🔥 Top Pick!
If we had to pick one pair overall, we’d have to go with the Shure SE846-CL headphones. They are made for professional drummers who are seeking the best in sound quality, durability, portability, and versatility.
There is no feeling quite like being in a band.
As a drummer, you play one of the most vital roles in holding the foundation of the band down. Just as a guitarist needs the right strings and amp and a singer needs the right microphone, you need the right tools to help you perform at your best.
No matter where you are in your drumming career, having a good pair of isolating headphones is crucial. This is especially true if you play with a band and are constantly surrounded by loud noise. Protecting your ears can improve your quality of musicianship and help you preserve your hearing through many years of playing.
With that said, you can’t just pick any headphones. You need a pair with a comfortable fit, high-quality sound, and the ability to isolate you from the outside world enough to focus on your drumming.
We’re hoping that our little guide can help you to find the best drummer headphones so that you can take your drumming to the next level!
- 1 Top 5 Drummer Headphones
- 2 Buying Guide: Headphones for Drummers
- 3 Hear Us Out
Top 5 Drummer Headphones
|Brand||Shure CL||Alesis||Bose||Shure||Vic Firth|
|Speakers||Quad HD||40mm Drivers||A2DP||50mm Drivers||50mm Drivers|
When it comes to state-of-the-art headphones for drummers, the Shure SE846-CL’s are the best on the market.
They deliver unparalleled audio for in-ear headphones thanks to the quad custom-engineered drivers, balancing both low and high frequencies with serious precision. They use a groundbreaking low-pass filter that helps to give you true subwoofer performance without sacrificing clarity in the highs. Drummers will be able to feel the kick drum in their ears, which is a pretty unreal experience.
These drummer headphones come with a complete kit of custom sleeves so that you can fit them specifically to your unique ear shape. They’re great for marathon recording or playing sessions when you need comfort for hours on end.
There is an adjustable frequency response that puts you in control of the sound that you are getting, perfect for almost any situation or genre of music. Plus, these headphones are some of the most portable around.
Whether you want to go Bluetooth or wired, these headphones can do it all. They come with Bluetooth 5 and 3.5mm connection options, as well as a USB-C and lightning cable for premium connectivity. No matter how you decide to listen, you can be sure that you are receiving total sound isolation for a pristine listening experience.
Bottom Line: Though the Shure SE-846 headphones might be a bit expensive, they are just about the best that a pro drummer can acquire thanks to their pristine sound quality, total isolation, comfortable design, and connectivity options. If you are a pro drummer that needs the best of the best, look no further.
Best Budget Option
While these might look like headphones that you would find on the set of a science fiction film, they are actually some of the best budget-friendly drum isolation headphones on the market.
While they are marketed alongside electronic drums more than anything, they are still great for acoustic kits.
Of course, you aren’t going to get exceptional sound quality from a pair of budget headphones, but they will provide you with enough sound quality to get you by. The 40mm full-range drivers deliver a pretty solid bass response as well.
What is great about these headphones is that they provide a comfortable feel. They’re surprisingly lightweight for the size, and they feel nice after longer sessions. The sweat-proof silicone band works well for live situations where you might get a bit hot.
Beyond comfort, noise isolation is the main reason drummers gravitate towards these headphones. With a form-fitting, over-ear design, you can expect these cans to block out the rest of the world so that you can focus on your sound.
Bottom Line: The Alesis DRP100 headphones aren’t going to blow you away, but they are perfect for the drummer who is on a budget. We’ve seen them used in both live and studio situations, so no matter what you need, they can do the job well.
Bose is one of the top manufacturers in the game when it comes to high-quality headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 Series ii has consistently been listed as some of the best ANC headphones on the market.
The Series ii version supports Bluetooth and active noise cancellation technology to help get rid of any external noise while you are drumming.
The headphones are made to be durable and fashionable, which is exactly what you might expect from Bose. The active noise cancellation comes from a dual microphone system that helps to get rid of any external sounds.
You can also adjust the level of noise cancellation according to your preferences. Some drummers like a bit of external noise, which these headphones give you the ability to dial in.
