We all know the jokes about drummers right? Like “what is the definition of a drummer? – someone who hangs out with musicians” or “what’s the last thing most drummers say tho the band? – ‘guys I have a great idea for a song!”. But joking aside the truth is a good drummer makes a so-so band into a good band and a great drummer makes a good band into a great band.
So, on the way to answering the question ‘what are the best in-ear monitors for drummers?” we’ll look at why that monitoring is so important, in terms of the drummer holding the whole band or orchestra together.
Each generation throws up really great drummers who really make a band happen. In straight rock, think Dave Grohl in Nirvana. Lars Ulrich in Metallica. Keith Moon in the Who, ‘filthy’ Phil Taylor in Motorhead, or John Bonham in Led Zeppelin.
All of those great rock band sounds would have been quite different – and less great – without those specific drummers in those bands at that time, who drove their sound and also their on-stage presence. In the different and sometimes more complex drumming traditions of Jazz, Funk and Swing, think Billy Cobham, Art Blakely, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, and Max Roach.
Then there were the great drummers who crossed the boundaries between Jazz and Rock like Charlie Watts in the Rolling Stones – or the underrated drumming genius of Mitch Mitchell in the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
If it’s complexity you like in drumming, think progressive rock and the mind-bending complex time signature drumming of Bill Bruford in Yes and King Crimson, or Neil Peart in Rush. No drum machine or software program can emulate the feel and subtleties of these great drummers and none, of course, can substitute for their live performances at gigs.
This review of best in-ear monitors (IEM’s) for drummers is going to be a little different from some you might read on the internet.
First, we are going to start with a history of how and why in-ear monitoring came about – you can skip this introductory section if you want but you might miss an important point.
The review is written by a former professional audio engineer and musician (me) after 90 plus hours of research and unlike some internet reviews, you will hopefully see that the writer actually knows the subject.
That means you can have more confidence in the reviews themselves.
So, here goes with an optional but hopefully interesting description of how and why we got to where we are today and why we have this particular list of best in-ear monitors for drummers. Note we have stayed away in the review from conventional headphones, which we’ll tackle at a later date.
We’ll first start with a quick list of our top best in-ear monitors for drummers, then look at the background to the topic, ending up with a comprehensive review list of 9 models in total.
Best In Ear Monitors for Drummers
OK, that is our shortlist of top rating models, later we’ll look at them in detail, plus list 6 more we recommend. Before that, let’s take a quick look at what the whole IEM buying process is really about, by finding out how we got where we are today.
The story behind monitors
Back in the day, in the Jazz and Swing era, there were no monitors for the drummer at all. Drumming was acoustic – along with almost everything else in the band. Only Singers had amplification. The Drummer easily locked in with the acoustic double bass player and stood no risk of being overwhelmed.
That all changed with the growth in the use of the electric guitar in the 40’s, then the corresponding move to electric bass in the 50’s. Amplified electric keyboards, like the Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer electric piano and Hammond Organ all made drummers’ lives more complex from the ’60s.
Now as a drummer, you had a whole load of electrically amplified noise up on stage with you. The poor old drummers couldn’t hear themselves play or at least they couldn’t hear one or more amplified fellow band members. That said, overall sound levels in the early 60’s were still not that great. Famously, the Beatles stopped touring because no one in America could hear them play the big stadiums properly, over all the screaming. This was due to the underpowered PA (public address) systems of the time.
By the time we get to the late sixties and into the early seventies, rock guitarists, bassists, and keyboard players had huge amounts of on-stage amplification, like stacks of Marshall, Orange, Hi-Watt, Vox, Fender and Sound City valve amplifiers, each of which might be putting out 100/200 watts RMS plus, per amp, through towers of 4×12” or 4×10” speaker cabinets, 15” and even 18” Bass speaker cabinets, plus assorted combos and other amps, all throwing out huge volumes. The drummer was surrounded and outgunned.
It was in this era that rock musicians started to get serious ear damage. This ranged from losing high Frequencies, through to Tinnitus – ringing in the ears, and even near-total deafness. Often this built up over time and famous casualties include Pete Townsend of The Who, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young, and Eric Clapton. This problem has not yet gone away, with Brian Johnstone of AC/DC and former Genesis drummer and vocalist Phil Collins as two recent new casualties.
Simply playing louder to make yourself heard, wasn’t working then and people were taking real damage.
The old solution to the band being able to hear each other from the late 60’s onwards and through most of the 70’s was to mike up absolutely everything, then run it into the main PA desk then send a special version of the mix back to the band on stage, using floor-mounted wedge-shaped monitor speakers plus ‘side fill’ column speakers.
In a nutshell, the audio director was taking the PA output and sending it selectively back to the band. The audio mixing console would have sub mixing features, to allow each band member to have their own sound sufficiently audible to them, plus enough from each other band member to allow everyone to stay in time and in tune with each other. It was a complex and highly skilled job but it could be done – up to a point artic.
