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Drums shields are highly effective tools for minimizing volume and isolating sound. They can be used both for live drumming and to improve the sound of recordings.
Due to the naturally loud volume of acoustic drums, sound engineers often have issues with them overwhelming other instruments or noise spilling out into microphones. A shield can improve these issues by deflecting sound waves and isolating the drums.
There are many varieties of drum shields available, some for the entire drum set and others for cymbals and individual drums.
In this guide, we’ve tested various drum shields to find the best options available for all drumming styles.
- What are the Best Drum Shields?
- How I Tested and Selected the Best Drum Shields
- In-Depth Drum Shield Reviews
- Drum Shield Buying Guide
- What Is a Drum Shield?
- Things to Consider When Buying Drum Shields
- What Features to Look for in Drum Shields
- What Drummers Need Drum Shields?
- Drum Shields FAQs
What are the Best Drum Shields?
How I Tested and Selected the Best Drum Shields
I’ve played drum kits behind shields at several points throughout my drumming journey. Most of them were live on stage at my university, and I always appreciated how effective they were. After many conversations with sound engineers, I learned how and why they worked.
I used that experience when testing shields for this list, knowing exactly what to look for to know if a certain shield performs well or not.
When testing each shield, I looked at how much sound reduction it offered, how durable it was, how it looked in front of the drum kit, and how easy it was to move around.
I looked for shields that could be easily customized to fit different drum kit configurations and stage layouts, providing drummers with a versatile solution for various gig settings.
Portability also came into play. I considered how easily each drum shield could be transported and set up, recognizing the importance of convenience for drummers on the move.
In-Depth Drum Shield Reviews
The ClearSonic A5 Drum Shield is a 7-panel drum shield that does an excellent job at blocking the sound of an acoustic drum set. This drum enclosure is a very popular and great value option for anyone looking for a good level of noise reduction for live performances.
It’s a pre-assembled 7-panel drum sound shield that features an accordion-style foldup for ease of portability.
I found the build quality was excellent and the panels were fully transparent for maximum isolation without sacrificing visibility.
Each panel measures at 2 foot wide by 5 foot 5 inches high. This makes the whole drum shield 14 foot wide in length when extended fully. The size of this particular drum shield makes it perfect for even large drum sets.
This drum shield has a very classy and strong design and offers excellent acoustic isolation between the drum set and listeners.
It’s perfect for live stages to help other musicians hear themselves better and prevent the drums from interfering with other microphones on stage.
Up next for review we have the A5-5 ClearSonic Isolation Drum Shield, which is another high quality drum enclosure allowing you to regain maximum control over your sound environment.
This drum cage is effectively the exact same design as the previous A5-7 drum shield, but with 5 panels as opposed to 7. This size is still suitable for small and medium sized drum sets, and it’s a more affordable option.
The panels themselves can all be folded away completely to be easily transported, and the panels feature built-in full-length hinges and cable cutouts for added convenience.
The whole thing was quite light, so it stood out to me as a more portable option that drummers could take with them to gigs if needed.
Overall the A5-5 makes a perfect investment for those wanting to reduce the volume of drums either at home or for live sound. It’s one of the best drum cages for churches and other types of music venues.
The ClearSonic IsoPac A Isolation Booth is the ultimate noise reduction solution for drums. With this drum enclosure booth you can achieve a huge reduction in volume of up to 60%!
This drum shield is effective in allowing the drums to be in the same room as everyone else without much bleed getting to the mics.
It’s not just convenient but it’s highly effective. It’s built to fit even larger drum sets with its size. It measures in at 7 foot wide, 9 foot deep and 6.5 foot tall, which is plenty of space.
This is an expensive and high-end drum shield, but it is a top of the range product. It’s suitable for professional live venues and churches. It provides you with complete sound control, and there won’t be any interference with other instruments.
The IsoPac A is the best drum cage for churches and drummers looking to reduce the volume of their drums at home.
There are a lot of pieces included with the package, and it takes about an hour to set up completely. But it is very portable, with all the panels being able to fold flat. Being able to break down quickly, it is also perfect for remote recording rigs.
The Clearsound Baffles Acoustic Cymbal Shields are a new and innovative product. They are designed to noticeably improve live sound through deflecting and filtering out the harsh sounds of the cymbals.
As opposed to a conventional drum cage, the Clearsound cymbal shields only cover the cymbals, and leave the drums exposed which is more aesthetically pleasing.
While most drum cages are used in churches, I’ve seen plenty of these being used in standard gig venues, as they’re unobtrusive and work reliably.
They require mounting onto a cymbal stand, and can be adjusted to any height to deflect and block the harsh cymbal frequencies. In my opinion, I think these look great and they are less noticeable than a drum shield.
