Are you looking for the best in-ear monitors for drumming? You've come to the right place!
In this guide you’ll learn the following:
- What Are In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
- What Should I Look Out For In In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
And much more!
My Top Pick
My Top Pick
Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones
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MEE audio M6 PRO Musicians’ In-Ear Monitors
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Audio-Technica Professional In-Ear Studio Monitor Headphones
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BASN Bmaster in Ear Monitor Headphones
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Sennheiser IE 40 PRO Dynamic In-Ear Monitors
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
If you’re looking for great sounding and reliable in-ear monitors for your drumming then look no further than the Shure SE215’s.
They come with high-quality dynamic drivers and excellent sound isolation properties, you’ll struggle to find a better pair of IEM’s at this price point.
I’ve used them gig after gig and they’ve never let me down!
In-ear monitors are essential tools for a drummer to be able to hear the other musicians in their band or to hear the music they are playing along to.
A good set of in-ear monitors can drastically change the experience on stage or in the studio, which in turn often improves the performance of the musician themselves.
In this essential guide, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about in-ear monitors for drummers, as well as my reviews of the best of the rest.
Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about how to choose and use in-ear monitors for drummers!
Top 5 Best In-Ear Monitors For Drummers
In a hurry? Check out my top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these best in-ear monitors for drummers.
What Are In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
Monitors are essentially speakers or earphones that feed the sound of the instruments in a band back to the musicians themselves.
If you’re on stage and all the speakers are facing the audience, as musicians it’s incredibly difficult to hear each other...this is what monitoring is for.
Monitoring is an essential part of being a musician, especially for a drummer.
There are two main types of monitoring systems used by musicians. They are speakers (often called wedges, due to their ‘wedge’ like shape) and ‘In-ear monitoring systems’, which as the name suggests, are earphones that are placed in your ears.
Read More >> How Do You Play Electronic Drums?
In-ear’s Vs Wedges
Every musician has a different preference when it comes to monitoring. Some swear by wedges as they like the natural feel of being able to hear their drums and the audience clearly.
Whereas others love the control and precision of in-ear monitors.
There are no right or wrong answers but In-ear monitors do have some great benefits compared to standard speaker wedges:
Benefits of In-ear monitors:
- Precision: In-ear monitors are more precise as you can hear the individual instruments directly in your ears rather than there being any external audio interference with speakers.
- Hearing Protection: They reduce the risk of hearing damage because they isolate outside sounds meaning you can turn the volume down in your ears
- Stereo Mix: They give you a full stereo mix, rather than just the mono signal from a speaker. Helping you to feel more immersed in the music.
- Control: They allow more personal control over your own mix balance.
The main drawback I’ve found using in-ear monitors in live settings is that they can often make you feel slightly disconnected from the audience or other band members, due to the amount of outside noise they can block out.
However, for the level of control and precision they offer, this is often a sacrifice many musicians are willing to make.
For recording purposes they’re excellent however, offering a portable and effective monitoring solution in the studio or when you’re just jamming along to tunes in your garage!
What Should I Look Out For In In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
Not all In-Ear monitors are made equal. There are some key factors that go into making a great set of monitors, no matter what your budget.
The quality of the sound that your In-Ear monitors reproduce is incredibly important for accuracy in live performances and recording situations, as well as for the enjoyment of experiencing the music itself.
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The main component that affects the sound quality of your monitors is the type of headphone driver(s) that they have.
Simply put, a driver is a component within earphones that translates electrical signals into sound waves that the ear can hear. Obviously the better the driver the more effective it’s going to be at reproducing sound.
If you do a quick search for In-ear monitors on the internet, you’ll notice that there’s a wide range in the number of drivers In-ear monitors can have. Ranging from one all the way up to eight drivers within each earphone.
The human ear has a wide hearing range, from 20Hz (very low) to 20KHz (very high). If you only have one driver in your monitors then it’s going to have to reproduce this whole range of frequencies on its own, which means it’s not as accurate or effective at reproducing sound.
However, it does make the earphones cheaper to make, which is why most cost-effective monitoring earphones only have one driver.
On the other hand, if you have two or more drivers, each driver can be assigned to a specific frequency range, which improves the overall listening experience.
In turn, this is more expensive to manufacture, so you’ll usually see more than one driver on models in a higher price range.
However, this isn’t to say only having one driver is bad. A good quality single driver will always be preferable over multiple drivers that are of poor quality. That’s why in general you should avoid budget In-ear monitors that have multiple drivers.
A good level of comfort is essential when deciding on which in-ear monitor is for you. Musicians will spend long periods during gigs or recording sessions wearing them, therefore they have to be comfortable.
Most ‘off the shelf’ monitors come with a variety of different size foam or silicone ear tips that are interchangeable. This gives a good level of customization, meaning you can usually find a good comfortable fit.
If you want to take things further, some companies offer ‘custom-molded’ earpieces that are made using an impression of your ear canal.
I have a set of custom-molded earplugs I use for hearing protection, they’re so snug I barely know I’m wearing them!...though this level of customization does come at a cost.
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As a drummer, good sound isolation is essential. Sound isolation refers to the ability of the earphones to block out external noise, leaving you with just the pure sound of the other instruments/music coming through your monitors.
Sitting behind a drum kit at a gig is a loud experience (ranging from 90-130 decibels), so having a good isolating in-ear monitor system is going to make a massive difference when trying to hear the other instruments.