The theory at the time was to beef up the overall PA (Public Address system) Quality and volume and cut down everyone’s amplifiers volume on stage. Then – so the theory went – each band member would either have their amplifier miked up, or they would be plugged directly into the audio mixing console. Then an audio engineer would isolate each instrument, then balance out the total overall sound, including the volume of the different individual instruments – which we will come to more in a minute.
In practice, you still had the issue of Spinal -Tap like prima donna musicians with giant egos, ‘turning it up to 11’ and overwhelming other band members. Drummers were especially vulnerable – the drummers had no volume control.
So, a very tricky solution plus there were some more other additional very real problems with the monitor speaker approach, both for drummers and for everybody else.
Limitations of the external Monitor speaker system
External monitors were clearly better than nothing but this way of performing was fraught with difficulties. In no particular order, here are some:
1. Cost of buying the Monitoring Equipment
A completely new set of amplifiers, speakers and cable had to be bought, plus some spares, plus (sometimes) insurance. This was a serious amount of money.
2. Costs of moving the Monitoring Equipment
All those extra speakers and cables needed to be moved from venue to venue. That meant transportation costs and cost of buying flight cases (plus sometimes more insurance)
3. Complexity of setting up the Monitoring equipment
The road crew not only had to set up the main PA, they also had to set up the monitoring PA. So more time, more costs, more things potentially to go wrong – but not as big as the next problem – the Band.
4. Band Politics
There is a story that Lemmy from Motorhead fired every monitor guy after each gig on one US tour. Any and sometimes every band member could and still can get grumpy about the audio monitors. The long list of grievances could include that their instrument was too quiet, or that any other instrument was too loud or too quiet.
Then, they might not be happy about where the monitors were placed, or how many monitors there were, or (for poseur singers and lead guitarists) the monitors getting in their way when running around the stage or generally cramping their physical stage antics….you get the picture.
5. Feedback and spillage
OK, so you have lots of loudspeakers and lots of microphones – just the drum kit might have 6 and if you are Neil Peart, a whole music store might be emptied to mike up to his vast collection. And of course lots of volumes. Maybe you have a few semi-acoustic guitars from Gibson or Gretsch in the mix too.
And maybe a singer who is throwing their Shure microphone about and prancing or strutting around the stage – or off it. What are you going to get – well, lots of opportunity for ear-bleeding levels of feedback (AKA howl round) and also the sound from one instrument going into a microphone that is supposed to be capturing a different one (AKA spillage). Acoustic isolation on stage is really, difficult if you use external monitor speakers.
Buyers Guide to In-Ear Monitoring – the Nine Best IEM’s for Drummers
OK, now for the full list of in-ear monitors for drums. Some are more popular than others, some go at very different price points. In our reviewing criteria, we looked at things like sound insulation, the ability to make custom changes to the fitting, so that they are comfortable
1. TIN Audio T2 in-Ear Wired Headphone
Best budget in-ear monitors for drummers
If it is an accurate sound you want and you are on a lower budget, then this 10MM woofer + 6MM Tweeter vented design in These wired in ears have a great ‘flat’ sound which is what real professionals tend to prefer – as you can always adjust frequency response on the mixing desk or vai a parametric or graphic equalizer. The in-ear design is very adaptable, via 3 pairs of silicone ear tips and 1 pair of foam tips, and therefore comfortable. The fact these use Standard MMCX connectors and detachable cables make customizing how you work with them easily done.
Verdict: One of the best budget in-ear monitors for drummers.
2. Shure SE215 Wireless Earphones with Bluetooth 5.0
One of the Best wireless IEMs
Shure is a well-respected brand that has been supplying professional audio stage gear way back to the days of the Who and Led Zeppelin. Now some audio professionals are in two minds about using wireless Bluetooth. The big positive is no cable to worry about, which gives great freedom of movement for a drummer or any other band member. The downside for some is the hassle of setting up and they relying on multiple Bluetooth connections. The good news is that the Shure SE215’s use the very latest Bluetooth 5 Wireless Technology, which gives superior quality and robustness, is power efficient (these have up to 10 hours of battery life) and is usually good for about 30 feet (10 meters) of range.
There is good sound isolation on these Shures too, which is great for drummers, and especially useful with electronic stage drums, as there’s no acoustic guide to playing otherwise.
Verdict: Shure is a trusted brand and we happily recommend this Bluetooth wireless model for drummers.
3. KZ ZS10 Pro In-Ear Monitors
Another one of the best budget in-ear monitors for drummers
If price really is an issue, then we recommend these wired KZ IEM,s. Make sure you get the ones without a microphone and you’ll save more cost (and more hassle. These have some clever features like a two-pin socket and cable, which is less prone to breakage than a single pin, and in a nutshell, the KZ ZS10’s are good but cheap in-ear monitors for drummers.
Verdict: If you are a band on a tight budget, worth considering.
