Drum mutes are a great option for reducing the volume of a drum kit without doing anything too drastic such as changing drum heads or replacing cymbals. They can work well if you are fine with the way that they change your drum sound.

How Well Do Drum Mutes Reduce Volume?

Drum mutes greatly reduce the projection of your drums and cymbals. They kill almost all the resonant tones from the batter heads, and they have a very drastic effect on the projection and ring-out of the cymbals. They can make your kit sound very similar to a set of practice pads, basically.

They don’t make your kit silent, but they reduce the noise levels enough that you can play without ear protection in most cases, so they do work quite well.

Let’s take a quick look at an example video we made to show the difference between the sound levels of an normal acoustic drum kit versus a muted drum kit.

How The Mutes Change The Sound of the Drums and Cymbals

You’ll notice that the mutes change the characteristics of the sound quiet a bit. Pretty much all of the drums and cymbals are much more quiet with less projection overall.

The snare drum sound much more deadened and loses it’s sharp attack. The toms sound much more quiet and less resonant. The hi-hat is more quiet, but with this particular mute kit there is no mute for the bottom hi-hat cymbal, so it’s not quite as drastic of a change as the rest. The crash cymbal loses a lot of projection and overtones. The ride cymbal changes drastically since it’s a heavier cymbal, it almost changes to deadened clanking sound. The bass drum isn’t a massive change but the attack of the kick drum beater by quiet a bit in this case.

To further reduce the noise of the drums, the resonant heads could be removed from the toms and the kick drum. Adding another mute pad between the hi-hat cymbals would quiet them down a little more. Adding a pad between the snare wires and the resonant head on the snare would also further reduce the noise of the snare. So there are some things that could be done to take a even a step further for more drastic dampening.

Sound Percussion Labs SPL Drum Mutes From Side
Ahead Drum Mutes on Hi-Hat
Vic Firth Drum Mutes on Bass Drum

Drum Mutes Are Easy To Use

Picking up a set of drum mutes is one of the cheaper ways to reduce the volume of your drum kit. They are fairly inexpensive when compared to other options such as using mesh heads and low volume cymbals. Drum mutes can drastically reduce the amount of volume and projection coming from the various drums and cymbals around your kit.

The nice thing about drum mutes is that they lay on top of your existing drum heads and cymbals, and you don’t really need to go through much of a process to install or remove them. The drum mutes are the easiest to install, they just lay on top of your drum heads. The cymbal mutes usually require you to remove any wingnuts from your cymbal stands to get them into place. Depending on the mute kit, the kick drum mute can be pretty easy install and remove as well.

This makes drum mutes a good option for drummers who want to quickly convert between normal and low volume drums. If you are interested in picking up a set of drum mutes check out our drum mute reviews. We’ve taken a closer look and have tested several popular drum mute sets.