Let’s set the scene. A chap’s been working hard all day, endured the daily commute, finally arrives home, sits in his favourite chair for moment of peace and he hears ‘boom, bash, crack’ coming from the ceiling above. “You’ll never guess who’s moved into the flat above?” his wife says. “A drummer!”.
You’re a drummer, you’re ok with noise. But it’s a nightmare for everyone else that isn’t drumming. In the interests of keeping the peace, let’s explore the options for drummers to reduce noise.
How to reduce the noise
First up, it all depends on the drumkit you’re playing. If you’re using an acoustic kit, there are a couple of options:
Drum silencers are made-to-measure rubber pads that sit on your acoustic drums and cymbals. They act as a barrier between the stick and the drum or cymbal, reducing the noise. The problem is they don’t feel anything like playing a kit without pads, the drum sound is anything but drum-like, and the noise reduction is partial at best, but you can:
– Fit mesh heads to your acoustic drums. It reduces the acoustic noise to almost nothing, but the downside is there is no drum sound. There’s still the problem of reducing the noise of the cymbals as well
– Sound-proof the room your drums are in. A drastic measure maybe, but some drummers carpet the walls, use foam, egg boxes and other materials. Without proper acoustic insulation (expensive) its effectiveness is negligible and the effort involved considerable
Ultimately, these options can make your drumming experience unexciting. For that reason, many drummers have already turned on to the fact that electronic drum kits offer a quieter playing experience and, depending on the drumkit, offer a drum sound and playing experience that is far better than muted acoustic drums. But there are further complications:
- Electronic drum pads are quieter, but it depends on the kit you’re playing. Some kits on the market use pads with thin layers of rubber or a ‘drum head’ over a plate. These can be acoustically loud when played and the playing feel for the drummer is not great either.
- No matter what the kit, stomping on kick drum and hi-hat pedals causes vibration through the floor. If the kit is on a wooden floor or in an upstairs room or apartment, the noise for others below or adjacent is loud.
- Roland mesh heads are by far the quietest electronic drum pads available today. They can also be tension adjusted using a drum key to feel close to the tension of your own acoustic drums. But there’s still the problem of vibration from the pedals. So, what are the options to reduce this?
- The Roland HD-3 drumkit has beaterless pedals which are built in to the drum stand . They reduce noise and vibration of the pedals significantly, but for drummers beyond beginner level, they don’t have the same feel as using a regular kick pedal.
- Some drummers have built a ‘platform’ between their electronic drum kit and the floor. This involves MDF boards with a layer of tennis balls… es, tennis balls, in between. That’s bolstered with equal layers of foam and carpet top and bottom. It’s effective, but time consuming and potentially costly.
So what other options are there? That’s exactly what we thought. This inspired Roland’s engineers to investigate the problem and come up with a simple, easy-to-use and cost effective way to reduce the noise and vibration from the pedals. The resulting product is the Noise Eaters system.
Noise Eaters are actually two products;
– NE-10 isolation board, designed to fit under the kick pedal and hi-hat pedal of either an acoustic hi-hat stand or FD-8 hi-hat control pedal
– NE-1 is an isolation foot designed to go under the spurs of a bass drum (like the KD-140) and the feet of an acoustic hi-hat stand
– Noise Eaters reduce noise and vibration to the floor by 75%
– Noise Eaters won’t change the feel of your kit or adjust your set-up either – they’ll raise pedal height by just a few centimetres.
By using Noise Eaters, the V-Drums kit you bought for quiet practice becomes even quieter. So your neighbour downstairs can enjoy the silence after all. And they’ll love you for it.