The Best In-Ear Monitors for Drummers: A Drummer’s Perspective

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Best In Ear Monitors For Drummers
Best In Ear Monitors For Drummers

To be perfectly honest, in-ear monitors for drummers aren’t a new thing. They’re used by professional drummers to track their music progress during recording sessions. The equipment has been on the market for a long time, and recording studios have been using it for years. Yet the recent advancements in technology have provided nonprofessionals and hobbyists with access to the formerly exclusive products.

A lot of drummers often just use their “feel” or an “internal metronome” to get their beats going. As a drummer myself, I understand these things and so never used in-ear monitors before.

Quite frankly, back then, the only reason I wasn’t able to use in-ear monitors for drumming was my lack of funds. But, as mentioned, technological advancements have made these products far more affordable.

So I finally tried using a pair of in-ear monitors and immediately regretted never using one before. Here are the two main reasons why:

  • Tempo – Keeping the score of your rhythm is a massive deal for drummers. This is primarily because the drummer provides a song’s beat for the band to follow. Just imagine if a song gets out of tempo because you, the drummer, can’t keep the beat on a proper count. I was a huge victim of this, especially when it’s so “feel good” that you lose track of your beat, whether it’s a matter of playing faster or slower.
  • Hearing other instruments – You’re very close to your drums (Duh!), and frequently, this makes you understand your other band members less. The result can be chaotic sound that you wouldn’t want other people to hear, especially on a live stage.

Owning in-ear monitors (or IEMs) solved these problems for me, and I didn’t regret getting myself a pair. So, if you’re a drummer yourself and want professional sound, we highly suggest you check out this list of the best in-ear monitors for drummers.

Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones

The Best In-Ear Monitors for Quality Sound Output

Ath Im50

Pros
  • Great music definition
  • No quality drop in bass lines
Cons
  • Quite pricey
  • Cable is short

 

The Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones are a powerhouse when it comes to performance. Made by Audio-Technica, a leader in music and sound equipment, the ATH-IM50 boasts impressive specs that most drummers look for in a pair of IEMs. Heck, even guitarists use it just because of the quality of the sound output!

The headphones weigh about 3.4 ounces, which is quite “heavy” compared to most IEMs for drumming. The size is around 4 in x 2 in x 6.5 in. These, then, are perfect for those drummers who actually want to feel the gear in their ears.

These IEMs also come with soft ear tips that rest comfortably on your ears, preventing discomfort during long performances or recording sessions. Although the earbuds come in two different sizes, a lot of people who have used the ATH-IM50 say it stays on pretty well.

Performance-wise, the Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones are no slouch. Their noise-canceling feature is one that all drummers would love. It isolates sound without the possibility of damage being done to your eardrums. All this without reducing the quality of the music you’re hearing.

The ATH-IM50 provides high-quality, crisp sound through its symphonic-drivers. These are devices built inside the earphones that translate sound coming from the source very accurately. There won’t be any imbalances in the bass and treble when using these IEMs. They also come with a horn-shaped conductor pipe that helps mitigate acoustic radiation resistance.

All in all, the Audio-Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones are a set of reliable IEMs for drummers and guitarists alike. If you don’t mind its price, then pick the set up. The quality won’t let you down.

Shure SE215

The Best In-Ear Monitors for Comfort while Playing the Drums

Shure Se 215

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Stylish, with 5 color styles
  • Tried and tested in-ear monitors from a tried and tested brand.
  • Priced competitively
Cons
  • The sound might not be that refined

 

Shure has long been a brand offering quality music equipment. Their line ranges from the best microphones for recording vocals to amplifiers to earphones and more. They have continuously put out products that are in-demand across the music scene by many professionals. The Shure SE215 is no exception.

The Shure SE215 is a robust pair of IEMs for drummers. First of all, compared to some of the products on this list, it’s reasonably priced for its quality. Also, unlike some of the competition, it also relies on a Single Dynamic Driver for sound output. This enhances bass frequencies to a moderate degree, so you won’t experience any drop in bass sound quality. Noise reduction is also not an issue here since the IEMs for drummers can block up to 37 decibels.

