Drum Mutes are nothing short of a godsend for some people. Until now drums have been unavoidably loud and if you are looking to practice in your home or garage, you might become unpopular with the neighbors pretty soon. Drums are one of the most enthralling instruments, whether you’re into learning to drum like Buddy Rich or you want just want to take out some anger drumming along to your favorite tracks, so we’re not for a second suggesting giving up. Luckily, the best drum mutes can ensure that the sound of your drums is at least dampened and the volume decreased. Great news for parents of musical maestros and neighbors who enjoy peace and quiet!
Instrument technology is always changing and there are new options for drummers constantly coming onto the market. Many drummers have turned to electronic drums, but if you already have an acoustic kit this can be an expensive (and sizeable) addition. On top of that, some of us just love the feel of playing a real drum set.
Drum mutes and dampening pads aren’t always for the purposes of practice. If you’re playing intimate ‘unplugged’ style gigs, drums are often overpowering. There are a few ways to tackle this and certain drumsticks (and brushes) designed for quieter drumming, but drum mutes are also a way to tackle this issue.
A vital but often overlooked benefit of drum mutes is that drumming can badly damage your hearing. By introducing a mute and lowering the volume of the drums that are just a couple of feet away from your ears means that the damage to your hearing is reduced or even avoided altogether. Great for all of those long practice sessions.
What is a Drum Mute?
The top drum mutes usually come in the form of pads which sit on top of your drums. You can get them for all of the different drums that make up your set, snares, toms, hi-hats, and cymbals, which can be extremely noisy if you’re not in a studio environment.
Drum mutes are often made from neoprene rubber, designed not to slip around and to sit snugly on top of the individual parts of your drum kit. There are some other methods of reducing the drum sounds.
Drum mutes work by simply altering the vibrations and resonance of the drums, reducing a lot of the higher frequencies made by drum sets especially.
Drum mufflers are mainly designed to dampen the sound of the drums, as well as being for the purposes of quieting, they’re also great for the purposes of altering the sound. These are also sometimes called ‘EQ pads’ as they alter the frequencies made by hitting the drum. Some people use drum mufflers in order to tackle unwanted ringing frequencies.
Best Drum Mute Pads and Silencers
Drum mutes can be purchased either as individual pads for the separate parts of the drum set or as a whole set, which are usually sold in the standard sizes of drum sets.
There aren’t a huge amount of sets of drum mute pads on the market, but there are a few clear models that stand out as being the best drum mutes, which we have reviewed and summarized below.
SoundOff by Evans Drum Mute Pak Review
The SoundOff drum mute pack is a set offering 12, 13, 14 and 16-inch pads. The 14 inch is for the snare, while the other three are perfect for the toms. This is the industry standard for drum sets and though some have different customizations, this will perfectly fit the hardware of the majority of kits.
SoundOff is made by Evans. This is a brand which has grown a lot. They are owned by D’addario, well known for manufacturing guitar strings and Ukulele strings, they have a long history in the world of musical accessories.
These drum mutes pride themselves on not altering the sound and feel of the drums other than the volume. Some form of dampening is inevitable, but ultimately the SoundOff drum pads are some of the most natural feeling mutes you can buy.
The volume reduction is drastic, and they’re a well made product, which means you don’t have to replace them every few months due to wear and tear! In terms of price, they’re not overly expensive, especially when compared to the majority of products a drummer will have to buy. Many parents and partners of proud drummers will be pleased to part with the cash to keep the noise down!
A quick look at the SoundOff drum mute reviews online shows that people are very happy with them. They claim to reduce the volume by 95% and whilst I’m not sure they decrease it that much, the difference is drastic. The best review I’ve found is simply “the neighbors hate me less”. The only real con of this set is the fact that it doesn’t include hi-hat and cymbal pads, nor any sort of mute for the kick drum. These are available separately though and all in all, this is a hugely good value and high-quality pack for those wanting to quieten their drums.
SoundOff by Evans Full Box Set Review
If you need more than just the toms and snare covered then SoundOff do cater for your needs, but the cost is a lot higher than the ‘drum mute pak’. The Full box set has hi-hat, cymbal and kick drum covered as well as the rest of the kit.
This set comes in two different models, Standard and Fusion, this is, of course, to cater for the type of kit you have. One of the coolest features of the Fusion set is the adjustable kick drum mute which caters to whichever size of bass drum you have within your drumset.
Vic Firth MUTEPP6 Fusion Drum and Cymbal Mute Pack
As opposed to some of its competitors, the Vic Firth MUTEPP6 Mute pack covers every base. All drums, hi-hats, kick drum, snares and toms are all accounted for in this thoroughly brilliant drum mute pack by well-known drum manufacturer Vic Firth.
The excellent muting capacity of the Vic Firth set means that your volume will be drastically reduced. Designed to fit the average drum set, this has 10″, 12″, 14″ and 16″ pads for toms and snares, a 22″ bass drum mute and two cymbal mutes, as well as a clip on hi-hat mute.
A look at the Vic Firth MUTEPP6 reviews online shows that the majority of those who have taken the plunge and bought these are very happy with their purchase. The exceptional quality means that these are durable and also keep the volume really low. In short, they do what they promise, and have the added bonus of coming with enough mutes to fit all sorts of different kits, and every drum within your set!
Buying Individual Drum Mutes
To start with, buying your muting pads as a set is a great way to save money and cover the whole of your kit, but if one part of the set should perish or start to feel the effects of all that wear and tear, both the Vic Firth and SoundOff sell their drum mutes as individual products, so you can replace individual parts instead of the whole pack of mutes.
Cheap Drum Mutes – Are They Worth It?
With any investment, it is natural to look at whether there is a more affordable option out there. If there was a set of drum mutes under $20 which could do just as good a job, I would recommend them. Unfortunately, it seems like with these particular drum peripherals you really do get what you pay for. A lot of the flimsy foam drum mutes simply don’t do the business, and their muting abilities just aren’t as good as the rubber and neoprene options we’ve reviewed above.
People have come up with a few different ‘shortcut’ methods of muting drums. Legend has it that the great drummers of the 60s and 70s would practise with dishcloths or towels on their kits to try and keep the noise to a minimum. Luckily, there are many products available to make sure this isn’t necessary. If you’ve never heard drum mutes in action, you will be stunned at just how much they can lower the volume of a kit. These are the perfect way for children to convince their parents that a drum kit is a viable option, but they also open up a world of options in performance and practise, as well as protecting our hearing.
Having a set of drum mutes is virtually essential in the modern day and age. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have no neighbors or have your drum set in its own location such as a studio, noise is bound to be a consideration.