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  • Tennis Ball Impact Noise Isolating Platform...

    I know there's a huge (searchable) resource on vdrums.com for the now-world famous 'Tennis Ball Platform' and variations on what is essentially an 'impact noise isolating platform'... but I thought I'd just share my own experiences, research and experiments anyway...

    Firstly, it's worth noting that the tennis ball platform is the most cost-effective way to go if you want to near-elliminate the transmission of kick pad, drum rack/stand 'impact noise' through the floors... particularly if you have your kit set up above another room or flat/apartment. I've looked at and tried a few other options (kid's playmats, gymnasium mats, bubble wrap, packing foam and rubber of varying shapes and densities)... but none have been this simple and effective. All in, I did mine (details below) for less than £40. I'm sure this has been said a thousand times... but whoever thought of using tennis balls for this was genius!

    Secondly, for some of you... a tennis ball platform may not solve all your neighbour noise disputes. It will only near-elliminate noise through floors (impact noise)... not through walls (acoustic noise). And while the former is definitely number one for complaints, the latter (which some neighbours will still complain about) can only be solved by sensible kit placement (away from walls) and sound-isolating the room the kit is in (potentially quite expensive).

    Thirdly, it is very easy to build an ineffective tennis ball platform. If the boards you use are too thick or stiff... and/or you use too many tennis balls, you'll have nothing to absorb the shockwaves that your impact's generate either directly (the kick pad) or through the rack/stands (the pads). All impacts will just go straight through the riser to the floor. Similarly, if the balls - sandwiched and clamped between the boards - are compressed too tightly, they will be ineffective... as the more you compress a tennis ball, the more solid it becomes. Essentially, the more 'flex' and 'give' the riser has (to a point), the more impact noise it will absorb.

    And lastly, the platform will work at it's best if it is, for it's given size, made completely symmetrical and optimised for the kit only. I've noticed that some of the drummers on here have platforms that include them on it as well... and if that works for you, then that's cool... but the potential problem with that is that you'll inevitably need more balls where the player sits (to support the weight)... inbalancing the platform surface... adding more rigidity... and therefore taking away from the isolating properties that you're after. The imbalanced surface board can also potentially act as an 'amplifier' or a 'soundboard' to the impact noise creating increased acoustic noise, requiring possibly unneccessary additional mats/rubber surfaces to dampen it. And providing a less stable surface to play on.

    So... with all this research, experimenting... and with the help of my neighbour monitoring the results in the flat below... I have finally got a solution that works. For me. I say 'for me' because this post is in no way attempting to be a 'definitive'. And I know there are lots of you out there who have alternative platforms that work really well too. For all you newbies out there... use the search engine and take a few days to read everything.

    I've done some basic 3D CAD stage sketches of my platform with dimensions. See below:-

    Dimensions and setting out for ball support holes. All Dimensions are in millimetres.



    Ultimately, I went for the 'classic' two board design using 2 x 18mm Medium Density Fibreboard sheets cut to 1700mm x 900mm
    (MDF is cheap, easy to cut and has a good balance of strength and flex). I cut the holes using a 38mmØ hole saw.
    The image below shows the 'base board'.




    I used 13 x Dunlop Fort All Court tennis balls (I got loads of them cheap from a local sports shop, unfortunately, now closed
    down. I guess that's why they were so inexpensive). Now... you could use any tennis ball really. They're all fit for this purpose...
    and worst case - even in the unlikely event of deflation - it's easy enough to replace them. I would however, recommend using
    the same make/type of ball as they can (to my surprise) vary in... er... 'pressure'... for want of a better description...
    (Shows how much I know about tennis...!)
    Tip:- Don't use juggling balls (too soft) or dog 'throw and fetch' balls (too hard).




    The image below shows the 'surface board' laying on the bed of tennis balls. The 'surface board' is identical to the 'base board'.
    Mark out and hole cut each board individually. It's the most time-consuming part of constructing this platform... but don't try
    to 'cut corners' or time save by attempting to cut both boards together. You'll get alignment issues and you might burn out your drill.
    Clear the cut hole piece from the saw after each hole is cut... and allow the hole saw and drill to cool down periodically.




    I've added a 20mm gymnasium mat as a layer to minimise acoustic noise. It's firm enough to play on without making a KD-8 for
    example, move laterally or pendulum... but absorbant enough to stop the board potentially resonating. It's also acts as a covering
    surface for the surface board ball holes. I've also used 6 x cable-ties on the edges (not shown) through the gymnasium mat and
    the two boards to hold it all together... which will make it easier to move it as a unit should I need to... and will stop the surface
    board potentially rolling off the bed of tennis balls).