Comfort isn’t an issue with the Shure SE215 either. There are three foam sizes you can choose from. These IEMs might be the most comfortable ones out of the monitors on this list. So, if you value comfort, definitely go for these.

MEE Audio M6 Pro Musician’s In-Ear Monitors

The Lightest In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

Mee Audio M6 Pro

Pros
  • Very light
  • Good physical build
  • Sweatproof
  • Good price
Cons
  • The treble range is a bit shaky
  • Wears out a bit quicker if used regularly

 

Probably one of the lightest IEMs that a drummer can use, the MEE Audio M6 Pro is a good pick for those who are just starting out.

ME Electronics is entirely new to the scene. They may not be as established as Shure or as technologically pioneering as Audio-Technica, but they do have tricks up their sleeves that make their products worth checking out.

For example, the MEE Audio M6 Pro is most likely the lightest IEMs for drummers. They weigh only 0.6 ounces, so once you plug them into your ears, you can almost forget they’re there. This is great for those who are new to wearing IEMs and aren’t used to how they feel.

Sound-wise, the M6 Pro delivers clear sound. The performance it gives for something particularly pricey is simply fantastic for beginners. Music professionals, however, might want to distinguish between sounds in a better way. That’s where the flaw of the MEE Audio M6 Pro stands out, which is the fact that it has trouble bringing out higher treble frequencies.

Still, the MEE Audio M6 Pro is one of the best buys out there. If you have bass-heavy songs (which this product is more than capable of handling) or just want something that feels really comfortable, try the MEE Audio M6 Pro out.

Westone AM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors

The In-Ear Monitors for High-End Drummers

Westone Am Pro 30

Pros
  • Very durable
  • Natural sound output
  • Makes listening to audio a pleasure
Cons
  • Quite expensive
  • Doesn’t cater to low-end sound

 

First of all, the price tag of the Westone AM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors isn’t for the faint of heart. But it’s priced that way for a reason and, really, appropriately.

As its long name suggests, the AM Pro 30 has “Triple Balanced-Armature” drivers that let it do a three-way crossover. If you don’t want the jargon and just want the explanation instead, know that it delivers crystal-clear music all the time. The SLED™ Technology included in this device lets it dish out different levels of quality music.

The AM Pro 30 sports an ergonomically designed build. The case is made of very durable ABS plastic. This lets the IEMs withstand wear and tear from continued use without reducing the overall sound output quality. The case is also unobtrusive but might be on the heavier side. The wire is sweatproof and twisted to avoid direct initial damage to it.

If you’re concerned about comfort, this product has you covered. It has 10 different ear tips included in the package. This lets you use these IEMs without worrying about whether they’ll fit.

The Westone AM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ Monitors are perfect for high-end drummers who want high-end performance. Just keep in mind that they come with a high-end price tag.

Sennheiser IE 40 Pro

Professional In-Ear Monitoring for Musicians

Sennheiser Ie 40 Pro

Pros
  • Removable cable
  • Clear sound with balanced levels
  • Very durable
  • Raw bass levels ensure hearing the exact lines
Cons
  • Might not be perfect for those who want multi-purpose earphones

 

We haven’t found IEMs for drummers as professionally made as the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro. From their build to their sound quality to their strict sound output, everything about these IEMs screams professional quality.

Starting with its build, the IE 40 Pro is built solidly. It comes in two versions, black and clear plastic. Its ear hooks are comfortable when worn, and the cord placement doesn’t get in the way of robust drumming action. It weighs 4.8 ounces—a bit on the heavy side, but still feels comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

The sound output of the IE 40 Pro is powered by a dynamic single-driver. This allows the frequency range to be delivered in a single section, letting the sound coalesce perfectly. The cords are thicker, which offers excellent protection against things that might ruin sound quality. The frequency response rate goes up to 18,000 Hz, and SPL levels reach up to 115 dB. These are great for any on-stage performer, and that, of course, includes us drummers.

