Every drummer needs a good pair of in-ear monitors to use. They’re primarily used for live gigs, but you can happily use them when practicing at home as well.
The main benefit of them for drummers is that they block a lot of sound out, and that protects your ears from getting damaged.
There are so many options to choose from out there, so we’ve selected 11 of the best ones to narrow down your choices. We’ve compared these all according to sound quality, build quality, and overall cost.
Look through all our suggestions, and you’ll be sure to find a pair that is just right for you.
- 1 Top 3 In Ear Monitors for Drummers
- 2 Best In Ear Monitors Reviews
- 3 How to Choose the Best In Ear Monitors
- 4 Final Thoughts on the Best In Ear Monitors
Top 3 In Ear Monitors for Drummers
The Shure SE535 Sound Isolating Earphones are our Top Pick Winner. These in-ear monitors have three drivers that offer an unparalleled listening experience. They also have incredible sound isolation, making them ideal for drummers needing to protect their ears.
The Shure SE112 Sound Isolating Earphones are our Best Budget Option. There are a lot of cheap earphones out there, but none of them offer the sound quality and sound isolation that we got from these Shure earphones. These aren’t over-ear earphones, but they’re an excellent choice for drummers with a tight budget.
The Westone Audio Pro X50 Earphones win the spot for our Editor’s Choice. These in-ear monitors have five drivers, offering you incredible detail across the whole sound frequency spectrum. They pick up all the nuances of a drum kit, and they work brilliantly for monitoring the rest of your band when performing.
Best In Ear Monitors Reviews
One of Shure’s best sets of in-ear monitors.
The triple drivers make these in-ear monitors sound incredible. You get rich detail with boosted bass tones, making them an ideal option for drummers to play with.
These are some of the most comfortable and high-quality in-ear monitors that we’ve tried out. The three drivers are the biggest feature, and they seem to cover all the frequency bases when listening to music.
We were surprised at how rich the bass tones were, and it allowed us to get a powerful bass drum sound when using these to monitor a drum kit.
We also loved how much isolation these offered. The amount of isolation you get here will let you get a seriously clear monitor mix when playing live gigs. You don’t hear much of the natural sound of your drums when you have these in.
The big downside is the price tag, though. These aren’t as expensive as top-end or custom-molded monitors, but they’re still a lot pricier than other popular options.
Verdict: The Shure SE535s are a top-quality professional set of in-ear monitors. They’re especially good for drummers due to the amount of sound isolation that they offer. You can get a very clear monitor mix when using them for gigs. These are just quite pricey compared to a lot of other options that we’ve suggested.
A traditional pair of earphones with great sound quality and sound isolation.
These have a standard straight earphone design, but they’re a compelling option for drummers with a low budget. They sound far superior to most other earphones in their price bracket, and the sound isolation they offer will protect your ears when drumming.
Out of all the in-ear monitors under $100 that we tried, these were our favorite option. It’s a bit of a bummer that they have a straight cable design, but we think the sound quality they give is enough to look past that.
If you just need something simple and affordable to use, we highly suggest considering these Shure SE112s. They block up to 37dB of sound, which is far more than most other earphones with this design and price tag.
We found these to have a lot of mid-range clarity and decent bass tones, and they weren’t tinny in the upper end.
They naturally don’t sound as good as higher-priced in-ears, but they’re a solid option if you don’t have a lot to spend.
Verdict: The Shure SE112s are a decent set of affordable earphones. Their best quality is that they block a surprising amount of sound out, and that’s why they’re a great choice for drummers. The sound quality is fantastic relative to other earphones in the price range, but it’s not as good as any of the higher-priced options.
Some of the highest-quality in-ear monitors to buy that aren’t custom-made.
These monitors have five drivers, which gives them an incredible amount of detail in their sound quality. They’re an incredible option for professional drummers that play gigs and record for a living.
The Westone Audio Pro X50s are some of our favorite in-ear monitors for two big reasons. Firstly, the five drivers offer immaculate sound detail.
You hear immense clarity in every part of the sound frequency spectrum, so these work brilliantly when monitoring, no matter what kinds of instruments you’re playing with.
The second reason is that both the earpieces and cable are very light. It felt like we were wearing nothing when playing, and to us, that is peak comfort. These are some of the most comfortable in-ears that we’ve tried out.
