So I put some ear plugs in

Jsk36

Senior Member
And boy did it make me think my toms sound good. I desperately need new heads and at the moment they sound just horrible. But BAM!!! I put my ear plugs in! they sound beautiful!

My snare sounds like one that costs over 1k$ and cymbals sound perfect.

But then I take them out to only realize the toms sound bad again, cymbals ok and snare still good.

But now to my question, Does putting ear plugs in make you hear what your drum set sounds like from a distance?
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Does putting ear plugs in make you hear what your drum set sounds like from a distance?

No. From what I understand, they muffle different frequencies by different amounts. Some ear plugs I've tried made my drums sound like cardboard boxes. Other ones I've tried make them sound like they've been "produced" for an album. Luck of the draw, I guess. I use earmuffs (for gun ranges) now, and they reduce the decibel level so much more than ear plugs do. Plus, they have more of the "produced" sound than the "cardboard" sound. And, you don't have to wait for the foam to expand in your ear.
 

Ironcobra

Platinum Member
If you want to hear something even more impressive...

Wear noise canceling headphones or lawn tractor ear protectors over top of the ear plugs. It sound amazing, it's the only way I play drums.

The ear plugs usually just decrease all volumes, and decrease overtones to the point where you can't hear them. Once you add additional noise canceling equipment over top, it takes away most of the mids and leaves you with heightened highs and lows which sounds very much like a studio recording.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I work in a noisy automotive shop. I use several different kinds of earplugs to hear noises in engines etc. Different kinds of earplugs dampen different types of sound. As caddywumpus stated, they are not a good tool for determining drums from afar. I would try different heads and experiment with tuning.
 

traditional_grip

Junior Member
Yeah, I use ear muffs as well. Ear plugs don't stay in my ear for me at all... I have a model of the muffs by Vic Firth, and it really makes the drums sound better. It sounds like I'm in a studio. Probably has to do with different frequencies being muffled like caddywumpus said.
 
And boy did it make me think my toms sound good. I desperately need new heads and at the moment they sound just horrible. But BAM!!! I put my ear plugs in! they sound beautiful!

My snare sounds like one that costs over 1k$ and cymbals sound perfect.

But then I take them out to only realize the toms sound bad again, cymbals ok and snare still good.

But now to my question, Does putting ear plugs in make you hear what your drum set sounds like from a distance?

I play an old drumset. I tweak the tuning as best as I, so the drums sound their best without my vic firth isolation headphones. Then I put the headphones on and the kit sounds like a Saturn Mapex. And this reminds me today of going into a sam ash and there were nice snares in there, tuned terribly!
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Now work out what the EQ curve of those ear plugs is, find a flat-EQ mic and have fun.
 

m1ck

Senior Member
Speaking very generally, I think ear plugs do give you a somewhat more accurate sense of the fundamental tones of the drums that really project. Maybe not exactly - especially in regard to cymbals - but more so than sitting behind the kit without ear protection.

I usually practice with ear plugs and find that I tend to play harder when I do, because of that gratifying "studio" sound. Without them, Yipes! I immediately lighten up on my strokes.
 
D

DamoSyzygy

Guest
The industrial foam earplugs are very good at cancelling higher frequencies, but not great at lower frequencies, which is which everything sounds very bottom-ended when you wear them.

Filtered earplugs try to decrease the volume of all frequencies evenly, but even then, the nature of lower frequency waves is such that they will still get through (due to their much longer wavelength)

Its scary to think youve been playing drums for a reasonable amount of time and have only just found out about earplugs!
 
M

Mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Apparently a lot of research is going into 'true' flat-EQ earplugs over here in the UK due to laws concerning maximum noise levels for workers apparently applying to musicians. This means orchestral players may end up being legally obliged to wear them. If I can get hold of a sample set, I will.
 

m1ck

Senior Member
The industrial foam earplugs are very good at cancelling higher frequencies, but not great at lower frequencies, which is which everything sounds very bottom-ended when you wear them. ...

That's the point. Jsk36 was asking if what you hear with earplugs more closely resembles what others hear at a distance and/or through the mix of a band. The reason you DON'T hear what others hear away from the kit is precisely because so much high-end stuff - which really doesn't carry or cut through amplified music - is thrown into the drummers face. With the higher freqs muted, you hear the fundamental tones more distinctly.

What I hear with earplugs is not exactly what I hear on our recordings, but it's a lot closer to it than what I hear from behind the kit w/o plugs, which is bright and harsh.