These headphones provide drummers with up to 20 hours of battery life on a full charge along with a wire that you can use if you end up running out of battery. They come bundled with a nice hard case that you can take with you on the go. Once you finish your session, you can simply pack them away and throw them in your bag.
Bottom Line: When it comes to sound isolation, it doesn’t get much better than the Bose QuietComfort Series ii. If you are in need of total external silence during your drumming sessions, then these are the best headphones you can buy.
The Shure SRH440 headphones are known for providing a good body of sound. They offer clearly defined highs, a prominent mid-range, and a balanced, punchy bass response.
They are extremely comfortable thanks to their padded cushions, and they can be folded up for drummers on the go. You can even replace the ear cup pads if they get old!
With an ergonomic design, the clamping pressure on the head is reduced, and you still get a solid amount of noise isolation.
These over-ear headphones help to seal your ears up so that you don’t have to deal with ambient noise. The sound is very clear and balanced, perfect for any genre of music. The coiled cord makes them ideal for the studio environment as it can stretch out into a tracking room with ease. The cord is also made to be detachable, making them more suitable for travel.
Bottom Line: If you are a drummer that is in the market for a pair of studio headphones at a friendly price, the Shure SRH440 headphones are some of the best around. They’re perfect for monitoring and recording with their durable design and long cable.
You might know the Vic Firth name if you’ve been around the drumming scene since they make some of the most popular drumming accessories on the market.
They also happen to make some of the best headphones specifically for drummers. Plus, these are priced to be budget-friendly. With wonderful isolation to protect your precious eardrums, we highly recommend them for practicing!
The Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones help to reduce overall noise levels by 25dB, which works for any kind of drumming situation.
The improved padded headband provides maximum comfort. Plus, they are super lightweight, so you won’t have to deal with annoying pressure after long drumming sessions.
The 50mm drivers have the ability to produce a solid bass response. This is ideal for drummers who like to feel their drums while playing. They come with both ¼” and ⅛” plugs, but only a 6 foot cable which might be a problem for some people.
Bottom Line: Though you can certainly use the Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones in live and studio situations, we recommend them for practicing. They provide solid noise isolation when playing with the rest of the band, helping you to protect your ears as best as possible.
Buying Guide: Headphones for Drummers
First off, let’s get past a common misconception that many people have. There is a big difference between earphones (also commonly known as earbuds) and in-ear headphones. Earphones are not actually made to fit in the canal of your ear.
Though some are cushioned, most are not, essentially making them small plastic speakers that rest on the concha of your ears.
When it comes to earphones, comfort is the big pro. They are typically lightweight and come in a variety of different designs, including various wingtips, cushions, and loops. This makes it easier to find the perfect option for just about any ear shape.
However, we don’t recommend them for drummers, as they provide little to no noise cancellation. Because earphones don’t slide all the way into your ear canal, outside noise will be able to creep in.
Bluetooth / Wireless
When it comes to modern players, we find that most drummers would argue that Bluetooth or wireless headphones are the best kinds to drum with. This is mostly because you don’t have to deal with a long cord that tangles and gets in your way. Plus, Bluetooth headphones are much easier to travel with. You can simply throw them in your bag without having to worry about your cable getting tangled in transit.
Of course, there are a few downsides to Bluetooth headphones. For starters, the majority of wireless headphones make use of 2.4GHz Bluetooth technology, meaning they won’t replicate the HD sound that you can get with wired headphones. Plus, Bluetooth uses the same frequency as other Wi-Fi devices, so you may deal with a bit of interference that prevents you from optimizing sound quality.
So you may be thinking:
I’m not mixing an album, I’m drumming. Why do I need pristine sound quality?
You’re right, it’s not a crucial aspect, but you might also want to consider the battery life of Bluetooth headphones as well. Remember, wired headphones don’t require a power supply. You can plug them into just about any device at any point in time and enjoy their sound. Wireless headphones will either require batteries or USB charging. This means you will always need to make sure that they are charged before a session—you don’t want them going completely mute during your gig.
