Room Acoustics/sound treatment - Need something to make my drums sound good again...

Tommy D

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So I made a HUGE life upgrade and bought a new house. This one has a finished basement. Yay! I'm finally getting to unpacking all my drums, which have been in storage for a year:

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Needless to say, I didn't need to buy myself anything for Christmas as I have nearly 60 boxes of stuff to open up.

Anyway, I have gotten one kit set up in the "drum room" and it sounds like dog doo doo. Its not the kit, I know, as I had this set up at the old house and it sounded good. Its definitely the room. The room is 9'-6" wide by ~18' long and 7'-4" tall with basic drywall walls, a drop ceiling and laminate flooring. I'm not looking to do any soundproofing (at this time) but I need to do something that will help bring out the "fullness" of the drums. My 24" African mahogany bass drum at best can only give a "thud" no matter what the tuning is. I can't get a "boom", let alone a "thump", out of it. This room is sucking up all the low end on the kit. The cymbals are also rather sharp sounding which, I suppose, is to be expected considering what's happening with the kit. The unfortunate thing about this room is its shape. It is long and narrow, so my locations for setting up the kit(s) are very limited. Unlike my big, open and unfinished basement before, the best I can do is set up 2 kits in this room and to do that I need to have them facing the walls, which I hate.

Does anyone recommend any websites or videos that discuss sound treatment for rooms with terrible acoustics? I haven't figured out any sort of budget as I have no clue what is required to fix the issue, but any help from those who have gone through this before would be super appreciated.
 

owr

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Check out GIK acoustics. Some good educational content, plus they offer free help figuring out what you need. Not the cheapest stuff, but a good solution if you don’t want to become an expert and just need some help getting back to playing drums.

Congrats on the home!
 

Seb77

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I thought you'd complain about boominess, then I would just put a couch at the end of the room. That worked well in some long, narrow basement with concrete walls. Not sure how a room can suck up low end, maybe it's the drop ceiing? Normally I would consider this a benefit in a smaller room.
 
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mgdrummer

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Build yourself some corner base traps and wall mount absorber panels. It can be done on the cheap and it certainly helps. I used 3/4” MDF to make my absorber frames, cut a bat of recycled denim insulation to fit inside and then wrapped them in black fabric. I built in a French cleat into the top of the backside of the frames to make hanging them easy.
 

owr

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Agree with this, I found it unusual. In a smaller room its usually the low end that creates the most problems.

I thought you'd complain about boominess, then I would just put a couch at the end of the room. That worked well in some long, narrow basement with concrete walls. Not sure how a room can suck up low end, maybe it's the drop ceiing? Normally I would consider this a benefit in a smaller room.
 

Mcjnic

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Oddly enough, you might want to check into some used cubicle panels.
They are mobile, easy to put into place, and offer good dampening for long rooms.
You can place them on one, two, three, or even four sides of the kit.
They work pretty good for these situations … and they are cheap and plentiful.
You can even find some appealing colors if you dig.
Use these along with the basic corner work and such. Your sound will dial in pretty quick.
And you can use these for more than one kit as needed … depending on the location in the room.
And you can hang moving blankets from them if you want a real dry sound.
And they can be lined along the wall for specific dampening needs.
Really versatile things.
 

notINtheband

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I went a bit overboard a few years ago, built 16 of these 2’x4’ panels, but I was trying to kill as much volume as possible.
Heck 6 or 8 would have been all that’s needed to improve the acoustics.
But here is the video I used and it worked flawlessly, and I’m not all that handy.

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Tommy D

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Is your drum room set up the way you want it, or did you put the drums in first? If the latter you might want to wait before spending money to fix the problem. What else is going in that room? Will that affect the acoustics?

Its still a big mess with a bunch of boxes in it, but all I really have room for in the room is 2 kits, maybe a storage rack and possibly a snare rack. No room for couches or any of that. So other than 2 rugs for under the kits, the only other thing I have thought about picking up are a couple acoustic curtains to pull over the doors to the room as a means of providing some sound absorption. I would love to do some acoustic ceiling tiles, since those are an easy thing to swap out, but I think I'll need to get both kits set up and get the room in a position of being somewhat done before I know what how many may need to get changed.
 

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I just moved as well, and I'm looking at doing what @notINtheband mentioned. Just making a few of my own panels. I got my current kit right after July 4th, and I still haven't been able to set it up at all, let alone play it.
 

dcrigger

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So I made a HUGE life upgrade and bought a new house. This one has a finished basement. Yay! I'm finally getting to unpacking all my drums, which have been in storage for a year:

51811525852_fba8baea08_c.jpg


51812829719_8404436ec4_c.jpg


51812589823_a19955fd92_c.jpg


Needless to say, I didn't need to buy myself anything for Christmas as I have nearly 60 boxes of stuff to open up.