4. Audio Technica ATH-E70 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones
Best luxury IEMs
We really liked these Audio Technica IED’s when we tried them out at a rehearsal. We ran these alongside some conventional external wedge monitors for comparison. We took the drumming mics output into the mixing desk (along with the singers and some miked up Black Star, Vox and Fender combos, then fed some of it back through the floor-mounted monitor speakers so that everyone could hear themselves including the drummer then faded them down and brought these babies up.
It was a nice theoretical test and it worked out very interestingly.
The first and most obvious point was getting a roughly equivalent quality to the Audio Technica meant the floor wedge system very prone to feedback. Our microphones picked up the equivalent signal coming back and then kept looping it around at ear-splitting volume.
So, no contest there and the Audio Technicas won that battle. We’ve tried other IEM’s before and didn’t much like the sound but these are really top-end models that impressed us a lot.
Verdict: Great if you can afford them – keep an eye on them though, as they are very desirable and might get stolen pretty quickly.
5. SIMGOT EN700 PRO High Fidelity in-Ear Monitor Headphones
Best for IEMs for bass frequencies and electronic drums
Also in the higher cost category are these excellent Simgot wired IEMS. They are great for electronic drums as they have a pretty flat full 15Hz – 40kHz frequency response, despite eschewing a multi-driver design, which is rather better than some other IEMs. They also have a rather superior cable to some, as it is much less prone to microphony.
Now remember those Drummer jokes, well these IEM can be optioned with red (for left) and blue (for right) for those drummers who can’t quite figure out which ear is which.
Verdict: Another ‘if you have the money, give them a try’ recommended IEM model.
6. MEE audio – MX3 Pro Hybrid Triple-Driver
Best multi-driver IEM
MEE has taken a different design philosophy to Simgot. Here in this wired IED, we see the use of three drivers – a 10mm moving coil subwoofer, a midrange armature and an HF armature. It works out very well too, with generally a nicely balanced sound and reasonable sound isolation. There’s lots of ability to custom fit them to make them as comfortable as possible.
Verdict: It’s going to come down to personal taste, whether the extra cost of these MEE’s is really justified – but well worth considering.
7. LINNER NC50 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Earbuds
Best for noise cancellation
OK back to some Bluetooth wireless technology and this time we’re going out on a limb by introducing noise cancellation. Now, not everyone thinks noise cancellation on stage is a good thing, but if you think about it, if the audio engineer on the desk is doing their job properly, and you are in a band with one of the more knuckle-dragging decibel junkies, why not throw in some (up to 28dB) noise cancellation?
These Linners tick lots of other boxes too, with a choice of ear tip sizes, IPX4 level water resistance (great for sweaty drummers) and reasonable sound quality at a reasonable price.
Verdict: Something a little different that will possibly suit Drummers who want real acoustic isolation.
8. HIDIZS MS1 In-Ear Monitor Wired Headphones
Best IED for styling
If you want IEDs that look good, the handsome-looking HIDIZS (you can have them in silver/stell or black) should be on your list. The selection of different ear tips is very welcome and the sound quality is extremely good at this price point, powered by a single dynamic driver, although bass is not quite up to some other competitor models. The supplied cable can be replaced or changed, as it uses a .78mm 2-pin connection.
Verdict: If it’s all about the look, yes. If it’s all about the bass – maybe not.
9. TENHZ DT3 in-Ear Monitor Wired Earbuds
Alternative best multi-driver design
The Tenhz DT3 is our final model on the list. This is another of our multi-driver choices, with a standard LF/MF/HF three-way split, that covers 20Hz to 40 kHz and there’s some crossover. The design is plastic, unlike some of the metal versions, we reviewed and consequently a bit lighter than some. There’s a detachable cable and a selection of earbuds grommet sizes.
Verdict: If you prefer multi-driver designs, which are more complex to keep a flat frequency response with, then these are a strong possibility.
Enter On-Ear and In-Ear Monitoring (IEM)
Gradually the cost, complexity and occasional chaos of external monitoring gave way to greater use on-ear and later in-ear monitoring. It had always been used in the studio, but out on the stage, headphones with cable connections initially were increasingly used by drummers, who had the three advantages over singers and guitarists that they didn’t need to move around, were sitting down and were much less visible to the audience, as drummers were seated usually at the back of the stage and were partly hidden by their kit, especially the cymbals.
For the first time, drummers could not only hear themselves correctly but also other band members (assuming the audio engineer was doing their job). Plus, they had some protection from the nuclear warfare volume escalations that could take place between guitarists, bass players, etc.
Early wireless technology, based on RF, started to be used to dispense with Wired cables next and then better in-ear monitoring came along. This newer technology approach developed and matured. Soon most or all of the band could choose to drop the use of external monitoring. This saved huge amounts of money in buying equipment and moving equipment, made the sound guys job a lot easier, made the drummer’s life on stage a lot more pleasant and their job easier (and everybody else in the band too) and protected all the band members from the very real risk of hearing damage.
