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What Is a Drum Booth?

By J. Finnegan
Updated May 23, 2024
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A drum booth, or drum cage, is a type of sound isolation chamber used to control the volume of acoustic drums. In a recording studio setting, a drum booth can be a separate room that's been lined with acoustic dampening material such as acoustic foam, or it can be an enclosed chamber set within a larger room that's usually made primarily of acrylic panels and some type of sound-absorbing material. Sound booths vary greatly in size and in the types of materials used. They can also be used to isolate vocals, instrument amplifiers, and other loud musical instruments.

It can be very difficult in some settings to control the sound volume from an acoustic drum set. The type of music being played and a drummer's individual playing style can make acoustic drum volume much too loud to be properly recorded in a studio, as well as overwhelming the other band-mates' instruments in a live performance setting. Live performers as well as drummers who wish to practice their instrument without disturbing house-mates or neighbors will need to employ some kind of sound-dampening device.

A drum booth is sometimes called a drum shield or a drum screen, however, these two terms often imply a partial sound shield that's open on at least one side or at the top, whereas the term drum booth implies a fully enclosed chamber or room. Portable drum booths and drum shields are typically made of acrylic panels and are most often used for live performances, but can also be used for recording in a small or home studio. Acrylic panels are heavy and costly and sometimes ineffective when used without acoustic foam or other sound-dampening material.

Drum booths come in an assortment of sizes and configurations to accommodate different sized drum sets. A variety of different sound-dampening materials can be used to build a drum booth to accommodate individual needs and budget. Once a room has been framed out, whether by building a frame made of wood or some other solid material or using prefabricated panels, it can then be treated acoustically with acoustic foam, thick blankets, heavy curtains, rugs, or even foam pillows. The bass drum will need special attention as low frequency acoustics behave differently than higher frequency acoustics and are more difficult to sound-proof. Some drummers stuff pillows or folded blankets in their bass drums to help control both the sound quality and the volume output.

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