Best Drum Shields for Churches and Drummers on a Budget

8 best drum shields for churches and drummers on a budget

Drum shields are an essential equipment item for any performer. Even under the best of conditions, some sets can produce too many decibels for listener comfort.

Any sounds above 85 decibels can be physically painful to hear. If you’re sitting in the front pew at church or standing near the stage at a concert, drum shields reduce the impact of audio waves that create discomfort.

This benefit is also available for bands trying to record in the studio. The shield reduces the noise pollution within the environment to ensure that every instrument and vocalist can shine.

The quality of the materials and overall craftsmanship play a role in the available benefits of a drum shield. When you know how to find the best one in this category, it is possible to gain the advantages without spending a significant sum.

Whether you prefer a clear drum shield or something with tinting or coloration, this guide can help you pick out the features that will help everyone listen to have a fun and enjoyable experience.

Best Drum Shields for Churches and Drummers on a Budget

  1. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS4
  2. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5D
  3. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS6
  4. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS7DL
  5. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS65
  6. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5
  7. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5DL
  8. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS3C

Pennzoni makes the best drum shields for churches and any drummer on a budget. Although other manufacturers are in this space, you won’t find a better combination of quality and price.

1. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS4

This 5-panel drum shield does an adequate job of keeping your drums from being too loud. It only takes about an hour to assemble the drum shield once it arrives, and even less time if you have some helping hands.

The chrome hinges clamp together with relative simplicity, making it an easy solution for a semi-permanent installation.

Taking the white film off of the panels can be a bit of a challenge. It should peel off, but exposure to temperature changes can make this material brittle, causing it to come off in strips instead of a single piece.

You could get away with using this drum shield for the occasional gig, but it is not a travel-friendly unit.

It fits around a standard 5- or 6-piece kit well. Anything larger would require a second unit to maintain the benefits of sound reduction.

Because the acrylic is thin, some bands may notice an increased risk of cracking. Careful maintenance can reduce the risk of this issue, but it is something to note.

The Pennzoni DS4 is an excellent solution for worship bands, at-home practice, and permanent stages. It remains affordable while providing an above-average performance.

Number of Panels:5
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Dimensions:24 x 60 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:151 Pounds
Model #:DS4

2. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5D

The living hinges offered with this design are what make the drum shield stand out.

The top portion of the acrylic attaches with a hinge that allows you to reflect more of the outgoing soundwaves, reducing decibel levels effectively. Although you must pay more for the adjustable hinges, the investment is worth making.

Small kits will appreciate the reduced size of the Pennzoni DS5D. It works well with a standard 5-piece setup.

The chrome hinges are remarkably durable, getting the job done for churches and bands at an affordable price.

The assembly process takes some time, especially with the living hinges. You’ll want to budget a couple of hours to make sure everything gets put into the correct spot.

Overall, the entire assembly work is comfortable and straightforward to manage. When you see how your kit looks inside it, you’re going to want to play immediately!

We did find that the packaging on this particular model number is a little lackluster. Our recommendation is to review the drum shield before assembly (including before peeling off the protection film) to ensure no scratches are on the acrylic.

Number of Panels:6
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Dimensions:24 x 48 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:155 Pounds
Model #:DS5D

3. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS6

This 6-section drum shield provides expanded kits with the extra acoustic protection needed for a lively performance.

The total height reaches six feet when completely installed, although that size can make it a little challenging to install for some people.

Our recommendation would be to review the installation videos for this drum shield to ensure the hinges get installed properly.

Unlike some of the other drum shields of this size, the Pennzoni DS6 uses multi-ribbed, no-channel hinges that can be challenging to manage if you’re not used to working with acrylics or plastics.

Once you begin playing behind this shield, you’ll notice an immediate reduction in percussion noise for the congregation or concert-goers.

It diffuses the sound well even in echoing rooms, such as a garage, to limit leakage. Although it would be helpful to have squared instead of rounded corners, the overall experience is favorable when using this drum shield.

Because it doesn’t use the chrome pieces that you can find in other models, you receive more of a seamless look.

It doesn’t offer a completely transparent view of the drummer, but it is reliable – and the hinges remain tight.

Number of Panels:6
Dimensions:24 x 72 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:135 Pounds
Model #:DS6

4. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS7DL

With the living hinges fully extended with this drum shield, you receive seven feet of protection once correctly installed.

The primary panels are 72 inches, while the deflectors are 24 inches when fully raised. You can fold them over to create more downward reflections to ensure a positive listening experience occurs.

What is fantastic about this particular model is that you can add more panels to the setup if your drum kit is more extensive than usual. It also covers your audio board to create the isolation needed for proper mixing.

