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Thread: Rock Band : Drum Quieting Edition

  1. #1
    New Romantic
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    Rock Band : Drum Quieting Edition

    So, has anyone successfully quieted their Rock Band drumset? One of the aggravating things about Rock Band, for me, is that the drums tend to drown out everything -- the music, the beat, all of it. So you end up cranking the audio to ridiculous levels so you can hear the drums over the speakers and not the tok tok a tok tok tok of people wailing on plastic drumheads.

    Some ideas..

    Anti-vibration sticks
    http://www.zzounds.com/item--ZDJSDXTGWN

    These do nothing to reduce noise, just easier on your hands. My wife prefers these, as she says they help with hand vibration fatigue.

    Nylon-head drumsticks
    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Vic-Firt...90-i1142594.gc

    Easier on your hands, more "bounce" with the nylon (vs. wooden) drum tips, but no change in sound levels really. I prefer these over the anti-vibes as I like the extra bounce. Nylon tips is definitely what we should be using on the Rock Band electronic style drum heads.

    Rubber "silent tips"
    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ips?sku=440041

    Looks really promising, but out of stock everywhere until Dec. 14th. I have some ordered.

    Plasti-dip rubber dip
    http://www.caswellplating.com/aids/plastidip.html

    Trying this now, dipping the tips of two sets of sticks. Going for many, many coats (5+). I expect it will help, but not sure how much.

    Jason's "rubber tubing"
    Go to your local hardware store and buy a foot of surgical tubing or other similar silicone hose/tube. Cost you like 2 or 3 bucks. Then snip off enough to cover the tip of the drumstick, slip it on, and voila - cheap drumstick dampeners. And it improves the "bounce" factor, too.

    I found that it cut the noise of my stick in, like, half. Which is still WAY, WAY too loud.
    I tried washers but it's too difficult to get something that stays on the end of the stick. I think Jason's idea of tubing is the right way to go, assuming you can get it to stay put. One idea I had is to drill holes into small superballs and glue them on to the end of the sticks. Haven't tried that yet, but it's a lot more likely to work than washers.

    Drum Mutes
    http://www.zzounds.com/item--HHQSOPAK

    This is basically neoprene in a circular shape; you place it on the drum surface. I'm unclear how it stays attached to the drum heads. Haven't tried it, but I suspect this might have the greatest potential for quieting the drums. Other materials might work as well, mouse pads, t-shirts? Like to hear from anyone who has tried it..

  2. #2
    New Romantic
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    I posted this in the hardware section:


    This was done using some leftover flooring cork (designed to go underneath floating-style hardwood floors, etc.). It's functional (probably reduces the effective target area, though I haven't noticed that I'm missing hits -- I aim for the center) and noticeably quieter. I'd like to see about putting some dampening material underneath the pads instead. Btw, Ziploc round bowls (7 cup size) make a pretty good template; mark at a very sharp angle and cut inside the sharpie lines. I used some very thin, wide clear double-sided tape (putting it on both surfaces to get a good grip).

    The foot pedal needs something, not sure what yet. Mine seems to be a bit clackety in the area of the hinge, especially if I'm not hitting it dead on.
    I think I'd like to find some rubber silencer-type practice pads -- basically round rubber mats with a raised, thicker central section. I'm not sure if they make them smaller than snare size, but they are nice and bouncy.
    Last edited by Michael Fortson; 11-25-2007 at 12:48 PM.

  3. #3
    Good Shape
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    I tried the rubber tips - no luck. Maybe a 3% reduction in noise - barely noticable. :(

  4. #4
    New Romantic
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    Yeah, I'm thinking the tips are kind of a red herring. A lot of the noise comes from the pad itself-- so perhaps neoprene on the pads is the way to go?

    EDIT: to see what I mean, try smacking the drum pad with some household item made of relatively soft rubber (spatula?). That's as good as it gets, so no matter how much soft rubber you put on the drumstick, the pad is still a problem.
    Last edited by wumpus; 11-25-2007 at 03:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Social Worker
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    My 360 got the 3 rings yesterday so my drums have been extremely quiet since then. Good thing there aren't a ridiculous number of good games that were just released or I'd be more upset. At least I got to play about 10 hours combined on Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, and Rock Band before it died.

