To drum screen or not to screen. That is the question.
We received this email from Ali Burt:
“I have noticed that a large proportion of your posts to do with contemporary worship music indicate that the use of a drum screen is extremely beneficial to the sound (particularly sound levels).
I am from a large, 160 year old Church of England church with a usual Sunday morning congregation of 400; so we have stone walls, pillars and a hard wooden floor (the pews have been replaced with chairs, and we have a sound system installed by DM Music. Musicademy ran a training day here last year – St Stephen’s Church, Tonbridge).
We bought a drum screen a few years ago having been told that it would allow us to make the drums more manageable with the other instruments. However, due to the hard walls and floor, we experienced the opposite taking place! Instead of reducing (containing) the sound of the drums, the sound was hitting the drum screen, bouncing back onto the wall behind/to the side and then out into the church building. It made the drums sound like they were being played at the other end of a subway, whereas the rest of the band sounded like they were in front of the congregation. Because of this we have now stopped using the drum screen!
Is there a way in which we can use the drum screen to make the sound from the drums more manageable, but without having the awful reverb that we were getting before?
Having done some tests, we worked out that it wasn’t just a drummer volume problem – the drummers were playing quieter behind a screen because otherwise they were getting deafened by the reflected sound.
I look forward to hearing what you might recommend for this slightly unique problem (I’ve never heard of anywhere else having the same problem!)”
We’ve done a trawl back through our previous posts on drum screens although they have been possibly mentioned in various recent Facebook comments by subscribers. There are plenty of arguments for and against them.
Here’s a collection of articles from our archives:
As often happens nowadays, most comments on these articles actually take place on our Facebook Page so please head over there for lots of advice and comment on this topic (as well as reading the comments below).
Our take on Ali’s drum screen dilemma
We think this is actually quite a common problem (not at all unique) and we get asked a variant on this at pretty much every training day we run. There could be a number of solutions here but before we jump in we’d love to hear everyone else’s thoughts.
Over to you. What experience do you have of drum screens? What advice would you give to Ali?