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5 Best In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

Get the perfect drumming monitors for your set-up with our big guide. Find out which ones we choose over all others.

in ear monitors for drummers

In-Ear Monitors for drummers (or IEMs) are an essential component to add to your collection of drumming equipment. Not only do they offer you the benefit of protecting your hearing from damage but they’re also vital for your band as a whole. These tiny accessories may look diminutive but they can actually be instrumental (no pun intended!) in keeping your band in time.

Whether you’re a professional musician on a festival stage or just enjoy playing with your friends in your own garage, you’ll no doubt be aware of the key role that you, as the drummer, have to play in keeping tempo for your bandmates. As the beating heart of the rhythm section, it falls to you to keep your band firmly in line.

Over the last few years, in-ear monitoring for drummers have taken off in a big way among professional musicians, and with all the benefits they bring it’s easy to see why. Although it’s possible to obtain custom-made earbuds for drummers, these are quite specialized and require professional impressions to be taken. A more convenient and accessible choice is an off-the-shelf in-ear monitor.

Here, we’ll take a look at five of the best earbuds for drummers to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Model

Details

MEE audio M6

OUR TOP PICK

Mee Audio M6 Pro

Price: $

- Amazing value

- Solid sound quality

- Good sweat resistance

- Detachable earbuds

Audio Technica ATH-IM02

Professional Quality

Audio Technica SonicPro

Price: $$$$$

- Excellent sound reproduction

- Good sound isolation

- Multiple foam tips

Shure SE215-CL

An Awesome Alternative

Shure SE215

Price: $$

- Replaceable cable

- Comfortable

- Great sound isolation

- High sound quality

Westone UM Pro 10

Westone UM Pro 10

Price: $$$

- Awesome sound

- Comfortable

- Suitable for long sessions

- 2 year warranty

Westone UM Pro 20 Dual-Driver

Westone UM Pro 20 Dual Driver

Price: $$$$$

- Incredible sound clarity

- Professional quality

- Comfort foam tips

- Optimal noise isolation


In-Ear Monitor Reviews

Read about them in more detail and find out which we’d choose over all others.


1. MEE Audio M6 PRO  *OUR TOP PICK*

If you’re looking for the best in-ear monitors for drummers but you’re on a budget, the MEE Audio M6 PRO is a great choice. Not only are they exceptionally affordable, they’re also comfortably lightweight so they won’t weigh your down. Even better, the sound quality is good and spans an impressive frequency range.

Although the MEE Audio M6 PRO is one of the cheapest options on the market, it still boasts some features which other IEMs don’t. One of those handy features is their excellent resistance to sweat. Anyone who’s ever performed on stage knows how hot it can be under the lights and you don’t want to stress about damaging your headset with sweat!

One further handy feature which isn’t seen very often is the fact that the earbuds are detachable, enabling you to keep your hearing protected while disconnected from all ties and wires. This feature makes these earbuds perfect for anybody who’s jamming on their own and therefore doesn’t need in-ear audio but who doesn’t want to pay any extra for additional wireless ear protection. You can release your inner animal and go wild behind your drum kit without being tied down by wires and cables!

You can expect studio-tuned sound with plenty of bass and clarity, while thanks to the inclusive carrying case you’ll find it easy to take your earbuds anywhere you need to go. With a one year manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected in the event of a fault.

For most people, the universal fit will ensure a secure and comfortable fit inside the ear. These in-ear monitors also come with memory foam ear tips which boost the noise isolation while ensuring optimal comfort. Even more conveniently, the kit comes complete with everything you need on stage including a 6.3mm stereo adapter, volume control, mic and remote. You’ll even be able to take calls and playback media with a compatible tablet or phone for true multifunctional convenience!

There’s even an included cable cinch and shirt clip so the cord can be kept well out of your way. You can drum as hard as you like knowing that you won’t get your sticks tangled in your cables!

