E-drum kits are great options for a silent kit, but it’ll never come close to the sound and feel of an acoustic drum set.
If you’re reading this, you probably agree too right?
That’s probably why you’ve been researching for an alternative.
Now, there are many low volume drum heads out there that will provide you with a quieter drum set without the drastic lost of the original drumming experience.
The Remo Silentstroke and Pearl Mesh Heads are two of the most common solutions.
And here’s a quick comparison table between them:
Remo Silent stroke vs Pearl Mesh Heads
|Remo Silentstroke||Pearl Mesh Heads|
|Drumming experience||Tension is adjustable. Provides better stick rebound than practice pads and e-drum pads.||Slightly less stick rebound as compared to Silentstrokes.|
|Durability||Durable||Less Durable, with complains from other users as well.|
|Available sizes||6", 8", 10", 12", 13", 14", 15", 16", 18"|
Bass drums: 16", 18", 20", 22" and 24"
|8", 10", 12", 13", 14", 16", 18", 20" and 22"|
|Sound quality||Muffled resonance and overtones. Retains tonality of individual drums.||Muffled resonance and overtones. Retains tonality of individual drums.|
|Read Our Review||Remo Silentstroke Review||Pearl Mesh Head Review|
Scroll down to read our thoughts about the Remo Silentstroke drum heads and the Pearl Mesh Heads.
And, don’t be in a rush to leave because we provide 3 major buying considerations for low volume drum heads and 4 tips on how to lower the volume of your drums beyond the use of low volume drum heads below as well.
What are Low Volume Drum Heads?
Low Volume Drum Heads are a class of drumheads specially designed to closely replicate the feel, tone and sounds of a regular drum head while reducing volume significantly. They promise to provide the same drumming experience, with a muted volume. All for you to practice drumming at your own convenience without pissing off your neighbor, house mates or parents.
These drum heads work like regular drum heads; they fit onto regular drum shells. Most would allow users to tune the tension of the drum, as well as retain tonality of the drum.
They are designed for drummers who want to able to practice quietly, on a full acoustic drum kit.
Hence, they are also commonly referred to as ‘low volume practice pads‘ or ‘silent heads‘.
If you live in an apartment or condo and don’t wish to disturb your neighbors while you practice, low volume drum heads are a great option for you.
A note about the ‘volume’ from Low Volume Drum Heads
Although they are referred to as ‘low volume drum heads’, you’ll need to accept that there will still be a certain level of sound when you drum.
If you have played on a regular acoustic drum kit, you’ll notice the significant decrease in volume once you switch over to these drum heads. However, you should not assume that this significant drop in volume is sufficient for your needs. The room in which you are drumming in also makes a difference. Read our guide on soundproofing a room for drums for some ideas.
You might want to check with your neighbors to determine if the resultant volume is suitable.
Let’s put it this way; if a non-drummer were to be in the same room as you while you played on these low volume drum heads, they might still find it a tad too loud.
With that quick introduction to low volume drum heads out of the way, let’s take a closer look at both the Remo Silentstroke and Pearl Mesh heads next!
Remo Silentstroke Heads
What are Remo Silentstroke Heads?
The Remo Silentstroke series consist of single ply mesh heads that come in various sizes.
According to Remo, you’ll get a “soft spring-like feel at very low decibel levels” with the Silentstroke Heads.
How ‘silent’ are the Remo Silent Stroke?
About 80% quieter than regular drum heads, we’d say.
Remo compared the volume produced on a Silentstroke against a regular drum head:
Here’s another comparison:
Video by Dave Yoder
How to use the Remo Silentstroke?
The Silentstroke heads work just like regular drum heads.
It comes in various sizes and will fit on regular sized snare, toms and bass drums.
All you need to do is to replace your existing drum head with the silentstroke mesh heads and you’re good to go.
You can reduce the volume further by removing your resonant head.
However, you should note that leaving your resonant head on helps to draw out a wider range of tones from each drum.
A note about tuning up the tones on your drums with the Remo Silentstroke
Dave Yoder shared a tip on increase the tonal range of your drums using duct tape as well:
If you have issues with the tape on your drum head, you can choose to tape it on the underside of the drum head as well.
Does the Remo Silentstroke feel like a regular drum head?
The Remo Silentstroke can be tuned using a drum key, just like any drum head.
Likewise, you can tune the tension of each drum to your liking and drumming style.
The bounce and feel is pretty similar to a regular drum kit in our opinion.
COOP3DRUMM3R’s review covers a little about the rebound on the Silentstroke:
He also demonstrates the volume of these low volume practice pad, with a comparison against his un-mic voice. You can watch that segment between 3:05 to 3:20 in the video above.
Durability of Remo Silentstroke
My greatest worry is that the Silentstroke mesh head might be weaker than a regular single ply drum head due to its material.
However, looking at COOP3DRUMM3R’s review in the video above, the Silentstroke might be more resilient than it looks and feel.
My current test set is still looking new after 2 rounds of practice, lasting about an hour each.