Best In Ears for Drummers
So that concludes our review of the best wireless in-ear monitors for drummers. We could have reviewed many more models, but we think this is a good selection of some of the best examples in different niches.
So, what do you think? Let us know in our comments section below.
Best In Ear Monitors for Drummers in 2021
The earphones are a modern accessory whose ear pads are inserted into the ear canal. Thanks to such design they provide excellent suppression of extraneous noise, and allow you to feel the bass much better. Usually, such earphones come with a few pairs of ear tips of different sizes, which makes it easy to choose the most convenient for ears, and also control the depth of immersion.
Best Rated In Ear Monitors for Drumming
From a great variety of earphones, we’d like to draw your attention to two models – Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors and Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference In-Ear Monitors.
Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors
Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Ear Monitors is really good at producing high-quality sound and rich bass. The reason for this is 3 drivers for high, middle and low sound frequencies. The ear monitors come with 5 silicone ear tips of different size that allows you to choose the best fit and feel comfy. All of them provide high noise insulation. The cable is easily moldable and of course detachable. There is also an orange caring case for protecting the earphones from scratches and so on. Maybe the price is too high but Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Ear Monitors are definitely worth buying.
Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference In-Ear Monitors
Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference In-Ear Monitors also provide really high-quality sounds and good noise isolation. They come in a black protective case and 6 pairs of ear tips. The body is made of aluminum making ear monitors very durable. The cable is firm, easily moldable and removable. Also, ¼” adapter is included to connect earphones to higher sound devices. The price is also high but you have to understand that Etymotic earphones will provide you with an exceptional audio playback and many useful options.
Why is it worth choosing the earphones?
Let’s consider their 3 main advantages:
- Compact size. This option is perfect if you are on the go, go for a walk, it is easy to carry the earphones with you, because they can easily fit in your pocket. It provides excellent portability and comfort.
- Great convenience. Earphones are very comfortable to wear. Usually, this accessory is small, and the ear tips are completely made of silicone, foam or rubber. This allows them to penetrate into the ear deeply and provide great comfort to users.
- Excellent sound insulation and good sound reproduction. Thanks to the deep immersion into the ear canal, the earphones are perfect at isolating from extraneous sounds. Thus the sound quality is increasing and the bass is quite rich. Such qualities are the best in ear monitors for drummers in particular. They put on headphones not to lose the beat, so they listen to the whole composition much better.
Of course, there is a disadvantage in using such devices too. It consists in the fact that these headphones are not recommended to use for several hours in a row.
Because of the peculiarities of wearing, the user may have a headache or an earache. Besides, many doctors state that the earphones cause some pressure on ears. So, it’s highly recommended not to listen to music very loudly in the earphones since your ear will be getting worse.
If you are tired of using wired earphones you may use wireless ones. Interaction with a smartphone or any other devices is carried out via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or using a radio signal. Thus, a person feels more comfortable using wireless earphones everywhere he wants. Besides, it’s very convenient for professional drummers who need them for the best wireless monitor system.
Top 8 Earphones
So, what are the best earphones? Many people are really concerned about this question especially those who are into music. To ease the customer’s choice, we’ve spent about 50 hours on analyzing the most high-quality products. For this, we’ve chosen those features and advantages that are the best in ear monitors.
1. Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors
Westone UM Pro 30 Triple-Driver is a multifunctional ear monitor which is full of different options. The biggest pro is its rich and high-quality bass that makes articulation much better. Also, the bass doesn’t obstruct sounds of middle frequencies.
There are 5 different sized silicone ear tips that provide you with various variants to fit your ears. The star tips are really comfortable and provide much noise insulation. The memory wire is formable and easy to wear in the ears. The cable is removable from earbuds.
Westone UM Pro 30 headphones have 3 drivers for high, middle and low sound frequencies. Thanks to them they sound really fantastic.
This model comes with an orange case that protects the earphones during traveling.
So, all above-mentioned features have to be in ear monitors for drummers who expect a really high quality of audio playback.
Compact and modern design.
Provides a lot of sound isolation.
Comes with three-way drivers and crossovers.
Perfect sound reproduction.
At a quite high price (400 dollars).
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How many eat tips are there?
A: There are 10 different ear tips.
Q: Does it have 3 sound drivers?
A: Yes, it has bass, mid and high sound frequencies drivers.
Q: What material is the case made from?
A: It’s made from durable and hard plastic.
2. Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 Ear Monitor Headphones is a great choice for drummers as they equipped with soft ear tips providing great comfort during performance. There are 4 sizes of silicone ear tips and 2 sizes of earbuds to choose from. Also, it comes with a nice black pouch.
What concerns sound, it is really high-quality. The audio playback is rich, clear and precise thanks to symphonic dual drivers. They supply a really good combination of low and high frequencies reducing distortion. Besides, the bass is high-quality and deep. The frequency response range is from 5 Hz to 26 kHz.
