Playing drums in a garage without any soundproof or acoustic treatment?

Hypercaffium

Active Member
Hi,
I own a PDP Spectrum Rock (22-14-12-16) which I converted to a low volume practice kit using mesh heads, low volume cymbals, DT50S/K triggers and an EAD10. Everything works good and I'm pretty happy with it. I'm about to buy a garage and I'd like to move the kit there so I can practice and possibly play with some friends. This would be a real game changer for me personally, but I'm not sure it's doable and I'm not an expert.
I must say that the main reason why I'm buying a garage is because I need a space to park my car. The garage is 3x5 meters, I didn't measure its height unfortunately. I'm not an expert, but I guess that a soundproof/acoustic treatment to the garage would somehow restrain its space and usability, especially the entrance, plus it would cost some money of course. Playing a regular acoustic kit with real heads and cymbals in there would be a disaster probably, both in terms of loudness (which luckily isn't a big problem per se) and, most of all, sound quality.
What if I use my low volume practice kit exactly like I use it at home? My EAD10 picks up the whole kit without problems, cymbals are loud and clear while drums are a little bit quiter because I mostly rely on triggers and I wanted the drums to be extremely dry, muffled and lower in volume.
What should I do?
Keep the kit as it is, use an amplifier/monitor and just raise the volume on the EAD10 if drums aren't loud enough?
Switch to regular heads that aren't too loud compared to the cymbals?
Change the whole kit to something smaller?
Revisit the whole plan and make some kind of non invasive, cheap acoustic treatment to the garage?
Thanks for your help!
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Staff member
Revisit the whole plan and make some kind of non invasive, cheap acoustic treatment to the garage?

madden GIF


The untreated garage will also make lots of trouble with every other instrument, not just drums.
 

LarryJ

Active Member
I would stick with what you got and an amp/ monitor if needed.

I have tried every solution I could think of in my garage and ended up with an A2E conversion of my drums with amp and with low volume cymbals (not triggered nor miced). Volume is fine, feel as close to acoustic as mesh heads get (using Drum-Tec Real Feels), and quality of sound is limited by the quality of amp/speaker.
 

Hypercaffium

Active Member
I'm currently using Remo Silentstroke mesh heads with an RTOM patch in the center to improve rebound and boost volume. Cymbals are Arborea B-8 low volume (bronze series) and I have all of them. I prefer them over L80s because they are slightly louder and sound/feel more like real cymbals imho.
Like I said, drums are not as loud as cymbals because I use an EAD10 with triggers and prefer drums to be very dry and muffled (I used cotton balls) so they don't get in the way.
In a garage context I'd like to rely more on real drums instead of triggers and use the EAD10 to pick the whole kit instead of cymbals only, so using thicker 2 or 3-ply mesh heads would be a good choice. The problem is that I need to try at least a couple of them on a couple of different drums to see how well they work, and they're expensive! Of course I considered drum-tec products, as well as RTOM.
Which low volume cymbals do you use?
Which amp?
Do you keep original acoustic reso heads on your drums or both are mesh?
Is there a good balance between drums and cymbals in your kit?
 

Supergrobi

Technical Supervisor
Staff member
What do you suggest? Thanks.

I don't know how your garage sounds. Extrapolating from a typical German garage I'd say you'll suffer from hard slap echoes coming from the bare, parallel, concrete walls and from a huge low end ringing out over seconds. For starters I'd build some DIY acoustic panels and bass traps for a few bucks:


Throwing a thick carpet onto the floor helps with slap echoes between floor and ceiling. I takes a weekend and maybe 50-80 bucks but that should solve most of your problems. It doesn't do anything for soundproofing but reduces/removes the reflections, slap echoes and crazy booming inside the garage.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I use Black Hole rtoms with low volume cymbals and no amplification at all. I'm quiet enough to accompany an unamplified acoustic guitar. I can play with energy, and it's still quieter than playing an open kit with brushes.

If you want to practice on your own, you might want to try that, and then you probably need little, if any soundproofing. Or you could use your current setup with triggers and headphones.

The rtoms sit on top of regular heads and provide more tone than mesh heads alone. If you tune them higher, to the same notes as your drums, they get louder and have more tone, but they're still not nearly as loud as regular heads. And you can trigger the snare and toms if you like. (Triggering the kick doesn't work well, so you'd probably want just a mesh head on the kick if you're triggering.)

