The ongoing quest for the Drummer to quiet his/her kit in certain situations has come up with some great helpful audio accessories that lower the sound decibels and make some folks happy by doing it, even band members. What are the advantages of Muting Drums?
Prevent Cymbals bleeding into hot mics
Control delicate high-end frequencies
Allows vocalists or instruments to cut through a live mix
Control Drum’s overall sound in the Mix
Prevent Phase Cancellation
Evens out decibels for front audience
In the mid-1970 I often heard my Mom screaming from downstairs “Jimmy” while I worked on 1/8 notes fills and 4/4 counts hour after hour dampening my snare with a bathrobe stuffing my kick with pillows and taping my crash with rubber tape. Now there are all kinds of products to keep the dB down. they must have been invented by mothers of Drummers throughout the world.
Acrylic Drum Shield
First, let me say I am a Drummer. I was brought up as a Drummer. I took private lessons on Drums. I played professionally as a Drummer. I am writing this post from the perspective of a Drummer, not as a musician or a Home Recording enthusiast. With that said. I know that Drums can be a horrible instrument to learn from an outside perspective. When your 15 and learning chops in your bedroom, the others that live in your family deserve a lot of credit to put up with the annoying practice times that go on day in and day out. It’s tough on them.
My bandmates and I used every type of acoustical material we could pull from dumpsters to help maintain the extra decibels that would blow the lid off each one of our houses that we used. In those days we switched one week on and one week off at each other’s bedrooms. This was before Drum Shields and Screens became available for small stages and or recording studios.
A Drum Screen or Drum Shield is sometimes referred to as an acoustic shield, which is a tool used by audio professionals to avoid the sound control problems caused when louder instruments overwhelm quieter instruments and vocals on stage.
In small clubs and bars, and churches never mind the Home Recording Studio that is put together in your bedroom, separating the sound of a drum kit is from microphones is almost impossible without tracking separately. Too much is bad and too little can be disastrous.
Then there is the crash cymbal, phase cancellation, and improved monitoring. The answer for live and recorded drums can be a Drum Shield or Screen that blocks the decibels from overriding the other instruments on stage.
Trying to control this chaos from the soundboard just won’t work in the cymbals are bleeding into the vocal and instrument microphones. Placement is the next best thing if the stage area is big enough but a Drum Shield or Screen can work wonders.
As a Drummer trying to keep your cymbals from bleeding into the vocal mic drowning out the other players on stage was almost impossible. Drum Mutes help out the total mix by evening out the direct sound. The material used in the Drum Shield or Screen doesn’t absorb sound but rather blocks the direct path holding it back.
The height of the Shield should be high enough to block the pathway of a Crash Cymbal that ordinarily is the highest cymbal in your kit. There are a few different sizes to choose from normally 5 or 6 panels that are approximately 1/4 inch thick and at 6 ft high made of acrylic
A normal Stage setup where Drums take the center rear position and open hot vocal microphones are normally found up at the front of the stage.
The Drums Screens are built-in 4 ft, to 6 or 7-foot height measurements that come in panels and are sized dependent on how much sound containment you need and how big your kit is determined by how big the Screen is.
Depending on your overhead cymbals, smaller screens could be all you need. Where acoustic instruments are in the song list and a quieter softer background is needed then a bigger screen is needed.
More and more equipment comes out every year that simply makes complete sense but when you think about the new products do derive from ideas that drummers have developed over the years.
Drum Baffles reduce bleed from instruments into other nearby microphones on stage and naturally dampen the delicate high-end frequencies necessary to help vocalists cut through a live mix. Unlike other acoustic treatment options, a Baffle is lightweight and can be quickly and easily mounted on a cymbal stand, then positioned wherever treatment is necessary. Here’s the thing 99% of the problem is with bleed is due to the Cymbals. So why not isolate the isolation to where it belongs. Crash Cymbals are nearly the same height to Vocal and a few other specific microphones up on stage.
An option to Drum Screens and Drum Screens is a product called Clearsound Baffles. This fairly new idea works just about the same way as the Drum Shield and Screen do. Clearsound Baffles reduce bleeding from instruments into other nearby hot microphones on stage and naturally dampen the delicate high-end frequencies necessary to help vocalists cut through a live mix, without the need to enclose the Drummer.
