7 Best In Ear Monitors for Drummers – Isolate the Finest Sounds
Have you recently been hunting for that elusive perfect pair of in ear monitors? Yes, the ordinary earbuds simply don’t cut it when it comes to isolating the noise around you.
You’ve probably realized that the snare and the cymbals are just too loud, so you have to compensate by cranking up the volume in your earbuds until your ears bleed.
This is where in ear monitors hit the stage, as you get near perfect isolation of outside noises. And, you can still enjoy a nice mix of your band without having to experience tinnitus for days after a gig. They’ve also become quite popular lately just for listening to music.
The best in ear monitors for drummers will not only keep you from going deaf but also improve your playing as they will improve your technique and coordination - because you can finally hear what you’re playing without blaring it through a pair of incapable earbuds.
Best In Ear Monitors for Hard Hitters Behind a Drum Kit
Here are a handful of products that you might find interesting because I’ve spent quite some time fiddling around and finding what would work best for my fellow musicians. Check out my reviews below for 7 most suitable in ear monitors for drummers out there.
1. Shure SE215
Let’s start off with one of the most well established models available on the market, coming from one of the most reputable manufacturers when microphones and headphones are concerned. These babies were derived from Shure’s much more expensive models, road tested and developed with professional musicians from all genres of music.
Compared to other products, the SE215 is fairly competitively priced and it’s quite fair to say that you get quite a lot of bang for your bucks. Unlike most of its competitors, Shure relies on a good old Single Dynamic Driver for the delivery of sound into your ears. The amount of bass frequencies delivered from such a small package is quite respectable.
As far as noise insulation is concerned, the SE215 block out any noise up to the 37 dB mark. If you’re not playing in packed stadiums these in ear monitors will live up to your expectations.
There are three different sizes of flexible foam sleeves to choose from, and generally speaking these are some of the best IEMs for drummers as far as comfort is concerned. The SE215 comes in 5 optional finishes: clear, white, blue, blue/gray, and black.
Quite a newcomer on the market, MEE Audio makes good products at a fraction of the price of their competitors without compromising sound quality.
At first glance, these babies look really handsome, and the clear finish makes it easy to take a look inside and check out all the intricate circuitry in charge of delivering the sound to your ears. By the way, the M6 Pro is also available in black.
The package you get for the price is quite a hefty one. You get two cables, one of which is equipped with a microphone and a remote control. Both cables are detachable, which is another nice touch in terms of durability and longevity. There are SEVEN different ear tips to choose from - six made from silicone and one made from foam, so you’ll really be able to find the most comfortable combo for your ears.
On the other hand, the sound of these in ear monitors may not quite live up to the expectations based on the design and visual features. The M6 Pro is quite good with reproducing bass frequencies, but the higher treble range sounds a bit mellow, especially if you like getting some cymbals in your in ear monitor mix. But then again, it's decent enough considering the cost.
Now we’re getting to more serious stuff. If you’re playing drums just for fun or simply want a neat pair of in ear headphones for your mp3 collection, these are probably out of your reach as they are quite pricey.
But, it will all make sense once you try these on. The first thing you’ll notice is that the design and the fit is nothing short of perfect. There are ten silicone and ten foam ear tips to choose from. Once you find the ones that conform to your ears or suit your preferences, you’ll be greeted by 124dB of sensitivity at 1mW. How’s that for the ability to play loud with little power? Also, you can wear these for hours without ever experiencing any fatigue around your ears.
When we’re talking sound reproduction, these babies can really deliver, and then some. Remember Shure’s in ear monitors and their single dynamic driver? Well, these come equipped with three different sound drivers - one for high frequencies, one for the midrange, and another separate one for the bass.
These can’t really punch you in the behind like a huge pair of monitors can, but you’ll definitely dig the way the UM Pro 30 makes your band sound in your separate mix.
Another contender from the lower budget part of the market, the Bsinger+ Pro is aimed at those who need their in ear monitors to look really good. These are among the prettiest in ear monitors available, featuring a neat see-through plastic casing which shows off the circuitry inside.
