In-ear monitors (IEM) aren’t new inventions. However, these seemingly unassuming devices are creating a buzz nowadays. Health professionals, particularly those who specialize in ear care, emphasize the impact of earbuds on the users’ sense of hearing. The buzz about the impact is amplified because presently, a lot of people use these devices to listen to music from their phones or mp3 players.
The problem with earbuds, is they lack any substantial ability to block out external noise, and so people compensate by turning up the volume. This is where a good pair of in-ear monitors come in.
Listening to music can be soothing, but the excessive exploit of hearing devices may damage the ears. This is why it is essential to buy the best in-ear monitors – there is no need to play the music any louder than required with high-quality IEM’s. The best IEM’s will have the best noise-isolation capabilities, and will sound great in lower volumes. Also, regarding drummers or other percussion instrument players, IEM’s will help mitigate any potential hearing loss from the drums themselves.
Not surprisingly, one-third of the total power of a 75-piece orchestra comes from a single bass drum – this demonstrates the drummer’s need for not only a top-quality drum kit, but also some good in-ear monitors. Imagine the impact on your eardrums over the years if left unprotected.
We went ahead and wrote this article as a one-stop-shop guide for the top 10 best in-ear monitors for drummers – to not only protect your own ears, but to improve coordination and to help you play better. The best in-ear monitors for drummers also happen to be the best IEM’s for general use as well – they must sound great, must provide excellent noise-isolation, they should be comfortable, and they should be sturdy enough to last a while.
Best In-Ear Monitors For Drummers Complete Guide
Our Top 5
What Drummers Need to Consider When Shopping For In-Ear Monitors
IEMs are not just for audiophiles. In fact, they are originally built for artists, music-makers and sound engineers. These two groups provide the brains and talent behind the best sounds for audiophiles to enjoy. It is only fitting that they use a hearing device to determine whether the mixes of the vocals and instrumentals are perfect or not.
There are different kinds of IEMs. Some work best for sound engineers; others are tailor-made to fit a musician’s needs. There’s an IEM for lead singers; it is the type that helps them hear their vocals while singing. There’s also an IEM for a guitar player; it enables the player to listen to his guitar-playing and the blending of the other instruments. For snare drummers, or full-set drummers, there are IEM’s suitable for them as well. Below are the factors that drummers have to think about as they shop for an IEM, regardless of the drum kit they use.
Drums set the tempo and beat in music. That is why drummers should avoid playing off-beat. Otherwise, it will affect the performance of other musicians. There’s only one way for drummers to know if they are off-beat. That is through coordination and careful listening.
This makes sound quality as the topmost consideration when shopping for an IEM. The sound the headset provides should be accurate and clear. It should enable the drummer to listen not just to the mixes of instrumentation and vocals, but to help coordinate his own drumming with the rest of the music.
Noise isolation is the term for the IEM’s ability to drown other sounds. The level of noise isolation is dependent on several factors, including but not limited to: purpose (whether it’s for a recording or live performance), presence and size of audience, and the venue.
One aspect of sound quality is sound signature. For drummers, the most suitable sound signature coming from an IEM is the V-shaped signature. This is known for the emphasis on bass and treble. Other sound signatures include mid forward (for singers) as well as reference sound and stage sound (for sound engineers, mixers and musicians).
Using ordinary IEM leisurely for hours can hurt your ears. Excessive use is one factor to be blamed. The fit is another. When shopping for the best in-ear monitor, a drummer should check whether the earpiece fits comfortably or not.
Aside from the fit, the device’s level of noise reduction should be examined as well. Crowd noise is one of the things that drummers and other musicians should prepare for. Hearing loss prevention is also an added benefit of using the best in-ear monitors. The IEM is sought as a solution. However, it becomes a distraction when the cable gets tangled or caught. The best of these devices are known to stay in place and don’t get in the way of the users.
The length of the cable should be taken into consideration as well. In addition to the possibility of getting entangled, the length may affect the sound quality of the device.
In terms of design, custom-made IEM’s are the leading choices. Nevertheless, notable pre-made IEMs have a chic design that can compete with the frontrunners in the industry.
Over-the-ear design is deemed as the one of the best for the added benefit of increased security of fit. It further ensures the security of each earpiece. The cables and earpiece come in various colors these days. However, the average consumer, including drummers, generally select among black, white and brown shades.