IEMs for musicians are often used as earphones in other daily activities. But if you’re looking for a pair of IEMs that act solely as intended but at a very high level, the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro is for you. We can think of only one other product that can provide similar maximum efficiency for drum monitoring, and that is…

Sennheiser IE 500 Pro

In-Ear Monitors Made Especially for Drummers

Sennheiser Ie 500 Pro

Pros
  • High-Resolution Sound
  • Can withstand high sound pressure levels
  • Twisted cable protects sound from noise
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Might not be suitable for everyday use

 

A powerhouse compared to most of its competitors, the Sennheiser IE 500 Pro is a beast. The most exciting thing to note about it is that it’s explicitly made as IEMs for drummers and bassists.

These IEMs are a massive upgrade to the already powerful IE 40 Pro and their next in line, the IE 400 Pro. If the 40 Pro is suitable for any musician, the 400 Pro is recommended for vocalists and guitarists.

Due to the extraordinary frequency response—a whopping 6-20,000 Hz max—the IE 500 Pro is best used by those who deal with instruments with a high frequency range. This means it can ideally give you the lowest sound of a bass and the highest vibrations of a thin drum cymbal. Couple that with a maximum pressure level of 126 dB, and you can see why the IE 500 Pro is a hardcore contender on this list.

The IE 500 Pro still retains the dynamic single-driver that its predecessor had and will continue to produce high-quality, harmonious sound. It also comes equipped with TrueResponse driver technology, which reduces acoustic stress via distortion-free sound reproduction. The 0.08 distortion factor protects your hearing while giving you a better-sounding output from your earpieces.

For those who care about style points, the IE 500 Pro’s twisted cables look good onstage while maintaining sound protection. This product also comes in clear and smoky black.
If you can stand the price, the Sennheiser IE 500 Pro is a godsend for those looking to buy high-quality IEMs for drummers. If you’re planning to go professional and you want to invest in proper gear, you’ll want to pick these up.

BASN Bsinger+ Pro

Stylish, Budget-Friendly In-Ear Monitors

Basn Bsinger+ Pro

Pros
  • Overall sound quality is good
  • Solid build
  • Has many accessories in the package
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Sound is source-dependent
  • A bit flat
  • Mid tones can dwindle in quality

 

Let’s say that you want to explore what it’s like to use IEMs for your drum sessions or gigs. You don’t have a lot of cash, but you want to hone your skills. You also care about looking good while playing. You browse through many lists and have yet to see something that triggers your sense of style. Well, why not check out the BASN Bsinger+ Pro to see if it’s the one you’ve been searching for?

Out of all the ones we’ve reviewed here, this pair of IEMs actually looks the most stylish. The Bsinger+ Pro comes in five separate colors: deep red, black, blue, green, and purple. The sweeping curve design of the earphone units themselves is also more pronounced and stands out in a good way. The plastic used for the casing is see-through, adding more flavor to its style.

The other accessories in the package include a neat carrying case and five medical-grade ear tips. The cables that the Bsinger+ Pro uses are MMCX Replaceable cables, which fit most major brands of IEMs. They work with Shure and Westone IEMs, in case you’re planning on buying those and would like to keep a cable handy for emergencies.

Don’t expect immaculate sounds from the Bsinger+ Pro, though. Theoretically, its Dual Drivers should offer high-definition sound, primarily since they use Neodymium magnets. These are often standard for a lot of the best mid- to high-tier earbuds. So the sound quality may be excellent, but for monitoring, they might fall short of what you’re expecting. Nonetheless, for its price, the BASN Bsinger+ Pro is an excellent pair of IEMs for drummers and will definitely scream style.

