How Do I Choose the Best Drum Riser?

Erik J.J. Goserud

There are numerous options of drum risers to choose from, varying in size, height, and material. As a riser is usually provided by the venue, most drummers do not have their own. With any drum riser, it is recommended to choose one with a lightly carpeted surface to avoid unwanted movement of the drum set. When choosing the best riser for a given situation, it is important to consider spending budget, venue size, and drum set size.

For larger concert halls, 10- to 12-piece drum risers are a solid option.
For larger concert halls, 10- to 12-piece drum risers are a solid option.

Smaller, lightweight drum risers start at about $350 US Dollars (USD). Higher-end, professional drum risers can cost around $2,500 USD. Consumers can save considerable amounts of money buying used risers, though they are difficult and costly to ship via online purchase. Drum risers come in multiple platforms, usually four, six, or eight pieces for smaller models. Cases are sometimes included in the purchase.

Secondly, consider the size of the venue or playing space before choosing a drum riser. Ceiling height, floor space, and storage space are three basic factors to determine which drum riser is best for a particular room. Smaller venues should go with lightweight, four- or five-piece portable risers.

Bars and restaurants with limited space for bands seldom have drum risers. If they do, tables are cleared later in the evening to accommodate for a band and a drum riser. Even elevating the drum set 6 inches (15 cm) can add tremendous sound reinforcement and visual enhancement from an audience perspective. Even with lower-end models of drum risers, sound resonance is part of the construction, which improves the drums' sound. Hard, concrete floors can remove the tone from the kick and low toms.

For larger concert halls, 10- to 12-piece drum risers are a solid option. This option is well suited for bigger bands as other instrumentalists can accompany the drummer on the riser. These risers usually are larger than 100 square feet (9 square meters) and over 24 inches (61 cm) in height.

If there are multiple acts with multiple drum sets performing on a given night, consider a drum riser with wheels for each set. This enables quick transition times between acts as the drums are already set up on the riser and swiftly maneuvered into place. Drum risers are not necessary for practice spaces unless there is a potential hazard of flooding.

Even the smaller four-piece models hold a five-piece drum set without issue. For larger drum sets, look at purchasing a six- to eight-piece model. Drum racks and cymbal stands add width to the drum set and will require some extra drum riser pieces.

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