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Author Topic: DIY Drum Shield  (Read 57099 times)

David Sharp

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DIY Drum Shield
« on: April 18, 2010, 11:52:08 PM »

My church currently uses a four panel (2'x5') drum shield which isnt really doing much to reduce the volume of the drums (their intended purpose). This isnt working for 2 reasons:

1. The drums are in a corner which reflects the sound back out.

2. The cage only extends 5' high (no lid) and the ceiling is slanted to direct the sound back into the audience.

My idea:

1. Construct a 3' high wall consisting of:
A. 1/2" MDF board (outside) paint to match
B. 2x4 framing with fiberglass insulation in the wall
C. 2" thick foam board on the interior of the wall

I would set the 5' high shield on the wall which would raise it high enough to reflect the sound thats bouncing off that pesky angled ceiling. Additionally, I plan on wrapping a 2" thick foam board in cloth (to match) and suspending it from the ceiling a few inches lower than the top of the sheild and attaching some more foam to the walls behind the drums.

There's going to be some gaps around the top and a 2' wide entrance on the side. I'm not trying to sound proof the drums, just knock them down about 10db (from the 110db C weighted slow). I dont want to completely enclose them because:

1. I like the stage presence acoustic drums bring
2. We dont have IEM's and I feel its pointless to enclose the drums only to mix them into the wedges
3. $ Sad

Thoughts/Suggestions?

Thanks- David
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Christy L Manoppo (okky)

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2010, 12:09:15 AM »

First of All, Welcome to the Forum David.

Okay, let's get to your question. Let's try doing a remedy to the sound source itself, the drums and the drummer.

1. How's your drummer? A great drummer must know dynamics in music. He/she must know how to adjust his playing to the room dynamics.
The drummer also must know the true meaning of stick articulation.

2. What type of drumsticks he use? Try using a lighter drumsticks. Or, use some multi-rods like I did (yes, I'm a drummer too).

3. The type of drums and cymbals affect greatly with sound. Thicker shells usually produce louder sound, and thicker cymbals means you must hit it harder to bring its sound. Try using thinner shells and thinner cymbals.

4. Your solution will work. Even with an almost full enclosure, if the drummer still banging hard, most of the times it won't work.

hope this helps...

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Christy L Manoppo
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Kent Thompson

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2010, 12:21:12 AM »

Foam board is not very sound absorbing from what I hear. Maybe something like 1 1/2 fiberglass wrapped in a porous fabric(will be more costly though)? Have you looked into the price of a pre-built enclosure? Seems like a lot of trouble to build it and it likely won't be as good as one you can buy already built.

It would be cheaper to tell your drummer he has to play softer. :/ If he is hitting 110db he is playing too loud. give him tooth picks and take away the clubs he is using for sticks Razz

We have 5 panels as well and we set the drums in front of a stage curtain so it doesn't have a back wall to bounce off of. It knocked it down enough for our purposes. Any thick curtains you could put the drums in front of?

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Dave Gibson

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2010, 02:32:49 AM »

We had the same problem as well. I used Rauxall fire and sound insulation instead of fiberglass pink. I also put up some some foam on the inside to try and diffuse some of the relected sound inside the enclosure. It has worked well with the drums, but the cymbals still cut through too much - probably because they are higher up, and like you, our drums are back in a corner. I'm going to try some acoustic panels on the wal behind the kit.
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Tom Young

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2010, 07:53:54 AM »

All of the "drum shields" available suffer from several significant flaws: they use thin plexiglass, the plexiglass is perpendicular to the floor (parallel to a wall or result in  reflected energy getting into choir mic's, etc.), there is way too little absorption at the bottom. I see many un-used drum shields in churches, stored away because they did not work.

Gobo's were developed during the 1950's-1960's in recording studios when rock and roll (plus R&B, Blues, etc) were first being recorded and bleed was an issue that needed to be addressed (reduced). A "properly" constructed gobo consists of an absorptive lower membrane/panel with thick plexiglass on top. The upper plexiglass panels work best when angled (up is best) to reduce hard, slap-type reflections to and from the wall(s). But unless you frame the plexi this is hard to do without creating gaps (leakage). So if the plexiglass is perpendicular, the wall behind the player needs to be treated with ample absorption or diffusion.