Although there are plenty of benefits offered by these great value in-ear monitors for drummers, it’s always important to point out any drawbacks. There isn’t much wrong with these monitors, but if you happen to have extra-large ear canals you might find that the memory foam tips that come supplied are too small and don’t give a good enough seal to get optimal sound quality.

Some users aren’t too keen on the flexible memory wire too, which needs to be bent into the right shape to suit. If you prefer the softness of a standard wire you might not be so keen on these ones.

  Bottom Line: In our opinion, these are a top choice for any drummer on a budget who is looking for value, quality and performance. Offering comfort, flexibility and a lot of unusual features, these are good all-rounders.




2. Audio Technica SonicPro  *PROFESSIONAL QUALITY*

The Audio Technica brand is well known for its quality products which are popular with both amateur and professional musicians, so you can expect some pretty good quality from these in-ear monitors. Ideal for drummers, their sleek and modern design ensures they fit perfectly in your ears for excellent sound production. From the lowest to the highest frequencies, the sound should be crystal clear through these comfortable earbuds.

Drummers with sensitive ears are going to like these monitors since there are three sizes of silicone cover to choose from, ensuring you’re going to get the perfect fit. Even if you’re practicing for hours on end, you shouldn’t experience any discomfort or pain from these earbuds. They even have foam earpieces which you can adjust to suit your own needs. Perfect for anyone with especially large or especially small ear canals.

Portability isn’t going to be a problem with these earbuds. They come with their own carry case so you can keep them safe on the way to the gig and you can also take out the cable to store it more conveniently. They’re also protected by a manufacturer’s one-year warranty so you can be confident your purchase will be well protected in the unlikely event of any kind of fault.

If we’re getting down to technicalities, the Acoustic Horn or conductor pipe with its horn-shape and the dual balanced armature drivers can reduce the acoustic radiation resistance. That basically means that you can enjoy a pure listening experience with these headphones. You can expect impressive isolation and noise cancellation so you can focus completely on your drumming without any unwanted noise distractions.

Whether you’re a professional or keen amateur, there’s a lot to like about these in-ear monitors. However, they’re not entirely perfect. There’s a couple of small gripes to bear in mind before you buy.

As the cable detaches, there’s always a slim chance that it could be misplaced which would render your monitors useless. This becomes more of a possibility since the carrying case is pretty tight fitting and difficult to close. This also often leads to the memory tips getting crushed and squashed which isn’t an ideal situation. Of course, this is a pretty minor point in the overall scheme of things and it’s certainly outweighed by the excellent sound quality and comfortable fit that these in-ear headphones provide.

  Bottom Line: In our expert opinion, these in-ear monitors are a great choice for any drummer who is looking for versatility and comfort. The three different silicone tips and foam tips ensure that whatever size your ears you can get the right fit to minimize discomfort and irritation, while the great sound quality is hard to beat.




3. Shure SE215    *GREAT VALUE ALTERNATIVE*

The Shure name is well known in the world of audio tech and has been for many years, so you should be able to expect outstanding quality from these in-ear monitors.

Designed to meet the needs of the mid-range market, these monitors have some nice features which could be just what you need. One difference that these earbuds offer is that they have an over-the-ear design for their cable. This is to give you a more comfortable fit and to keep the cables out of your way while you’re drumming.

The high-quality driver ensures that you’re benefiting from some highly responsive lower-end frequencies – in fact, among the best offered by any of the headphones on this list. One of the top selling features of these earbuds is that they have enhanced bass for optimal professional monitoring for drummers. Yet you can rest assured that despite the excellent low-frequency sound, you’ll still enjoy warm mid-range frequencies as well as a well-balanced and crisp high end.

The sound isolating sleeves are capable of blocking up to a maximum of 37 decibels of noise – pretty impressive – so you won’t be distracted from keeping the band on track.