Fender IEM Nine, Black Metallic In-Ear Headphone Monitors

Another Pair of In-Ear Monitors for Drummers from a Trusted Brand

Fender Iem Nine

Pros
  • Strong but clear sounding bass
  • Lightweight
  • Filters unwanted background noise
Cons
  • High volume is a bit too much
  • Cables are a bit stiff

 

Fender is brand that almost all musicians know by heart. They have been in the business for more than 70 years and are famous for the legendary Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. They have continued to expand their repertoire of fantastic equipment for all types of musicians. One of these is the Fender IEM Nine.

The Fender IEM Nine is a pair of IEMs that has excellent specs and is explicitly made for guitarists. We know this list is supposed to be the best in-ear monitors for drummers, but hear us out.

First, let’s talk about its build. Sporting a robust, lightweight frame, the IEM Nine weighs about 0.62 lbs. Its drive casing has a metallic finish that makes it look elegant rather than flashy. The Fender logo can be found on each of the buds, giving it a fresh “rock” look. That may sound a little clichè, but there’s no other way to describe the sheer beauty of it.

The cables are something the company is justly proud of. “Ballistic Composite Reinforced 2-Pin Talon Cable” simply means a really sturdy cord. These won’t cave in to pressure (unlike us when we perform on-stage) and will help the IEMs stay in place. These cables protect the sound frequencies traveling through them and make sure that the quality remains top-notch.

The Fender IEM Nine offers high-quality sound performance. It has 9.25 mm dynamic drivers as its primary source of sound although the sound may be a bit too standard for most hardened users of IEMs. But if you’re just getting into using these devices, then the Fender IEM Nine is more than enough to tickle your fancy.

The accessories include a deluxe carrying case, four sizes of TPE tips, and three sizes of foam tips. The variety of tips is a major plus for those looking for ensured comfort. A cleaning tool is also included in the package, which fits perfectly in the holes of the IEMs.

Fender really did a great job with the IEM Nine. If you’re someone who trusts only well-known brands and are willing to spend a bit more for quality, this might be the one you’ve been looking for.

Knowledge Zenith AS10 Pure 5 Balanced Armature High-Fidelity In-Ear Monitors

High-Quality Yet Inexpensive In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

Kz As10

Pros
  • Five drivers separate sounds for precise monitoring
  • Very solid build
  • Visually appealing
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Treble is weak on lower levels
  • Bass drop-off at certain levels

 

Knowledge Zenith has been one of the rising brands of audio-related products. They have been making high-quality products left and right with very competitive prices, particularly the Knowledge Zenith AS10 Pure 5 Balanced Armature High-Fidelity In-Ear Monitors.

The KZ AS10 is, for lack of a better word, marvelous. It has several features that put other competitors to shame, regardless of price. First, it has five armature drivers that separate music pickup. This gives off a lot of full signatures and produces high fidelity yet balanced-sounding output. The drivers they use are as follows:

A 22955 BA driver for Lows (comparable to the usual dynamic driver)

A 296898 for Mids

Two 30095 for Highs

A 31005 for Mids and Highs

With these drivers running in perfect sync, the sound is enhanced, letting drummers hear precise sounds from the KZ AS10. That’s a total of 10 drivers, with five on each earpiece. This is a massive thing that only a few companies attempt and offer at a competitive price.

Adding more to the hi-fi sound is a system that offers quick attacks and equally fast decays. This also adds to the sound precision you’re looking for. The KZ AS10 has good bass impacts, although some of them fall off on certain levels. The mids offer warm sound signatures while the highs are extended without overly boosting the sound, which usually shatters the experience.

The KZ AS10 also features a detachable OCC 2 Pin Cable. If the cable breaks after the warranty, you can replace it and still use the earpieces.

Despite its long name, the Knowledge Zenith AS10 Pure 5 Balanced Armature High-Fidelity In-Ear Monitors are a compact marvel of technology definitely worth the money.