Provided you have good, basic building skills you can build your own VERY effective and attractive gobo system by following the design guidelines provided in the acoustics books by F. Alton Everest. These books are available used on Amazon for very affordable prices. Use good quality 3/4" hardwood plywood for the frames and membranes, not solid pine or MDF. You can build longer "out-riggers" (the bottom pieces that stabilize the gobo's) to make the sections less likely to tip. The materials cost is likely to be the same, or perhaps less, than a drum shield.

Here are photo's of a commercially made gobo system.

http://paradiddledesign.com/gobo_home.html

Note that in this product/design the plexiglass is angled upwards and is framed so there is little or no air leaks. This type of system can be built based on the info in an Everest book.
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
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David Sharp

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2010, 10:21:42 AM »

In response to all:

1. Our drummers are all younger and think they are rock stars. They're ok but like to play too loud and don't respond well to criticism. There is a very good drummer at our church more like a percussionist but he wont play. I think it has something to do with the 15" wedge behind shield in the corner, he said it was too loud back there. I traded the 15" for a 10" since then though.

2. Drumsticks = A7's, hot rods, or brushes. There is some acoustic tile behind the shield on one wall which absorbs much of the ride so when they use hot rods or brushes I found myself asking them to hit the ride cymbal harder so they either hit everything harder or reach for the sticks.

3. Thinner drums and cymbals... if they had the $ for a new kit it would be electric Sad and I'm not one of those evil sound people. We'll find a why to make acoustic drums work Smile and I don't think the kit itself is really the problem.

4. The drummer will get his mix from headphones after the enclosure is built. If he is playing too loud, I might just be tempted to adjust his mix then he'll think he is playing way toooo loud.

I can substitute foam board for:
http://www.amazon.com/Acoustic-Wall-Tile-12-Box/dp/B0002ZPTV S.

This would cover the inside of the 3' wall, cover probably a thin sheet of plywood I suspend from the ceiling, and leave some left for the walls behind the drums.

Building skills are not the issue because there is an professional carpenter willing to assist. The GOBO's are nice I know we can build something similar with a custom look for less though. Since we already have the 4 sections of 2'x5' plexiglass shield I was planning on framing them in 2"x2"'s to cut down on the gaps in the front. The biggest gaps will be the 2' wide entrance on the side parallel with the rear stage wall and a few inches around the edges on the lid. I don't want to install and door and seal the roof b/c I don't want to deal with ventilating the enclosure and putting a drum mix back into the stage monitors.

Im not out to reduce the drums to 0db I just want to get them down into the low 90's on the stage so I can turn all the monitors down.

Hope this explains it a little better. - David


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George S Dougherty

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 11:00:20 AM »

If you google online you'll find plenty of DIY absorption designs using rigid fiberglass.  Much cheaper to cover a large area with those than the commercial tiles.  Before you do all the rest, try some absorption on the wall and ceiling behind and above the drum shield.  You'll want that anyway so you don't accellerate the process of your drummers going deaf.

You can always throw a single overhead above the kit and blend a touch into the monitors to add back the ride and other pieces the team is looking for so they don't need to ask the drummer to play louder.

IMO, any musician that won't respond well to constructive criticism on a worship team needs a heart check.  They're not there to fulfill their rockstar dreams, they're there to facilitate worship and serve the congregation to that end.  I take a similar tack with our technical volunteers.  A proper heart attitude submitted to Christ will mitigate many problems where ego wants to step in and stomp all over everyone.
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Kent Thompson

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2010, 04:12:45 PM »

George S Dougherty wrote on Mon, 19 April 2010 11:00



IMO, any musician that won't respond well to constructive criticism on a worship team needs a heart check.  They're not there to fulfill their rockstar dreams, they're there to facilitate worship and serve the congregation to that end.  I take a similar tack with our technical volunteers.  A proper heart attitude submitted to Christ will mitigate many problems where ego wants to step in and stomp all over everyone.

