drums too loud in unfinished raw basement

pt3407

Senior Member
I’d like to play acoustic drums in my basement but the issue is that sound goes to the upper floors and is too loud. E kit isn’t an option right now due to money. I’d prefer to not use mutes to practice as it’s not as fun.

my basement is completely UNfinished and raw. ceiling isn’t insulated and concrete is what makes up the floor and half of the height of the walls. can’t afford to renovate basement.

i’ve tried using mattresses to create a DIY room but I don’t have enough right now and there are big gaps. so pretty much they don’t help.

any tips?
 

pt3407

Senior Member
I’d like to play acoustic drums in my basement but the issue is that sound goes to the upper floors and is too loud. E kit isn’t an option right now due to money. I’d prefer to not use mutes to practice as it’s not as fun.

my basement is completely UNfinished and raw. ceiling isn’t insulated and concrete is what makes up the floor and half of the height of the walls. can’t afford to renovate basement.

i’ve tried using mattresses to create a DIY room but I don’t have enough right now and there are big gaps. so pretty much they don’t help.

any tips?
i forgot to mention, there are no rooms in the basement. just a big open space.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Hard to say without knowing exactly what you're working with. Concrete floor can be partially remedied with carpeting. Probably several layers. As for the concrete going up half the walls, what's the upper part of the walls? Ceilings unfinished means there are studs, but no insulation and sheet rock? What are the dimensions of the room? Is the basement accessed by stairway from inside the house or like a storm shelter from outside? If it's one big room there's a lot you can do, but the ceiling, upper walls and concrete floor need to be addressed. There was a guy recently on the forum who showcased a room he built inside his garage so he could play his drums. First class job but cost a bundle. I suggest you give us the dimensions of your basement and photos so we can all help you out.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Put some old/used curtains on the wall to absorb the soundwaves. Doesn't have to cost a lot, just put some fabric on the walls or make some sort of screen around your set if the basement is too big. I assume you have a rug or carpet beneath your drums, otherwise that can make a difference too.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
First, make sure your drums are not in a corner. Drums in a corner of a room sound horrible horrible to my ears. It doesn't matter if I'm facing the corner or facing away, same thing. A rug should help as well. Because the majority of your drums face downward, there's a lot of reflection coming back at you. If the floor above your head has regular joists, you could always insulate pretty easily with some rolls of insulation and a staple gun.

Also, I have to ask...who is upstairs? Who is this bothering?
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
Buy a 12-pack of moving blankets. Add three grommets to one side of each blanket and hang them in pairs from the rafters. Surround the kit on all four sides. Secure a couple to the rafters directly above the kit. White side of blanket toward the kit so it’s not so dark.

 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I wish I had a super reflective gutted basement to work with. It screams options galore. Get to work on a room within a room. Insulate, isolate and go nuts! The biggest consideration there is how to get HVAC to the room, without the sound traveling to upper rooms, but that too is solvable. If no one else minds the noise, go with cbphoto's recommendation, but increase to 36 pack.
 

vtran711

Well-known member
I tried mutes and didn't like them either. I ended up getting Vater Whip sticks to play on my acoustic kit when I need to keep the volume down. Not as quiet as mutes but provides a good balance between feel and volume (especially with the cymbals). I haven't done anything with the kick but might try placing a towel or something similar to lessen the volume of the kick. Cheap option to decrease volume but still decent feel.

 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Weight and mass are the best way of controlling sound, not egg cartons or auralex foam or that crap. Put in furniture, couches, shelves of stuff, etc. If its a concrete floor, some rugs everywhere will help the flutter echo. And then, if that's not enough, build some homemade bass traps, which usually go in corners.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
In a wide-open, unfinished space, noise is free to roam. Containing the decibels of drums will cost you. If you can't afford to renovate your basement, you probably can't afford the professional-grade soundproofing required to prevent the invasive roar of drums and the piercing voice of cymbals from infiltrating the main floor of your home. Most "rigged" sound-containment strategies produce amateurish, unsatisfactory results.

