Other musicians don’t realize how good they’ve got it. They can turn down an amplifier, play softly, pick up their instrument and take it to a nice quiet spot for some quality jam time. We drummers don’t have the same luxuries.
We’re stuck in one place, and we’re loud, like...really loud. Sometimes, no matter how much we want to practice, it’s just not socially acceptable to do so.
If you live in an apartment building like me and most other Americans, you can kiss your drum set goodbye.
With such a densely populated building, neighbors to the left, right, up, and down, so much as a single rim shot will inspire the slipping of notes under your door politely requesting that you SHUT UP!
Don’t let it get you down. Your neighbors are just tired, they work hard, they like to chill in their downtime as we all do. But you shouldn’t hang up your sticks either. I've done the legwork and compiled 9 awesome quiet drum sets for apartments in this article.
Let’s get to it!
OUR TOP PICK
If you’re looking for a great balance between affordability and functionality, this Alesis masterpiece is 100% for you.
Featuring eight mesh drum heads, play-feel is natural and responsive, but most importantly of all, they’re insanely quiet, so your neighbors can sleep while you slam the skins.
Furthermore, the dual-zone snare pad and chokable cymbals offer a realistic feel, allowing you to practice skills you can take right along with you when transitioning back to an acoustic kit.
Alesis doesn’t skimp on the sound module either. It comes preloaded with 40 different kits encompassing over 350 drum sounds as well as 60 play-along tracks — perfect!
- Price - Best value for money E-drums on the market.
- Mesh Heads - Natural feel and quieter than rubber.
- Expansive Sound Module - You’ll have fun for days!
- No Extras - Doesn’t come with headphones, throne, or cables.
In many ways, the Command is similar to the Nitro. It’s an 8-piece set — enough to go full Animal from Sesame Street. The heads are all crafted from a super quiet mesh material, so your neighbors can hear themselves think.
The sound module even has the same 60 play-along tracks. So, why is the Command so much more expensive?
Well, for one thing, it treats you to premium response triggers, meaning they exhibit incredibly low latency response which helps to keep them feeling and sounding natural.
You can also look forward to three dual-zone toms rather than just the snare, and the kick drum is nice and wide — prime for a double kick pedal.
The sound module contains 30 more kits than the Nitro, totaling 70, and the general structure of the Command has a far more attractive acoustic aesthetic. It looks and sounds AWESOME!
- Mesh Heads - Very quiet.
- Premium Response Sensors - Zero gaps between strike and drum sound.
- Expansive Sound Module - 70 kits, people...70!
- 2000-watt Speaker - Speaker included with purchase.
- Price - It’ll cost you.
The DTX432K marks the first E-kit with rubber drum heads on my list, but don’t let that scare you off. You could have a go on one of these and still not wake a baby sleeping in the next room.
What instantly struck me about this kit is how responsive the heads are. No matter how fast you play, the triggers keep up. The crash has a choke function too, so you can stop them ringing out, and keep things nice and muted.
The sound module is a little lacking compared to the Alesis monsters, but it still comes with 10 kits, 10 play-alongs, and even 10 lessons, making it a great choice for a novice player with promise.
- Responsive - Sounds don’t lag behind strikes.
- Hi-Hat Controller Pedal - Get those half-closed sounds.
- Price - Great value for money.
- Rubber Heads - Not as natural feeling or quiet as mesh.
- Limited Sound Module - Could be bigger, but hey...10 kits is better than 1.
Crafted from a superb mesh material, the drum heads on this Roland beast are nigh on silent, and they feel amazing too. What’s more, the recordings in the sound module are breathtakingly produced.
The cymbals and hi-hat of the TD-17KVX -S are probably my favorite things about it. They just feel so real, which is an area many other E-kits fall short in. They allow you to transition between this kit and an acoustic kit without skipping a beat.
It doesn’t come with a kick pedal, which is a little disappointing, but a kick is a pretty personal thing anyway. You’ll be better off choosing your own in the long run.
- High-Quality Mesh Heads - Super quiet and incredibly natural.
- Natural Response Cymbals - Feels like the real thing.
- Expandable - You can bring in extra pieces when you’re ready.
- No Extras - Not even a kick pedal.
- Price - You may have to smash your piggy bank.
Featuring dual-mesh heads, this Roland drum set is slightly quieter than the single-mesh options I’ve listed thus far. They’re also twice as durable, so feel free to let out your inner Zach Hill and de-stress after a hard day.
The heads are also tension-adjustable, so you can fine-tune their feel to your tastes, which is such a neat feature!
The sound module may only contain 15 kits, but they’re made up of the famously high-fidelity sounds of classic TD kits, so natural, true-to-life sounds are a given. The only difference you’ll hear is in the volume.