If you want to practice with a band, good luck. Even if the drums are super quiet, the bass guitar is going to annoy your neighbours. It takes some serious soundproofing to contain that sound. Unless, of course, you've found the one bassist in the world who doesn't play too loud in a small room.

 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
I use Black Hole rtoms with low volume cymbals and no amplification at all. I'm quiet enough to accompany an unamplified acoustic guitar. I can play with energy, and it's still quieter than playing an open kit with brushes.

If you want to practice on your own, you might want to try that, and then you probably need little, if any soundproofing. Or you could use your current setup with triggers and headphones.

The rtoms sit on top of regular heads and provide more tone than mesh heads alone. If you tune them higher, to the same notes as your drums, they get louder and have more tone, but they're still not nearly as loud as regular heads. And you can trigger the snare and toms if you like. (Triggering the kick doesn't work well, so you'd probably want just a mesh head on the kick if you're triggering.)

If you want to practice with a band, good luck. Even if the drums are super quiet, the bass guitar is going to annoy your neighbours. It takes some serious soundproofing to contain that sound. Unless, of course, you've found the one bassist in the world who doesn't play too loud in a small room.


those things look pretty sweet, but are pricey...still, my interested is piqued
 

LarryJ

Active Member
prefer drums to be very dry and muffled (I used cotton balls) so they don't get in the way.
In a garage context I'd like to rely more on real drums instead of triggers and use the EAD10 to pick the whole kit instead of cymbals only,

If you don't want to trigger the drums and want muffled and dry, try Aquarian SuperPads. Black Holes for more volume and tone. I tried them all. Bought used and was able to resell what I didn't like for essentially no loss. I left standard reso heads on the drums.

I was happy with L80 volume and sound, so I use them acoustically. Wanted more realistic feel and sounds from the drums, so I converted only the drums to electronic using a Simmons DA50 amp. Since drum volume is infinitely variable, balance is not an issue. I use quite different sounding kits for my jazz, blues and praise/worship projects, so I have different kits set up in the controller to simulate the gig kits.

I would not hesitate to use this rig for a low volume gig or rehearsal.

20220421_122109.jpg
 

Hypercaffium

Active Member
If you don't want to trigger the drums and want muffled and dry, try Aquarian SuperPads. Black Holes for more volume and tone. I tried them all. Bought used and was able to resell what I didn't like for essentially no loss. I left standard reso heads on the drums.

I was happy with L80 volume and sound, so I use them acoustically. Wanted more realistic feel and sounds from the drums, so I converted only the drums to electronic using a Simmons DA50 amp. Since drum volume is infinitely variable, balance is not an issue. I use quite different sounding kits for my jazz, blues and praise/worship projects, so I have different kits set up in the controller to simulate the gig kits.

I would not hesitate to use this rig for a low volume gig or rehearsal.

View attachment 124481
What about real feel heads by drum-tec? Are they louder than your L80 cymbals? Do they work well with triggers? I see that you have a Silentstroke head on your kick drum. I guess the real feel was too loud?
I tried an RTOM 14'' mesh head (not the Black Hole) last year and it was very loud, definitely louder than my L80s. I also remember that my snare sounded a lot like a tom, but both tone and feel were very good. I didn't have the Arborea cymbals at the time and my needs in terms of volume were very different.
Thank you all for the suggestions.
 
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Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Useful acoustic treatment shouldn't be a problem. Keeping sound from escaping outside is a whole different story, though.

There are all sorts of solutions and everything in between. A low volume option is always nice to have. I have my acoustic kit set up in the shed miced up and ready to record etc.., but I also have a set at home which is just pads + L80 hats and ride. No real sound obviously, but the feel is nice which is the most important for me in a practice kit. Electronic is a different thing for me, but you can get pretty nice heads if you're willing to pay for them. Sound level will go up somewhat the closer you get to the real thing, but between a single ply mesh head and real drum head there are a lot of choices.
 

Hypercaffium

Active Member
The garage building is located underground, mine will be exactly under a very busy road and far from houses, that's why I said noise isn't a problem per se. Of course I don't want to bother other garage owners with my drums all day, so I'm not planning to play at full volume. My goal would be just to practice and play with other people at a reasonable volume.
For starters, I'd like louder mesh heads that match my Arborea low volume cymbals. Once I've found a good balance, the EAD10 would do the rest and I can always add triggers if needed. The problem is that I can't try all mesh heads available, it would be too expensive.
I bet that drum-tec real feel or Pro will work very good but I'm not sure. Suggestions are appreciated, thanks!
 
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