One of the things that differentiate drummers’ IEMs than the ordinary ones is their durability. It is true that the former are more expensive. However, they are also known to last longer than cheap IEM’s.
In addition to the cost and durability, other differences include the level of noise reduction, seal or fit, layers of silicon tips and the ability to send sound directly to the ear canal. In-ear monitors for professionals can reduce up to 25 decibels of noise. Additionally, they can feature multiple layers of silicon tips. Their ability to send sound directly to the ear canal gives the users better sound quality than other earbuds could. Listening to a more satisfactory mix can help improve the performance of the drummer. It helps the drummer play just right, neither underperforming nor overdoing it.
What Are The Best In-Ear Monitors For Drummers?
1. Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 Review
There are many great IEM’s being sold, and one of the best, and most popular choices is the Audio-Technica ATH-IM70’s, which are imported from Japan. Buyers cannot test this product to measure the fit, but multiple tips are provided in each pack. There are three sizes for the tips: small, medium and large. Foam tips are added too, which is preferred by many drummers. The various sizes of the tips guarantee good seal. As a result, the product offers effective isolation, and a secure fit.
“..provides clear and accurate sound… with an emphasis on bass and treble…”
The Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 has an over-the-ear design. It fits comfortably even if the user is wearing glasses. It is also light. Vibrations are reduced, which further improves the level of comfort this product provides. Perhaps, the only notable drawback of the product is the limited choices for the color. The cable is black, which is most often used, but the earpiece is red-colored.
These are appropriate IEM’s for drummers because they provide clear and accurate sound. There is also an emphasis on bass and treble which is what drummers are looking for in the best in-ear monitors. The bass sound is strong and deep, while the treble is smooth and has a bit of flair to it. These headphones would work just fine for stage performances. The sound doesn’t get distorted at high volumes or with bass heavy tracks. The built-in dual symphonic drivers are the reason behind the clarity, and accuracy of the sound coming from the device adds a notable and appreciated characteristic to the music.
The Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 in-ear monitors aren’t the cheapest you can find, but they also aren’t the most expensive. With their exceptional sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 is one of the best in-ear monitors out there. Apart from the aforementioned qualities of this product, it should also be long lasting, as the material used to make these is durable and high-quality. The drivers are made from sturdy and hard materials, ensuring the durability of the device. Drummers can delight with the idea that this product performs well regardless of the genre of the music being transmitted through it. If you don’t mind the limited color options, the Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 IEM’s are some of the best your money can buy.
2. Shure SE846-CL Review
Finding the best in-ear monitor can be a struggle for both musicians and audiophiles who search for a greater music experience. In-ear monitors are equipped with a solid monitoring system that provides a better listening experience than standard earbuds. Aside from music, these devices are also used for live performances and for recording studio mixing. For these reasons, these in-ear monitors are custom to fit in the individual’s ears for better comfort while also providing a high level of noise reduction. For drummers, these features help them in their performances by clearly hearing what goes around them and is necessary when playing with a click track. The Shure SE846-CL sound isolating earphones are one of the best in-ear monitors for drummers that provides an excellent sound quality.
Overall, the sound quality of the Shure SE846-CL earphones is exceptional. Sound clarity is one of the best features of these earphones, aside from its powerful noise isolation capabilities. The high-quality materials used produces a well-balanced, fulfilling sound which aids the percussionist in their performances. Ambient noise affects the player’s performance both physically and mentally, more so for drummers since the drums will sound different from venue to venue. A good pair of in-ears will help keep the sound relatively consistent every time. In addition, with the SE846-CL’s three-way system configuration for a high-, mid-, and low-frequency distribution, you don’t have to shout at your sound guy just to tweak your monitor’s EQ settings.
The comfort that the earphones provide is also very good. The device has a flexible, over-the-ear configuration design that keeps cables at bay. It has an adjustable sound signature through changeable nozzles with balanced, warm, and bright options included. The clear housing, where one could view the interior, is sweat resistant that can withstand long-term use. Its removable cable and nozzle provides an easy and efficient part replacement and cleaning that ensures a longer product life.