- Dual-Ply Mesh Heads - Quieter and more durable than single-ply.
- Tension Adjustability - You can customize the feel of the heads.
- TD-Level Audio Quality - Pristine drum sounds.
- This tent is rather small so may not provide enough space for all intended users.
- Limited Sound Module - 15 kits doesn’t seem like a lot for the price.
This is the ultimate electronic drum set for kids — period! Essentially, what Paxcess has done is condensed an 8-piece electronic drum set into a roll-up, kid-safe mat, and it’s awesome.
The magic of this product is that it’s kid-friendly without being too basic. The built-in sound module has adjustable tempo, volume control, and even a headphone jack, so your little thrasher can express themselves while you enjoy some peace and quiet.
Battery powered, you can roll it up into a backpack and take it anywhere for 10 hours of fun, and it’s rechargeable too, so don’t worry about filling your draws with Ds or AAs.
Arriving with 7 pads and a pedal to control kick drum sounds, this is the introduction to drums I could only dream of in my day. If you're after quiet toys for kids then get a set of these.
- Rolls Up - Storage-friendly and portable.
- Volume Control and Headphone Jack - No noise here!
- Battery Life - 10 hours of non-stop rhythms.
- Kick Pedal Clicks - The clicking is a little noisy.
Featuring shallow wooden drum shells, this is about as traditional as an electric drum set gets. Even the bass drum almost looks full-sized, leaving plenty of room for a double kick when you want to get metal.
The heads are made of two layers of insanely quiet, robust mesh with a very natural bounce enabling silky smooth and dynamic drum rolls and fills.
Stocked with 50 pre-set kits, the sound module isn’t short on cool sounds, but that’s not all.
Thanks to Roland’s proprietary Prismatic Sound Modeling Engine, you can tweak every single drum sound on the module and become the architect of your own signature sound — pretty neat if you ask me.
- Dual-Mesh Heads - Quiet and durable.
- PSME - Make your own kit sounds.
- Acoustic Aesthetic - Closest to the real thing you’ll find.
- Price - Most expensive on the list.
Here we have an 8-piece kit distilled into a single, portable, desktop unit. The rubberized pads are slightly louder than mesh, but not by a lot. They’re also velocity-sensitive, so you can improve your dynamic playing skills.
Access tons of digital audio parameters via the control pad and LCD screen, and once you’ve structured your sounds, you can plug it straight into your laptop, use it as a midi controller, and track drums into your DAW.
- Portable - Take it anywhere you want.
- Sound Design - Tweak your kit sounds.
- Price - Very affordable solution to the noise issue.
- Lack of Realism - Nothing like playing an acoustic kit.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the DED-100 was the most affordable mesh E-kit on the market, and the heads aren’t bad either. The rebound isn’t quite as realistic as some more expensive kits, but they sure are quiet.
With a digital kick drum triggered by depressing the pedal, the DED offers a...different play-feel, but once you’re used to it, you won’t even notice its absence.
The module only features 20 demo songs and 20 drum presets, but considering the amazing price, you can’t sweat the small stuff.
- Price - Perfect for beginners.
- Mesh Heads - Nice and quiet.
- Sound Design - Enables minor customizations
- Limited Sound Module - But it might be all you need.
- Digital Bass Drum - No physical drum detracts from the play-feel.
Top 9 Quietest Drum Sets for Playing in Your Apartment - Buyer’s Guide
Drums are inherently loud instruments, obnoxiously so, but as you’ve seen from my listed kits, there are some brilliant sonic workarounds. You just need to know what you’re looking for.
Electrify That Drum Set!
The only way to go about maintaining your practice routines in an apartment complex is to invest in an electronic drum set. What is an electronic drum set? Well, basically, it puts a volume knob on your drumming, so you can play at whatever volume seems appropriate.
You can think of an E-kit sort of like an electric piano. It’s an electronic version of a traditional acoustic instrument that recreates the original sound but gives you a bunch of other cool tweakable parameters.
They work via a sound module that has all your standard acoustic drum sounds on it. When you hit one of the drum heads, a trigger beneath fires off the corresponding sound.
Hit the snare, and you’ll hear a snare. Hit the floor tom, and, you’ve guessed it...you’ll hear a floor tom.
Tabletop vs Traditional Electronic Drum Sets
There are two main types of electronic drum set: standard sets and tabletop sets.
Standard electric drum sets are laid out almost exactly like an acoustic kit — everything in its proper place. You can sit on your drum throne and slap some skins just as you usually would.
A tabletop drum set looks somewhat like a malformed keyboard. It has a number of drum pads that work in the same way as the standard E-kit: you strike them, and they trigger a sound.