Over-Ear vs. On-Ear vs. In-Ear
Over-Ear headphones, also commonly known as circumaural headphones, are usually at the top when it comes to sound quality. This is because over-ear headphones utilize larger drivers, which have the ability to deliver more prominent bass.
Beyond the large drivers, over-ear headphones provide some of the best noise isolation, as their shape creates a large seal over your ears. They are also generally the most comfortable type of headphones. This is because they sit around your ears and won’t apply as much pressure to your ear exterior or interior. Of course, the type of foam or padding on the headphones plays a big role in comfort too. If comfort is key, we recommend looking for a pair of over-ear headphones with memory foam.
The biggest downfall when it comes to over-ear headphones is that they aren’t very portable. We recommend them for home or studio use due to their large size. There are some pairs that fold up pretty nicely if you want to take them on the road or on a flight, but if portability is a top factor for you, they aren’t the best.
On-ear headphones are similar to over-ear headphones, although they don’t offer the same level of sound quality. While the drivers are typically pretty large and deliver a solid amount of bass, they physically cannot match the driver size of headphones with larger ears. In terms of noise isolation, on-ear headphones offer the least, which is why we don’t recommend them for drumming. They don’t fit around your ear or in your ear canal, so noise can easily seep in.
On-ear headphones aren’t nearly as comfortable as over-ear headphones in a general sense, though again it depends on the type of padding material that they use. On-ear headphones sit on your ear, and that pressure can become pretty uncomfortable after wearing them for longer periods. They do offer better portability than their over-ear counterparts while also offering similar sound quality.
In-ear headphones typically have the worst sound quality of the three types of headphones since the drivers are the smallest. The sound is usually a bit more mid-frequency oriented. With that said, they don’t always sound inferior, but to get a great pair of in-ear headphones with high-fidelity sound, you will need to spend some good money. When it comes to noise isolation, they are solid. Many in-ear headphones come with memory foam or memory foam-like material on the tips to help create a good seal.
In-ear headphones are typically the least comfortable if you are planning on using them for hours on end. You’ll begin to notice your ear canal getting sore after a bit of time. Of course, the big advantage of in-ear headphones is that they are extremely portable. You can slip them into your pocket when they aren’t in use and easily take them on the go. They are also great for drummers who want headphones that are a bit more inconspicuous.
Isolation is key when it comes to playing drums, no matter what situation you are playing in. In the studio world, isolation can help the drummer block out the sound of the loud instrument sitting in front of them so that they can hear themselves and the rest of the mix as one cohesive piece of music. Isolation also helps keep the click from bleeding out and being picked up by the microphones.
It is recommended that drummers look for headphones that provide at least 25dB of noise reduction.
Isolation is also necessary for live situations as it can block out unnecessary noise at venues. Crowds can be pretty loud at bigger concerts, which can keep the drummer from hearing the music properly. Having the ability to block out extraneous noise is crucial.
Beyond helping you play properly, isolation can help to protect your hearing. Constantly playing in loud environments can damage your hearing, which can ruin your ability to drum in the long run.
Studio vs. Stage
For studio drummers, we highly recommend a solid pair of over-ear headphones with good sound isolation and a long cable. The sound isolation will help prevent bleed from the click and will help you to hear the mix while you are tracking. A long cable will allow the sound engineer to run the headphones from the interface to the tracking space.
For live situations, however, we recommend in-ear headphones. They are very low profile and are nearly invisible to the crowd. Plus, they offer a solid amount of sound isolation. With that said, they do have a fairly limited low end unless you want to spend a good amount of money, which may not be ideal for drummers who need to feel those low frequencies.
Hear Us Out
Whether you are creating music in the studio, performing live, or practicing at home, you want to make sure that you have a good pair of headphones to protect your ears and deliver the sound you desire. If we had to pick one pair overall, we’d have to go with the Shure SE846-CL headphones. They are made for professional drummers who are seeking the best in sound quality, durability, portability, and versatility.
With that said, all of the headphones on our list are wonderful in their own right. It truly comes down to what your preferences are as a drummer. Good luck and always protect your ears! Without them, music doesn’t exist!