eDrum Maintanence

How to Soundproof your Drum Room

Looking for ways to reduce noise and create a professional-grade drum room? Our comprehensive guide has got you covered. Discover effective soundproofing techniques and enjoy playing without disturbing others.

Every drummer’s dream is to be able to play endlessly at any hour of the day or night, but unfortunately, that’s just not feasible. One thing that can make this dream more of a reality is by building a soundproof drum room. In this article, we’ll look at all the important considerations if you’re thinking about taking on this ambitious project.

A word of warning…

Unfortunately, there are lots of guides online that make soundproofing a drum room seem much easier than it actually is, and are not very realistic about what you can achieve.

As we explored in our soundproofing guide for apartments, not all homes are suitable to have a soundproof room for drumming. Similarly, we’ve also looked at if you can play acoustic drums in a house without disturbing others. Again, the reality is that using an electronic kit or modifying your acoustic kit to make less noise is the best way to drum without disturbing your neighbours unless you live in a detached house.

But if you’re dead set on creating a soundproof drum room, what should you do? Below, we’ll take a look at the key concepts you need to know about soundproofing, and where you should go for further research.

Who is this guide for?

It goes without saying that soundproofing a drum room will require modification to the walls and doors. This extensive work means it is not something that can realistically be undertaken if you don’t own your own home.

You should also think about if your house is suitable – ideally, a detached, standalone home is best as there’s no walls physically connecting to your neighbours for vibrations to transmit through.

If you live in a rented home then extensive modifications are usually not allowed, or can be very difficult and expensive to revert if you move out. And if you live in an apartment, soundproofing is likely out of the question due to the vibration issue.

Instead, you should consider going down the route of making your drums quieter, either by using low volume cymbals and mesh heads on an acoustic kit, or using an electronic drum kit. Be aware though that eDrums are still loud, and you may still need to limit volume and vibrations. One such product is the Roland Noise Eaters range, but before you buy a set, check out our roundup of Noise Eater alternatives, and how to build your own noise eater pads.

What is soundproofing and how does it work?

Soundproofing a room means you’re aiming to keep sound contained in that one space instead of letting it escape out of the room. When we’re talking about soundproofing, we generally mean noise reduction, as there is always going to be some background noise present in any scenario.

Soundproofing materials work by blocking the frequency waves from leaving the room, and are often heavy and sturdy to create a sound barrier between your drum room and the outside.

People often confuse soundproofing with sound absorption. Sound absorption is when you use sound absorbing materials to take the energy out of sound waves instead of letting them reflect. Think of recording studios with foam panels on the walls or ceilings – this is sound absorption, not sound proofing.

These sorts of sound absorption products are about improving the acoustics inside a room, and don’t have any impact on the amount of noise outside of the room. When people take their first foray into soundproofing, unfortunately they tend to go straight for foam panels (or the cheaper alternative – egg boxes) and stick them to the wall. Now that you know there’s a difference, read on for what you really need to do to soundproof your drum room.

Room within a room

The most robust method of soundproofing a drum room is to build a room within a room, with air gaps between the inner and outer walls that help to dissipate the volume. As you might expect, this is an extensive and expensive project, requiring a significant amount of work or hiring a contractor.

If you’re less keen on DIY or worried about what effect having a soundproofed room in your house might do to its value, then there is another solution: buying a sound booth large enough for your drum kit. To see what I mean, check out this video below where Jared Falk of Drumeo gives a tour around his home drum studio:

This prefabricated unit can be put in your house or garage and significantly reduces the volume of your drums. In the video we can hear what effect the booth has when inside the house, but that will be further improved for anyone outside the building. That’s because the space between the walls of the sound booth and the outer walls of the building provide additional soundproofing.

Below are a few examples of these sorts of sound booths, including the one featured in Jared Falk’s video above:

Because a sound booth requires local installation, the best way forward is to look for local companies that offer sound booths. Remember to ensure you choose a booth that’s large enough for your drums. An average acoustic kit requires around 5-6 feet by 6 feet (1.5m by 1.8m. However, you’ll also need to ensure the room is large enough to be a pleasant environment to spend time in, and consider if you need space for one or two other musicians and their equipment if you want to use it as a practice studio for your band.

How to soundproof interior walls

If a studio booth is not your thing, then you might want to build your own soundproof interior walls. For full details on how to do this, it’s best to continue your research on hardware and DIY blogs, which typically go into a lot more detail than drum blogs do on this topic.

A good way to research DIY guides for building a soundproof drum room is to look for generic soundproofing guides or guides for creating a soundproof theatre room. As an example, here’s a great guide at Family Handyman which provides a detailed walkthrough for building soundproof interior walls, either by fabricating them from scratch or adding soundproofing to existing walls.

The key things you’ll need to soundproof your drum room include:

  • Fibreglass insulation batts
  • Type X drywall (Denser than standard drywall)
  • Acoustic sealant or silicone caulk
  • Door gaskets, door sweeps, transition strip
  • Resilient channel

The basic process is to seal absolutely everything, so there are no air gaps. That includes using caulk or acoustic sealant to seal all the edges of the walls and surrounds of electrical outlets – even the outlets serving adjoining rooms through the same cavity walls. The door of the room is then sealed with rubber gaskets, plus a door sweep and transition strip so the bottom isn’t leaking sound.

If you’re able to remove and rebuild internal walls, then the guide calls for R-11 insulation batts to fill the cavities. Next, dense drywall is mounted to the wall using a resilient channel. A resilient channel is a metal bar that creates an air gap between the drywall and the wood framing within the wall, so they don’t touch. This air gap acts as a buffer that reduces the sound transmitted through the wall.

If you can’t demolish and rebuild an interior wall, or need to soundproof exterior walls, then the guide also explains how to use a resilient channel and dense dry wall over the top of an existing wall.

Bear in mind that with either of these methods, you will lose a bit of space in your room due to the extra thickness required. Additionally, you’ll need to adjust your door mounts to create space for the extra rubber gaskets and ensuring the door frame is flush with the wall.

Because soundproofing a drum room requires sealing it off from the outside, ventilation is an important consideration, especially in a smaller room. A standard 6 inch vent will most likely ruin your soundproofing efforts, so a soundproof vent needs to be fabricated. Check out this page on how to ventilate a sealed room for more information.

Final thoughts

Soundproofing your drum room is a large undertaking, which will require a lot of time and money to complete. Be sure to continue your research on hardware and DIY blogs, particularly articles about home theatres which have similar soundproofing needs as drum rooms.

It’s also a good idea to find a local soundproofing company for expert advice. Having a soundproofing expert work on your project is strongly advised given the high cost and modifications required to your house. This will help to ensure the results are as expected once your project is complete and avoid expensive reworking.

By Seb Atkinson

Seb has been a drummer since 2004 and an eDrummer since 2008. He founded eDrumHub to provide information on electronic drums for other drummers who can't justify an acoustic drum kit for practice at home.