Those drums can be way too loud…even for youth. It’s hard to have a great musical experience when the drums are overpowering everything in the room. Some have tried to solve this by
- Turning everything else way up. But then your eardrums start bleeding because the human ear cannot handle that kind of volume.
- Put the drums behind a shield or even in a separate glass room. But that’s expensive, it removes the drummer from the stage/room experience, it’s really hard on the drummer’s ears (unless he’s using over-the-ear cans for monitoring), and it just looks terrible.
- Use electric drums. This is a pretty good solution but the drummer will usually hate it. They don’t feel the same as a real set. Plus, they still don’t sound as good as a real set. Even with all the technological advances of today, an electronic set still doesn’t match a good quality real set.
- Even better solutions are too…
- Use high quality darker symbols
- Put dampeners on the undersides of your symbols
- Use high quality heads and tune them down
- Change the location of the drums on the stage to reduce reverberation
- But even with all these changes, your drums can still end up being too loud
The Silver Bullet
So what’s the silver bullet? Well, what we’ve discovered to be the single most effective tool for controlling drum volume is …..
An iPod running a decibel meter app mounted right on the kit. This helps the drummer control his/her volume. Set the limits for how loud he/she should be playing at various points during a typical song. Make sure it’s mounted every rehearsal and every service.
The goal would be to have a good enough set and the drummer be controlled enough that you can mic the drums and push their faders up to blend the drums right in with the rest of the mix in the mains. Then you can EQ them till they sound fantastic.
Ours is mounted just above the snare to the right of the hi-hat on a crash cymbal stand using the iKlip Universal Mount.
Try it! It works great!