Are Electronic Drum Kits Quiet Enough For An Apartment?

If you live in an apartment, you may be wondering, “Are Electronic Drum Kits Quiet Enough For An Apartment?” Let’s take a look at some of the problems and solutions other drummers have overcome to keep good relations with their neighbors.

Are Electronic Drum Kits Quiet Enough For An apartment?

Electronic Drum Kits are quiet enough to play and practice in an apartment. Electronic drum kits are a lot quieter than acoustic drum kits and you can wear headphones when playing electronic drum kits to keep the sound contained. You may experience some vibration noise from the kick drum pedal or the high-hat pedal. This is easy to overcome with the use of isolation pads or a tennis ball drum riser.

How To Stop Kick Drum Vibration

When you play a set of electronic drums the sound can easily be contained with a set of headphones, and you can also control the volume of the drums by adjusting it on your drum control module.

Some drummers who use electronic drums report a problem with the vibration from the kick drum pedal as the biggest noise offender and not the actual sound of the drums.

When you hit the kick pedal for your kick drum or even the high-hat foot pedal, the vibration carries through the floor and makes noise that your downstairs neighbor or same floor neighbors can hear.

Let’s take a look at how to stop kick drum and high-hat vibrations.

Choose A Bottom Floor Apartment With Concrete Floors

Set yourself up for the best possible apartment if you are a drummer.

If you choose a bottom floor apartment with concrete floors, most of your problems will be solved before they happen.

A bottom floor apartment with concrete floors will absorb most all of the vibrations from your kick and high-hat pedals.

It’s possible that you have a bottom floor apartment, and the flooring is not concrete but is a sub floor. A sub floor will still vibrate and may need some treatment to prevent noise.

Play Through Headphones

Playing through headphones will keep the drum sounds under control but you may need to deal with the vibrations coming from your electronic drum set.

If your neighbors are complaining about the vibrations coming from your electronic drum set keep reading and we will cover some solutions that can help contain the vibration noises.

Control The Amount Of Power And Strength (Dynamics) You Use When Playing Your Drums

I know it can be tempting to play your drums hard. The style of music you are playing, and your mood may entice you to play hard and be aggressive.

I understand music is all about creating with emotion, spontaneity, and flow.

What if I told you there is a better way to play drums?

Drumming Dynamics

Learn to play with control and still achieve the mood and style of the music. You do not have to beat your drum set into oblivion to achieve great music.

In fact, drummers who can play with control are highly sought after because they can play to fit a mix, to be the correct volume in any room, and make sure all the instruments in the band can be heard.

This comes from playing with control and being aware of the big picture which is having a great sounding band and able to control the volume level.

All musicians should play and think with this mind set.

Best Ways To Soundproof Electronic Drums

If you are a drummer and living in an apartment there are some things you can do to help quiet down the vibrations that are coming from your electronic drums.

Let’s take a look at each method below and remember that some drummers achieve success with just one technique listed and some drummers will combine different techniques to achieve best results.

It will be different for everyone reading this article because we all live in different buildings that are constructed in different ways.

Tennis Ball Riser

The tennis ball riser is very popular with drummers who live in apartments and have some of the best results at stopping vibrations coming from the kick and high-hat pedals.

There are several different methods for building tennis ball risers, and you can easily find different videos on YouTube showing how to build a tennis ball riser.

Tennis Ball Drum Riser

I will attach a video showing the tennis ball riser I would build.

Tennis ball risers are a combination of MDF board, tennis balls, rockwool padding, and carpet.

I think the best tennis ball risers are large enough to accommodate the complete drum set and the drummer’s throne.

Relevant Article: How To Build A Tennis Ball Drum Riser

Roland Noise Eater NE-10

The Roland Noise Eater NE-10 is a thick rubber pad that you can lay under your kick pedal and high-hat pedal to absorb vibrations created when you are playing your electronic drums.

If you read the reviews on the Roland Noise Eater products you find mixed results.

Roland advertises a 75% reduction in vibrations by using the Roland Noise Eater NE-10.

Some users claim this thick pad works great and others say it reduces the noise but still needs more noise reduction.

Thick Rubber Floor Mats

Some drummers swear by thick rubber floor mats under their drum set.

I think if you are going to use rubber floor mats, I would get 3/4″ to 1″ thick rubber matting.

The thicker the pad the more vibration the padding can absorb.

I’ve read where some drummers only use a thick rubber pad and this is all they needed.

Again, I think results will vary depending on how your apartment building is built, how hard you play, and the quality of the rubber matting you choose.

Noise Isolation Pads

Noise Isolation Pads are individual pads that you can place under each of the kick drum and high hat stands individual legs.

Roland makes the Roland NE-1 Noise Eaters which is a pack of six pads to use for your kick drum and high-hat stand legs.

There are also products made of thick ribbed rubber or ribbed rubber and cork that are made to absorb vibrations for air conditioning units and washer and dryers that may work well.

Kick Drum And High Hat Noise Isolation Pads

Thick Rug

Some drummers report using a thick rug to help stop vibrations. I think a thick rug will help but, in most cases, will not be enough to stop the vibrations coming from your kick and high-hat pedals.