As with the Shure SE535s, these are very pricey. We’d only recommend them to drummers who gig and record for a living that need the best gear they can get. Otherwise, you could get more affordable in-ears that still offer a good playing experience.
Verdict: The Westone Audio Pro X50s are incredible earphones that offer top-tier sound quality. They cover all the details of the sound frequency spectrum, allowing you to get great monitor mixes. They also feel like you’re wearing nothing when you have them on, making them seriously comfortable. Their high price tag is a big drawback.
The most popular pair of in-ear monitors in the music industry.
These in-ears are pretty much loved by everyone. While they’re not a high-tier professional option, they produce surprisingly good sound quality for single-drive earphones. They’re incredibly reliable and can easily be used in professional settings.
You won’t find any list of good in-ear monitors without seeing the Shure SE215s. They’ve become an industry-standard option purely for their low price tag and decent sound quality.
They only have one driver, but Shure has a thing called MicroDriver technology that makes these much more powerful than many dual-driver earphones.
We’ve all used these at some point or another, and we think they’re one of the most reliable sets of in-ear monitors out there. You won’t spend much on them, but you know they’ll work brilliantly.
The downside is that they don’t produce a very wide range of details across frequency levels. They sit more in the mid to upper ranges, so some drummers may not like them due to the lack of bass.
Verdict: The Shure SE215s are an easy option to go with. Most musicians love them, so they’re a reliable set to use in most settings. They’re extremely affordable as well, which is the drawcard for most people who get them. They just don’t offer too much in the bass frequency ranges, which some drummers may not enjoy.
The in-ear monitors with the most sound isolation.
Another highly popular in-ear monitor option for drummers. These offer 40dB sound isolation, which is more than most other options available. They’re extremely comfortable to wear as well.
If you want to do your absolute best to protect your ears from harm, we strongly suggest checking these Mackie MP-240 earphones out. With 40dB of sound isolation, you can barely hear the natural sound of your drums when you’re playing.
While that will protect your ears, we found the biggest benefit of it to be that you can create an amazing-sounding monitor mix. You’ll be able to hear your drums through the microphones mixed with the other instruments on stage when playing gigs.
These monitors have dual drivers that offer very clear highs and mids as well, so the sound quality is fantastic.
We just wouldn’t suggest these if you don’t want too much sound isolation. If you’re playing something like an electronic kit where the natural noise isn’t too loud, it can feel quite weird to have so much sound being blocked out.
Verdict: The Mackie MP-240s are incredible in-ear monitors to get to have the most sound isolation possible. You’ll barely be able to hear the natural sound of your drum kit, and that will allow you to create a killer monitor mix. Some drummers won’t want so much sound isolation, though, so they’re not an ideal option for everyone.
Another good pair of in-ear monitors with three balanced armature drivers.
Audio-Technica’s answer to the Shure SE535s, but these cost a bit less. That makes them a very compelling option to consider. They sound great in the highs, lows, and mids. They’re also seriously comfortable to wear.
These in-ears haven’t been around as long as the Shure 535s, but they’ve cemented themselves as one of the top competitor models. The three balanced drivers are a standout feature, and we found that they give the earphones very balanced sound quality.
We could hear the cymbals and drums just as clearly as each other when monitoring them, and the mids were punchy as well.
We also enjoyed the physical design of these. They fit snugly in your ears, and they feel solid enough not to worry about them coming out at any stage.
While they’re more affordable than the Shure 535s, they’re still quite expensive when comparing them to other options.
Verdict: The Audio-Technica ATH-E70s are one of Audio-Technica’s top in-ear monitor options. The brand’s overhead headphones are seriously popular, and these reflect the same audio qualities, having balanced sounds at every frequency point. They’re very comfortable too. They’re just a bit pricey in comparison to other models that we’ve suggested on this list.
One of Sennheiser’s professional in-ear monitor options.
These monitors have a very ergonomic and comfortable design, and they’re one of the best-sounding options that only have a single driver. Sennheiser’s True Response Technology offers very clear tones.
These are our final suggestion for a pro set of in-ears that sit around the $400 price range. Sennheiser really impressed us with these, as they’re some of the best-sounding in-ears we’ve heard that only have a single driver.