Having a music device that could help one to isolate loud external sounds while on stage or in a recording studio could thereby allow them to listen to a much pristine, more focused and best quality audio. The Shure SE846-CL sound isolating earphones provides the best kind of experience for musicians and audiophiles. Drummers will be able to hear every single detail and would never miss a beat with these earphones.
3. Westone UM Pro20 Review
The Westone UM Pro20 in-ear monitor is a professional tool with a unique design made specifically for on-stage performances. But, how will they fare especially for drummers? The review and discussions will be separated into different sections that will focus on the product’s sound quality, the comfort, and the durability.
The fullness and girth of the bass quality stays consistent throughout different genres. It delivers a grounded, powerful tone and is prominent but does not overpower and mask the other qualities of the entire soundtrack. It gives the kick drums and low toms depth and definition without sounding too boomy.
The mid quality of the product is balanced and distinctly audible, but in a way creates a wider, more sophisticated sound. The sound blends in smoothly with the different tonal qualities of the soundtrack all the while stays crisp and clear and does not become muffled. Depending on how you setup your drums, you will hear a lot of resonance and attack.
The product is able to produce sounds that are high and bright but is accompanied by depth and clarity. Although the most prominent of the three combined, the highs do not alter the quality of the sound produced. Cymbals cut through with crispness.
With over 50 years of experience, Westone has managed to create a light, low-profile, universal in-ear plug on par with its custom fit rivals. The up-and-over design keeps the earphones in place while its low-profile keeps them out of the way. Westone has been in the business for a long time. And, it shows with the quality and craftsmanship. The earphones are light but sturdy. The EPIC cable is braided and reinforced for ultimate strength. They are also replaceable for added convenience.
4. Logitech UE 900 Review
In-ear monitors, also known as IEM’s, have been all the rage these days. Gone are the glory days of the almost obsolete earphones that just can’t compete with the audio fidelity that an average IEM can offer. IEM’s are also important for performing musicians for them to hear their live performances, especially when performing for mammoth-sized crowds.
Why is the Logitech UE 900 one of the best in-ear monitors (IEM’s) for drummers? The first thing to talk about is the uncanny design. The earbuds are set up to be worn above the ear and feature a uniquely braided cable, which is completely detachable. The parts of the cable that make contact with the ears are wrapped in transparent tubes for protection. There are a plethora of earbud tips with different sizes in the package as the Logitech UE 900 in-ear monitors are very fit-dependent.
Once the proper fit is achieved, though, the earbuds do a good job of staying securely in the ears so drummers will have no problems when head banging. The eartips provide a good seal on the ears and do not become uncomfortable even after long periods of use. The Logitech UE 900 in-ear monitors are very light, weighing less than a pound. Though the braided cable may look fragile, it is actually pretty tough and can even survive sudden, random yanks. The whole thing is superbly built and feels pretty durable.
Supreme audio fidelity is another fantastic feature of the Logitech UE 900 in-ear monitors. There are four drivers in each earbud — two for the lows, one for the mids, and another for the highs — that ensure audio playback is as pure as ever. The sound reproduction is incredibly flat and neutral which is perfect for audio mixing or listening to a song’s instrumentation. Drummers will definitely appreciate that the cymbals are not overpowered by the bass drum.
With a reasonable asking price, and featuring a great build, unique design, and undiluted audio fidelity, the Logitech UE 900 in-ear monitor are definitely one of the best IEM’s today.
5. ThinkSound MS01 Review
Headphones used to be a unified market where a single headphone sufficed for almost all uses one could think of. Today, there are a lot of segments in the market where a particular headphone is designed only for a specific task — gaming, audio mixing, or music listening. This article takes a look at in-ear monitors or IEMs, primarily used by musicians for live performances or audio mixing. The ThinkSound MS0 is one of the best IEM’s today, especially for drummers and other musicians.
The design of the ThinkSound MS01 oozes class and minimalism. There are no vibrant colors or flashy accents, just good ol’ wood with an aluminum trim. The choice of materials goes a long way in injecting character into an otherwise bland design. The discreet styling may not get the younger “flashy” crowd excited, but it sure is pleasing and refreshing to see a natural-looking design amidst a sea of rainbow plastic earbuds.
