Can Neighbors Hear Electronic Drums?

So, you want to know, “Can Neighbors Hear Electronic Drums?” Let’s take an in depth look at some of the best solutions for drummers who are working to keep the peace with their neighbors and still be able to play their drums daily.

Can Neighbors Hear Electronic Drums?

If you live in an apartment or condo then Yes, neighbors can hear the vibrations coming from the kick drum pedal, the high-hat pedal, and sometimes the stick noise from the drumheads and cymbal pads. In an apartment setting If you are playing with your headphones on, the vibrations from the kick pedal travel through the floor, walls, and ceiling so the neighbors can hear the vibrations and not the actual drums. You can dampen these vibrations and stick noise with mesh drumheads, rubber mats, Roland Noise Eaters, a tennis ball drum riser, or a combination of these methods.

Why Do My Neighbors Hear My Electronic Drums?

You may be wearing headphones when you practice with your electronic drums.

So, why do the neighbors complain that they can hear your drums?

Your neighbors can hear the vibration from the kick drum pedal and the high-hat pedal primarily.

Some say the neighbors complain that they can hear the stick noise when the drumsticks strike the drumhead or the cymbal pads on an electronic drum set.

Apartment buildings and condos are built with thin walls and constructed in a way that carries vibrations.

When you start playing the electronic drums the vibrations can carry through the walls, floor, and ceiling.

All buildings are designed and built a little differently so it’s hard to say what will work best in your apartment building or condo.

I will provide some good solutions to help eliminate vibrations for you in this article.

Video Credit: Sweetwater

Are Mesh Drumheads Quieter?

Yes, Mesh drumheads are quieter.

Not only are mesh drumheads quieter but they are more realistic feeling to play and can be tightened or loosened just like a real drumhead.

There are currently two types of electronic drumheads.

1. Solid Rubber Drumhead

The solid rubber drumhead was the first type of electronic drumhead released.

Many drummers say the solid rubber drumheads make a lot more noise than the mesh drum head and that the solid rubber drumhead can damage your wrist.

The rubber is hard and puts a lot more strain on your wrist and arms than a real drumhead or a mesh drum head.

The hard rubber makes a lot of stick noise which can be an issue in some apartments and condos.

2. Mesh Drumhead

Mesh Drum Heads Are Quieter

Mesh drumheads are made of a woven material that has much better rebound than rubber drumheads and feel more like playing a traditional acoustic drumhead.

The mesh drumheads are almost completely silent because there are tiny airholes woven into the drumhead.

When you hit a mesh drum head all the air escapes and very little noise is created.

Mesh drumheads can be adjusted with a tuning key just like traditional acoustic mylar drumheads.

The tension can be set to the feel you like.

Mesh drumheads are quieter, more realistic feeling, and better for your wrist and arms.

How To Quite The Vibration Noise From My Electronic Drums

1. Pull The Drum Set Away From The Wall

You want to make sure that your drums and stands are not pushed up against the wall.

Pull your drums away from the wall and make sure nothing is coming in contact with the walls.

If your drum stands are touching the walls the vibrations will transfer into the walls which will travel throughout the building.

If the bottom floor is not concrete, you will probably need to add some of the other methods.

2. Thick Rubber Mats

Some drummers report using thick rubber matting under their drum set to cancel out vibrations.

The rubber mats may be all you need to quiet your electronic drums vibrations enough so that your neighbors do not complain.

On the other hand, some drummers report that they put down thick rubber mats and it did not stop the vibrations enough to stop the neighbors’ complaints.

3. Roland Noise Eater

The Roland Noise Eater Pads (NE 1 and NE 10) are different pads that Roland makes to help eliminate vibrations coming from the kick drum and high-hat pedals.

The Roland NE 1 are small round rubber isolation pads that you can put under the kick drum and high-hat legs to help reduce vibrations.

The Roland NE 10 is a larger flat rubber pad that goes under the kick drum pedal and the high-hat pedal to reduce vibrations.

You may use the Roland Noise Eaters along with some of the other methods mentioned here to add extra vibration control.

4. Small Rubber Blocks

Some drummers report using small rubber blocks to place under the kick drum legs and high-hat legs to reduce vibration.

This is a good alternative to the Roland Noise Eater NE 1’s.

Some of the small rubber blocks are made to quiet washing machines and air conditioning unit vibrations.

You can find these noise isolation blocks on Amazon as an alternative to the Roland NE 1 isolation pucks.

5. Tennis Ball Drum Riser

How To Build A Tennis Ball Drum Riser

Another very popular solution is the Tennis Ball Drum Riser.

Basically, the concept is to build a drum riser out of two sheets of MDF board and place tennis balls between the sheets of MDF board to absorb the vibrations coming from the drums.

Also, the air space between the two sheets of MDF board helps eliminate noise and vibrations.

Alot of drummers are reporting very good results by using a tennis ball drum riser that is built correct.

I do recommend that if you are going to build a tennis ball drum riser to build it large enough to put your drum throne on.

Along with the tennis ball drum riser some drummers also use rubber mats, noise eaters, and carpet.

Relevant Article: How To Build A Tennis Ball Drum Riser.