These are lightweight, transparent and compact and very easy to set up. The only thing required is 4 additional cymbal stands, which will definitely add some weight to your hardware bag. The Clearsound Baffles are becoming very popular amongst pop drummers and I think they are a solid choice.
Up last for review we have the Smokin Ace Cymbal Shield which is a highly affordable alternative to a traditional drum shield. It’s super lightweight and easy to mount. All you need to do is attach it to a cymbal stand and you’re good to go!
The panel is constructed of durable acrylic and it is highly effective – blocking up to 40% of the overall cymbal sounds.
This portable cymbal shield works fantastically for stopping your cymbals from hitting the other stage mics.
This is a really good value product that is much easier to transport than a large drum shield. It’s lightweight, portable and effective – and I think it looks better than a full drum shield from the audience’s perspective as well as the drummer’s.
Drum Shield Buying Guide
Using a drum shield offers many potential benefits. If you’d like to reduce the overall volume of a drum set without holding back on power and intensity when drumming, using a shield could be the ideal solution.
Being a drummer is rewarding in many ways but can also be frustrating. The drums are much louder than other instruments, and unless you’re willing to use an electric or play with brushes, the high volume can make things difficult.
That’s why investing in a good quality drum shield is a wise decision. It allows drummers to play at full power while minimizing the problems associated with the loudness of the drums.
What Is a Drum Shield?
A drum shield, also known as a drum cage or drum enclosure is a type of clear barrier that is set up in front of a drum set to reduce its volume and rectify a number of sound issues.
The sound from a drum set can bleed into other microphones on stage and this is a nightmare for live sound engineers. It can cause feedback issues and create difficulty mixing live sound.
Drum shields allow separation between the drum set microphones and other instrument microphones and monitors on stage, meaning an engineer has greater control over the live sound mix.
Drum shields are also useful for drummers looking for ways to limit the sound of a drum set from projecting in a specific direction.
Things to Consider When Buying Drum Shields
Determine the ideal size
Drum shields are usually made of several panels, which can be folded down when not used. More panels don’t always result in a larger shield, but in most cases, it will correlate with the amount of space that is covered by the shield.
Clear plastic materials are commonly used to construct drum shields, but the transparency of these materials varies depending on the manufacturer’s design. If you want to ensure that the drummer is visible, look for a see-through shield.
Individual vs. complete drum set
Isolation shields are available for single drums, such as crash or ride cymbals, as well as for the entire drum kit. If your cymbals are causing the most issues, it might be worth considering purchasing a standalone shield to limit volume.
What Features to Look for in Drum Shields
Drum shields are most commonly made from reflective panels, which can be folded up in an accordion style for transportation and storage. These panels are usually transparent, so the drummer remains visible when playing behind the shield.
Acrylic is used to create the reflective panels. This material is excellent at deflecting the sound waves produced by a drum kit and preventing them from reaching a specific area, perhaps where an audience is or where other musicians are situated.
The most problematic frequencies a drum set produces are the upper midrange and treble bands. Cymbals and snare drums are the two main culprits for producing these loud, sometimes harsh-sounding frequencies.
Reflective panels are great at reducing the prominence of these tones, preventing them from clashing with other instruments or sounds.
Whether you’re looking for a way to reduce the volume of your drum kit when playing in church or you want to avoid disturbing people while practicing, the cymbals can be challenging to tame.
It’s easy to dampen the sound of the other drums, but cymbals are naturally very bright and loud.
Opting for cymbal shields rather than full drum-set shields might be worth considering if you feel they contribute most to the volume. These shields are often mounted onto cymbals stands, and they aren’t as visibly noticeable as full-sized drum shields.
What Drummers Need Drum Shields?
Most drummers don’t require a drum shield. The chances are that you rarely even see them on live stages when you see your favorite band performing.
This is because they aren’t quite rock and roll. But they are very effective and can improve the live sound significantly. This is why they are very popular in churches, and also within pop music and live recording sessions.
Audio engineers love using drum shields because it gives them greater control and the mix will sound much better to the audience without instrument bleed.
Drum shields provide noise isolation, volume reduction and cleaner sounding live mixes to name a few. Drum shields are most appropriate for use in large concert halls, big stages, and live music festivals.
As mentioned before, a complete drum shield booth is the ultimate solution for managing stage volume. Not everyone needs a drum shield, because they are designed for live sound. But they are amazing tools and the difference is really noticeable in a live music environment where they do an effective job at reducing instrument bleed.
Drum Shields FAQs
How High Should a Drum Shield Be?
The ideal height on a drum shield depends on how much noise you want to prevent from passing by it. Panels 5ft tall are recommended for standard drum sets, but a taller shield may be necessary if you need to reduce the volume significantly.
How Thick Should a Drum Shield Be?
The recommended thickness for drum shield panels is between ⅛ and ¼ inches. The thicker the material, generally speaking, the more effectively it deflects the sound from the drums.