Low volume cymbals can certainly be a good option for apartment drummers. They can be much more quiet than traditional cymbals. In an apartment setting, you can often get away with making a little noise at appropriate times of the day as long as it’s not overly loud or annoying.
Using Low Volume Cymbals In An Apartment
Of course, if the main goal is to be considerate to your neighbors, you’ll want to analyze your specific situation to see if low volume cymbals will be appropriate. Apartments with especially thin walls, old hardwood floors or other bad acoustic characteristics might be more problematic for setting up any type of drum kit. If you are in a carpeted apartment and have a spot with no shared walls with neighbors, and especially if you are on the ground floor, you’ll fare much better.
Get The Most Volume Reduction Possible
Not all low volume cymbals are equal in terms of volume reduction. Some reduce the volume by much more than others. Some of the cheaper options only reduce volume by something like 30-50%.
If you’re using something like the Zildjian L80 cymbals, they can be up to 80% more quiet than traditional cymbals, which is quite a large reduction in noise. These or something similar like the Evans dB One cymbals are usually going to be your best bet if you’re going to try to drum in an apartment.
A low volume cymbal with strong volume reduction will remove the harsher body of the sound as well as reduce vibrations. They project a much thinner sound, but you will still get a decent sticking sound and wash.
Combine Low Volume Cymbals With Mesh Heads or Electronic Drums
As for the rest of the kit, low volume cymbals are often combined with mesh drum heads or electronic drums when volume reduction is the main goal. Usually drummers that use low volume cymbals are attempting to still use an acoustic drum kit, and the low volume mesh drum heads can work well for that.
Electronic drum kits with mesh heads also combine well with low volume cymbals. The reason for doing this would be to maintain a more natural acoustic feel for the cymbals as opposed to using the rubber cymbal pads on an electronic kit.
Combining electronic drums and low volume cymbals can introduce some problems. You might find that you’ll need to play the kit over speakers rather than headphones if you want to be able to hear the cymbals well. If you’re planning on using headphones, especially closed back headphones, using the cymbal pads and the cymbal sounds on the drum module will probably be more listenable.
Your Neighbors Can Probably Still Hear Your Cymbals
In most apartment buildings, your neighbors will most likely still be able to hear your low volume cymbals. Neighbors can also probably hear electronic drums or muted drum kits. Electronic drums and muted drums can be problematic because neighbors might hear tapping or stomping.
So just keep that in mind. Just because you’re using volume reduced equipment doesn’t mean your neighbors can’t hear it. It’s going to come down to how tolerant your neighbors are of your noise, even if it’s not all that loud. But if you take the steps to reduce volume, reduce vibration and choose appropriate times to play, the ability to get away with playing drums in your apartment improves greatly.