Comfort may as well be the MS01’s middle name as the entire thing is just extremely light when worn. The eartips keep a gentle seal on the ears with movement, and stay secure even on head bangs – drummers need not worry about them falling off. Extra pairs of eartips in different sizes are shipped with the MS01 that should fit most ear shapes. The cables look a tad too thin but otherwise feel durable. There are ear clips included in the package so drummers can wear the MS01 above the ears if they wish to.
ThinkSound boasts that the MS01 puts out accurate audio reproduction and sure enough delivers on that promise. The 8-mm drivers produce a natural and neutral sound. The bass is deep but controlled, the midrange is clear, and the highs are bright and crisp. Thanks to the small holes at the end of each earbud, the sound output is wonderfully transparent. Drummers will have a wonderful time rocking to their beats as differentiation between instruments is highly audible.
In a market dominated by synthetic bass-oriented monitors, there is definitely a place for a pair of IEMs that just screams natural. From the choice of materials to the sound quality, the ThinkSound MS01 is an entirely refreshing experience — an experience that drummers and music lovers out there, should take notice of.
6. KZ ZST Dynamic In-ear Earphone Review
Ear monitors are an essential part of your arsenal as a drummer. It dampens the ambient sound and lets you hear only the essentials. Others, including myself, use them to listen to music while practicing. Enough background sound and the thumps of your stick — those are basically all you need. In-ear monitors may be cheap and comfortable, but notorious for not having enough noise-cancelling capabilities. The Easy KZ ZST defies that last notion and more.
Dynamic In-ear Earphone 1BA+1DD Hifi KZ EST, uses the patent technology silicon tips is capable of sealing out 94% of the sounds. This is possible with the 3 sizes of ear tips provided with the package. The design and the materials used combine to give that glove-like sealing out of the background noise. Great sound gets even better because of this seal.
With a patent-pending phase optimization technology, sound reproduction is at par with high-end monitors that are above and beyond the price range of the KZ ZST. Each earphone is equipped with a couple of dynamic titanium drivers. One is a 5.8-mm tweeter and the other, an 8-mm woofer. This in-ear monitor produces sounds between 20 Hz to 20 KHz, with less than 1% harmonic distortion at an output of 106 dB. Feel and hear those bass, mids, and highs in perfect clarity previously only available in studio-grade over-the-ear headphones.
The use of materials like aluminum and plastic may make the IEM500 a lightweight in its category, but Puro Labs did not sacrifice quality and durability. You can feel the sturdiness of this headset because of the metal body, the titanium drivers, and the high-impact plastic construction.
7. BASN BsingerBC100 Review
The Vsonic GR07 MK2 in-ear monitors have arrived and they are going to change the way you drum forever! This is because these in-ear monitors are not only durable, but they are also quite comfortable on the ears. The importance of this is the fact that you would not need to take these in-ear monitors off again and again throughout the night due to discomfort, therefore allowing you to continue working the drums throughout your entire gig.
Of course, comfort is only the secondary reason as to why the Vsonic GR07 MK2 in-ear monitors are so great. The primary reason a lot of people have decided to turn to these in-ear monitors is the fact that the quality of music that comes out of these earphones is so crisp — it feels as if you have an entire band of the world’s greatest musicians playing your favorite song right beside your ears. Although this benefit is one which almost everyone who experiences these earphones can feel, this particular quality is best appreciated by drummers because they would be able to better follow the song that is being played.
When it comes to durability, the Vsonic GR07 MK2 in-ear monitors also have an edge since the cable is made of quality TPU plastic and silver. It can withstand sudden tugs and yanks so you can bang your head to the beat as you drum away.
More often than not, another main concern of drummers is — aside from the comfort of the earphones and the quality of the music coming from it — how their earphones are going to look. Of course, you cannot expect to be a rock icon and be seen wearing ugly earphones while behind the drums. This particular problem does not exist when it comes to the Vsonic GR07 MK2 in-ear monitors because the design is quite classic and versatile, and can go with various getups. As testament to how great these earphones are, a few celebrities and musicians have in fact been photographed rocking these earphones. As such, you can be rest assured that these earphones are pretty photogenic.
8. Westone UM Pro10 Review
The Westone UM Pro10 is a single driver in-ear monitor earphone and is part of a series of products that succeed the original UM series. The review will focus on the product in terms of its sound quality, comfort and durability and will be separated into organized sections.