Of course, comfort is also a key element of choosing any pair of in-ear monitors – nobody wants painful ears after a day of practicing or a long night on stage. These earbuds have a low profile shape together with a nozzle angle which has been optimized for a more comfortable in-ear fit. The connector even features a lock-snap mechanism so you can rotate it through a full 360-degrees to ensure the perfect fit.

While we’re talking about perfect fits, you’ll be pleased to learn that they come with a selection of ear tips in a range of sizes. You can choose from small, medium or large to perfectly suit your ears whatever size they may be. This will also guarantee the perfect seal for optimized bass response and sound isolation.

You’ll also benefit from a compact zipped carry case for a tangle-free, convenient storage and transportation solution.

Are there any negatives? Not many, it has to be said. The only thing that some users find a problem is the over-ear design which doesn’t suit everyone’s taste. Some drummers prefer to have standard soft cables – it’s all a matter of personal preference!

  Bottom Line: If you’re looking for comfortable earbuds which guarantee an outstanding fit for any ear as well as optimal comfort for long-term wear, these Shure in-ear monitors will perfectly fit the bill. Producing excellent sound quality at all frequencies and even coming with their own handy carrying case, there’s a lot to like about these headphones.




4. Westone UM Pro 10

It isn’t always easy to choose the right in-ear monitor for drummers, especially if this is your first pair, but if you’re looking for headphones that produce a good even mix of sound at a good value price, these Westone monitors should suit your needs. The Westone brand is known for high quality products, and you won’t be disappointed by these earbuds from their range.

This is a single driver system and is one of only a handful of in-ear headphones available to purchase which offers a true studio style flattened-frequency response right through the spectrum from high to low.

Of course, this level response isn’t always a good thing depending on what you’re looking for from your sound mix, but for anyone is doesn’t want their bass to be boosted, the Westone UM Pro 10 is a great choice. You’ll enjoy outstanding clarity all in one ergonomic, compact package with these earbuds.

Obviously, you’ll be wondering if these in-ear monitors are comfortable to wear. Their up and over routing means that the microphonics aren’t only protected but that your earphones will stay securely in place no matter how hard you drum. They also come with a choice of different ear tips for the optimal seal and best possible comfort for long practice sessions.

You’ll get an EPIC replaceable cable, mini-monitor vault, premium comfort tips and a cleaning tool with your purchase and since you can also benefit from a two year manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll also have complete peace of mind should any faults develop.

One of the areas which may be seen as a negative by some buyers is the level of noise cancellation they offer. While these earphones offer 25 decibels of reduction of ambient noise which is probably enough for most people, they can’t offer a similar level of protection to the Shure headphones which offer protection for up to 37 decibels of sound. If this is likely to be an issue for you, you might want to look elsewhere.

Also, for those who want their bass undistorted when listening at a high volume, these definitely aren’t the best in-ear monitors for musicians like you. The flattened sound means that bass will have a distorted feel, and this isn’t going to suit the needs of every drummer.

  Bottom Line: Are you looking for comfort and versatility with reasonable sound cancelling abilities and up and over style cabling to keep your wires out of the way when you drum? Then these Westone in-ear headphones are the right choice for you. You’ll get all the accessories you need and some great studio style sound as well as an impressive 2 year warranty.




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5. Westone UM Pro 20 Dual-Driver

This is the second Westone pair of in-ear monitors on this list, and they are a slightly more upgraded version of the UM Pro10 thanks to the dual driver incorporated into its design. Featuring two balanced armature drivers that have a two-way crossover, these headphones promise clear highs and robust lower-end frequencies effortlessly, making them a great choice for all kinds of musicians.

These professional quality in-ear monitors ensure excellent nuance and detail since they’ve been designed to cope with highly demanding on-stage environments. This means that both amateur and pro drummers are sure to be impressed by these earbuds.

As you’d no doubt expect from in-ear monitors designed to meet the needs of pros that have been made from one of the leading names in the industry, these are very comfortable to wear. Featuring an ergonomic, low profile and compact design, they also boast ear tips made from comfort foam to ensure optimal noise isolation while still guaranteeing an outstanding fit.