    Good luck figuring out the drum problem - hopefully it's solved in the next few weeks while I'm waiting!

  6. #6
    New Romantic
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    Resonance seems to be a big part of it. I'm thinking that something underneath (for dampening) could help with that without affecting the drum surface. The cork does okay (no problems registering hits with expert songs so far, bass fatigue trouble aside), but it doesn't have the same bounce.

  7. #7
    Spinning Toe
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    I put some foam earplugs on the ends and secured them with electrical tape. That worked pretty good for reducing the sound but they eventually stretched out and they took away too much of the bounce.

  8. #8
    New Romantic
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    What about timpani mallets? Would those work? They look pre-damped..

    http://www.guitarcenter.com/Vic-Firt...61-i1139616.gc


  9. #9
    Account closed Hustle
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    Somewhere John Bonham is spinning in his grave when talk turns to quieting drums.

    Zep--

  10. #10
    Mad Chester
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    I realize this solution doesn't scale well, but have you considered wearing headphones?

  11. #11
    New Romantic
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    Here's the result of about 9 dips in the rubber plasti-dip:



    The larger one on the left is the rubberized anti-vibe sticks, which had a larger tip to begin with; the middle is a rubberized set of Rock Band sticks, and the right is a plain vanilla rock band set for size comparison.

    They're not quite dry yet, but dry enough to test side by side with their wooden brothers. As expected, most of the noise comes from the drum surface itself.. so even heavily rubberized, there's very little noise reduction. I really need to try some of those neoprene drum pads..

    EDIT: after some more A/B testing, the big rubber tips do reduce some of the noise. There's less high pitched wood-on-plastic sound, which is maybe 25% of the overall drum sound. The other 75% is still sound from striking the drum surface itself. So I think rubber tips are worth exploring, but they are no panacea.
    Last edited by wumpus; 11-25-2007 at 06:23 PM.

  12. #12
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    Those drum sticks don't like badass. They look rather silly.

  13. #13
    Goodluck!!
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    Those drumsticks are wearing clown noses.

  14. #14
    New Romantic
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    Well, you can get it in black, or clear, as well. I dunno, I thought red would be interesting. I guess I was shooting for that matchstick / bozo nose effect.

    After playing a song with a pair modified this way, I have to say the plasti-dip is more effective than I thought it would be at reducing noise on the Rock Band drumset. I am now officially recommending it as a starting point for noise reduction.

    Some tips on dippin':

    1) Dip in vertically directly straight down. Rotate a bit to get good coverage.

    2) let the excess drip off for about 10 seconds. Shake it a bit, so a tip forms on the end.

    3) Flip the stick over quickly and hold it straight up for 30 seconds. (prop it this way if you're worried about gravity distortion, but I found laying it down on the edge of a table worked fine as long as I didn't goop it on)

    4) let it dry for 30 minutes

    5) repeat previous 6-10 times

    6) Let it dry overnight. Trust me, DON'T try to drum with it after a few hours. Sure, it seems dry, but it isn't. You will warp it permanently.

  15. #15
    Goodluck!!
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    We fixed the sound issue for about five bucks.

    Go to a craft store and get a two foot square sheet of black felt, the same size sheet of some thin black plastic foam padding that kids use to make cut out crafts with, and some rubber cement.

    Cut the padding and felt to fit the drum heads. Glue the padding to the drum. Glue the fled to the padding. Let dry. Play.

    It cut the sound down by at least half.

  16. #16
    New Romantic
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    OK, but what if I'm not willing to glue stuff permanently to the drums? Is there another way to attach it that's not so.. permanent?

  17. #17
    New Romantic
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    I'm officially on the drum-quieting case and will be checking out the mute pads this week. I'll also be checking out home depot / Bed Bath to see if there's some kind of cork/foam/rubber padding I can use.

    Also, for the kick pedal, I'll be putting a big plushy rug under the kit. My floor's already carpeted, so it won't move around -- this is just to keep me from pounding the floor and driving my neighbors insane.