The bass quality of the product delivers a bright, slightly sloppy tone when played on certain genres such as pop, country, folk, slow ballads etc., but becomes richer and fuller on bass heavy genres such as hip hop, rap and the likes.
The full potential of the product is fully realized with its mid-range sound quality. The individual instruments and overlapping tones become crisper and more audible than when played with other earphone products.
The sound produced in the highs is bright and wide, but is still able to maintain a richer and more grounded quality with superb clarity.
The approach to the design for the UM Pro10 allows users to have greater ease and comfort; this is especially the case among those who use it in sports and other physical activities. Also, the creatively unique design allows for more stability and not muffle or congest the sound when used with workouts, no matter the intensity. The depth and solidity of the tone remain consistent in different levels of volume.
On the issue of durability, the UM Pro10 does not disappoint. The sturdiness and stability that come from the wrap-around-the-ear design is further improved by its lightweight material allowing for a wider range of mobility for the user. The double helix design on the cable proves to be useful in preventing unnecessary knots that may damage the quality of the sound.
The product delivers its best quality with mid and highs sounds and proves to be durable and comfortable – making these earbuds some of the best for drummers.
If there’s any member of a band who could benefit most from having quality in-ear monitors that are very comfortable and durable, it would be the drummer. Decibullz CON in-ear monitors are one of the best in-ear monitors (IEMs) a drummer could have. Because drummers set the pace of the music, most of them would have to wear earphones for their metronomes. It is hard to hear the beat from the earphones especially during live shows, where the speakers are bursting and the crowd is wild.
Most low-quality earphones cannot fully isolate the sound outside, so the drummer compensates by adjusting the volume of his metronome to the maximum. With the Decibullz CON IEM, there is no need to do so. It perfectly fits the ear and the sound quality of it is one of the finest. It doesn’t only isolate the sound coming from outside; it also perfectly relays the bass, mids, and highs as if hearing them from the studio.
Drummers are also exposed to very loud sounds coming from the band, the speakers, and the crowd. The bass drum alone registers at 106 dB — that’s 16dB louder than a train whistle. Sustained exposure to sound at that level of loudness will definitely damage the ears. The Decibullz CON fits very comfortably. Drummers can also reshape it so that it does not fall off no matter how much head banging is done.
Also, the Decibullz CON is one of the most durable IEM’s in the market right now. There are so many cheap IEMs available, but they only last a few weeks. The Decibullz CON is made of high-grade materials, and are designed to last for a very long time. It is quality, design, and comfort rolled into one — a very good investment.
This same review can also be found in our Best Earbuds for Working Out list.
10. MEE audio M6 PRO Review
If you are looking for a pair of quality yet relatively affordable in-ear monitors, then the MEE audio M6 PRO is your best bet. These were designed for professional and casual drummers, with tubular balanced armature speakers for high-performance acoustics.
The sound is quite excellent for the price (better than other entry-level armature). It has a balanced, accurate, and detailed sound, as well as a natural-sounding bass, which is full and deep. Compared to the R-20, the midrange of theMEE audio M6 PRO is better in terms of clarity. It has forward and warm tones. It may sound a little less crisp than other armatures but the smoothness and thickness are amazing.
The top of the MEE audio M6 PRO, however, may be the least popular feature of this IEM because it filters out less sibilance. But this one is still top-notch because the sound has good sparkle and extension. Apart from that, the sound stage of theMEE audio M6 PRO is excellent. The height and depth of the sound is very notable, with good separation.
It is comfortable to use because the non-allergic silicone for the inner and outer ears is flexible and it keeps the background noise out. It shouldn’t be a problem whether you have small or big ears, because the package comes with 3 pairs of these inner gels to customize the fit for your ears (although some people may complain that it does not fit smaller ears well). The twisted cables, surprisingly, prevent cable noise, so these earphones are ideal if your ears are sensitive and if you are tired of the usual cable noise from other earphones. It may look very fragile, but it is actually very durable — it can survive even the clumsiest of persons.
TheMEE audio M6 PRO is worth the money, competing with the more expensive IEMs in the market, very comfortable to use, and most of all, it has a great quality sound — perfect for any professional or aspiring pro drummer.