What other users say about the Remo Silentstroke
There are over hundreds of reviews for the Remo Silentstroke drum head series, we’ve compiled some of the points that were frequently mentioned.
- Very silent, great for those who want to practice without disturbing their neighbors or housemates.
- The mesh is made of good material and seems to be significantly more durable than its competitors.
- Too silent for some, you might want to leave your resonant head on.
- Too flat and toneless. Due to its efficiency in volume reduction, some drummers found the tonality produced with these drum heads lacking. There are hacks to increasing the tone, the video by Dave Yoder above reveals a solution that he has been using to improve the tone on his drum kit.
You can read more reviews on Amazon here.
Our thoughts on the Remo Silentstroke
As a silent drum head, the Remo Silentstroke stands out against its competitors in its functionality, durability and affordability.
It’s still in pristine shape after two quiet practice sessions, and that is what surprised me the most. I had expected to walk away with a bumpy silent drum kit after the first practice session.
A quick disclaimer though, I had not gone full session at full strength. Simply because that’s not how I usually play.
Hence, if you are a heavy hitter or a heavy metal drummer, the Remo Silentstroke might not be as durable for you.
These low volume drum heads really fulfill their promise.
I do not have a sound meter lying around and was not able to test the actual difference in volume. However, based on the ambient volume, I would say that it is about 80% quieter than my regular drum heads.
On the flip side, you’ll need to take into consideration that to use the Remo Silentstroke, you’ll need to remove your original drum heads, install the Silentstroke head and tune up the drums before you can start practicing.
Hence, it works great if you want a permanently quiet drum kit for practice, these are the perfect solution.
However, if you want to switch between a regular drum kit and a silent kit frequently, low volume drum heads like the Silentstroke may be a tad too troublesome to use. You might want to consider mute pads like the RTOM Black Hole pads.
Nothing can replace an actual acoustic drum kit, or at least that’s what they say.
I think the Remo Silentstroke came pretty close, especially since you can tune the tension of these heads to your liking.
Unlike a regular practice pads that are often time too bouncy, you can achieve pretty realistic rebounce off these heads.
It’s a silent drum head, so don’t expect too much.
The Remo Silentstroke can replicate the different tones in different drums, but don’t expect it to be identical to the actual drum heads. Afterall, you should know that your choice of regular drum heads will also affect the tones you get from a drum shell.
Do have the right expectation when using the Silentstroke (or any other low volume drum heads). There will be a loss of overtones and resonance.
Pearl Mesh Heads
also known as Pearl Muffle Mesh Heads
Pearl Muffle Mesh Heads are single ply mesh heads, woven from strong mesh fabric.
How ‘silent’ are the Pearl Muffle Mesh Heads?
These really help to muffle your drum kit, here’s how they sound in action:
Video by: Scott Winters
Of course, it’s not entirely silent.
And, basic physics still apply; the harder you hit, the louder it’ll be.
So if you share a room with someone, this might not be a viable option, depending on how hard you drum and how compromising your roommate is. In fact in such cases, even e-drums are viable options.
You should only practice your drumming when your room mate is out, or get them some earbuds.
How to use the Pearl Mesh Heads?
The Pearl Mesh heads will fit onto your drum shell, you can fit it on like any regular drum head.
It comes in various sizes that would fit on common sized drums; 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″ and 22″
You can adjust the tension and tune it using your drum key as well.
Does the Pearl Mesh Head feel like a regular drum head?
Well, like the Remo Silentstroke, you can tune the tension of the Pearl Mesh head using a drum key.
Hence, you are able to tune the tension of each drum to your liking and drumming style.
The rebound might feel dampened in the beginning.
Durability of Pearl Mesh Heads
How strong is woven mesh fabric really?
As mentioned above, this is my greatest concern when it comes to low volume drum heads.
It seems as thought the Pearl Muffle Mesh heads have had complains about its durability.
Make sure you are covered with warranty or have some sort of after sales support if you decide to purchase these.
What other users say about the Pearl Mesh Heads
- Very silent.
- Provides sufficient stick rebound; great for practicing on.
- Breaks easily, this seems to happen frequently on the bass drum mesh heads. Make sure you’re not using felt beaters on your bass drum pedal!
You can read more user reviews on Amazon here.
Our thoughts on the Pearl Mesh Heads
It is rather similar to the Remo Silentstroke in our experience, except that it provides slightly lesser stick rebound.
However, its durability might be the deal breaker.
The Pearl Mesh heads really help to reduce sound as well, the sound reduction is about 70%.
Your neighbors will definitely appreciate the reduction in volume.
If you have tried practicing on electronic drums, you’ll definitely appreciate the rebound and feel on these mesh drum heads.
Unlike the rubber e-drum pads that seem to absorb impact, you get a rather accurate stick rebound and attack with the Pearl Mesh heads.
With that said, do expect some difference in the feel of the mesh head as compared to regular acoustic drum heads. The flip side is that you get to tune the tension on these heads.
The Pearl Mesh Heads allow the drums to retain their tones as well.