You might not like them, but drum and cymbal mutes would be your most economical option.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
You might not like them, but drum and cymbal mutes would be your most economical option.
With the basement setup being the way it is, I'd think this combo would actually be fun to play. They would have far more sustain and body than otherwise. My setup (Super Pads and L80s) feels as normal as it gets. Sound wise, it all took some getting used to. Way better with mics and I forget they are muted for the most part, but that's because I can control my mix way better. Actually, muted drums have helped me to hear details and work far more on dynamics. While I hated the idea at first, the benefits have far outweighs the limitations. I just couldn't hear them that well with isolated cans, so just hammered away.
 

PaisteGuy

Well-known member
In a wide-open, unfinished space, noise is free to roam. Containing the decibels of drums will cost you. If you can't afford to renovate your basement, you probably can't afford the professional-grade soundproofing required to prevent the invasive roar of drums and the piercing voice of cymbals from infiltrating the main floor of your home. Most "rigged" sound-containment strategies produce amateurish, unsatisfactory results.

You might not like them, but drum and cymbal mutes would be your most economical option.
I agree. While it may not be the avenue You want to go, I would Suggest considering Zildjian L80’s and RTOM mutes. They bring the volume down to just above conversation level decibels. My Kit is on the 3rd floor of a townhouse. Neither of my neighbor's knew I had a kit, and one is a cop. Not ideal to playing a kit wide open, but better than rubber mutes on the cymbals and toms.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
In addition to the endorsements made by @PaisteGuy and @AzHeat , drum mutes offer the benefit of preserving your heads, thus reducing their frequency of replacement. You just might save money in the long run by investing in a good set of mutes.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
You have two issues. Sound reflection inside the room and sound transmission through the ceiling. Be aware they are mostly unrelated. Reflection in the room is relatively cheap and easy. Blocking sound from penetration the ceiling will be relatively expensive.
 

tfgretsch

Junior Member
I’d like to play acoustic drums in my basement but the issue is that sound goes to the upper floors and is too loud. E kit isn’t an option right now due to money. I’d prefer to not use mutes to practice as it’s not as fun.

my basement is completely UNfinished and raw. ceiling isn’t insulated and concrete is what makes up the floor and half of the height of the walls. can’t afford to renovate basement.

i’ve tried using mattresses to create a DIY room but I don’t have enough right now and there are big gaps. so pretty much they don’t help.

any tips?
Could try to staple light tarps, cardboard or plastic to the ceiling tha may help as a sound barrier to upper floors , and cheap or used area rugs under and around drums . Good luck
 

vyacheslav

Senior Member
cbphoto made a good suggestion about the moving blankets. Another option is to check out your local thrift store and buy some queen or king size comforters or thick blankets. Most thrift stores half a "Discount Day" (for my local store it's 25% off on Mondays). Comforters and thick blankets will absorb sound like those moving blankets would, and might be a bit bigger/thicker/cheaper.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
The best thing I ever did for controlling sound was to move to the country. But I'm in town now, with a basement as open as yours.
I play a lot most evenings, and thankfully have a patient wife. But I start at full volume, and mute as the evening goes. So by the back half of the second hour I've progressed from open to handkerchief on the snare, to bamboo root style sticks, to nylon root sticks, to a strip of old towel on the ride cymbal, to sound-off mutes, or some combination thereof. If you're just putting your laps in on learning a transcription or something, do you really need full effect? Quiet reps make good chops and healthy relationships!

Is there a way to fix your problem with changing your practice schedule to a time when it's just you at home? I work 5 minutes from home and zip home on lunch hour to play a few times a week.
 

GOOSE72

Well-known member
Well its not just a basement it could be a school or anything I guess. I kinda like it, unwanted overtones gotta fix that problem. Whats next. Get the drums to sound good to you!! Whatever you do don't mute them. When you hit your snare it should sound like a gun shot. I have a 402 snare in the basement. I hit it and the bass drums the other day and my wife thought a transformer blew up outside. If you don't like it loud you might want to consider a different instrument. Good luck.
 
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