We found that assembling the living hinges on the floor was the easiest way to put together the Pennzoni DS7DL. Although some marketing materials list it as being polycarbonate, it is a crystal clear acrylic.

Percussion bleed is minimal once correctly set up, although it is a heavy unit to move. It traps the cymbal crashes exceptionally well.

If you want to maximize this advantage, consider adding some acoustic foam around the bottom if you don’t have carpeting on your stage.

Number of Panels:6
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Dimensions:24 x 72 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:210 Pounds
Model #:DS7DL

5. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS65

The biggest complaint you’ll find about the Pennzoni DS65 is that it can be challenging to put together.

Although it does come with four hinges that you need to manage with a rubber mallet, it isn’t a challenging job.

Considering the shipping price increases you’d manage if it came fully assembled, it’s a small compromise to make when you’re a church or drummer on a budget.

The DS65 is remarkably sturdy for a thin acrylic drum shield. Its performance is similar to something closer to half-inch polycarbonate, but you receive the scratch resistance benefits of this material.

You can fold up the living hinges to create a flat surface, ensuring that you can transport it with ease without a complete disassembly.

A travel case is also available (with additional cost) if you tour and want to bring this shield along for the ride. It isn’t overly portable, but the design does make it better than most other options.

Once you get past the initial installation issue, you’re going to have a lot of fun playing behind this affordable drum shield.

Number of Panels:5
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Dimensions:24 x 72 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:160 Pounds
Model #:DS65

6. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5

The dimensions of the Pennzoni DS5 are the primary challenge to consider when shopping for an affordable drum shield.

Since the panels are about a foot smaller than other models, larger kits may not fit behind the full enclosure. You’re forced to downgrade, buy additional panels and hinges, or choose a different model.

We highly recommend measuring the stage area where you plan to install the drum shield first to see if it can meet your needs.

If it does, you’ll notice that it adds immediate beauty to your stage, sanctuary, or performance center.

The performance of the DS5 is what you’d expect from a premium-quality acrylic shield, but at half of the cost of competing models.

It withstands impact fairly well, gets put together quickly, and doesn’t make you feel claustrophobic as a drummer.

It is also light enough to be moved when needed while offering enough stability for a permanent installation.

Number of Panels:6
Dimensions:24 x 60 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:155 Pounds
Model #:DS5

7. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS5DL

Some drummers like to have a small kit, but they prefer more room for movement. When flow is a concern for your playing, consider using the Pennzoni DS5DL to meet your sound management needs.

With six acrylic panels, you receive enough space to play with whatever flair you like to add to each song.

The hinges bring the panels together well, with the living hinges providing a supportive role for extra noise management.

You can reduce the decibel levels in the audience by at least 40% with most setups using this drum shield.

When you bring the deflectors down, the shield does seem a little small. It also sits close to your drums and extended cymbals, making some drummers a little uncomfortable.

Since space can be at a premium on manage stages, it’s worth giving this unit a closer look.

Number of Panels:6
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:155 Pounds
Model #:DS5

8. Pennzoni Display Drum Shield DS3C

When you want a basic drum shield setup, the Pennzoni DS3C meets your expectations. It is a straightforward shield that takes a no-nonsense approach to what it can do.

If you don’t have the money to buy something on the higher end, you’ll get results with this investment.

The hinges make the acrylic panels fold to a 90-degree angle, which means it doesn’t fold flat like other models.

Fanning it out so that it stands flat against the wall is the least restrictive way to store the unit when it isn’t in use.

Once you get everything in place, you may notice that the acrylic tries to bend under its own weight at the end of your arc.

You may need to play with the configuration a little to get the right blend of stability and straightness.

Where this drum shield excels is at home for practice. It gives your garage or music room some extra acoustic management without breaking the budget.

Number of Panels:5
Materials:Acrylic / Chrome
Dimensions:24 x 48 x 0.25 inches
Package Dimensions:Not Listed
Weight:151 Pounds
Model #:DS3C

Other Drum Shield Brands to Consider

Suppose you feel that the Pennzoni brand doesn’t provide the exact size, quality, or shape that you need for worship or a professional gig. In that case, two other reliable manufacturers produce shields to consider using.

ClearSonic portable drum shields come in several configurations, but they contain two primary parts. You’ll receive CSP reflective, free-standing planes of 0.22-inch acrylic sheeting. This structure deflects the percussion sounds away from the audience.

You’ll also get SORBER absorption panels with ClearSonic models. This item is a 1.6-inch fiberglass baffle that soaks up the mid-range and lower frequencies from the snares, toms, and kick drum. It won’t eliminate the audio entirely, but it does reduce the resonance and boom that can be loud enough to be bothersome.