Unlike other headphones, you have to wrap Audio-Technica behind and over your ear. So, it’s much better as they won’t fall out easily. The cable is removable and quite durable.
Rich and clear sound reproduction.
Dual symphonic drivers.
Modern design with a glossy red plastic body.
Too short cable.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do they come with volume control or any microphone?
A: No, unfortunately, they don’t come with any of these items.
Q: How many sizes of silicone ear tips are there?
A: You may find 4 sizes of ear tips.
Q: Are these headphones available only in red color?
A: Yes, they come only in a red color.
3. BASN Bsinger+ Pro
BASN Bsinger+ Pro headphones are considered to be ones of the most appealing with a transparent body through which an electronic circuitry may be seen. The 2 cables are covered with silver and they are detachable. Both of them have memory wire hooks which allow you to bend them easily and shape them around you. There is also a mic (on one cable) and a remote. The headphones come with a black case and 5 different silicone ear tips for better fitting.
There are two sound drivers – the first one is aimed for higher frequencies and the second one is for lower frequencies.
Maybe this pair of headphones doesn’t provide high-quality sounds like above-mentioned goods, but a lot of customers will be satisfied with a quite cheap price – about 50 dollars.
At an affordable price.
Modern and trasnparent body.
2 removable cables.
Isn’t a very high quality of sound reproduction.
Not the very comfy shape of ear tips.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Does this model come in other colors?
A: Yes, it comes in brown, red and blue color.
Q: Is there any control button?
A: Yes, there is a control button to play and pause music, turn over the next or previous tune.
Q: Is a carrying case included?
A: Yes, it’s included.
4. Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference In-Ear Monitors
Despite the fact that Etymotic brand is quite young, Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio Reference In-Ear Monitors became popular very quickly. They are designed for drummers providing really high-quality sounds and good noise isolation. They come with 6 ear tips to choose from and a black caring case. The body is thin and smart that will perfectly fit your ears. Besides, it’s made from aluminum material which is very durable. The audio cable is also very hard, easily formable and of course detachable. Its length is 5 feet.
Etymotic Ear Monitors can be connected via 3.5 mm jack. What is good that they come with ¼” adapter. It’s a really useful point if a drummer wishes to connect them to any other high-grade sound equipment.
Exceptional audio playback.
Very high noise insulation.
Sturdy body made of aluminum.
Too high price.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How good is the quality of sound?
A: The earphones provide a really clear and fantastic sound and besides the bass is rich.
Q: What is the range of sound frequencies?
A: It’s from 100 Hz to 10 kHz.
Q: Is the noise isolation high?
A: The earphones feature 35 to 42 DB noise isolation.
5. Audio Technica ATH-IM02 SonicPro Balanced In-Ear Monitor Headphones
Audio Technica ATH-IM02 Ear Monitor Headphones is a great choice for drummers since they provide a high level of noise insulation during a performance. They have not big earbuds that are perfect for people with no large ear holes. The memory wire is easily moldable and detachable. Besides, the headphones come with an additional cable that features an L-shaped plug for easy connection.
A black zipper case comes with 3 couples of silicone ear tips for better fitting and foam ear pieces. What is good that the ear tips have a seal providing good noise insulation. One of the biggest advantages is dual armature drivers that produce clear and rich audio playback.
Provide high noise isolation.
Come with an extra cable.
High-quality sound reproduction.
Dual armature drivers.
At a high price.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is the cable detachable?
A: Yes, it is.
Q: Do the headphones for drummers feature a mic or volume control?
A: Unfortunately they don’t have a microphone or volume control.
Q: Is this model made in China?
A: No, it’s made in Japan.
6. MEE Audio M6 Pro
MEE Audio M6 Pro Ear Monitors are excelled by appealing design allowing you to look at electronic circuitry inside. Also, this model comes in black color. There are 2 removable cables one of which has a remote control and a mic. You can choose between 6 different ear tips. 5 of them are silicone and one is made from foam. Thus, a drummer can select the most comfortable combination for his ears.
What concerns sound the earphones are really good at playing bass frequencies but high-frequency range sounds a bit dull. But you have to admit that the price is affordable in comparison to other products.
MEE Audio M6 Pro Ear Monitors come with a protecting caring case, extra cable and ¼ stereo adapter.
2 removable cables.
Comes with a microphone and remote control.
At a good price.
7 ear tips included.
Average producing of high sound frequencies.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do the headphones come with volume control?
A: Yes, they come with volume control.
Q: What is the range of sound frequencies?
A: Its from 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Q: Can I use them on my mobile phone?
A: Thanks to 3.5 mm jack you can easily use MEE Audio M6 Pro Ear Monitors on your smartphone, laptop and tablet.
