A Drummer’s Guide to Quiet Practice

In this guide, we’ll solve how to practice drums quietly at home without disturbing the neighbours and family. 

Let’s face it – drums sound great played hard and loud. Of course, that’s part of the fun. But the sheer volume of an acoustic kit can make it a challenge for drummers to practice at home – not to mention a headache for housemates, neighbours and anyone else in the postcode.

It’s frustrating when you can’t hit as hard as you like or play when you want – but the good news is that drummers no longer need to suffer in silence. 

See this guide to drumming for worship and controlling the volume level.

Read on for our noise-busting solutions to five common problems, allowing you to practice without disturbing your neighbours – even if you live in an apartment.

Five Common Drumming noise problems:

  1. Can’t play acoustic drums at home due to noise
  2. Replacing noisy acoustic drum heads with great feeling silent ones
  3. Excessive floor/ceiling vibrations caused by drum pedals
  4. Cymbal hits are too loud
  5. General noise from mechanical vibration

Contributed by Simon Ayton for Roland Australia

Problem #1: Can’t Play Acoustic Drums At Home Due To Noise 

apartThe obvious solution to combat acoustic drum noise is to go electronic. Back in 1997, Roland launched the original TD-10 V-Drums kit, making it possible for drummers to play a complete kit in a small, non-soundproofed room at practical volumes.

See the history of Roland percussion here

Roland V-Drums give players the feel of a full-size drum kit without the noise issues. Even better, electronic drums never need tuning, while the headphone option means you’re free to play along with your favourite music when it suits you.

As far as options go, the current V-Drums range covers all bases. From the all-in-one TD-1K and compact fold-up TD-1KPX2, to the fully expandable and editable flagship TD-50KVX. Whatever your level, budget or drumming style, you’ll find a V-Drums kit to suit you.

The module included with V-Drums kits delivers larger-than-life sound and the latest technology. 

Integrated pedals and racks combine with electronic hi-hats and cymbals that react just like their acoustic counterparts. 

Meanwhile, pad surfaces are rubber, cloth-feel or adjustable mesh for the ultimate bounce, response and quietness. 

V-Drums are simple to record with – no need to mic up the kit, for example – and can be customised using the module to create your own signature drum sounds.

Roland V-Drums sound and feel totally authentic – whether you’re practising silently in private or performing loud and proud onstage.

Explore the entire range HERE

Problem #2: Replacing Noisy Acoustic Drum Heads with Great Feeling Silent Heads

mesh
Roland PowerPly mesh drum heads

Acoustic drum heads sound great, whether it’s the whip-crack of the snare, rattling toms or the kick drum’s ability to move some serious air. However, a drummer’s idea of heaven is usually their neighbour’s idea of hell, so if you want to keep the peace, you’ll need to find a way to compromise.

With their satisfying feel, plus durability that far outlasts conventional acrylic drum heads, Roland’s dual-ply mesh heads have been a key feature of V-Drums for many years. 

Try them for yourself and you’ll be impressed by the familiar response and bounce – without the usual noise of acoustic heads and the cost of replacing them.

Roland’s latest PowerPly mesh heads can be tensioned to suit the individual player and come in a complete range of standard sizes to fit out your entire acoustic kit. 

To create a hybrid electronic/acoustic kit, you can attach acoustic triggers to PowerPly heads to generate any sound you like from a sound module.

Read the Supercharge Your Drumming With A Hybrid Kit article HERE

Problem #3. Excessive Floor/Ceiling Vibrations Caused By Drum Pedals  

For drummers living in close quarters, pedals cause problems. The mechanical vibration from both the foot stomp and the beater hitting the pad can easily transmit through floors and walls, even if your drums are set up on a rug or carpet.

All V-Drums kits have been designed with either shock-absorbing rubber, cloth-feel or mesh head kick trigger systems to minimise airborne noise and vibration. In 2016, a new series of beater-less pedal designs made it easier than ever to drop the decibels.

Kick Pedal Solutions


kt-9_dr_gal> KT-9 Beater-less Kick Trigger Pedal

Slim and easily positioned, the KT-9 offers a realistic swinging action, footboard feel and a near-silent trigger system that’s compatible with any trigger input module.

* 85% less noise than Roland KD-9 pad with drum pedal beater combination

* Can be used with any trigger module

* Durable and lightweight

> KT-10 Heavy Duty Beater-less Kick Trigger Pedal

kt10This top-of-the-range, adjustable hammer-action pedal is designed to imitate a conventional beater and head combination – without the noise, complexity and space requirements of a separate pedal and trigger pad setup.

* Heavy Duty Design

* Low noise hammer action

* Adjustable spring and cam action

* Linkable for multiple pedals12

Hi-Hat Pedal Solutions

Hi-hat pedals generally cause fewer volume issues than their kick pedal counterparts. When you’re playing energetically though, they can still generate enough vibration to bother your neighbours.

To combat this, you should try a Roland hi-hat controller. These connect to the HHC input of the sound module. Roland hi-hats allow progressive control of the opening/closing of hi-hat sounds in the module, for a convincing performance.

See the following pedals feature both smooth action and incredibly low noise – perfect for silent practice without sacrificing hi-hat feel.

> FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller

The FD-8 come as standard with previous generation V-Drums kits featuring the rack-mounted CY-5 hi-hat – including the TD-4KP and TD-11K/KV – but will work on any module with a HHC input. It allows progressive action from open to closed, and even allows for foot splashing techniques as performed on acoustic hi-hats.

* Standard hi-hat controller compatible with all HHC module inputs

* Progressive and smooth control from open to closed

fd-9_dr_gal* Spikes to stop movement and slippage

> FD-9 Silent Hi-Hat Controller

Shipping with the TD-17KL/KV and TD-1KPX2, the FD-9 represents a new generation of hi-hat controllers. Its near-silent action and authentic feel lets you play all day or through the night – without sacrificing the feel of a conventional hi-hat.

* Realistic hi-hat controller action

* Smooth and silent design

* Compatible with all HHC module inputs

Problem #4: Cymbal Hits Are Too Loud

cy12

Roland’s V-Cymbals are designed for drummers who need to reduce practice volume but refuse to compromise on performance. Available in sizes ranging from 5” to 15”, they offer a realistic swinging motion and satisfying weight. 

As a means to dramatically reduce, the rubber coating reduces impact volume and prevents broken sticks.

> CY-12C 12” V-Crash cymbal

The CY-8, CY-12C and CY-14C all use one TRS output jack to give you two trigger regions for bow and edge hits. This makes them perfect for use as crash cymbals. Alternatively, this single dual output can be connected to any trigger input module where any sound – not just crash – can be assigned for maximum creativity.

Also available are the 13” CY-13R and 15” CY-15R Ride V-Cymbals, featuring two TRS trigger outputs for bell, bow and edge triggering. These can be connected to any module with ride and bell trigger inputs for three-way triggering.

Hi-Hat Noise

A major turning point for electronic drums arrived in 2004, with the introduction of the conventionally mounted VH-11 V-Hi-Hat, with its authentic opening and closing motion and breakthrough trigger response.

Hi-hat is the most frequently played element of a kit – and the most challenging component of any electronic kit to perfect, due to the range of nuance required.

VH-10 hi-hat

Roland VH-10 Hi-hat

 

A new, lower profile hi-hat supplied with the TD-17KVX, the VH-10 features a single top hat and mounts on a conventional hi-hat stand.

Together with the included hi-hat controller unit – which mounts on the hi-hat stand below the top hat – the VH-10 can be connected to the hi-hat trigger input of all Roland drum modules.

VH-11 hi-hat

Roland VH-11 Hi-hat

Supplied with the TD-25K/KV and TD-30K V-Drums kits, the VH-11 features a single top hat and mounts on a conventional hi-hat stand.

Together with the included hi-hat controller unit – which mounts on the hi-hat stand below the top hat – the VH-11 can be connected to the hi-hat trigger input of all Roland drum modules.

 

VH-13 V-hi-hat

Roland VH-13 Hi-hat

Delivered with the TD-50 series kits, the VH-13 features two cymbal pads that offer the familiar feel and bounce of twin acoustic hi-hats – without the noise.

By combining either of these hi-hats with a compatible V-Drums sound module, you’ll be able to enjoy authentic feel and performance – whenever it suits you.

CY-5 hi-hat trigger and FD-9 hi-hat controller pedal

For easy to use and setup hi-hat playing, the CY-5 and FD-9 combination sets the standard and is supplied with the TD-17KL/KV.

Roland CY-5 Hi-hat pad

No calibration or adjustment are required and the CY-5 can be mounted easily on the rack via a cymbal boom arm. The CY-5 itself comes with connection cable and hi-hat adapter clamp which holds it firm and stops it from spinning.

Problem #5: General Noise from Mechanical Vibration

Drum Mats

Designed to minimise slipping and absorb vibration from either acoustic or electronic drums, the TDM-3, TDM-10 and TDM-20 V-Drums mats combine a rubber backing with a heavy-duty velcro-style closed loop carpet on the top. 

Roland V-Drums mats are available in three sizes to suit your personal setup.

Noise-Eaters

Even with the quietest pedal, pad and cymbal setup, mechanical vibration can still make its way through the floor or wall to disturb your neighbours. In this situation, you need a solution that goes straight to the root of the problem.

> NE-1 & NE-10 Noise Eaters

Available in two models for legs and pedal boards, Noise-Eaters provide an impact-absorbing buffer between the drum stand, the drum pedal and the floor, to eliminate transmission of mechanical vibration before it even begins.

ne-noise
Roland NE-1 and NE-10 Noise Eaters

> NE-1 Noise-Eater

Compact and discreet, NE-1 Noise-Eaters are rubber isolating feet that attach to the legs of stands, racks and kick triggers. By allowing the stands to effectively float on air, they dramatically reduce vibration from transmitting through the floor.

Your next step is to use NE-10 platform-style Noise-Eaters. Noise-eaters are an ideal solution for noisy kick and hi-hat pedals, raising them off the floor and dramatically reducing foot stomp and beater noise. The result: less volume and more flexible practice sessions.

Roland V-Drums NE-1 and NE-10 Noise-Eaters dramatically reduce mechanical vibration transmission when drumming

So however far you want to go to reduce the noise you make while playing drums, there are many solutions to suit all budgets and scenarios. 

Check out the product links to get started.

Related Article

How To Make Your Drum Practice More Effective

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