Good external noise isolation also helps reduce the risk of any hearing damage.
Not only will it protect your ears from the volume of your kit but it also allows you to turn the earphone volume down, so you’re not blasting your ears to compete with the sound of your drum set!
Whether you’re a professional working drummer or just a hobbyist jamming in your garage at home, in-ear monitors need to be incredibly durable to withstand the ‘musician’ treatment.
Cables or earphones will be stepped on, they’ll be rammed into gig bags as well as being covered in sweat, beer, and spit (depending on the gig!)...you name it! So being of a robust design and sturdy materials is essential.
Also having a decent carrying case is a must.
Read More >> Should You Choose Acoustic or Electronic Drums?
Wired Or Wireless
In-ear monitors either come ‘wired’, with cables attaching the earphones to the mixer or sound source, or wireless.
For drummers, I would recommend using wired in-ears. They are much more reliable and don’t encounter issues such as charging or connection issues.
I would only really recommend wireless monitors for guitarists or singers that want to run around the stage without having the burden of being ‘wired in’!
Our Reviews Of The Best In-Ear Monitors For Drummers
Shure is a household name when it comes to the world of audio equipment.
They are renowned for making excellent microphones, ear headphones, and monitoring systems.
These SE215 in-ear monitors are excellent workhorse monitors. They are my monitors of choice and I've used them on hundreds of gigs and recording sessions.
They’ve always delivered in sound clarity as well as being robust enough to deal with sweaty rock gigs night after night! The replaceable cables are a nice touch too.
Ok they don’t have the best bass response with the single dynamic driver and they take a little practice putting them in your ears, but once you’ve got them set up correctly they do the job perfectly.
They significantly reduce external ambient noise too, which is fantastic for drummers.
- Trusted manufacturer
- Well made
- Clear sound
- Slightly lacking in bass
MEE Audio is an emerging brand in the world of audio technology. They’ve steadily been making a name for themselves with quality products that won’t break the bank.
These M6 PRO in-ears are a great example of highly usable, yet affordable earphones.
They have an inherently sound-isolating design, detachable cables, multiple foam tips for comfort as well detachable cables (with even an extra mic cable too!)...you can’t ask for much more at this price point.
They may not be as durable as the big brands, but their sound quality is surprisingly good.
If you’re looking to get into the world of in-ear monitoring, but don’t want to shell out loads of cash then these are a great option.
- Good sound quality
- Decent level of isolation
- Not as durable as other brands
Audio-Technica is another giant of the audio world.
They make excellent entry-level equipment, all the way up to high-end audiophile worthy gear.
These ATH-E70 in-ear monitors are no exception. They have three dedicated drivers to cover the full frequency range, as well as great sound isolation (external noise reduction) and replaceable cables making them extremely durable.
The ergonomic design and included silicone tips offer a nice level of comfort for longer listening periods too.
They have an incredibly high-quality sound and frequency response, as you’d expect at this price point. Overall the build quality is also very good too, with the earpieces feeling satisfyingly sturdy in your hands.
- Excellent sound quality
- Well made
- Good sound isolation
- Higher price point
BASN is another up and coming audio company, dedicated to the production of quality in-ear monitors at an affordable price point.
These Bmaster IEM’s have two balanced armature drivers, which is pretty much unheard of at this price point.
This gives the sound a broad ‘airy’ quality that feels balanced without lacking too much bass frequencies or accenting harsh treble.
The midrange also feels balanced without being overly muddy.
The dense foam ear tips also offer a good deal of comfort for longer gigs or recording sessions.
Again at this price point reliability can sometimes be a concern.
If you’re on a very tight budget check out BASN Bsinger for an even more cost-effective alternative to the Bmaster.
- Dual Drivers
- Detachable cables
- Some issues with durability
Sennheiser is another well-trusted brand in the audio industry. They make excellent earphones, headphones, and recording equipment.
These IE 40 Pro In-ears are no exception and are excellent in terms of sound quality and isolation.
They are directly comparable to the Shure SE215’s and are pretty much equal on every front.
Either pair would be an excellent choice for a working drummer.
The cables are replaceable which means they should last you a long time (as long as you don’t trample on the earpieces!).
- Good sound
- Well made
- Can sound a bit harsh at first
Final Thoughts On In-Ear Monitors For Drummers
The main thing to remember when using in-ear monitors is that they are different to what you’d expect from normal consumer-grade earphones that are designed for use with your smartphone.
They tend to have a bit more of a clear and ‘neutral’ sound. This is to aid clarity in sound reproduction so you can hear the other musicians in your band as clearly as possible.
Therefore many people will write scathing reviews of IEM’s saying they sound awful compared to their cheap JVC earbuds.
This is because normal earbuds tend to have massively boosted bass frequencies that people get used to (often perceived as making the music sound ‘better’!).
Therefore, I would view in-ear monitors as more of a utility rather than necessarily perfect for ‘pleasure’ listening.
They’re not really in the same category as high-fidelity audiophile headphones. I would also take some of those negative Amazon reviews with a pinch of salt too!
Whichever IEM’s you pick, just take some time getting used to how to put them on and how they sound. If you’ve never used them before they will feel a little odd, and won’t necessarily be that natural in terms of sound or fit.
They’ll quickly become pretty natural however and your ears will thank you (no more constant ringing after the gig!).
So there you have it! A roundup of some of the best in-ear monitors available today.