can be expensive, but if the soundproofing on the door is not working well, it is probably because the door has a hollow core. Replacing the door with a solid core door will go a long way for containing drum sound.
Step 5: Pad the walls – installing sound treatment panels, sound insulation foam, and frequency traps on the walls and in the corners of the room will help to absorb much of the drum noise before it has a chance to exit the room.
Step 6: Hang thick curtains or sound blankets – this step is especially important for the windows. Hanging very thick blackout curtains or sound blankets over the windows will help to prevent sound from escaping the room. Hanging these curtains or sound blankets over all of the walls in the room is an additional step that will soundproof the room very well.
The general idea when soundproofing a drum room is to try and absorb as many sound vibrations as possible and block as many holes as possible. Imagine the room is submerged in water, and anywhere where water may enter the room is a place where sound can leave the room.
The additional step of hanging sound blankets on the walls is one of the very best ways to soundproof a drum room. These blankets work surprisingly well and do a very good job of keeping a drum room soundproof for outsiders.
Does Sound Soundproofing a Room for Drums Work?
The truth is, unless a room is purpose-built or rebuilt to be soundproof, a room will never be truly soundproof. Sound is a very difficult thing to contain, and very loud, fast-moving sounds such as that generated by a drum kit are the most difficult to contain within an ordinary room.
However, with that being said, even very basic soundproofing methods go a long way to help keep a room quiet for those outside the room.
As long as you remember that soundproofing is not sound treatment and is meant to reduce outside noise, then thinking along those lines will help you to effectively dampen the noise of your drum practice room.
At the end of it, soundproofing a drum room can either be a very big construction challenge that completely blocks all sound from exiting the room, or it can be basic methods that simply make the room sound less noisy for those on the outside of it.
Whatever your requirements are, soundproofing a room for drums is always necessary if you are playing an acoustic drum kit. This instrument is very loud will always cause a disturbance without any form of soundproofing.
Take the time to perform even some basic soundproofing, and everyone in your home and your neighbors will appreciate all of the efforts.