ClearSonic is the primary competitor of Pennzoni. You’ll find that their drum shields are of equal quality (perhaps better on some models), but at a higher price point.

Control Acoustics is the other primary competitor. The benefit of this brand is the flexibility in use. Some models have removable front panels, while others work with woodwinds, amps, and other equipment.

What to Look For in the Best Drum Shield

The best drum shield should be foldable, absorb sound well, and not feel claustrophobic to the drummer.

It should have enough height to cover the entire drum set while reducing reflection points that could still cause problems for the listener.

Although glass panels are useful, most manufacturers use acrylic today because of its superior benefits. It’s less breakable and offers more absorption qualities.

Best Drum Shield Materials

The best drum shield material is polycarbonate. Although it is more expensive, it is almost impossible to break.

Most churches and bands choose acrylic panels for their drum shield because of the cost benefits. It is also much harder to scratch this material compared to polycarbonate. The issue with this choice is that it can shatter or crack when encountering an impact.

Both options can use plastic hinges for a low-cost way to add portability to the drum shield. Because acrylic is more prone to breaking, affixing the hardware may be a challenge because of this quality.

Acrylic provides more clarity and tinting options, while polycarbonate is highly resistant to temperature changes, chemicals, and gasoline.

You cannot polish polycarbonate to restore its luster, even after it gets scratched.

If you want the best drum shield experience, consider building or buying a frame for these materials. Aluminum is lightweight, sturdy, and corrosion-resistant so that you can use it for outdoor worship, live concerts, and more without worrying about damage occurring.

Drum Shield Soundproofing Amount

With an appropriate amount of soundproofing, a drum shield can reduce the total stage volume by up to 60%. This advantage ensures that the sound engineer can manage feedback issues, improve the live mix, and reduce the risk of listener discomfort.

Placing a drum shield around the kit will reflect the initial sounds generated by the drummer. The soundwaves bounce off the smooth surface to impact the wall behind. Once they hit there, they’ll travel back to the audience with additional dispersion.

If you place absorbing materials, foam panels, or other soundproofing items in these areas to handle the bounce, the audio interference from the drums can be almost entirely eliminated.

When you only use the shield for sound reduction, the improvements range from 15% to 40% for volume improvement.

Drum Shield Size Recommendations

A drum shield must be tall enough to reflect the percussion sounds away from the audience without interfering with the instrument, stage, and venue.

That’s why most drum shields built today are between 4-6 feet in height. If you want to create a full enclosure for a drummer, you’d wish to have the stage room offer an eight-foot ceiling.

The size of your kit helps to determine the final height requirements needed for your performance.

A standard five-piece package works well with most 4-foot drum shields. It reduces the cymbal crash by approximately 50%, creating a delicate balance with the snare, kick, and bass.

If you have more than six pieces to your kit, the six-foot drum shield is a better investment.

Drum Shield Price Expectations

The price of a drum shield depends on the quality of the materials used. Choosing polycarbonate instead of acrylic will cost more, as does opting for metal framing instead of the use of hinges.

If you don’t mind an entry-level drum shield that doesn’t provide a total enclosure, you can find some Pennzoni drum shields priced under $200 today. If you prefer a premium design, you’ll see five-panel options going over $1,000 for some brands.

The ClearSonic IPA drum shield kit with a lid (total enclosure) retails for about $2,500.

Custom installations cost even more. A drumming cage solution offered by Drum Perfect is over $3,000.

Control Acoustics makes multifunctional barrier shields that could be used for percussion in the $130 range if you want the lowest price possible.

What Are the Different Types of Drum Sets?

Several different options are available to musicians who want to create a unique drum set. The final arrangement often depends on what music genre is being played at church, on stage, or in a band.

  • Rock Sets. This standard setup features a floor tom, two additional toms, a high-hat, a ride, and two crash cymbals with the bass and the snare.
  • Jazz Sets. More emphasis on the snare features in this music, with drummers opting for comfortable lines that enable comfortable playing. The setup is usually similar to the rock format.
  • Fusion Sets. You’ll see unique cymbals and drums in this kit because of the requirements found in Latin music. This setup tends to be larger than a rock or jazz setup, but not overwhelming for the crew to manage.
  • Metal Sets. Heavy metal music features numerous crash cymbals, with the ones featuring brilliance and noise often favored. You may seem some bands use over 100 different pieces in their final setup.
  • Country Sets. Percussionists need a tight sound for this genre, which means you’ll see an emphasis on the hi-hat and snare. Modern country tends to follow some of the same patterns rock has used.