Here is the best part these Baffles can be carried along with your drums and assembled on a mic stand that the drummer is already carrying. Everyone knows that every Drummer’s biggest dilemma in the world is hauling his equipment setting it up and breaking it back down all on the same night.
These guys will fit along with your cymbals in the same case. The stands for lightweight polymer Clearsound Baffles are the same stands you are using for your cymbals. It’s a complete no-brainer. Standard Clearsound Baffles are 22″ inches in diameter, fitting perfectly in nearly any standard cymbal bag or the Clearsound Vault Hard Case. Each baffle weighs a mere 24 ounces. They can be special ordered for different sizes and decorated using lazar artwork of your Band’s logo or kept crystal clear almost invisible like shown below.
The solution to lowering the Drum sound is brought to the gig by the Drummer who is creating the problem of too much Drum sound, to begin with. The Baffles can be strategically placed on stage where the damage is being done and walla!!
- 4 x 22″ Clearsound Baffles
- 1 x “The Vault” Hard Case
- 1 x Microfiber Polishing Cloth
- 1 x 2 oz. Clearsound Baffle Polish
Best Drum Mutes
If you need fewer drums for a recording room you are playing in, maybe the room’s not acoustically right or it’s just small with a high ceiling then you can dampen the heads with the many products that are available and cheap like Remo Ring Controllers or Moon Gel that is sold at music outlets or online that will deaden up your heads.
They will lessen the decay and attack and look a little better than your Mom’s dish towel that you were using. You can lighten up the sticks that you are using but personally, I won’t be doing that.
Another method is to change out your cymbals to a darker type one with fewer sustain Manufacturers have been making a specific cymbal that is used in Jazz that is dry, dark, and effects based.
These “Extra Dry” Meinl Cymbals come in Hats Crash or Rides and that is quality made warm and responsive with a much lower frequency for much lower volume play here is a whole set Meinl Cymbal Set Box Pack with 14” Hihats, 20” Ride, 16” Crash, Plus a FREE 18” Crash – Classics Custom Dark – Made In Germany
Or a Sabian QTPC501 Quiet Tone Practice Cymbal Set -Silver- 13″/18″ (QTPC501) Created specifically for low volume sessions, Quiet Tone Practice Cymbals are designed to respond and feel like traditional cymbals – right down to their clearly defined bell, not an imitation. Sabian also makes what is called a Control Crash Cymbal that is specifically made to bring down volume levels. Sabian Xs 20 dB Crash Cymbal through Amazon
Measuring Decibels is one of the ways that musicians can stay on top of their game by staying on top of their sound. A Soundbrenner Core Steel | 4-in-1 music tool for musicians | Vibrating metronome, Chromatic contact tuner, Decibel meter, and Watch | For all instruments (guitar, piano, drums, violin) DECIBEL METER: the Core Steel’s dB Meter monitors your surrounding sound levels and alerts you when the volume exceeds harmful dB thresholds. the Watch will contact you by smartphone when dB becomes a problem or are at a dangerous long-term threshold.
Sound Isolation Booth
When Drum Shields Drum Screens and Drum Damping just won’t do the trick the Drum Isolation Booth that can reduce the sound of Drums to around 70% or better is available. The ISO can give a venue like a small recording studio, a small bar, or a House of Worship that wants to utilize live music with the controls of a more elaborate technical space.
The acoustics can be better controlled and the frequencies separated without clashing with each other sonically by controlling the Drum Cymbals from bleeding into the vocal microphones among others like Horn and any hot mic. The more players the more mics the more complicated the sound’s control may be.
Using a Drum Screen or a Baffle may be the only thing needed to control this and in most cases, it is but for recording or different impaired sound environments where the Drums need to be totally separated an ISO or Isolation Soundproofing Booth may be needed for the ultimate sound containment.
They come in smaller and full sizes and with a roof that will absorb a big chunk of sound. They are modular and fairly easy to assemble. ISO Booths are made for Vocalists and any type of instrument that needs isolation to add tracking to a recording.
In live play, it’s the Drums that create the most problems with bleeding into other sound sources, overwhelming them. The best way to explain what this type of product and what it will do is to play the video
Try this Isolation Booth available through MikingDesign at Amazon ClearSonic CSP A2466x7 5.5 foot Tall 14 foot Wide 7-section Acrylic Shield System + ClearSonic S2466 66″ x 24″ SORBER Pa
Check it Out!