Drummers, Audio Engineers, Guitarists Input on Their Current In-ear Monitor

I have a unique position on this topic due to the fact that I was in a touring metal band for 4 years. After about 2 years, a few of us decided to invest in a pair of in-ear monitors for live performances. We were running into issues with sound engineers at venues, so we figured this would be a way to fine-tune our performance to ensure we could hear each other clearly.

That lesson has translated to today. Being a guitarist, I still use my trusted IEM at home. About a year ago, I bought a set of Audio Technica ATH-E70’s and haven’t looked back. I recommended the ATH-E70’s to my old drummer shortly after buying them, and he still uses them as well.

So, I decided on these specific IEM based on a few days worth of research. The features that made the ATH-E70’s stand out to me were the memory cable loops, and the numerous reports of them being sonically superior to a lot of the competition. I’m glad to say that these bad boys live up to the hype.

The memory cable loops are an awesome touch, making them ultra-convenient and less of a hassle to deal with. In terms of the sound quality, I wasn’t surprised that the mids and bass frequencies were robust. I use a pair of ATH-M50X’s for my home studio, so I’m quite familiar with what Audio Technica has to offer when it comes to frequency response.

I will say that the ATH-E70’s don’t have the *over-emphasized* bass that is common among Audio Technicas products. The frequency response has a comfortable flatness to it, which is never a bad thing for an honest reference. That being said, I have EQ’d these IEM for certain uses, but that’s the freedom you get with a flat frequency response.

All in all, I love my ATH-E70’s. They do come with a slightly hefty price-tag, but I can say from experience that they’re well worth it.

Jeremy Bongiorno
Founder & Creator
Studio Frequencies


 

I am currently using the Ultrasone Saphire in-ear monitors. They are moderately priced given the quality they proivide. Also, what I relish most about them is their ability to capture true dynamics in a way which is refreshing. Also, they boast 4 balanced armature drivers which for me is a major selling point.

James Dyble

 

James Dyble
Managing Director
https://www.globalsoundgroup.com

 


 

I like in ear monitoring best when there is a monitor rig that travels with me, with a world class crew, so the ears always sound the same – and sound great. So mostly I rely on floor wedges when I’m on the go – which is not nearly as much in 2020 as it was in previous years. In ear monitoring can certainly allow you get way more detail out of live monitoring – but it also makes you feel just a little more removed from the energy of the audience.

Willkimbrough

 

Will Kimbrough
www.willkimbrough.com

 


Recap: The 9 Best In-Ear Monitors For Drummers

1) Audio Technica ATH-IM50 Dual Symphonic-Driver In-Ear Monitor HeadphonesBest for Quality Sound Output

2) Shure SE215The Best In-Ear Monitors for Comfort while Playing the Drums

3) MEE Audio M6 ProThe Lightest In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

4) Westone AM Pro 30 Triple-Driver Universal-Fit In-Ear Musicians’ MonitorsBest for High-End Drummers

5) Sennheiser IE 40 ProProfessional In-Ear Monitoring for Musicians

6) Sennheiser IE 500 Pro Audio MonitorMade Especially for Drummers

7) BASN Professional in-Ear Monitor Headphones for Singers Drummers Musicians – Stylish, Budget-Friendly In-Ear Monitors

8) Fender IEM Nine, Black Metallic In-Ear Head Phone MonitorAnother Pair of In-Ear Monitors from a Trusted Brand

9) Knowledge Zenith AS10 Pure 5 – High-Quality Yet Inexpensive In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

Now that you have our list of the best in-ear monitors available in the market, make sure that the pair you’re eyeing fits your needs. Whether you’re a beginner or already making it big, having the best pair of IEMs for you will definitely give your performance a better beat.

If you want us to consider including other in-ear monitors for drummers, just leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

John is a massive video game enthusiast that mostly plays on the PC and the PS4. He currently likes to play MOBAs, FPS, and hunting games like Monster Hunter. He is a resident blogger for this site and focuses more on video games and audio equipment. He plays the drums and rolls around the bed a lot when he's bored.

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