W/o plugs, for instance, the stick slap and overtones from my floor tom drown out the fundamental tone, even though it has an EC2 on it and is well tuned. The drum is loud and has a full, deep tone and that's what you hear at a distance. If my daughter is fooling around on my kit downstairs while I'm upstairs, I say "D*mn, that sounds good." The sound is THERE, but I can barely hear it AT ALL when I'm on the throne. With earplugs, those highs are filtered out and what I hear is the boom that sounds a lot more like what I hear at a distance.

I do understand the complexities being discussed here, although I am no expert. But I think the answer to the original question is more yes than no.

If they do market a truly flat-EQ earplug, the drummer will be right back at square one: hearing something different from behind the kit than what others hear at a distance. He'll hear exactly what he hears w/o plugs, but at a lower volume.
 

crdirtRider856

Silver Member
Now work out what the EQ curve of those ear plugs is, find a flat-EQ mic and have fun.

Damn audio-philes....You are so good at makin us idiots feel clue-less. : P J.K. man, When I asked for help with my speakers, I was asked "why bother with speakers when you use "cans"?...." And as we all know- what we hear behind the set is vastly different from what is heard on the other side, live or studio'd. So to give my opinion on jsk's question...NO, headphones do NOT make your drums sound like what you may hear. Its all about acoustics, room size, room tone, projection, micing, amplification, position of drums/mics, and many,many more variables...I could go on a rant and ramble, but its not needed here. Just dont ever expect that what YOU may be hearing is as important to what the audience will hear, with out 'phones... Either way, drums always sound good to people like us, no matter what they may really sound like...WE need to de-attach ourselves when concerning an "audience"....
 
B

Big_Philly

Guest
It depends on the earplugs that you have. Earplugs that are specifically designed for musicians generally don't distort the sound as much as cheaper ones, though a completely flat EQ in a mechanical damper is impossible. The datasheet on my Vater earplugs claim that they dampen between 23 and 26dB when I use the green filter, and between 28 and 31 when I use the red ones... The exact amount of damping differs per frequency band. Not sure of the exact values but this is pretty close. A difference of 3dB does mean twice the sound intensity (power per unit area), but it's barely noticeable in a loud setting.
 

Late Bloomer

Senior Member
So, what do you guys use when playing live gigs? I often use industrial type ear plugs, but not have them in too tight, so I can still hear the rest of the band clearly. I would love some proffessional type of ear protection for gigging. Not sure what to use though.
 
B

Big_Philly

Guest
I use Vater earplugs, I plug them in deep because they don't distort the sound much, and ideally you'll want to keep the noise level that reaches your ears below 80dB. I don't necessarily need to hear the music very loud in order to play well.
 

Drumsword

Pioneer Member
If you want to hear something even more impressive...

Wear noise canceling headphones or lawn tractor ear protectors over top of the ear plugs. It sound amazing, it's the only way I play drums.

The ear plugs usually just decrease all volumes, and decrease overtones to the point where you can't hear them. Once you add additional noise canceling equipment over top, it takes away most of the mids and leaves you with heightened highs and lows which sounds very much like a studio recording.


I do this AND wear a Blindfold. Now my drums LOOK As good as they sound. You can learn this and all my other drum secrets on my 7.9 second dvd "Have we beat that horse to death yet" Pitched by Billy mays.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
No. From what I understand, they muffle different frequencies by different amounts. Some ear plugs I've tried made my drums sound like cardboard boxes. Other ones I've tried make them sound like they've been "produced" for an album. Luck of the draw, I guess. I use earmuffs (for gun ranges) now, and they reduce the decibel level so much more than ear plugs do. Plus, they have more of the "produced" sound than the "cardboard" sound. And, you don't have to wait for the foam to expand in your ear.

I use earmuffs as well (general kind for construction, shooting, etc.) and they cut all sounds to a great degree but especially the highs. I notice that after I take them off, my hearing is extremely sensitive - even a little tap on the snare sounds really loud.
 

Jsk36

Senior Member
Thanks for the replies guys, I also noticed when I took them out and played, I found out I was hitting the drums so loud that the window next to me was shaking!
 

basscase

Senior Member
I use these when I play and when I mix Front of House for loud bands. You don't loose any highs or lows.
 

Attachments

  • hearos-00211.jpg
    hearos-00211.jpg
    30.7 KB · Views: 474
Top