    The underside of the base board has 8 x 15mm deep heavy duty rubber feet to further 'point isolate' the whole platform and
    to prevent potential sag if stood on. It also raises it enough so that you could run cables underneath it if required.




    Here, you can see the layers used (from Top to Bottom):-
    Protection Racket Drum Mat (folded back) - 20mm Gymnasium Mat - 18mm MDF - Tennis Balls - 18mm MDF - 15mm Rubber feet.




    And that's what it all looks like. Well... actually, it's all hidden under the Protection Racket drum mat (essential to stop the
    velcro'd pedals and KD-8 sliding). Note, drum throne not on platform. You know when you've made a good tennis ball impact
    noise isolating platform... when you hit a pad rim full-on... and you can feel the slight 'after-vibration' of the rack through
    your feet... you know the balls are working. Also when your neighbour stops moaning at you... that's a good sign too!

    Last edited by MisterMR; 01-14-09, 03:44 PM.

    Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

    Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


    MisterMR on YouTube

  • #2
    Wow those are great diagrams and a great photo! Well done!

    A few questions:

    1) With the kit and pedals so much higher than your throne, do you not have trouble getting your throne seat high enough?

    2) The holes you cut in the MDF for the tennis balls, how deep into the MDF do you cut them?

    3) Would you build me one, too, please?
    Roland: TD12, KD85, PD105, PD85 x3, CY15R, CY14C, CY12R/C x2, CY5, VH11
    DW: 5002-TD3 Kick Pedals, 9120AL throne + backrest
    Yamaha: HS1100 HH Stand
    Audio Technica: ATH-M40fs Cans
    Jeroen: Custom Electric Cowbell
    Kentley: Custom Piezo Trigger Splitter x2
    ByteArts: VEX TD-20 Kits: Top 50 1&2, Gigging Kits, Exotics 1, Professor's Pack
    Vdrumlib: Drum Librarian

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Mutnat View Post
      1) With the kit and pedals so much higher than your throne, do you not have trouble getting your throne seat high enough?

      2) The holes you cut in the MDF for the tennis balls, how deep into the MDF do you cut them?

      3) Would you build me one, too, please?

      1) I was a little concerned at first... but most drum thrones have more than enough adjustment in them to cater for the extra height required. My riser requires me to raise my throne by approximately 110mm.

      2) You cut the holes completely through the MDF. The holes are to just hold the tennis balls in place. You cut the holes smaller than the radius of the balls so they sit in the holes without going through.

      3) Well... let's just say that one platform build is enough for me, thanks! I hope my sketches help!

      Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

      Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


      MisterMR on YouTube

      Comment


      • #4
        Great work and explanation!

        Comment


        • #5
          This is actually fantastic!! Thanks

          I've been looking for a nice up-to-date diagram like this for a while - just got a TD9 and, although I have no complaints yet, the boards vibrate from rim shots and the pedal, so I can't imagine it's too pleasant next door.

          I hope you don't mind me asking, but as I'm in London too, whereabouts did you source all the materials from? (The rubber etc.) I've got a day free soon and would love to get this done

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by adrummer View Post
            Whereabouts did you source all the materials from? (The rubber etc.) I've got a day free soon and would love to get this done
            MDF - B & Q (£28).
            They did the cutting to size for free too. Make sure you can get it home though...! I just about managed to get it in the back of my VW.

            Tennis Balls - I got from a sports shop that's gone now! (Loads for £cheap).
            You can get a dozen for around a quid each relatively easily from most places.

            Tapered Rubber Feet - Maplins (£3 pack of four).
            These are the ones I used.

            The hole saw I had already. You can get a cheap hole saw set for about £11 Like this

            Oh... and the gymnasium mat I had already. Not absolutely neccessary, you could use thick carpet. Most Carpet stores will give you an off-cut being as you only want a bit.

            Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

            Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


            MisterMR on YouTube

            Comment


            • #7
              MisterMR, great work, thanks for taking to trouble posting it here. It can be very helpful for a lot people. Maybe you could end with a short listing of the materials?

              PS: and if your downstairs neighbour would start to miss your beautiful drum sounds, you can still switch on those JBL's !




