The Ahead drum mutes work well to reduce the overall volume of your drum kit and are a good option for drummers who need to practice even when they can’t make a lot of noise.
Setup & Installation
Just like other drum mutes, these are pretty easy to install. The snare, tom and cymbal mutes are the easiest. You can just lay the snare and tom mutes on top of the drum heads. The cymbal mutes require you to remove the wingnut to install.
The bass drum mute is a little more involved. The bass drum mute places up against the batter head, and then the support straps are used to hold the mute in place against the head and they hook onto the bass drum lugs. In my case, I was only able to find a version of this mute pack with a 20 inch bass drum mute and I have a 22 inch bass drum. I used some paracord loops to extend the length of the support straps so it fit the larger drum, which worked well.
These drum mutes do a good job of reducing volume, just like any other drum mute out there. You will get around a 2/3 reduction in volume and the projection of the cymbals and drums is greatly reduced. You can play your drums without ear protection when using these as long as you’re keeping the sticks on the cymbal mutes and not hitting the cymbals directly. When I tested these with a decibel meter, I was seeing around a 10-20 db reduction depending on how hard I was playing.
These mutes do change the sound quality of your kit, and it can be quite drastic. They greatly reduce the overtones and projection of each piece of the kit, including both drums and cymbals. These mutes make your drum kit sound more like a set of practice pads.
The snare drum sound much less snappy and the attack is greatly reduced. You do still get some of the snare wire action and tones from the bottom resonant head though, so it doesn’t sound completely unnatural.
The cymbal sounds are probably the most drastic in terms of differences with and without the mutes. The cymbals sound very dead, projection is almost gone, sustain is almost gone, and they lose most of their overtones.
The hi-hats aren’t as drastic in terms of sound change since there is no mute directly on the bottom cymbal. Even though the top cymbal is deadened by quite a bit, you still get some sizzle and crunch from the sound.
The kick drum sound seems to be the least affected by the mutes. The sound is dampened but not completely deadened like the other drums and cymbals. The mute does a good job of reducing the volume and attack, but you still get some thump from it. You can always stuff your bass drum full of pillows and towels to help reduce the sound levels even more than the mute is able to do.
Feel and Play-ability
These mutes feel pretty good during play, and while they do change the feel of the stick impacting the drum heads and cymbals, they still maintain enough rebound and playability to allow for practicing like normal. They feel kind of like playing on a mouse pad.
While the cymbal mutes work well to reduce the sound, they don’t cover the entire surface of the cymbal, so they can be a smaller strike target than you might be used to. If you’re cymbals rotate while you play they can move off target as well, so it’s best to tighten down the wingnuts on your cymbals to keep them from rotating.
I also found that the cymbal mutes can be a little small on larger diameter cymbals. I use an 18 inch crash and 21 inch crash ride and the cymbal mutes didn’t reach the edges of my cymbals, so I had to focus more on striking the pads with the stick tips rather than striking the cymbal edges.
The hi-hat mute is little more wide than the other cymbal mutes and it reaches the edge of a 14 inch pair of hi-hats. I liked this mute more than the other two cymbal mutes because of it’s width. As long as your hi-hats don’t spin while you play the pad will stay on target.
The bass drum mute doesn’t really change the feel of the bass drum by much. If you are used to using a harder beater it can feel just slightly softer than normal, but since you’re also relying on the bass pedal springs for rebound it doesn’t really affect the feel of the pedal.
Build and Durability
As far as durability goes the drum and cymbal pads are made from a fairly durable rubber. They should hold up well unless you play a lot or play very aggressively. Lighter players will get a lot of life out of them. If they do wear out you can always just buy replacements and they aren’t that expensive to replace.
The weak points in build quality can potentially be the bass drum mute and hooks for the bass drum straps. Some drummers have mentioned that the center patch can fall off over time. But it can also easily by fixed by using some adhesive to glue it back in place. The plastic hooks for the bass drum straps can potentially break as well, but can also be replaced with some cheap metal s-hooks from a hardware store that won’t ever break.
Drum Mute Types and Sizes
These mutes are available in a good variety of sizes and you should be able to find a pack or individual pads that fit your kit.
The packs are available in the following combinations:
- 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 14″, 16″ drum mutes, a 22″ bass drum mute and a hi-hat, crash cymbal and ride cymbal mute.
- 12″, 13″, 14″, 16″ drum mutes, a 22″ bass drum mute and a hi-hat, crash cymbal and ride cymbal mute.
- 10″, 12″, 14″, 14″ drum mutes, a 20″ bass drum mute and a hi-hat, crash cymbal and ride cymbal mute.
I had purchased the first one on the list, and while it includes a lot of drum mutes at different sizes it seemed like it should have had another cymbal mute or two included, at least in my opinion. The two smaller packs are a little cheaper in price if one of those fits your kit.
I use larger cymbals, and the cymbal mutes didn’t quite reach the edge of my 18 inch crash and my 21 inch crash ride. So if you use larger cymbals, that’s something to consider.
- Drum and cymbal pads are easy to install and remove
- They really do deaden the sound
- Kick drum mute feels and sound good
- Lots of sizes available for the drum mutes
- Cymbals rotating could move the pads off target
- Cymbal mutes feel small targets
- The larger mute pack should have more cymbal mutes
These drum mutes work well to reduce the sound and can be a quick way to dampen your drum kit while practicing. There are enough sizes available that you should be able to find pads that fit your kit. These types of drum mutes are a good option if you want to be able to mute your kit quickly and reverse back to a non-muted kit just as quickly.