A Combination

The solution to your problem will most likely be a combination of the above techniques.

The tennis ball drum riser has been reported to work very well but a lot of drummers also placed a rubber pad under their tennis ball drum riser or used noise isolation pads under their kick drum pedal and high hat pedal.

This is all trial and error and you may have to experiment to find what works best for your apartment and neighbors.

Video Credit: Blue Line Drums

Relevant Article: Can You Use Electronic Drums As Midi Controller. Check out this article to learn more about how to use your electronic drum set as a midi controller.

Mesh Drum Heads VS Rubber Drum Heads

Some drummers have talked about how the sound of the drum stick striking the drum head makes enough noise (Stick Noise) that it can be an issue for neighbors.

With electronic drums there are two types of drum heads available. Lets take a look at Mesh drum heads and Rubber drum heads for the electronic drum set.

Mesh Drum Heads

Mesh Drum Heads

Mesh drum heads are a type of drum head manufactured to give you the same feel as an acoustic drum head but with a lot less sound.

Since mesh drum heads are made from a woven material there are tiny air holes in the mesh, so the air escapes from the mesh preventing any sound.

Mesh drum heads are manufactured from piles of woven material that give you an almost realistic feel as the traditional acoustic drum head.

Mesh drum heads can be tightened or adjusted just like a traditional acoustic drum head to give you the feel you want.

Some say that mesh heads have more bounce than a traditional mylar acoustic drum head.

Mesh drum heads are quieter than rubber drum heads, have a more realistic feel, and are more comfortable to play.

Rubber Drum Heads

Rubber drum heads are much harder than mesh drum heads and make a lot more stick noise than mesh drum heads.

Rubber drum heads do not feel like playing traditional drums.

Rubber Drum Heads

Rubber drum heads tension can not be adjusted.

Some say rubber drum heads can cause pain and injury after playing them for a while.

Rubber drum heads will not be your best choice if you want a quiet and realistic feel when playing drums.

Best Choice For Electronic Drum Heads

Hands down, the best choice for electronic drum heads will be the Mesh Drum Head.

It’s quieter, feels more natural, can be tightened to feel the way you like, and is more comfortable to play.

If you are considering getting an electronic drum set be sure and get one with mesh drum heads.

Advantages Of Electronic Drums

Electronic drums have come a long way since they were first introduced to the public in 1976 by a company named Pollard Industries.

Of course, you have probably never heard of Pollard Industries because.. well, their drums were not a hit.

However, today electronic drums sound great, are affordable, and a great choice for anyone who needs a quieter option.

Electronic Drums Are Much Quiter Than Acoustic Drums

I think the biggest problem with acoustic drums is that they are very loud.

Acoustic drums sound great and every drummer should own a set of traditional acoustic drums.

At the end of the day a nice set of electronic drums may be the way to go for many reasons.

Acoustic drums will not work in an apartment. Neighbors, spouses, and parents will not tolerate the noise levels.

A good Electronic Drum Set will give you the true sound and playability of a real set of acoustic drums and allows you to set the volume that will keep everyone happy.

You can even put on a set of headphones and play as loud as you want without driving everyone else mad.

Electronic Drums Have Greater Versatility.

Electronic drums have a sound to suit most styles.

One of the greatest advantages of using an electronic drum set is the ability to completely change the sound of your drums by simply changing the preset on your drum control module.

If you need a rock sound, jazz, or a percussion set up, all you need to do is select what you want in your drum control module.

You can play any type of drums you want with a good set of electronic drums and drum control module.

Electronic Drums Are Great For Recording And Can Be Used As A Midi Controller

Perhaps one of the most challenging instruments to record well is a set of acoustic drums.

The great thing about a good set of electronic drums is the drum sounds have been prerecorded by professional sound engineers in professional studios and halls.

Superior Drummer 3 Virtual Instrument With Midi

So, when you record with a good set of electronic drums all the hard work and eq has been done for you.

Sure, you will need to make some adjustments, but you will be starting out with a good solid sound that is totally workable.

Another great bonus is that electronic drums use midi.

Not only can your record the audio coming from your electronic drums but, you can also record the midi data and change the way your drums sound long after the recording session is complete.

Midi data makes it easy to simply change the sound of the drum set or you can take a rhythm pattern from a high hat or kick drum and plug it into a percussion instrument or synthesizer to create new sounds and rhythms.

Electronic Drums Give You Freedom To Practice Whenever You Want

Since electronic drums are so much quieter than acoustic drums, you can set them up to be almost completely silent.

This gives you the freedom to play, record, and practice anytime you want.

We already talked about the loud sounds traditional acoustic drums make.

Electronic drums are a great asset for every drummer who wants to play anytime they need to.

Electronic Drums Are Great For Live Performances

If you are in a small venue, electronic drums can be the best choice for noise control.

Everyone loves to hear live music when they go out. No one loves trying to talk over the music in a small tavern or restaurant.