  18. #18
    Still king of lost New Romantic
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    I don't have Rock Band yet myself but would a large ballon stretch over the drum surface itself or perhaps something similar like those large rubber balls you can buy for kids that have the huge tube to blow them up with. I would think you could snip the end off and get the ball over the drum head unless there is something on the bottom that would interfere.

  19. #19
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    I think you guys should just embrace the rocking out.

  20. #20
    How To Go
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    But the donk donk donk of the drums hitting the pads reduces the rocking out experience, because you're not hearing the actual drum noises, you're hearing donk donk donk.

  21. #21
    New Romantic
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    I checked out the drum mutes, which would indeed quiet things down but just sit on the drums -- there's no adhesive or anything. They'll inevitably fall off after you hit them 3 times unless you glue them down tight with something.

    Not being a huge crafts guy, any recommendations on what kind of glue would provide a pretty solid grip but not be completely permanent? (For reference sake, imagine you're trying to attach a sponge to something.)

  22. #22
    Account closed New Romantic
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    What about just a wrap around elastic, like a drum cozy?

  23. #23
    Goodluck!!
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    rubber cement is non permanent

  24. #24
    New Romantic
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    The drum mutes are a no-go. They certainly quieted things, but they work too well -- they were absorbing so much shock and preventing hits from being registered that I could barely get x2 streaks going or pick up energy phrases. I'll probably shoot for some middle ground where I put some soft material on the drum heads to quiet them just a little.

  25. #25
    New Romantic
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    Get thee to a Michael's craft store, stat!

  26. #26
    New Romantic
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggo
    The drum mutes are a no-go. They certainly quieted things, but they work too well -- they were absorbing so much shock and preventing hits from being registered that I could barely get x2 streaks going or pick up energy phrases. I'll probably shoot for some middle ground where I put some soft material on the drum heads to quiet them just a little.
    This would be my worry. As another poster mentioned somewhere around here, you really want the bounce, even though I've yet to see anything like a roll yet. Without a good surface that provides bounce, it'll make things quite tiring.

  27. #27
    Spinning Toe
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    Quote Originally Posted by sluggo
    The drum mutes are a no-go. They certainly quieted things, but they work too well -- they were absorbing so much shock and preventing hits from being registered that I could barely get x2 streaks going or pick up energy phrases. I'll probably shoot for some middle ground where I put some soft material on the drum heads to quiet them just a little.
    Yeah I went the mouse pad route (went to Guitar Center and noticed that the drum mutes were the same exact material as mouse pads) and noticed that you really have to beat on the them to get them to register sometimes. Particularly with the red drum. I might try to tape it down so that it is closer to the sensor.

    Staples had some round mouse pads on sale for $.50.

  28. #28
    New Romantic
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    Particularly with the red drum
    Interesting.

  29. #29
    Spinning Toe
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    We just wrapped the drumsticks tips in tissues and tape and that worked quite well for us.

  30. #30
    New Romantic
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    Yeah I went the mouse pad route (went to Guitar Center and noticed that the drum mutes were the same exact material as mouse pads) and noticed that you really have to beat on the them to get them to register sometimes.
    So based on this experience and Sluggo's, I guess neoprene is out. Too much damping.

    Go to a craft store and get a two foot square sheet of black felt, the same size sheet of some thin black plastic foam padding that kids use to make cut out crafts with, and some rubber cement.
    This is good, I'll hit up the local Michael's over the weekend. Can you be more specific on the plastic foam padding?

    I'll probably shoot for some middle ground where I put some soft material on the drum heads to quiet them just a little
    I tried with some thinnish fleece material my wife had on hand-- we had to fold it twice (four layers) to get any real audible reduction. I only have my PC here, so it's hard to tell how this would affect hits regeistering. I have the simple hacked drum driver installed, but the Vista game controller test dialog only shows drum hits for a fraction of a second even with no fleece.. I guess that's what you'd expect with drums but it makes it very hard to see the effect of the fleece fabric.. so who knows.

    I'll take it to work and experiment. I think fabric could be tied on from underneath the drums using shoelaces or whatever.

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