There’s nothing better than smashing some drums and making a big noise. Every drummer loves to play hard and passionately. You can’t always do that though. You can’t do it most of the time.
There are so many environments where drum sound has to be controlled. This is where drum shields come in. They are large pieces of plexiglass or acrylic panels constructed together to cut down on your drum sound.
There are a few great ones on the market, each with something unique to offer.
Best Drum Shields for Controlling Sound
The ClearSonic IPB IsoPac B drum shield is designed for some heavy sound control. It provides serious isolation, cutting the drum sound down by up to 60%.
It comes with 6 transparent acrylic panels that stand in front and to the side of your kit. It also comes with sound-absorbing panels that fit at the back and on the roof of the structure. Your drum kit is almost fully enclosed in this drum shield, meaning the sound isn’t going anywhere.
It can get pretty hot inside this thing. So, they give you a small fan that can fit anywhere to keep you cool.
This is a great drum shield for just about everything. It’s best suited for recording studios where sound isolation of the drums is key. You can mic it up and have complete control over the drum sound. It’s also well-suited for live venues where the drums can’t be too loud.
It has an adaptable structure, letting you add or remove anything whenever you need to. If it cuts out too much sound, you can just take some of the sound absorbers away. If it doesn’t isolate enough, you can add on extra panels or absorbers.
This shield is very expensive thanks to its high quality. It’s a great investment if you need a serious amount of sound isolation.
This ClearSonic drum shield is best suited for live gigging situations. I’ve seen it used mostly in church venues, thanks to its ability to keep the drums from overpowering a congregation.
It comes with 7 clear acrylic acoustic panels that easily fit together with built-in hinges and cable cutouts. These clear panels don’t block any of the drums, allowing you to see them in all their glory.
The panels are quite heavy, so it will take 2 people to set them up. It will be a bit of a mission if you try to set this shield up by yourself. Although it’s easy to set up, it’s better for this shield to stay in one place most of the time.
If you use this thing to play gigs in different venues, you’d be doing a lot of manual labor! That’s why churches keep it set up at all times for years.
The panels have a fair bit of maneuverability, allowing you to set them up around most of the kit, or just around part of it. This allows you to control the amount of sound that comes out.
Overall, this is a great drum shield that doesn’t affect the visual aesthetic of your drum kit and cuts down a lot of the sound that it produces.
This shield is a bit lighter than the previous shields on the list. It comes with 5 clear acrylic panels that are joined together with 12 chrome hinges. The chrome hinges don’t take up much space, allowing you to see all of the drums clearly through the shield.
The 5 panels don’t insulate as much sound as 7 panels would, meaning this shield is a great option for people who don’t want to cut down too much on the drum sound. It’s also more affordable since it comes with fewer parts.
It’s quite simple to assemble, meaning you’ll be able to use it quickly out the box. You can buy more panels and chrome hinges separately if you need more sound control down the line.
It makes a significant difference on stage when it comes to the drum sound. It helps with live microphones since the sound bounces from the shield back into the drum mics. This gives a sound engineer a lot of control over the live sound.
If you need an affordable drum shield, the DS4 is a great option. It’s a bit flimsier than more expensive products, but that’s to be expected.
This product is similar to the previous ClearSonic shield on the list. The only difference is that it has 5 clear acrylic acoustic panels instead of 7. It’s a good alternative if you don’t want to isolate the drum sound too much. It’s also lighter due to having fewer panels.
Even though it’s lighter as a whole, the individual panels are still quite heavy, meaning it will take more than one person to set them up. Once the panels have been connected, you can fold them down like an accordion. This makes it great for packing the shield down and storing it for later use.
It doesn’t take up too much space when it’s stored away, so it’s a great thing to have in case you need it for a gig or recording session. If you’re planning on having the shield stored away for potential use, it would be better to have the 5-panel option.
The panels themselves are 5.5 feet high and they’ll be able to block out your cymbals even if you like to raise them fairly high.
This drum shield comes with 6 clear acrylic panels. The panels are connected by living hinges that easily attach and hold the panels tightly together. Once the shield is set up, the hinges allow you to fold up the panels for easy transportation.
The 6 panels cover most of a standard drum kit setup, with the only open space being behind the drum kit. This means that the drum sound is going to be tightly controlled and isolated.
The thing that stands out with this shield is that the panels are 6 feet high. This means that it’s a great drum shield for drummers that like to position their cymbals very high. You’d have to position your cymbals outrageously high to clear these panels.
It’s a great shield for gigging, recording, or even having in a standard practice space to reduce noise.
The only downside is that it’s quite a mission to set it up initially. However, you only need to do that once and then you can just fold it up every other time.
When to Use a Drum Shield
Drum shields are specialized pieces of equipment used for a specific purpose. This is why you don’t see them all that often.
The main place you’ll see a drum shield is in a church building. This is because church music sometimes has to be very sensitive and an acoustic drum kit can be overpowering. Although some church drum kits do a great job in helping with sensitivity, it might still need that extra bit of sound dampening.
The next place you’ll see a drum shield is in a recording studio. Some upper-class studios have a room dedicated just for the drums. Other studios have to make do with the space they have, leading them to get a drum shield.
Drum shields are great for studios that have musicians tracking songs inside the room with the drummer. The shield stops the drums from bleeding into other instruments' microphones.
The last use of a drum shield would be for your practice space at home. Not many people do this but it will help cut down on some sound. If you don’t have much space, it would be better to get an electronic drum kit or some low-volume cymbals and drumheads.
Drum shields make a world of difference when it comes to controlling your drum sound. If you’re constantly getting noise complaints in the venue you’re playing in, a drum shield would be a great investment.
Just remember that your drumming technique is more important than the gear you have. So, you might just have to play a tad bit softer!
If you don’t have a dedicated drum room in your recording studio, a drum shield is going to be seriously important. It will make your and your fellow musicians' recording lives easier.
So, look at this list and choose the best drum shield for your situation.