7. Etymotic Research ER4P-T microPro Precision Matched In-Ear Earphones
Etymotic Research ER4P-T Ear Earphones is also an excellent product that produces a clear sound and isolates noise very well. The earphones are equipped with ACCU Driver balanced armature drivers. Thanks to them the audio playback sounds more natural (about 86 percents) than on other products.
Every headphone has a twisted wire lead. The four-foot cable is really thick, braided and sturdy but it isn’t detachable.
Etymotic Earphones come in a plastic hard box with an airline adapter, an 8 inch to quarter inch adapter, a shirt clip, a caring case, and 3 sets of ear tips for a comfy fit.
Sturdy and braided cables.
Perfect for drummers, musical producers, and sound technicians.
Good sound and noise isolation.
Too long and heavy cable.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How long is the cable?
A: It’s 5 feet long.
Q: How many sets of ear tips are there?
A: You may find 3 sets of ear times for the headphones.
Q: Can I detach the cable?
A: No, unfortunately, you can’t.
8. LyxPro ERP-10
LyxPro ERP-10 is a perfect option for those whose budget is limited. They cost about 40 dollars that might be pleasant for many customers. The earphones are designed with 9mm driver. There are 6 sets of ear tips to choose from for better fit. Three of them are foam and others are silicone. The cables are braided and sturdy. Besides, they are easily detachable from wireless buds.
The frequency range is usual – from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The LyxPro ERP-10 earphones come with a black carrying case and a 3.5mm to ¼” audio jack adapter.
At a low price.
Six couples of silicone and foam ear tips.
Average sound on low frequencies.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Do these headphones have play pause button?
A: No, they don’t.
Q: I am a professional drummer. Are they worth buying?
A: Definitely yes. But the sound reproduction is a bit poor on the lowest frequencies.
Q: Are the cables sturdy and braided?
A: Yes, they are quite durable and braided.
Best Earbuds for Drummers in 2021
Earphones is a very useful and helpful device not only for ordinary people but also for professional musicians especially for drummers, singers, and guitarists. Buying them, always pay attention to their sound performance and noise isolation which have to be the best in ear monitors. We’ve reviewed the top 8 ear monitors with the highest rating, all their pros, and cons. Perhaps, the budget in some ear monitors is really expensive but to our mind, their characteristics make them definitely worthy to buy for many customers.
What’s the Best Isolation Headphones for Drummers
If you are a drummer playing gigs and you have annoyingly loud bandmates, what are the best headphones for drummers Or, if you are a drummer working in the studio, or you play electronic drums, what are the best headphones for drumming then? There are many factors drummers need to think about when choosing live or studio headphones. It’s important to ignore reviews and ratings from self-proclaimed ‘audiophiles’ or Hi-Fi magazines and websites with strangely worded English. Also, take no notice of buzzwords, dreamed up in the marketing departments of consumer electronics companies. Properly (formally) trained and experienced professional audio engineers, who have studied acoustics, will give you more accurate advice.
Best Headphones for Drumming
Ok, now let’s dive into our top recommended headphones play drums with.
That’s our quick top – later we’ll look in more detail at these and 6 other models. First, let’s do some demystification of a couple of buzzwords you will see in reviews, noise cancellation and crossover.
Understanding Buzzwords: Noise Cancellation and Crossover
Specialized Digital Sound Processing (DSP) chips for the computational needs of digital signal processing are increasingly used in headphones. Due to the reducing costs and increasing capabilities of DSP chips, it’s now possible to implement all sorts of digital functions in headphones. In this chapter two relatively common signal processing features, including Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Digital Crossover.
Active Noise Cancellation attenuates ambient noise. Active noise cancellation in a headphone uses a microphone, speaker, battery and noise cancellation DSP. When noise cancellation is activated, the microphones start recording the ambient noise of the environment close which is input to the noise cancellation DSP. The DSP then creates a 180º phase-shifted version of the recorded noise. When this phase-shifted recording is output to the headphone, it cancels out the ambient noise in real-time. Current ANC technology generally works better with constant sounds than with random ones and better at low frequencies than high. ANC headphones are not needed in professional studios, where drums are being recorded in full acoustic isolation.
Crossover handles the use of multiple drivers in the headphone. It is not possible to achieve perfect reproduction in all respects with a single driver. That is why multi-driver systems are used, where each of the drivers reproduces a certain frequency band. The most common design is a two-way system with a woofer for low frequencies and a tweeter for the higher frequencies. A three-way system has separate low, middle and high-frequency drivers. Up to 5 drivers can be used (subwoofers, woofers, squawkers, tweeters, super-tweeters, etc.) The use of multiple drivers gets a bit complex to manage, as each driver needs to be sent only the right frequency for its range. If that’s not done correctly, some frequencies will be too loud or too quiet – you don’t get a ‘flat frequency response’ – that’s bad in professional headphones for drummers because you want to hear what you actually sound like. It’s not the job of the headphones to modify your sound – that should be up to you, or to the audio engineers you work with.