These Westone earbuds also come with a twisted MMCX audio cable which has been made with high flex, high strength and ultra-low resistance tensile wire that has been thoroughly reinforced with special aramid fibres. The twisted design reduces unwanted cable noise while ensuring the cable remains light and comfortable to use.

The 119dB sensitivity of these earbuds is hard to beat and since you also benefit from five pairs of ear tips, an impact-resistant monitor vault and a cleaning tool, you have everything you need to ensure a fantastic listening experience. The two year warranty also ensures your peace of mind in the event of any possible defect or fault.

Are there any downsides? Well, there isn’t a lot to be said against these professional quality earbuds. If we were going to be picky we might say that the twisted cable isn’t quite as nice as the Shure cable which is thicker and braided, but that’s an extremely minor point and certainly has no impact on the quality of sound you can enjoy.

Another very small negative point is the carrying case which comes with these earbuds. While it’s nice to have a case available for convenient transport and storage, it is a little on the small side so you need to take care every time you put your earphones away in case you accidentally close the lid down on the cable.

  Bottom Line: If you’re ready to pay a little more for the highest quality professional in-ear buds, these Westone earbuds are an outstanding choice in our opinion. Ensuring outstanding sound quality at all frequencies from the highest to the lowest, these are very comfortable to wear and are an ideal choice for use in demanding on-stage environments.




Conclusion

Choosing the best headphones for drummers is never going to be easy with so many different options on the market, however our in-ear monitor reviews should make it much simpler to get the choice right.

Any of the IEMS we recommend here would be a good choice for you since we have only suggested earbuds which have been demonstrated to have excellent performance and outstanding comfort. Although any of these options will fit the bill perfectly, we believe that overall, the MEE Audio M6 Pro earphones are the best choice to meet the needs of the average drummer.

Representing amazing value for money, these affordable earphones are great for beginners and intermediate drummers of all ages and can be purchased at a price that won’t break the bank. They have all of the features offered by many more expensive pairs and as the earbuds can be detached you won’t need to be a new headset if the cable becomes damaged or broken

With its great lower-end frequency capabilities, even at high volumes, this headset stands out from the rest of its competitors within its price bracket and its excellent sweat resistance makes it a great choice for use in demanding on-stage environments under the sweat-inducing lights!


A Buyers Guide To In-Ear Monitors For Drummers

When you need to find the right in-ear monitors for drummers you don’t want to end up making an expensive mistake. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to consider before you make your final decision.

  • Noise Isolation

Perhaps the top factor to consider when it comes to choosing the right pair of in-ear monitors for you is how well it can isolate noise. If you can’t focus on your drumming it can be all too easy to lose your place in the music and the results can be catastrophic for the entire band. Noise cancelling and noise isolation helps you to focus solely on your music without any distractions from other sounds even during a live on-stage show. You need, therefore, to choose a pair of earbuds which ensure optimal noise-isolation levels.

  • Sound Quality

You need the quality of sound from your in-ear monitors to sound as good as possible. The sound quality has a massive impact on how well you can play since if you’re unable to hear what your bandmates are doing you’ll never be sure if the music is being played as it should be. While cheaper in-ear monitors may not offer a high enough quality of sound, there are many affordable models which can give you the quality you need at a price you can afford. Paying close attention to reviews will help you to weed out the wheat from the chaff.

  • Construction Quality

Construction quality may not immediately seem to be an obvious thing to consider when buying your first pair of in-ear monitors, however it does have an important role to play in making the right choice for you. A low cost pair of in-ear monitors probably won’t stand the test of time and after a short period you’re going to need to go shopping again. Meanwhile, if you spend a little more you may have a more expensive initial outlay but you’ll be getting better value for money in the long run since you’ll be able to enjoy the use of your monitors for a much longer period of time before they need to be replaced.