              Hey Mods, how about making this thread (or maybe a cleaned version after a little more tweaking) a sticky?
              E kit: TD-9KX with Diamond Electronic Drums 13" snare, VH-11 and v-cowbell
              A kit 2009: Tama Superstar Custom Rock Satin Cherry Burst and Masterwork Custom cymbals
              A kit 2010: Gretsch Catalina Ash Cherry Red and Masterwork Iris cymbals
              Some keyboards and a couple of guitars...and not enough time to play them...
              pictures...videos...collaboration videos

              Comment


              • #8
                Looks absolutely great MisterMR.

                I have a question that doesn't relate to the subject, but I'm gonna ask it anyway. I see you have a nice boom arm for your 2nd crash. I assume it isn't originally Roland, but does it fit in the roland rack mounts? And have you fitted it with the CYM-10 (rotation stopper set from Roland)? Could you tell me the brand and type of the arm?

                Thanx a lot.
                TD9 (All VEX packs), VH11, DIY 12" snare, PD105, 3xPD85, PCY155, CY12R/C, Kit Toys 13" China, CY8, CY5, DIY electric cowbell, DIY 20" x 10" BD with Iron Cobra PowerGlide Double pedal
                I sell e-cowbells, go check em out!

                Comment


                • #9
                  That's quite impressive - and it's incredibly cheap (around £50) compared to internet ready made ones - nice job!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There's ready-made ones? hmmm...
                    Roland: TD12, KD85, PD105, PD85 x3, CY15R, CY14C, CY12R/C x2, CY5, VH11
                    DW: 5002-TD3 Kick Pedals, 9120AL throne + backrest
                    Yamaha: HS1100 HH Stand
                    Audio Technica: ATH-M40fs Cans
                    Jeroen: Custom Electric Cowbell
                    Kentley: Custom Piezo Trigger Splitter x2
                    ByteArts: VEX TD-20 Kits: Top 50 1&2, Gigging Kits, Exotics 1, Professor's Pack
                    Vdrumlib: Drum Librarian

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jeroencrezee View Post
                      I see you have a nice boom arm for your 2nd crash. I assume it isn't originally Roland, but does it fit in the roland rack mounts? And have you fitted it with the CYM-10 (rotation stopper set from Roland)? Could you tell me the brand and type of the arm?
                      My second crash boom is actually just a regular Roland MDY-10U... but I cut the length of the boom arm down (I didn't need it to be that long). That's why it may appear to look different! The other thing is that the clamp the MDY-10U comes with is the older design single adjuster hinged clamp... but I changed it for the MDS-9 two adjuster clamp (which, while still being plastic, is a much better clamp).

                      Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

                      Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


                      MisterMR on YouTube

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        MisterMR, just FYI, the hinged design is the new one! They are the ones which come with the MDS-12/20(TD12/20kits).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ige87 View Post
                          MisterMR, just FYI, the hinged design is the new one! They are the ones which come with the MDS-12/20(TD12/20kits).
                          I could be wrong... but I'm pretty sure the 'hinged' clamp is the older clamp... seeing as the MDS-9 (and it's associated clamps) is newer than the 12 and 20...?

                          Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

                          Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


                          MisterMR on YouTube

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well, thanks to all that have provided input on risers.

                            I built mine a couple of days ago.

                            Thanks MisterMR.

                            Mine isn't symmetrical etc. but does do the job! I built mine slightly shorter + shallower due to space restrictions, and also, I didn't want to buy 2 pieces of MDF to make up my platform as this would have doubled the cost Hence the extra 'bit' for the kick. Braced with more MDF.

                            As above, but replaced the gym mat with 2 layers of foam underlay, one thicker than the other. Then carpeted the whole thing. Has worked wonders - can hardly hear a thing downstairs when I got the GF to bash away

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That's a great job, ADrummer. Excellent images too. Well done!
                              Last edited by MisterMR; 01-14-09, 03:33 PM.

                              Roland TD-30 Drum Sound Module - KD-8 Kick - PD-105 Snare - PD-85 Toms (x5) - FD-8 Hi-Hat Controller - CY-5 Hi-Hats (x2) - CY-14C Crash - CY-15R Ride - CY-12R/C Ride/Crash (x2) - MDS-9 Rack

                              Pearl (Acoustic Drums) - Zildjian (Cymbals) - Remo (Drumheads) - Drum Workshop (Pedals & Hardware) - LP (Percussion) - Roc 'N' Soc (Drum Thrones) - Vic Firth (Sticks & Brushes) - Mackie (Mixers & Monitors) - AKG (Microphones & Headphones) - Protection Racket (Cases & Accessories)


                              MisterMR on YouTube

                              Comment

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