Crossover DSP’s are designed to do just that, by smoothing out of the crossover points between drivers. We could do a whole article on how all this stuff works, but for the purposes of this review, let’s just say that some multi-driver headphones work better than others.
4 tips from a professional drummers
In a nutshell, here are the 4 things a professional audio engineer will tell you that you need to look out for in headphones when playing drums.
1. Full and flat frequency response
You need to hear everything from a Bass drum up to a splash cymbal – and everything in-between – as accurately and clearly as possible. Professional headphones are different from consumer models because consumer models are only designed to appeal to consumers – not be accurate. This fact is overlooked in some hi-fi journalists or amateur audiophile reviews of what are the best headphones for drummers.
2. Sound Isolation
You need protection from the loud sounds and general noise around you both to protect your hearing but also because you want to hear yourself and not be drowned out by what’s going on around you. Isolation headphones for drummers simply passively cut down the noise via the use of acoustic deadening materials.
Active noise cancellation headphones go one step further and aim to virtually eliminate some noise via electronics. Noise isolating can be combined with noise cancellation in some higher-end models. You should not need noise cancellation if you are drumming in a professional recording studio.
3. Secure attachment and robust design
Drumming at gigs is a very physical activity, so any headphones for drums must not drop off easily and they must not be fragile if they do fall. If you go gigging or even spend a lot of time in the studio, any headphones will have a tough life.
4. Right for your Budget
Another closely related aspect of gigging to part 3, is that equipment easily gets lost stolen or broken. Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols famously equipped the seminal Punk Rock band, courtesy of David Bowie, by stealing Bowie’s band equipment from the Hammersmith Odeon.
Types of Headphones
If we take ‘headphones’ to mean any form of head-mounted monitoring, there are 4 main types:
1. External Bone Conducting
These are transducers that sit on the skull and transmit sound by direct contact. They are great for some consumer use cases but don’t offer any audio protection or isolation and we aren’t going to cover them in these reviews.
2. In-ear monitors (IEMs)
These fit directly into the ear and are great if you don’t want to look like a cyborg. We already mentioned the use of in-ear monitoring (IEM) in a previous article. IEM earbuds are great for being able to hear yourself but also preventing long-term ear damage, including deafness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
IEMs are usually equipped with rubber or foam plugs which is the part that forms a seal between the earbud and the ear canal. Some vendors offer a choice of tip sizes to get a better fit. A special category is a custom in-ear monitor (CIEM) which has a customized earpiece to fit perfectly the individual listener’s inner ear shape. When the tip of the earbud fits well and is placed well inside the user’s ear, you can get a fairly large amount of passive noise attenuation and therefore isolation. This attenuation is however fairly frequency-dependent and much better at higher frequencies. It won’t help much with the attenuating the sound of a power-crazed bass guitarist.
Some IEM’s can have issues with reproducing low bass frequencies too. Maybe their biggest drawback is simply falling out of your ear when doing something that involves a lot of movement – like drumming. It is very, very much easier for an IEM earbud to fall out and once fallen out to be lost, than a pair of headphones with a headband.
3. On-ear headphones (Supra-aural and Supra-concha)
This design typically uses a foam cushion and rest on top of the ear, rather than fitting into the ear canal like an IEM, or enclosing the ear totally and making an air-seal like over the ear headphones. They can be light and comfortable but are not especially noise isolating.
4. Over-ear headphones (Circumaural)
Most high-end headphones are over-ear type, fully covering all the outer ear (Pinna). This design type breaks down into closed, semi-open and open.
The closed-ear type aims to as far as possible isolate the ear canal from external noise and the semi-open and open types provide an intentional amount of leak of sound into the ear canal.
Over-ear types surround the whole pinna and form a good seal using a cushion against the side of the head. This relatively good seal leaks only due to hair between the head and the cushion. Over-ear circumaural headphones are rightly known to have a good bass response. Most professional studio monitor headphones and reference headphones are over-ear circumaural and these are the kind we generally recommend for acoustic drumming in studios and some gigs.
Why some Headphone Reviews for Musicians are Unreliable
Headphones for professional musicians have different criteria than for the consumer. The object of consumer headphone designers is just selling headphones to a consumer, not make an accurate price of reference equipment. A consumer might enjoy either over-emphasized bass or high frequencies. They might be willing to trade off acoustic quality over style or portability.
But for drumming the headphone should be transparent as practical. This means a drummer’s headphone should reproduce a full frequency spectrum as flat as possible – ‘as is’ without any emphasis, de-emphasis or other coloration. Otherwise, the drummer can’t actually hear what he or she is playing and what they sound like accurately.
This is why so many headphone reviews are unscientific or just plain rubbish. Headphones for drummers need to be about accurate audio reproduction, not about ‘crisp bass’ or ‘high-end cut through’.