The cables included are hand woven and plated with silver, and, of course, they’re detachable. One comes with a remote and a microphone. Included in the package are a neat carrying case and five different ear tips to choose from. While these in ear monitors aren’t among the most comfortable of the bunch featured here, they sure look nice.
Just looking at the price tag, you’ll know that you shouldn’t really expect miraculous sound coming out of them, but it sure is nice that they come equipped with two separate sound drivers, one for higher and one for lower frequencies.
If you haven’t had any experience with in ear monitors and you don’t want to break the bank before deciding if you can actually play onstage with such a system, these may just be the right ticket for you.
Moving back to the pricier end of the in ear monitor market, the ATH-IM02 comes from another reputable maker of audio products. When all things are considered, this model doesn’t break any new ground, but is loaded with all the features that make it the best higher-end pick of the bunch.
When compared to its similarly priced rivals, the ATH-IM02 shines much brighter, as it features two separate sound drivers instead of one.
While you’re reading this article, you’ve surely become a bit spoiled for choice, so you’ll probably be a bit disappointed that the Audio-Technica only has four different ear tips for you to choose from, especially at this price range. But rest assured that these are quite comfortable, even after wearing them for a few hours.
The cable included is detachable, which is a nice touch. Where sound reproduction is concerned, these in ear monitors will not disappoint, whether you’re craving insanely low bass or the most precise high frequencies. It’s fairly easy to say that these are probably the ones you should consider if money’s no object.
The Brainwavz B150 has made quite an impact on the market for in ear monitors, as it packs quite a punch in terms of features and sound quality, especially if you consider the relatively low pricing. The B150 features a balanced armature, but only one sound driver for the entire frequency spectrum.
Right out of the box, the design doesn’t promise much, as they’re all black, but in terms of ergonomics they offer a lot, as the B150s are quite comfortable. The package includes six different silicone ear tips to choose from, so it’s fairly safe to say that they’re going to fit any pair of ears.
The build quality is just about average for the price tag. Another thing I didn’t like is that the cable isn’t detachable.
Moving on to the most important part of the review, the sound reproduction quality is surprisingly good, probably due to the balanced armature and in spite of the fact that there are no multiple sound drivers. The rated sensitivity of 105 dB at 1mW is quite common for in ear monitors of its class.
7. PSB M4U-4
Once you get past the uninspiring product name and code, you’ll be greeted by quite an honest pair of in ear monitors. And if you dig further, you’d discover that PSB is a respected Canadian manufacturer of audiophile speakers.
Even though the design comes off as a bit too chunky, this is probably the best value for money here. It may not offer the niceties of the more expensive models on the list, but the PSB M4U-4 features a dual sound driver system.
As you’ve probably expected, the buds come with two detachable cables, one of which features a microphone and a remote control. There are six different ear tips to choose from, three foam and three silicone ones, and the overall feeling of comfort is quite a satisfying one.
One minor design flaw is reflected in the fact that the only way to discern the left from the right headphone is by checking the color trim around the cable connections. This isn’t good for dimly lighted stage acts.
As far as the sound quality is concerned, there really isn’t much to complain about, although some people with a thing for refined treble reproduction may find these to be a little bit too harsh.
Sound Quality and Insulation
When shopping for in ear monitors as a drummer, you should always be guided by sound quality and the levels of noise isolation.
You need to have a healthy blend of frequencies and considerate amounts of noise insulation, as drums tend to get really loud, especially at rock concerts.
Once you’ve found a pair of in ear monitors that sound great, you also need to consider how comfortably they fit in your ears. You should be able to wear them for hours without experiencing any discomfort or fatigue.
Consider the heat, the sweating, and all other factors that are commonly a part of your daily gigging routine.
Design & Durability
Your in ear monitors should be built to last. Because touring is quite a rigorous prospect, so your equipment needs to be able to withstand it all.
When all is said and done, you’ll probably end up with one of these around your ears. In ear monitors are an important piece of equipment and it can take quite some time to find that perfect pair. Hopefully, this article will put you on the right path.