Drummer Under Plexiglass shield

by Mike
(Lake zurich, il)

I have been to numerous concerts and have seen the drum kit surrounded by plexi-glass. At a recent Rod Stewart concert the glass went over the top of the kit. What is the reason for this? How do drummers feel about this and is it uncomfortable?


Hi, Mike--
Plexiglass does not absorb sound--it just REFLECTS sound. It is used in as a drum shield in a number of ways. Sometimes it is used to contain the sound of the drums so that it reaches the audience as reflected sound instead of direct sound. This application is mostly to make the drums less loud in small venue.

In a concert situation, the shield around the drums is used to reflect the sound back to the drummer without allowing it to travel straight into the microphones used by the vocalists as well as any other microphones that may be in the path of the drums. The high volumes of the vocal and other mics combined with the drum mics can cause serious problems with feedback.

When you saw the entire set covered it is most likely an application which allows the cymbal mics to be isolated in much the same way.

Is it uncomfortable for the drummer? No, I think that it is much MORE comfortable because it allows the drummer to hear his(her) own sound to be naturally as the drummer would hear it without the sound being dispersed into such a large venue.


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Oct 04, 2015
drum volume containment
by: Ray Olson

You have no idea as a performer/sound engineer how frustrating and horrifying drums are. They are so much louder than anything else on stage - one spends their entire career as a musician/vocalist never being able to hear anything coming out of amp nor monitor because of the drummers' need to be the loudest thing because they feel they need to fill the room with their kit. Their kit generally sounds not like a recording after massive (read MASSIVE) processing, but more like a train crashing into a nuclear bomb at 'ground zero'.

Behind glass: Reduction in room and stage volume resulting in: the band possibly being invited back, musicians and vocalists finally being able to hear themselves and enjoy playing for a change, the soundman/ guitarist not being constantly told by audience 'can't hear the vocals and it's too loud - turn down the drums', being able to mic up the kit - massively eq and compress to 'There' and back to try make 'whap - whap sound like 'poomb - poomb'.

Bad enough being overly loud but drums sound ugly and nothing like what you hear on record after being massively massaged through the board and outboard gear. If a musician set up gear equally bad in tonality and volume - it would be 'WHAT THE F***!'

My only saving grace are in-ear monitors - they reduce a lot of that 'whap-whap' drums are famous for by physical blockage when inserted.

The rest of the band and audience are unprotected and suffer the full wrath of drumstick unbridled.

Jun 24, 2015
T.P. & Ringo, not the only ones.
by: 67 Gibson

First time I saw them in use "live" was when I Saw "Heart" perform the Dreamboat Annie album at the Orpheum theatre in L.A. and their drummer had the drum screens up. Not exactly a new phenomenon since the concert was in 2007. Lots of bands use them now to provide acoustic separation between instruments on stage or in the studio. This helps reduce drum bleed into vocal or instrument mics and lowers stage volume so that everyone can hear themselves better.

Sep 22, 2014
by: Rob

As a drummer, I would not want to play behind a plexi screen, if there are issues with mics picking up things they shouldn't, surely its a job for the sound engineers?
The drummers for Tom Petty and Ringo Starr Allstarr bands, to name just two, don't use screens, I think your explanation maybe viable but luckily only Rod Stewarts drummer feels the need for a screen, good luck to him then.

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