The reason for that is Sennheiser’s True Response Technology. It essentially packs all the qualities of multiple drivers into one, giving you a big, open, and natural sound in your monitor mix.
We also found these earphones to be very comfortable, thanks to their ergonomic design. When trying these out, we realized how spoilt for choice we are as musicians. There are several options in this price range, and they’re all fantastic.
Verdict: The Sennheiser IE 400 Pros are another high-end in-ear monitor option. The unique aspect of these is that they only have one driver, but you still get extraordinary sound quality. The sound is quite open and natural, and drum kits tend to sound very punchy. Like the other monitors in this price range, they’re quite expensive for drummers who are new to the world of in-ear monitors.
An upgrade to the popular Mackie MP-240s that offer much better sound quality.
High-end earphones from Mackie that are well-suited for live gigs and studio recordings. They have particularly good sound in the low frequencies, but they’re strong in the mids and highs as well.
If you love the Mackie MP-240s but want something a bit higher in quality, these Mackie MP-320s are the perfect step-up option.
They offer most of the same in terms of fit and design, but their sound quality is miles superior. They have three drivers, giving you more clarity across the tonal range.
They offer the same 40dB of sound reduction as the MP-240s, so you get the same level of ear protection.
Overall, they’re a better option if you’re willing to spend about $100 more. They have the same drawback of the isolation being a bit much for some drummers, though.
Verdict: The Mackie MP-320s are a top-quality set of in-ears with three drivers that deliver crisp sound quality. They offer 40dB of sound isolation on top of that, which makes them an excellent option for drummers wanting to protect their ears from getting damaged. Some drummers may not enjoy that much sound isolation, though.
Affordable earphones with surprisingly good bass response.
These earphones have the best bass response out of all the options in the same price category. They’re fantastic for drummers who want a lot of oomph in their mix or drummers who also play bass guitar.
We didn’t expect these earphones to give us so much bass, but we thoroughly enjoyed how they did. They cost the same as the famous Shure SE215s, but we’d say that these are a better option if you want some emphasis on low frequencies.
They sounded clear in the mids and highs as well, but the bass was where they shined. Because of that, we think these would be an excellent option for drummers who also play bass guitar.
The other benefit is that they’re super affordable.
The downside is that they don’t have an over-ear design, making them not as comfortable as most other options on this list.
Verdict: The Etymotic Research ER2XRs are a unique set of earphones that offer boosted bass frequencies. They’re an excellent pick for drummers that want more bass in their ears than anything else. They’re also a very affordable option compared to many others. The downside is that they don’t have an over-ear design.
One of the best wireless in-ear monitor options.
These are some of the highest-quality wireless monitors that we’d recommend for drummers. They aren’t as pricey as the high-tier Bluetooth earphones, but they offer excellent sound quality with a durable and comfortable design.
If you’re just looking for wireless earphones to practice with at home, our top suggestion would be these Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earphones. They have a seriously comfortable design, and we love the clarity of sound that they offer.
They’re designed to give you a luxurious listening experience, and that makes them amazing for playing drums within your practice space.
They have something called Active Noise Isolation, which recognizes the environment you’re in and blocks out sound accordingly.
We just wouldn’t recommend using these for playing with other musicians. They’re more for personal use and nothing more.
Verdict: The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 Earphones are our suggestion for drummers looking for high-quality Bluetooth earphones to practice with. They’re not fit for gigging with others, but they sound amazing when using them to play along to music in your practice space.
In-ear monitors that can be used with a cable or wirelessly.
These in-ears offer the best of both worlds, allowing you to play with a traditional cable setup or use them wirelessly. This means that they’re Bluetooth earphones that you can reliably use as monitors for gigging settings.
We love the concept of these Sennheiser IE 100 Pros. They allow you to practice in your home without having a cable get in the way, and then you can connect the cable when you go out to perform.
They’re slightly more expensive than the Shure SE215s, but the added feature of wireless connectivity makes them well worth the cost.
We found the sound quality to be relatively decent, but it wasn’t quite as good as the SE215s. So, we’d mainly suggest these in-ears for drummers who are enticed by the wireless feature.
