4 Best Ways to Dampen Cymbals

February 13, 2024

No matter if you live in an apartment where your neighbors can hear you or live in a house with terrible isolation, dampening cymbals is a way to make your drum set sound good yet not so loud.

With my 18 years of experience, I tried almost every single trick there is. For that reason, I decided to write an article about how to dampen cymbals most efficiently, depending on your environment and goals. 

Some of them include cymbal dampeners, duct tape, and many others. Let’s check them together.

4 ways how to dampen cymbals.

  1. Applying Tape or Moongel Dampeners
  2. Cymbal Muting Devices
  3. Acoustic Treatments for Controlling Cymbal Volume
  4. Considering Electronic Alternatives
cymbal finder

Fill out the form, and I will hand-pick the best cymbals for you and drop you an email.

Unfortunately, the type you picked is rarely used in the genre you choose.
Therefore, I will not be able to find the right cymbal for you.
Your Budget: 0 USD

Dampen cymbals with a tape

how to dampen cymbals

Applying Tape or Moongel Dampeners

Applying tape on your cymbals helps cymbals sound more controlled, dry, and quieter. This is an excellent method to reduce the volume of cymbals. 

If you want to dampen cymbals as high as you can, place the tape at the very end of the edge of the cymbal. This will reduce those high frequencies as well as the shimmering. This way, you will get more of that “dead” sound but more attack, which is perfect for muffling your cymbals down.

If you want just slightly less of those high frequencies but not that totally dampened sound, place the tape on the bell’s underside. This will not affect the vibration and shimmering, yet it will do a little cymbal noise reduction.

When it comes to gel pads, the Moongel dampeners are the most popular ones. They will help you control all the unwanted overtones. All you need to do is take the pad and place it near the cymbal’s edge. You can experiment with the placement of the gel to find your best cymbal sound.

The gel will bring down all the sustain or just the right amount, depending on where you place it. So my advice is to experiment and see where you like them the most. Also, these pads are available at Amazon at around $11 and you will get a pack of 6 pads. 

Exploring Cymbal Mutes

Cymbal muting devices are cymbal mutes. They are trendy and efficient in dampening cymbal sound. They are usually made of good-quality rubber that will reduce sound. Still, it will also withstand heavy hitting and provide excellent stick response.

There are two types of cymbal mutes. One type lay on top of the cymbals, and others fit around the outer edge of the cymbal just like a ring. You can choose whichever you prefer, but the ones that you can lay on top of the cymbal are easier to place. 

The most popular ones, and the one that I would warmly recommend, are Evans Soundoff Mutes, which are available for less than $100 for all the cymbals in the drumset. These cymbal mutes reduce the volume by 95%, which is perfect for drumming in any setting. 

Acoustic Treatments for Controlling Cymbal Volume

Instead of focusing on cymbal noise reduction you can adjust the room to prevent sound from bleeding out. Here are the most popular solutions:

  • Plexiglass Shields: Erecting a Plexiglass barrier around the drum set effectively reduces the volume of cymbals and drums. This method not only suppresses sound for those outside the shield but also isolates the drummer from external noises, including sounds from bandmates, making it easier to control the mix and balance in live or studio settings.

  • Curtains: Heavy, dense curtains around the drum area can absorb sound, reducing the volume and echo. This is particularly useful in smaller rooms or studios where sound reflection is an issue.

  • Wall Absorbers: Installing wall absorbers can significantly reduce reflected sound and control the overall acoustics of the room. By absorbing sound energy, these treatments minimize the volume and reverb of cymbals and drums, leading to a cleaner sound.

  • Diffusers: Diffusers scatter sound waves, reducing focal points of reflections and standing waves. This doesn’t lower the volume directly but improves sound quality by creating a more even distribution of sound, which can make loud volumes more manageable and less harsh in confined spaces.

best symbas for practic

Considering Electronic Alternatives

If none of these things really work for you, you can get e-cymbals, as I mentioned above. E-drums contain cymbals within the set, and the quietest ones are the ones with the mash heads. 

However, if you do not want to buy the whole electronic drum set, you can buy just cymbals. One of them is Jobeky’s volume “Real Feel” cymbals. 

These cymbals have been quite famous among drums due to their resemblance to real acoustic cymbals but yet the low-volume production. 

On the other hand, if you decide to buy electronic drums, here’s my recommendation. Go with Alesis Nitro, Roland TD-11K-S, or Yamaha DTX400K. These have proven to be super-efficient in reducing the cymbal noise as well as the drum sound. 

Also, these e-drums have built their reputation and many drummers stated that they are delighted with the durability, quality, and sound reduction of these e-drums. 

Last but not least, once connected to your headphones, the cymbal sound is completely gone out of the room. 

Selecting the Right Cymbals for Volume Control

I tested standard cymbals vs plastic (rubber) and low-volume cymbals.

Here’s what I found out.

  • Standard Cymbals: Can reach volumes up to 120 dB or more during peak moments, similar to the sound level of a rock concert. This high volume makes them suitable for live performances and situations where a robust and penetrating sound is desired.
  • Plastic (Rubber) Cymbals: Typically produce around 60-70 dB, which is comparable to a conversation at home. Their significantly reduced volume level makes them ideal for practice settings where noise needs to be minimized.
  • Low-Volume Cymbals: These are designed to produce about 70-80 dB, a sound level akin to a vacuum cleaner or busy street. They offer a quieter alternative to standard cymbals while still retaining a more authentic cymbal feel than rubber cymbals, making them suitable for low-volume rehearsals and small venues.

These figures are approximate and can vary based on the specific product, playing intensity, and acoustics of the environment.

Denis Loncaric
Denis Loncaric

My name is Denis. I am a drummer, percussionist, music enthusiast, and blogger. Drums have been my passion for 15 years now. My idea is to write about the things I like and I am interested in. I want to share my drum passion with fellow musicians who walk, talk, and breathe drums.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Drum That