Anyway, I have gotten one kit set up in the "drum room" and it sounds like dog doo doo. Its not the kit, I know, as I had this set up at the old house and it sounded good. Its definitely the room. The room is 9'-6" wide by ~18' long and 7'-4" tall with basic drywall walls, a drop ceiling and laminate flooring. I'm not looking to do any soundproofing (at this time) but I need to do something that will help bring out the "fullness" of the drums. My 24" African mahogany bass drum at best can only give a "thud" no matter what the tuning is. I can't get a "boom", let alone a "thump", out of it. This room is sucking up all the low end on the kit. The cymbals are also rather sharp sounding which, I suppose, is to be expected considering what's happening with the kit. The unfortunate thing about this room is its shape. It is long and narrow, so my locations for setting up the kit(s) are very limited. Unlike my big, open and unfinished basement before, the best I can do is set up 2 kits in this room and to do that I need to have them facing the walls, which I hate.

Does anyone recommend any websites or videos that discuss sound treatment for rooms with terrible acoustics? I haven't figured out any sort of budget as I have no clue what is required to fix the issue, but any help from those who have gone through this before would be super appreciated.
I totally second the suggestion of contacting GIK Acoustics and making full use of their free consulting service. In my experience, they had zero qualms about my wanting to lots of it myself and buying some finished pieces from them. In fact, they also frames and stuff to aid you doing it yourself.

The important thing is to find what you need to do - by someone that knows what they are talking about. Personally I know and have some experience in doing this - but the GIK did nothing but take my ideas to the next level.

I simply can't recommend this enough/ all of this treatment stuff (store bought and homemade) is way too expensive to be messing around with doing ineffective things. I couldn't be more pleased with how my room turned out - compared to every room I've done in the past. And the difference was absolutely the help I received from GIK. (If you want to see my room - there's a tread about it from back in 2020)

Good luck with this.
 

owr

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I would just add - there's so much well intentioned but bad advice out there, might as well start with the experts. I used GIK copiously for my room (which is much smaller). I bought some tri traps and some of the fancier hybrid diffusers/absorption panels. Then to fill out everything else (especially the odd sized pieces I would need) I built myself using GIK sourced ECOSE rockwool, Guilford of Maine fabric and my own plywood frames. At the end of the day given all the time I put in designing and building I definitely lost out $ wise on the project with the DIY. But I enjoyed the project and am happy I did.

One last thing, assuming you do actually have a low frequency problem (which is likely a resonance thats masking all subtlety around it) + the extra long room, I would explore just building a bass trap WALL on one end of the room, 6" of rockwool floor to ceiling. Even with all the work Ive done in my space I still get a nasty resonance around 60 hz, I need thicker bass traps but don't have the room.

You'll so notice the difference in a well treated room, its worth every penny to do it right IMO.
 

Vistalite Black

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I think some others are over-thinking this ... The combination of large area rugs, curtains covering most of the wall space (and I realize there are few windows) and an upholstered coach and chair will make the roomy will reduce boom and echo significantly. Make it sound more like a room, less like a cell.
 

dcrigger

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I think some others are over-thinking this ... The combination of large area rugs, curtains covering most of the wall space (and I realize there are few windows) and an upholstered coach and chair will make the roomy will reduce boom and echo significantly. Make it sound more like a room, less like a cell.
Echo maybe (maybe even too much). But boom? Nope
 
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owr

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Yeah, its not like this has been covered a million times both in actual rooms and at the blackboard with physics. Shallow treatments like curtains, rugs and all the acoustic foam in the world will only attenuate high frequencies. That will reduce flutter echo and some annoying highs, but the lows will just keep pounding through making the whole thing sound muddy. Add small room dimensions to the mix and the whole room just becomes a massive resonator for low end. Since the OP owns his home, my advice is to just put in a little more than the bare minimum and the results on his space could be dramatic.
 

owr

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Per my earlier suggestion, I was just checking out some of Dan Bailey's courses (which are great but off topic) and he has a great visual of what I was trying to get at. Check out the trailer for his 3rd course:


Notice the whole back wall behind his kit has that peg board surface. Underneath all of that (I believe, might be wrong) is some amount of absorption material. I would guess at least 4" of rockwool, but again could be wrong. Now he runs his home recording business out of there so this is probably overkill for most people, but given the OP has a long narrow room, he could potentially skip a lot of the hanging wall panel mess just by sacrificing 6" of depth along the long dimension and framing in something like. I'm betting it would do wonders, would be fairly easy to build and inexpensive relative to buying individual panels.
 

CAMDRUMS

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Check out GIK acoustics. Some good educational content, plus they offer free help figuring out what you need. Not the cheapest stuff, but a good solution if you don’t want to become an expert and just need some help getting back to playing drums.

Congrats on the home!
Agreed - I got some good advice from them.
 

Browny

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Something to try with a larger bass drum in smaller room is tuning it up a bit higher than you normally would.

At home I’ve got a 26” set up in a room that’s maybe similar size to yours and I found that the heads needed to be a higher pitch to really speak/resonate when compared to larger rooms I’ve played in (rehearsal spaces or venues). I’m not quite sure about it but would guess the lower pitch needs more space for the waves to fully develop, or the lower pitch waves are making more of a mess sonically when they bounce around.

I’ve got a bit of stuff in the room; it’s fully carpeted, there’s blackout curtains down one side, another kit in drum bags, there’s a little kitchenette with a bench which seriously breaks up one corner, etc. But tuning the kick up a good couple of steps higher than the range I’d previously kept the drum in really made a difference for me.
 


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