Any drummer knows how important timing is – and they need to be able to hear that beat clearly amid all the noise and chaos of a live show. Headphones also take the edge off the powerful noise made by the drums – keeping your eardrums intact! A good performance kit should always include a good pair of headphones or earphones, which can play your click track clearly, provide sound input from the other performers and keep you on the beat. We have picked the best headphones for drummers, based on musicians’ feedback, product specifications and our own experiences.
Find which headphones are best when you have a tight budget, and which you should splash out on if you want to make a lasting investment. Design matters as much as performance, as your new headphones must be comfortable to wear for long periods without digging in or slipping off. If you play a lot of gigs, your headphones will take a serious battering: look for a robust, strong design that will withstand most knocks and bumps. Learn which perform best in real situations, and make an informed choice based on your own needs and preferences.
Top headphones for drummers
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones
Keep to the budget while still getting that professional quality you expect when you choose this Shure headphone set. Smooth and comfortable, the design adjusts easily to fit any wearer and the ear pads are soft and cool. You can replace the pads to prolong the life of your headphones, making these a good investment for the long term.
Sound quality is good and clear, and the noise reduction feature works well. These headphones will not cancel out all external noise, but for drummers who need to hear the band’s sound these could be a great choice. The frequency range of these headphones is 10 Hz – 22 kHz, while the sensitivity is a more than satisfactory 105 dB/mW.
These are studio headphones, so while they will work for performances they are possibly better suited for recording. You will likely also get use out of them as standard music phones if you like to take your MP3 player with you on the go, and they sound great with movies and games on laptops and PCs.
Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones
Our budget choice for over-ear headphones, this design by Vic Firth retails at under $50 and they were created with musicians in mind. Noise-canceling technology prevents damage to the ears during heavy performances and keeps the performer free from distractions on stage. Hear your band clearly and stay in time while you play, while remaining headache-free and keeping your mind on the track!
Despite the low price tag, these great headphones are certainly of professional quality. However, they are quite bulky and the supporting band is quite basic, so you may find these less comfortable than more expensive headphones. Technically speaking, they are the best choice at this price range and for sound quality alone, they out-perform some mid to high end brand choices. They are also ideal when recording your work: connect to the speakers rather than to the computer itself and you will see a big step up in sound quality.
Even non-drummers will get use out of these headphones – they cancel external noise, making them great for studying, working out or using on public transport.
Etymotic Research HF5 Portable In-Ear Earphones
Many drummers opt for over-ear headphones because they feel they will do a better job of canceling out noise, but in-ear phones can do the same job well if you pick the right model. There are a few key products on the market which do work, and these Etymotic earphones are one of those top choices. The brand claims to offer the best noise isolation in the consumer market right now, citing an impressive 35 dB – 42 dB level. They certainly perform pretty well, filtering out most external noise even during loud performances. Sound clarity is also very good – you will be able to pick out and concentrate on your rhythm track easily.
However, some drummers may find the design let this set down. The wires are strong for light use but under performance conditions, they might get caught and tear or break. The earbuds themselves are fairly strong and should last a while: consider reinforcing the wire with tape if you know they will take a lot of wear and strain.
Westone UM Pro20 High Performance Dual Driver Noise-Isolating In-Ear Monitors
If you are willing to spend a little more and get a product designed to last, these Westone in-ear headphones might be the right choice for you. They do not claim to have the same level of sound reduction as the budget Etymotic model, but despite a modest 25dB reduction the noise-canceling effect is impressive when put into action. The woven cord gives the headphones added strength and the space age ear bud design is extremely strong and sturdy. These may be an investment, but they will go the distance.
The earphones are specifically recommended for drummers and bass players, and they offer a rich deep tone that sounds great when you play music back – perfect for recording. As a piece of performance kit they will do well under most semi-pro conditions and could be a good choice for local commercial musicians, and they are compatible with almost any device so you can use them off the stage as well.
Sennheiser HD25-1 II Closed-Back Headphones
Serious musicians who have the money to spend might want to check out these incredible Sennheiser headphones. Comfortable, slick and highly functional, this is a dream piece of kit for any drummer who wants to keep their eardrums intact! Block out the noise of your kit and protect your hearing, while getting the beat and mix fed directly to you. You can rotate each earpiece for one-ear listening if preferred, or block out both and focus on the track.
Lightweight and extremely comfortable, the dual band design allows better adjusting for a personalized fit to any wearer. The band is well cushioned and sits without slipping, even during enthusiastic, energetic performances. You can wear it for hours with no discomfort. An impressive 120 dB sound pressure level makes these headphones ideal for performing, but they are also great in the studio of for listening to your favorite tunes on the go.
Lead image credit: freestock.org via wikimedia.org
All details correct at the time of writing, taken from Amazon.com