Verdict: The Sennheiser IE 100 Pro Wireless Earphones are one of the few in-ear monitor options that allow you to switch between using a cable and using them wirelessly. This makes them incredibly versatile in their use, and we think they’re an incredible option for any drummer to own. Their sound quality just isn’t as rich and detailed as a few other options in the same price segment.
How to Choose the Best In Ear Monitors
The first thing that you should always check when looking at in-ear monitors is sound isolation levels. We’re drummers, and the volume from drumming will damage your ears over time if you don’t protect your hearing.
The big benefit of in-ear monitors is that they block a good amount of sound. However, not all in-ear monitors block as much sound out as others.
The amount of sound isolation you get depends on the design of the earpieces, and a lot of products will tell you how many decibels get blocked in their descriptions.
You want to get as much sound isolation as possible, but you should at least get earphones that block out 10 to 20 dBs.
Also, more sound isolation will allow you to get a cleaner monitor mix when you’re playing live gigs.
Sound quality is another big factor to consider. The better the sound quality, the better your playing experience will be.
If you’re using these in-ear monitors to hear all your bandmates playing on a stage, you’ll get the best playing experience with high sound quality. You’ll hear all the details from all the different instruments and vocal mics.
Some in-ear monitors focus more on a certain frequency range, leading you to hear more bass than electric guitar in some settings. Other in-ear monitors will stop you from hearing the bass clearly.
So, always check the sound quality of monitors before you buy them. A general rule is that monitors with more drivers sound better.
Something else to consider is that you’ll be wearing these in-ear monitors for hours at a time, especially if you’re getting them to play gigs with. So, they need to be as comfortable as possible. There’s nothing worse than wearing uncomfortable earphones for an extended period.
Most in-ear monitors are designed with comfortability in mind, especially if they’re professional in-ears created for musicians.
However, there isn’t a one size fits all aspect to them, so you need to find out if they’re comfortable for you.
Luckily, most in-ear monitors come with a range of different earbud sizes. You can try those all out to see which size fits you best. Just make sure that you’re still getting enough sound isolation.
Every pair of in-ear monitors offers something unique, but one of the most important components to look for is a detachable cable.
If a pair has a detachable cable, it means you can just replace it once it gets faulty. If there isn’t a detachable cable, you may need to buy a new set entirely, which is often more expensive.
You may be wondering if it’s a good idea to get a wireless set of in-ear monitors. There are pros and cons, but we think there are far more cons to that idea.
If you’re a drummer, you’re most likely needing a set of in-ear monitors to play gigs with or to record drums with. Using a wireless pair is a terrible idea, as they’re not as reliable as in-ears with a cable.
However, wireless in-ear monitors are perfect if you just need something to practice with at home. Not worrying about a wire can actually be very convenient.
You just need to weigh up your reasons for getting earphones and then make a decision from there. Our immediate suggestion will always be to get in-ears with cables.
Musicians who need mobility on stage will plug those wired in-ears into a wireless pack anyway.
Straight vs Over-Ear Monitors
Most in-ear monitors will have an over-ear design. That design is especially convenient for drummers, as it stops the earphones from moving around.
They’ll fit securely over your ears, and you’ll feel comfortable playing the drums with energy behind your strokes.
If you get a straight pair of in-ears, they’re more likely to bother you when you’re sitting and playing. They’re nowhere near as comfortable in that setting.
Thankfully, there aren’t too many straight design options. In-ears with a straight design are more affordable, though. That’s their one benefit.
Final Thoughts on the Best In Ear Monitors
It’s important to get a good set of in-ears, as most drummers end up using them every day. It may also benefit you to get two sets so that you can use one for practicing and another for gigging.
Just make sure that you’re always protecting your hearing. It won’t come back after you lose it.
Wrapping up on our selections, here’s a quick recap of our top three. The Shure SE535 Sound Isolating Earphones are our Top Pick, as they’re an excellent set of professional in-ears that you can use for anything.
The Shure SE112 Sound Isolating Earphones are our Budget Choice. They have the design of regular earphones, but they offer amazing sound isolation and sound quality.
The Westone Audio Pro X50 Earphones are our Editor’s Choice. If you’re happy to spend more money, but you don’t want to go into ordering custom-molded in-ears, these are one of your best options to consider.