Here’s a sound demo that compares the Pearl Mesh head against rubber drum pads on an electronic drum kit:
Video by Frantz Cariou
After reading the reviews that seem to agree on the lack of durability, this was our main worry with the Pearl Mesh Heads.
It seems that the bass drum mesh head have the tendency to break easily. Make sure you’re not using a felt beater.
We’ve used these heads in two separate practice sessions and have not broke any yet. However, there are bumps on the bass drum head.
You’ll want to watch your playing strength when using these.
Update on the Pearl Muffle Mesh Heads
The Pearl Muffle Mesh Heads seem to have been discontinued.
You might be able to find some new ones on Amazon or at your local music stores, and they are rather affordable. However, you’ll need to be aware that there may be limited support for this product.
On the flip side, you might also be able to find some second hand or pre-loved sets for cheap.
3 Important Factors to Consider when selecting Low Volume Drum Heads
I hope that you’ve found our comparison useful.
But before you go, we want to share 3 factors you should consider when choosing a low volume drum head.
They might cover things that you could have missed out during your research, so have a glance before you go;
- ‘Ambient’ Sound Level
- Frequency of use
‘Ambient’ Sound Level
You’re reading this for a reason.
You probably want a quiet or silent drum kit with which you can practice and improve on.
Hence, the ambient sound level, aka the actual volume from the drum head is the key factor you should be looking at.
There are tons of video reviews on Youtube with sound demos, so if you’re exploring low volume drum heads beyond this comparison, you might want to research on Youtube before deciding on a set.
Most low volume drum heads are made of thin single ply mesh.
If you look closely, you’ll notice that the mesh material allows air and sound waves to escape quickly. Hence these low volume mesh heads work well in reducing volume of your drum.
On the flip side, this also means that the mesh material can be rather weak.
You can expect to get bumps along the surface of your low volume drum heads much earlier than regular 1-ply drum heads.
This is an important factor to me because I don’t want to be spending a fortune to replace these low volume drum heads every month. I’m sure you’ll agree with this too.
The Remo Silentstroke is one of the most durable low volume drum heads we’ve tested. And most users agree as well.
Comparatively, the Pearl Muffle Mesh heads are less durable, with many users mentioning that their sets broke rather quickly.
If you’re explore other brands, do look through the user reviews to get an idea of the durability of the low volume drum head.
Frequency of use
As mentioned earlier, low volume drum heads like the Remo Silentstroke and Pearl Muffle mesh heads are installed directly onto your drum shells.
They are quieter than most other drum muffling solutions, however they require a relatively longer set up time.
If you need to switch to a regular volume acoustic drum kit frequently, you might want to consider if the need to switch drum heads will become a chore or a pain in the future.
Otherwise, if you are planning to permanently convert your acoustic drum set into a low volume practice kit, these low volume drum heads are great.
Are your drums till too loud? Here are 4 ways to troubleshoot
Depending on how you play, where you play and how sensitive your neighbors are, you might still get complains about the volume of your drums even after you’ve switched to low volume drum heads.
Here are 4 additional steps you can consider taking to reduce your drumming volume further;
1) Remove Resonant Heads
If you are playing with your resonant heads on and find that your kit is still a tad too loud, it’s time to remove those reso heads.
By removing the resonant heads, you’re essentially preventing the sound waves from resonating within the drum shells. This allows the sound waves to travel further and gives the impression that the drums are softer.
2) Switch up your Drumsticks
A common saying is; “the heavier the drumsticks, the louder you’ll be able to play”.
In line with this, do also note that you can cause more damage to your drum heads with heavier (and thicker) drumsticks.
So, if you want a quieter drum kit, do consider switching to a lighter pair of sticks, especially if you are currently using size 2 sticks.
It’ll ensure that your low volume drum heads last longer as well.
3) Increase the Sound Barrier
Sound waves travel through air pretty easily and you can hinder them by placing a barrier in their path.
If your neighbors are still finding the low volume drum heads too noisy, you can isolate your drum kit further by moving them into a deeper room.
A simpler solution would be to add sound isolation foam (like these) to the walls in the room where you drum.
If there are people living in the apartment beneath yours, you might want to consider getting a sound isolating drum mat or build a drum isolation platform.
example of a sound isolating drum mat:
4) Let’s talk about you, the drummer
Control your strength, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Think about it, it is kinda ironic to spend money on a set of low volume drum heads if you’re going to go hard on them. And break them all…
If you are serious about being able to practice silently, you’ll need to reduce your drumming strength for most part of your practice session.
It might be difficult to break the habit initially, try focusing on your technique and speed instead.
I prefer the Remo Silentstroke, there I said it.
Its durability, volume reduction and tone retention won me over.
You can check out other user’s reviews on Amazon as well.
Although the Pearl Muffle Mesh heads are comparable in its volume reduction capability and playing feel, its lack of durability and potential lack of after sales support worries me.
I wouldn’t want to risk purchasing a set of mesh heads that might not last past a couple of practice sessions.
I don’t think you should either.