1. Sennheiser HD280 Pro
Best reasonably priced model for ear protection
If it’s gigging you are doing and you have a good on-stage monitoring setup via a mixing desk (so you can hear everyone else through the phones), these very reasonably priced Sennheiser closed-ear headphones are a great choice. Their good frequency response means you will get the full range of sounds from your kit. The frequency response is pretty flat too, which means you get to hear yourself and 32 dB noise attenuation means you don’t get swamped with sounds you don’t want to hear. VERDICT: In a nutshell, you hear yourself and other band members correctly. Which is what it’s all about. Plus they are comfortable to wear – so the HD280’s pretty much ticks all the boxes.
2. AKG Pro Audio K872
Best luxury model
You sit down when you are drumming, which is handy because you might have to sit down when you hear the price of the K872’s. However, if you do have the cash, check these out. These master reference closed-back headphones are just superb but a bit of a risk to take out on the road. Light-fingered roadies or other dubious hangers-on will be coveting these with greedy eyes.
Custom 53mm drivers and state of the art electronics deliver an audio frequency bandwidth which straddles a whopping 5 – 54000 Hz. So even if you are an Elephant or a Bat, the K872’s have you covered.
3. Roland V-Drums Stereo Headphones (RH-300V)
Best for electronic Drums
E-drums, V-drums, Electronic Drums – whatever you call non-acoustic drums, they are more popular now than ever. Acoustic drums are great but have a limited number of sounds. Electronic drums can be great and have an infinite number of sounds – bells, gongs, 80’s style Phil Collins, Dave Grohl, Animal for the Muppets – so long as you have the right amplification and monitoring. That’s why one of our favorite headphones for electronic drums / V-drums are these Roland RH-300V Closed-back, circumaural design models, which are specifically designed and targeted at this market.
As well as sounding accurate across the frequencies – very important when recording drums, and being comfortable, these fold too, which is handy when gigging.
4. Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones
We recommend these Tascams for beginners
So, you want to pay under $100 for some studio headphones? Maybe you are just practicing drums or doing some casual drumming to music? Tascam is a respected and popular brand and you can buy ten of these for less than the cost of some models on our list. These cost well under $100 but the low cost doesn’t mean low quality. They have decent sound insulation. VERDICT: Great for beginners
5. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
Best Wireless Headphones for Drummers
Bluetooth is a topical technology today – everything seems to be getting it. Now we’re not against wireless headphones for drummers and these Audio Technica’s are a good example of an over-ear model we are happy to recommend. What you need to remember is that Bluetooth is just one more thing to worry about when playing live. Wired phones can have issues too of course, but are easier for a certain type of Neanderthal roadie to fix quickly. Enough said, right? One other word of warning is that these have a microphone for work with a mobile phone. VERDICT: Just make sure you aren’t calling your Mum during that long Guitar solo. Guitarists get upset about that kind of thing.
6. Sony MDR7506
Best classic design
We have to have at least one pair of Sonys in our ratings and reviews – these are the guys who invented the Walkman and who have been leaders in professional audio since the days of DAT, DASH and Oxford Consoles.
The MDR7506’s don’t disappoint. They are an over-ear closed design where the frequency response is terrific with 10 Hertz up to 20 kilohertz. That’s more than any human can manage, so no problems there. Sound isolation is excellent and these are super comfortable to wear, in this reviewer’s opinion anyway.
7. Sennheiser HD 600
Best open design
The HD 600’s are our top pick for an open back professional headphone. Now we generally recommend closed designs for ear protection but there are use cases for drumming when you do want the ambient sound of the band or audience coming in fully directly. These Sennhesers are both accurate and also allow real sound to be mixed in, which is a good combination. VERDICT: If it’s open you want, these fit the bill.
8. Beyerdynamic DT 770
Best mid-price studio phones
Somewhere between the budget bargains of the Tascam’s, or the out and out quality (and price) of the AKG’s we reviewed is this interesting model from the reputable brand of Beyerdynamic. They are a closed wired design with a genuine studio ‘flat’ sound. Just because a vendor puts the word ‘studio’ on headphones, doesn’t make them actually suitable for the studio. However, if you want to hear your drums as they really are and can’t justify the price of the AKG’s, then check these out. VERDICT: Your second set you buy once you are no longer a beginner
9. KAT Percussion KTUI26
Best for isolation on a budget
So, you are a drummer surrounded by decibel – junkie guitarists and bass players. Then go out and get these huge bins from Kat. Not only do they keep the sound out – with more than 26dB of attenuation – they actually look like they were designed for isolation. So, make a statement to your band colleagues with these. Nothing more clearly says ‘turn in down’ than these – and if they still don’t, you can’t hear them that much anyway. VERDICT: Fits the maximum isolation niche well
Best Headphones for Drums
So, that concludes our reviews and ratings of the best headphones for drummers. We could have reviewed many more good models from the vendors on this list but we wanted to pick a few highlights for your consideration. We spent over 80 hours reviewing so that you didn’t have to.
But hey, what do you think? Please drop us a line in the comments section below with your views. Thanks for reading.