Electronic drums make it much easier to control the volume level of the drums which will in effect control the whole volume of the band.

No need to try and mic up the drums and dial in a decent sound on the mix console.

Just dial up the drum set you want to play on your drum control module, set your volume, and you are ready for a great night.

No feedback, no bleed through, no headaches, just great sounding drums.

What Others Are Saying

Direct QuoteSource
“Electronic drums are designed to keep the noise down, literally. Unlike digital pianos, they don’t quite manage to totally cut the noise out.”
“The bigger concern is typically the pedals; when you step on them, you are making a bigger thump with your foot than the beater or the cymbal triggers make, but all of that is combining on the hardwood floor to make it sound like you’re pounding on the floor (which you are).”
“The biggest problem with electronic drums in apartments is vibration from the bass pedal. I’ve seen two solutions to this. The first is to build a “tennis ball riser”. It helps stop a lot of vibration from the kick pad. The second is to get a beater-less kit such as a Roland TD-1KV. I’ve never played on one so I can’t attest to how they feel.”
“Playing an electronic drum kit is easily the most conceived way to play drums in an apartment. In fact, I bought my first electronic drum set ten years back for this very reason.”
“You can make your drums apartment-friendly with different adaptations, such as wall panels, floor tiles, floor mats, quiet sticks, drum pads, low-volume cymbals and using an electronic drum set.”
“Yoga mat will not help that much on its own. You propably need to make a tennis ball raiser for your set. The idea is to have a bit of air between your set and the floor. Some mass (a layer of rubber or something even more massive) on top of the air layer is also a good thing, stops some of that low resonance. There will still be some stick sounds in the room so you might want to use some kind of absorbing material on your walls also.”
“The main problem that you will face with E-drum sets is with sound transfer through the floors. If you have an upstairs room or live in a multi-story apartment, this is the major issue you will be dealing with.”
“An electronic drum kit is much quieter than an acoustic kit. If you really need to keep the volume down, quiet electronic drums are a great option.”

In Conclusion

Yes, electronic drums are quiet enough for an apartment.

You may need to build an inexpensive tennis ball riser, cover it in carpet, and set it up on a rubber mat to contain the vibrations.

Not a big deal in the scheme of things.

Talk with your neighbors if they have expressed concern and work with them to find the best solution. You may have to try a couple different techniques to get everything just right, but it can be done.

If you are interested in playing, writing, and recording your own music you are in the right place. Take some time and have a look around my website.

You will find many articles that will be helpful and great information for your home recording studio setup.

Be sure and leave your questions and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “Are Electronic Drum Kits Quiet Enough For An Apartment?”

  1. Our band was just discussing this at practice last night. Our drummer lives in a 700 sqft apartment and isn’t able to practice at home. We asked if he would be able to practice with an electronic kit, but he said it wasn’t practical for a couple of reasons. One, the space is already small and there isn’t even room for an electronic kit. Two, the kick drum would still be too much noise for surrounding neighbors. I like your suggestions to try to work around the sound issue, but the small space is likely going to be the dealbreaker here. I’m going to share this anyway, just in case it’s got some fresh ideas he hasn’t thought of yet.

    • A small space can be an issue.  The sound issues can all be taken care of, but he may have to do a little experimenting. 

      As far as space goes..  Who needs a coffee table and love seat when you can have a sofa and an electronic drum kit!  Seems like a no brainer to me and just think how cool his living room will look.  Now that’s plush!

  2. Oh how I wish I had seen this article when I was in college. The guy upstairs had a drum set and use to incessantly beat away causing much upheaval with the tenants. Finding solutions as you have outlined allows for better co-existence and less rancor. I particularly like the variety of solutions for the often difficult-to-solve kick drum from the cheaper alternatives like using thick mats, to specialty noise reduction pads as the Tennis Ball Riser and Roland NE-10. Combine this with headphones and soft-touch sticks and I might even consider getting my son the drum-set he keeps asking me for.

    • Everyone loves a good beat but maybe the most difficult instrument to learn because of all the noise is the drums.

      The drummer feels like they have to hold back when they play because they don’t want to upset everyone and the family, friends, and neighbors want to support the drummer but can only take so much noise.

      I think every drummer should have a good set of electronic drums just so they can practice in peace and the family members and neighbors can have their peace and will not be complaining all the time.

      Enter Electronic Drums.  The solution to many problems inherent with playing the drums.

      Yes, Electronic Drums are quiet enough for an apartment. You may have to make some adjustments to get the sound completely quiet. 

      A Tennis Ball Drum Riser is a great solution to the vibration and noise generated by using the kick drum and high hat pedals. If you want to learn How To Build A Tennis Ball Drum Riser click here.

      I think you will find this article very helpful.

  3. This is a unique article in that, by their very nature, drums are the heartbeat of some music and need to be heard and not stifled.  That said, you’re sharing great information about how we can practice on our drums without worrying about noise escaping into the general environment.  I never knew the overall volume on an electric drum set could be regulated. No more finding a warehouse room or garage where you can practice without having the whole neighborhood hear you.




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