URGENT UPDATES: 1. Only use headphones or “in-ear” monitors to hear your mix. NEVER use speakers in a booth or behind the shield: It WILL destroy your hearing! 2. The drums MUST be miked, even if you only use a few panels. /////// If drum volume is just impossible to control in your venue a drum booth maybe necessary… as a last resort! First, try to play to the room more… (*read my other article about this.) …adjusting your dynamics etc. etc. But if all of that has failed, then build a booth for your drums or order one from the ClearSonic company (www.clearsonic.com) or Phoenix drum enclosures at http://whiteleysolutions.com/. If necessary you can totally enclose the drums. You can match the color & décor of the auditorium and everyone will be happy with the sound AND the look.
When using a shield or a booth be sure to make it large enough so you can still walk around the drums. It should also be at least two feet higher that your highest cymbal. A drum kit must “breath” or move the airwaves freely to sound its best. If the booth is too small the drums will sound choked & harsh. As an example: Test this by holding your hand in front of your mouth while you are speaking and then gradually move it away. Notice how your tone sounds warmer as you allow more space between your mouth and hand. Drums have a similar response in a booth!
There’s no use putting up a small shield. It will only cut down 5% to 10% of the decibel level. If you go to all of this effort do it completely. You can start in phases. Maybe begin with just the front panels. Add the back to it if that’s not enough. Then the last step would be a top if necessary.
**The photo shows a pretty common approach to drum booth set ups. Not bad really, except that the kit is too close to the glass for my liking. It needs a little more breathing room. If needed they could add more panels and totally enclose the kit, but it wasn’t needed for this auditorium.
I always prefer playing to the room without using a shield, but I’m flexible and can work in both situations. As always, the main thing is to serve the team and do what works best in each setting.