These are some effective ways to dampen or completely eliminate the vibrations coming from your electronic drum set.

Depending on how your building is constructed, which floor you live on, and how hard you play your drums, one or a combination of some of these methods should help.

I do highly recommend the Tennis Ball Drum Riser and the link that I provided above will show you how to build a nice riser to eliminate vibrations.

Try that and if it’s still not enough vibration control try placing some thick rubber mats under the tennis ball drum riser and make sure the riser is not touching any walls.

How Do I Talk To My Neighbors About My Drums?

I think it’s best to meet your neighbors and try to build a relationship.

Who knows, you might turn out to be good friends.

If you have a neighbor who has already let you know that your drums are too loud, then you may want to talk with them and let them know you are working on new ways to quiet the vibrations or noise they are hearing.

Ask them what kind of sounds they are hearing and try to think about what the cause could be.

Then let your neighbor know that you are going to get this taken care of.

You may ask your neighbor if there is a certain time of day that would work out best for you to practice your drums.

I think the key here is to be genuine and honest with your neighbor.

Tell your neighbor how long you have been playing drums and how important it is to you.

Again, make sure you are working with your neighbors to try to fix the problem.

The five different techniques I mentioned above will work and you will be able to resolve the issue.

You may also want to give your neighbor your cell number so they can call or text if there is a problem.

Be kind and work on building a solid relationship with your neighbors. This will be a big help for you.

What Others Are Saying

Direct QuoteSource
“I grabbed the alesis nitro Mesh because I seriously think it’s a steal for the money. The pads feel good, it’s small, and with ezdrummer, or other software, it was going to do the job for apartment drumming.”
“The biggest issue with e-kits in an apartment is the vibrations from the kick drum (and to extent the pads) going into the ground and vibrating everything around it.”
“A drum of electronic equipment will actually reduce your noise levels.”
“Obviously, headphones are the very first thing to recommend if you aren’t already using them. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones works both ways; you can be thumpin’ it at 95dB and nobody but you will hear it.”
“Borrow an acoustic kit for a few days. Play hard. They’ll never complain about your e-kit again.”
“When it comes to owning and regularly using a drum set, it is incredibly important that your neighbors understand that you have musical ambitions. Building up that good will with people will make it far less likely they complain and it’s just a polite thing to do in general”
“I use an E-kit w/phones for practice and it doesn’t bother anyone. Yuo can find them on CL for $200 to $300 bucks.”
“An entry-level electronic drum kit may cost as little as a couple hundred dollars while still sounding and feeling good. Additionally, electronic kits often offer a wide array of additional sounds beyond the standard snare-tom-kick-cymbal combos. Beyond that, it’s often possible to run backing tracks along with drum sounds through a set of headphones for an optimally quiet practice experience.”
“Typically, your family and neighbors are the ones who are most affected by your choice to drum. So, the considerate, and smart thing to do is have a little talk with these people and work out a way for everyone to agree.”

Final Thoughts

Can Neighbors Hear Electronic Drums?

If you are wearing headphones, then more than likely your neighbors won’t be able to hear the actual sound of the drums, but they can hear the vibrations caused by the kick pedal and the high-hat pedal.

A Tennis Ball Drum Riser is a great way to take care of this problem.

If you don’t have power tools, you may ask one of your friends or a family member to help you build the riser.

It’s really not too difficult to build and is a fun and useful project.

You can also use rubber mats or Roland Noise Eaters. You may have to experiment some to get things nice and quiet.

If you like playing, writing, recording, mixing, and producing music then you are in the right place.

I have many helpful articles to help you with your home recording studio setup and get you moving in the right direction.

Be sure and have a look around my website. I’m sure you will find some helpful information and excellent equipment recommendations.

Feel free to leave your questions and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “Can Neighbors Hear Electronic Drums?”

  1. I think that I am going to send an anonymous copy of this article to our neighbor and maybe he will get the hint as he likes to practise his drumming until well after eleven at night and it does get quite irritating, nice as he is. Even your wonderful tip about raising the drums with tennis balls that have been cut in half could make it a little easier on our ears. 

    • Maybe you should! I think playing drums around your neighbors past 9-10pm at night is going to cause problems.  Sometimes our schedules will only allow certain times of the day to play.  This is why it is important to check options like electronic drums and how to eliminate the vibrations that come from playing them.  I think this will be a helpful article and an eye opener for some. 

  2. Great article! I live in a condo and own a drum set, so finding ways to cause little disturbance to my neighbors is a must. I’ve invested in mesh drumheads, and it has worked wonders for me thus far. And your other tips for quieting the noise gave me new ideas to try out.

    • I’m glad you found this helpful.  You really can play electronic drums in an apartment if you know how to get rid of the vibration noises. Most people aren’t aware that the kick and high-hat pedals make vibrations.  I hope this helps.

  3. The first picture is so eye catching. from the word go without even looking that much you automatically know what is going on. you gave us the contents so that we know what we are going to learn about. The background colors are well placed. I have learnt something new here concerning electric drums. I like the way you talk about the common problem and then you provide the solution.

    • Thank you, Dominic. These solutions should be enough to quiet the vibrations that come from electronic drums.  Hopefully this article will help out drummers who are looking for solutions. 


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