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I live in an apartment and recently bought a Yamaha dtxtreme III. Luckily I live on the bottom floor and have no one under me, however the drums are facing a wall that I share with my neighbors. The pads sound like I'm hitting a phone book and the kick drum has a bit more bass to it, what I would love to do is hang up some of these curtains (http://www.moverssupplies.com/catalog/product/view/id/141/s/vb-73g/category/92/) and block out as much of the sound as possible for them.

I realize I am being paranoid about this, and even went as far as to talk to them about it and they are really cool about the drums, however I have been in their shoes and want to maintain as good of a relationship as possible with them!

Is this a reasonable way of doing this? The blankets say they have a NRC rating of .8, and they weigh about 11lbs each, I would love to get 6 of them and hang them in a square around my drums so I could play late into the evening.

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Sounds like a good plan from here. One possible option (and I'm not a percussionist, so take it w/ a grain of salt): put some rubber padding between the drumhead and the mallet ( for the bass drum) or sticks to reduce the immediate sound impact. –  Carl Witthoft Feb 15 at 21:16
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The best thing you can do really is talk to your neighbors and designate practice times (like when they aren't around.) If after you've talked and they've let you know it's bothersome still, then I would go ahead with the curtains. I wouldn't add a rubber layer as that will change the feel and response of both the instrument and your beaters. –  jjmusicnotes Feb 16 at 6:29
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3 Answers 3

This is quite a lot like this thread, which was quite comprehensive : Electronic Drums in apartment

A few points :

  • The problem isn't so much sound travelling through the air and through the wall so much as making its way to hard surfaces and travelling through that. If you have a wooden flor, the wood will resonate nicely as you hit the kit (especially bass drum) and travel through to next door. A home made drum riser (tennis balls for 'legs') is suggested to mute it.

  • If you have a concrete floor then that helps hugely to mute this effect anyway.

  • Mesh drums are much quiter than pads, although the rubber cymbals and the bass drum are still noisy.

  • If some sound travels through the air anyway (and that's what the neighbours can hear) then the curtains sound like a good idea

How excellently considerate of you to check with your neighbours. That's half the battle, I think : consideration goes a long way, as opposed to just playing and assuming they can handle it.

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Percussion sound also travels well through the hard surfaces - drum stand, then floor and walls - much better than through the air. In some badly design buildings you may hear that way a tennis ball dropped on the floor two flats above.

Put something like a carpet or towel under the drum stand.

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You're never going to completely kill the sounds without spending enough money to just buy another place.

Before spending money on kit, see if you have move things around and stick the drums against another wall, or in another room. As was mentioned in the comments, talking it over with neighbours always helps, but it is very human to say 'that's fine' then complain later, so I wouldn't have too much faith in it.

The curtains will of course work, but I doubt you'll get the psychological satisfaction of feeling perfectly quiet, so I'd just stick to evening hours and reserve the later night for snoozing.

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