Bingo!
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Keith Shannon

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2010, 05:07:16 PM »

Tom Young wrote on Mon, 19 April 2010 07:53

All of the "drum shields" available suffer from several significant flaws: they use thin plexiglass, the plexiglass is perpendicular to the floor (parallel to a wall or result in  reflected energy getting into choir mic's, etc.), there is way too little absorption at the bottom. I see many un-used drum shields in churches, stored away because they did not work.

(snip)

Here are photo's of a commercially made gobo system.



I can see how a few gobos would be better than a shield like this:

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/1/5/0/249150.jpg

... but when I think of a real solution to the drums being too loud I think of a real isolating enclosure:

http://www.sweetwater.com/images/items/750/IsoPacA-large.jpg

Naturally, there's a cost difference (the shield in the first pic is roughly $300; the booth in the second is about $1700), but the first shield will do little more than keep direct projection of the kit out of the vocal mics up front, while the full booth would get you 10-15dB sound reduction. I saw a nice roofed enclosure just yesterday that was VERY effective at reducing stage volume of the drums; with the booth closed on the stage and him doing a basic warm-up to make sure everything was in tune and positioned right, you simply could not hear him over the pre-service chatter, meaning the booth was probably providing about 20dB attenuation. The actual specs of the IsoPac state a 50-60% volume reduction (about 10-13dB), which will still mean your congregation will hear more of the drums through the PA than from the kit itself.

A real isolating booth, like the IsoPacs, will cost roughly the same to DIY as to just buy the ready-built kit. Let's say you bought 7 3'x6'x.375" PlexiGlas panels to build the front of a 7'x7' booth; at $8.64/sqft, you're buying $1088.64 just in PlexiGlas. Then you need plywood, acoustical baffling material and exterior carpet for the back, top, and certain panels on the sides and around in front, plus all the assembly hardware. If the drum kit is placed on a raised platform, the kick and floor tom will resonate in the space underneath, meaning you'll at least need some heavy carpet to floor the booth. I bet you that unless you have an inside source for all of these materials, an IsoPac would end up being cheaper and more attractive.
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Tom Young

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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2010, 07:06:43 PM »

Quote:

Let's say you bought 7 3'x6'x.375" PlexiGlas panels to build the front of a 7'x7' booth; at $8.64/sqft, you're buying $1088.64 just in PlexiGlas. Then you need plywood, acoustical baffling material and exterior carpet for the back, top, and certain panels on the sides and around in front, plus all the assembly hardware. If the drum kit is placed on a raised platform, the kick and floor tom will resonate in the space underneath, meaning you'll at least need some heavy carpet to floor the booth. I bet you that unless you have an inside source for all of these materials, an IsoPac would end up being cheaper and more attractive.


It has been a long time since I have built, let alone priced, a proper gobo system. So I will assume your retail price is  accurate. But in the gobo system I recommended you would need approximately 48 sq ft (3 4x4 panels, ballpark), which adds up to $415.00 The entire system could come in at between $600.00-$700.00

As to which is more attractive, that is a matter of personal taste. I have constructed gobo's (and seen quite a few others) that match the surrounding architectural finishes and they look great.

Floor resonance depends on floor construction, obviously. A raised floor that is badly behaved needs treatment regardless of whether there is a gobo, drum shield, Isopac .... or nothing.

One problem with the completely enclosed approach is that this definitely means the drummer needs a monitor to hear anything that is going on outside. I prefer that there is "air" around the kit (as much as possible while still providing the required isolation/attenuation), that the drums are somewhat audible outside the gobo system and that the drummer can hear some of what is going on without it being necesssary to feed everything he/she needs into the monitor.

I also like them to be able to freely breathe, although it has occurred to me that reduced air intake helps to lower their volume level Wink
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Tom Young, Church Sound section moderator
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Re: DIY Drum Shield
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2010, 07:06:43 PM »


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