  • Storage

Many in-ear monitors come complete with their own storage case included. This is a great idea since it represents the easiest way not only to take your earbuds anywhere you need to play but also store them away safely when they’re not in use. You won’t need to worry about accidental damage or loss when you have a case in which to keep your headphones when they aren’t in use.

  • Cable Length

The length of cable that you need will obviously depend on your drumming style and individual preferences, but it’s definitely something that you should have in your mind before you make a final purchasing decision. You don’t want to feel restricted by the cable being so short that you can’t move freely but at the same time, you don’t want the cable to be so long and unwieldy that you end up getting tangled in it!

  • Shirt Clip

One accessory that sometimes comes supplied with in-ear monitors is a shirt clip. While this may sound slightly pointless, it’s something to consider if you want to be sure that your cables will stay out of the way while you drum and avoid any potential tangles with your sticks.

  • Over Ear Design

A surprisingly important factor to keep in mind before you buy is the design of the headphones. While some have a standard soft cable design, others have an over ear design. Which you prefer may, eventually, be down to personal preference. Some drummers like the way that an over ear set keeps the cable well out of the way while they play, but others dislike the sensation of having the cable over their ear and prefer the more natural and flexible feel of a standard cable. It really is up to you.

  • Ear-tips

A key factor when choosing your earbuds are the kind of ear-tips that it comes with. Ideally, you’re looking for headphones which have several different ear-tips in a choice of sizes to suit the needs of drummers with different sized ears. Although some more affordable models only come with a single size of ear-tips, others come with a selection of up to 5 different sizes so you’re certain to get one to match your needs. The size of the ear-tips is pretty important, not only because they can ensure your comfort during long days of practice and long nights of performance, but also because it is the ear-tips that ensure the best possible seal and so guarantee optimal sound production.

  • Detachable Cables

There are a number of benefits in choosing earbuds with detachable cables, but there are a couple of things to consider that could be downsides. It’s easier to accidentally misplace or damage your cables if you can take them out of the earbuds. Nevertheless, the advantages are many. Firstly, they are interchangeable so you can replace them with a longer, shorter or different style of cable with ease instead of having to be an entire new set of monitors. Secondly, you can store them away more easily if the cable can be removed and thirdly you can use the earbuds on their own to protect your ears if you’re drumming solo and don’t need to listen to the band.

  • How Many Drivers?

You’ll notice that the more expensive in-ear monitors have more drivers packed into them. A high end model may cost a lot but could have up to 8 micro-drivers in one earpiece. Of course, not everyone needs that many drivers. If you’re a top notch professional who can afford to invest in the best, you might want to go for the top of the range, however for most drummers a dual driver should be enough to give you the studio quality sound that you’re looking for. A dual driver will be able to offer you deeper low frequencies (important for drummers) with more articulate mid-range frequencies and so could be well worth the investment. For amateurs and beginner drummers as well as those on a tight budget, a single driver should do the job effectively until you’re ready to upgrade.

  • Universal Fit Or Custom-Made?

All of the in-ear monitors on our recommended list are universal fitting models and that should be enough to meet the needs of most drummers. Most universal fit earbuds come with several ear-tips so you can customize your fit more effectively to get the best quality seal and optimal comfort.

For anyone who needs something more advanced, custom-moulded IEMs can be purchased however the process is quite drawn out and expensive. An audiologist has to make an impression of the ear canals before producing the bespoke earbuds especially for you. For the needs of the average drummer this is a bit too much overkill. Unless you’re planning on wearing your in-ear protectors all day every day for extended periods of time and are looking for the ultimate in comfort, a universal fitting pair should more than suffice.

With these top buying tips in mind, you should find it easier than you imagined to choose the perfect set of in-ear monitors to meet your needs. Your band members will thank you just as much as your ears once you’ve made your investment in the ideal set for you! Happy drumming!

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