Drum mutes are a good way to take the sound volume of your drum kit way down, but there are some sacrifices to going this route. It’s not all bad, especially if you use something like Evans drum mutes. These used to be branded as SoundOff but recently Evans branded them as dB One. So if you see either of those names, they refer to the same mutes.
Let’s take a look at what people who use these say about them, and see what’s good and bad about them.
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Drum Mute Types and Sizes
The Evans SoundOff drum mutes come in different variations of design and sizing, to fit all the standard sized parts of most drum kits.
Snare/Tom Drum Mute Pads
Cymbal Mute Pads
Kick/Bass Drum Mutes
As you can see, you’ve got options here to pretty much mute your whole drum kit if you want. It’s nice to have the range of snare/tom sizes to choose from. They only make one general cymbal size, but it works well for 16-inch and 18-inch crash sizes. The kick drum pad is adjustable size and will fit 18-inch to 26-inch kick drums.
Evans claims that these pads will reduce the volume of your kit by 95%. That is a pretty bold claim. Most people who use these say it sounds more like a 75% sound reduction. It likely comes down to hard you like to play and how resonant your drums are to start with.
Check out this quick demonstration of how drums sound with/without these mutes in place, you can really hear the difference in volume here. Note that the decibel reduction doesn’t look as big as the audible sound reduction – so that indicates there is still some “thud” in play that is still adding to the sound levels when playing.
The kick drum might remain the most problematic sound for you, if you are on a second level with people below. You will still get a thud sound that can travel through the floors, even though it is dampened. Keep that in mind when looking at buying these if you are on an upper floor.
Your drums will basically sound like practice pads, with a little bit of the characteristics of the the drum/cymbals coming through as you play. You definitely should not expect your kit to sound the same but with less volume. It will be quiet, and also deadened/muted.
People who use these pads say they get used to the muted sound, and it really can help if you need to practice but just can’t go full volume. With these pads, there still is a whacking or thudding sounds during play, but it’s deadened.
If you are looking to retain the bright sound of your kit, but with lower volumes, these might not be the best option.
Feel & Play-ability
These drum pads will feel like practice pads with decent stick response, but some of the bouncing action is lost. They will change the feel of your drums. It’s not too bad, but the rebound isn’t quite the same as the natural feel of a drum head.
People who use these compare it more to the feel of a practice pad. People say rolls can feel a little muddy, but clean hits have a good feel.
These mutes are well built and if you use them properly and don’t abuse them, they should hold up well. Do keep in mind though, that with extended use they can wear over time. You are hammering on them, after all. The drum pads can wear in the middle over time, and the cymbal pads might wear on the edges.
All of these pads can slightly wear if you use them a lot, but they will hold up well if you take care of them and don’t get too rough with them. The rubber is durable and holds up well to normal playing. Also, using sticks that aren’t damaged or splintered will help keep these in good shape.
Some people experience faster wear on the kick/bass drum mute pad (the part that the beater hits), but it can also be somewhat attributed to not properly setting up that particular piece. Consider what type of beater you are using as well. A hard beater will wear this out faster than a soft beater head. People who use the bass mute say to be sure to read the instructions for that one since there’s room for error during setup, and getting it right or wrong can affect durability.
Other than the kick drum mute, the other pads are easy to figure out how to install and use, just put them on and go. You just lay the round drum pads on top of the drum heads. The cymbal pads will require you to only remove the wingnut for the cymbal stand to install. For the kick drum mute, make sure to read the included instructions to fully understand how they recommend setting it up, since it can be a little tricky if you’re not familiar with using this type of mute.
New Rubber Smell
Many people who buy these report a new rubber type of smell that can take a while to go away. If your drum kit is in a small, enclosed space, will little air flow, this will be more noticeable. It does fade over time. One good recommendation is to leave these outside in a garage or a porch for a few days if you really want the smell to fade more quickly. Other people don’t report such a strong smell, so it could have to do with how long it takes these pads to get from the factory to store/warehouse shelf to your home for the smell to retain.
- Affordable dampening/muting
- Quick to add/remove
- Options for most drum/cymbal sizes
- Changes the feel of your drum kit
- Sound is very deadened
- Might wear out with heavy use and hard play
The Evans SoundOff drum mutes are good mostly if you are looking for a cheap way to muffle your existing drum kit for practice purposes. You won’t get a good enough sound from these to want to jam with anybody while using them, but the deadening capabilities are quite good.
These are easily installed and easily removed, and there’s plenty of size options available to cover your whole kit, so if you are in a pinch and need to deaden your drum now, these can work well for you.
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I use the Evans HQ Soundoff bass drum mute on the front outside and use Evans Velcro dampening pillow on the inside shell for the batter head. This combo gives a power punch I love.