The only difference is that all the pads are spaced out over one level unit that can be played on the floor or on a tabletop.
If you’re serious about your musical discipline, a standard set is the only way to go, but there are benefits to taking the tabletop route too. For instance, if you’d like something portable, simply tuck the tabletop set under your arm and hit the road.
They’re also a great option for burgeoning John Bonhams who aren’t old enough to play a full kit just yet.
The drum heads of an electronic kit are normally either made from rubber or a mesh material. Mesh is quieter, as rubber still has some clatter-factor, but the real reason mesh is preferred by so many is that it feels more natural.
If you’re used to the feel of an acoustic kit, an electronic set can seem like a real turn-off, but with a hi-fidelity rebound, mesh drum heads are as close to the real thing as it gets.
Another way in which E-drum manufacturers aim to augment the “feels” is by giving the triggers velocity sensitivity. This means that if you hit a head softly, the noise produced will be soft, or if you hit it hard, the noise will be louder and more punchy.
Almost all electronic drum sets have this nifty feature, but the triggers on some will be much more sensitive than others. If you’re serious about drumming, I’d recommend going for a set with as sensitive triggers as you can afford.
This way you’ll be able to develop your dynamic playing skills, and the transition back to an acoustic kit won’t be quite as jarring.
I’m not gonna lie, folks. With E-drums, for the most part, you get what you pay for. If you want a nice feeling, pleasant-sounding, quiet drum set, try and save up a decent budget. We’re talking between $450 - $2000.
Much like an acoustic kit, a standard E-drum set can have a varying number of drums. You just need to decide how many you want.
The Kick Drum Issue
Unfortunately, electronic drum sets aren’t entirely silent. There will still be some vibration transmission from the kick pedal and kick drum that might rattle your neighbor’s cages. Don’t worry, though, buddy.
Here are some solutions I’ve used in the past that work a treat.
- Set your kit up above one of your downstairs neighbors' less frequented rooms. Don’t be scared to give them a friendly knock and ask what would work best for them.
- Make a performance base out of foam mats. This Siless Liner 157 mil 36 sqft Sound Deadening mat is the stuff they use to keep motor sounds out of cars, so it’s great for keeping drum vibrations to a minimum.
- Make or invest in an insulated drum riser. It’s a costly way to do it, but dislocating the vibration source from the floor is the most effective solution.
- Make the room soundproof.
- Hang some soundproof curtains to reduce the drum noise leaving through the windows.
One of the best things about E-drum sets is that they come with sound modules practically oozing with cool noises you can experiment with. Before settling on a kit, always assess what the sound library has to offer.
Top 9 Quietest Drum Sets for Playing in Your Apartment - FAQ
Before we part ways, let’s answer some quiet drum FAQs to make sure you’ve got all the info you need.
Are drums too loud for an apartment?
Yeah, I think it’s fair to say that acoustic drums are far too loud for use in an apartment building.
You can use practice pads to bring your playing volume down, but an electronic drum set is always your best bet when it comes to quiet drumming.
How can I practice drumming quietly?
If you really want to play acoustic drums quietly, the first thing I always recommend is to play softly. Use the problem as a way to improve your dynamic abilities.
Combine these hushed options with the padding or riser I suggested in the buyer’s guide, and you’ll be well on your way to harmonious living.
How can I listen to music while playing electronic drums?
Most sound modules on E-drum sets have an input for connecting up devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets.
They also feature a mix-in knob that allows you to balance the volume of the music with your drumming, so you can always hear both the track and your playing with clarity.
Can you play electric drums quietly?
Electric drums are far quieter than their acoustic cousins, but that’s not to say they’re totally silent. Furthermore, some E-kits will be quieter than others, so if uber low volume is a priority, try as many out in person as possible and compare their noise levels.
Why are drums so loud?
Acoustic drums are so loud, 1. because they don’t have any sort of volume knob, and 2. because they’re literally just giant echo chambers. They’re made to cut through entire bands of loud instruments, so everyone can follow a common pulse and keep in time.
Why do drummers put tape on their drums?
Putting tape on your drum heads or on the tips of your drum sticks is actually another great way to bring the volume down that I haven’t mentioned yet. Tape on a drum head can also be used to make a target and improve strike precision.
Silently Summing Up
That’s my silent drums roundup over, folks. Was there anything on my list that caught your eye, or perhaps even your ear?
Although it’s not technically the best E-drum set on my list, the Alesis Nitro takes the top spot because, in my opinion, it offers the best dollar : feature ratio, and of course, it’s super quiet.
Having said that, combined with my sound dampening suggestions in the buyer’s guide, any one of these electronic kits will keep your home turf civil and your drumming chops on point — enjoy!