How to Make a DIY Drum Shield at Home

Drum shields are remarkably easy to build at home. All you need are the acrylic or polycarbonate panels, plastic living hinges, or a metal frame to house each sheet.

An extended piano hinge is a viable compromise if you don’t want the drum shield to look like an entry-level model.

When you use hinges for your drum shield, it allows the crew to collapse it flat for more comfortable transportation.

Stand the panels on their end. Attach the hinges on the top, middle, and bottom of each connection to ensure your shield has strength. That’s how simple it is to do this DIY project.

If you want something more permanent, drop each panel into an installed metal grid. You’ll need to measure the size to have the frame fit appropriately. Once in place, connect the acrylic or polycarbonate to the metal.

After you get the DIY drum shield installed, please remember not to use household cleaners on the barrier. Ammonia damages plastic sheeting, creating small cracks that can affect the tinting or transparency of the unit.

Advantages of Using a Drum Shield

  • Lowers Stage Volume. Drum shields can reduce the overall volume of the stage because this barrier reflects the immediate sound of percussion. It’s especially helpful for setups that include a PA system and mics, even without wedge monitors.
  • Cleaner Mixes. The sound engineer for your performance has more control over the band’s mix with a drum shield. It eliminates a lot of the bleed that occurs into the other microphones from the percussion, making it easier to get everything EQ’d properly.
  • Less Feedback. When vocalists or singers use an earpiece or in-ear monitor to track their performance, they won’t feel overwhelmed by the percussion, reducing the urge to over-sing during the production.
  • Style. You can add more style to the stage by adding a drum shield that reflects your congregation’s personality, band, or playing style.

Disadvantages of Using a Drum Shield

  • High Enclosure Volume. The audience might see some noise reduction benefits with a drum shield, but the percussionist gets the opposite result. It is essential to wear hearing protection when playing inside one because of the way that soundwaves reflect.
  • Difficult Lighting. Trying to spotlight a shielded drummer is an almost impossible task. The acrylic panels reflect the light to create viewing problems for the audience, and top-down methods won’t work with a complete enclosure.
  • Setup Time. Drum shields require time to assemble, even if they fold up for quick travel and storage. You’ll need crew members to manage this task while everyone warms up – or allow more time for setting up.
  • Price Matters. Cheap enclosures can reduce the decibel levels a little when playing. Quality is important in this category. A total enclosure for isolation is the best way to achieve results.

6 Drum Shield Alternatives

1. Have your drummer use hot-rod sticks.

Most drummers don’t like them, but these sticks do reduce the kit volume without forcing a change in velocity.

Why don’t drummers like them? They tend to break relatively quickly, which can be a problem when you’re trying to save money.

2. Use electronic drums instead of an acoustic kit.

Electronic drums allow the sound engineer to control the mix with more precision. It reduces stage volume while allowing a drummer to play at their normal pace.

Drummers must wear a sound piece in their ear to monitor they’re playing, which means a slight lag can occur in some systems.

3. Use gaffer tape on the cymbals.

The crash of a cymbal tends to be the noise that draws the most complaints from listeners during worship services. This sound can also interfere with a live recording.

When you place gaffer tape on the cymbal’s underside, you can dampen the sound without reducing its quality.

4. Place sound absorption panels around the kit.

If you place these acoustic panels behind the drums, hang them from the ceiling over the kit, and put a few in front, you’ll capture most of the excess energy before it leaves the stage.

When these items don’t provide enough of a benefit, consider placing the drums on top of carpeting with a thick pad for better drum soundproofing.

You’ll receive more surrounding support to reduce volume, especially with a drum shield, cage, or enclosure in place.

5. Maintain active communication with the drummer.

It doesn’t take much for a drummer to feel the passion of the music, have an emotional reaction, and start overplaying. A band needs open, honest communication to talk about when the cymbals or snare is getting a bit heavy.

If you’re not using earpieces to speak with each other on stage, now might be the time to start following this practice.

Some worship leaders and bands feel like these issues should get addressed before the performance, but it is better to be over-prepared.

6. Change the kit placement.

When the drums are too close to a corner or wall, the reflective sounds can make the percussion feel louder than it is. If that isn’t an option, place some acoustic foam along the back wall to diffuse the energy.

Although it seems counter-intuitive to place the drums forward, a drum shield can increase the diffusion of soundwaves because of its reflective nature.

Conclusion of the Best Drum Shield for Drummers and Churches on a Budget

Drum shields are an effective way to reduce the loudness of percussion instruments during a performance. When set up correctly before worship, a recording session, or practice, the materials help each device provide its natural sound without being overwhelming.

These are the best drum shields for churches and drummers on a budget. When reviewing this guide, which option seems like the best opportunity to enhance your playing needs?


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