Best Headphones for Drummers: Stay on the beat

best drummers headphones

If you’re a drummer in a band, pat yourself on the back! You’re, arguably, the glue that holds the entire group together! Don’t worry guitars and keys: You’re important, too.

The most important job of a drummer is to stay on tempo. Whether you’re rocking on stage or laying down tracks in a studio, the best headphones for drummers that money can buy are a must for cutting the noise and staying on the beat.

Why Do Drummers Wear Headphones?

Ever wonder why you see drummers on stage or in the studio wearing headphones? If you can hear the drums, the musician can undoubtedly hear them as well, right? Well, things aren’t as simple as they seem.

The drummer is like the conductor. They’re responsible for keeping the whole shebang together. Sure, other members play a big part, too. But the guy behind the kick drum usually has the most control. They set the groove and can make up for any timing shifts that occur.

Sounds easy enough. Now try that with rattling drumheads, screaming fans, and a troupe of other instruments accompanying you! Suddenly, it’s not as simple.

The kick drum is one of the most important elements that drive the tempo. More specifically, it’s the attack you need to worry about. Unfortunately, that punchy bass drum is easy to get lost in the noise. The “boom” of the drum is around 20 to 100 Hz. The attack transient, however, is at 700 to 1,000 Hz, which is the danger zone for muddy mids!

Another benefit of headphones is ear protection. Acoustic drum kits can produce anywhere between 90 and 130 decibels. If you’re on stage, that figure can jump significantly with micing. Even in a studio, reflections from the wall make it sound even louder than the standard range. The hearing damage threshold starts at 70 decibels, so ear protection is essential.

Monitoring your sound through headphones is the best way to stay safe and on-beat. Listening is a quintessential skill for drummers. Headphones don’t prevent you from hearing yourself or anyone else in your group. But, they can fine-tune the listening experience so that you can play better than ever before!

Headphones for Drummers Most Common Use

The best headphones for drummers will only serve you well if you match them to the situation. The environment in a studio is vastly different from what you experience on a stage. You’ll have distinct challenges you need to overcome.

Before you do anything, you should consider where you’ll be playing and how you plan to use the headphones.

Live Performances

If you’re lucky enough to have a large crowd to perform to, your biggest obstacle is going to be ambient noise. No matter what kind of set you use, your priority should be getting some cans that offer good sound isolation.

The different factors to consider between acoustic sets and electronic kits are minimal. Both need good sound isolation.

For acoustic sets, we recommend the headphones from KAT percussion. They do a solid job of blocking out unwanted noise to help your kick come through. Not only that, but they reduce fatigue!

For electric drums, try the Alesis DRP100 cans. They offer extreme sound isolation and a pretty solid frequency response!

Recording Studio Sessions

Noise isolation is equally important if you use your headphones for a recording session. But, there should also be a focus on frequency response. You should be able to hear every detail to ensure that you’re playing as well as possible.

The KAT percussion headphones will serve you well in this environment, too. The same goes for the Sony MDR7506, which has exceptional sound quality and response.

The 8 Best Headphones for Drummers

Ready to find your next drummer headphones? We’ve scoured the web to find the very best on the market. Here are our top picks!

1. Best Headphones for Drummers:
Roland RH-300V

Roland RH-300V Headphones

Roland is a reputable company with several decades of experience building top-notch audio gear. The RH-300V headphones are a great example of the brand’s engineering and attention to detail.

These headphones are purpose-built for drummers! They provide decent sound isolation thanks to the over-ear design and thick cushioning. The cans are also closed-back, so ambient noise is significantly reduced.

When it comes to sound quality, the headphones don’t disappoint. Thanks to large, 40mm drivers, you can experience dynamic sound with some punchy bass. The frequency response covers everything you need. The kick comes in loud and clear, making it easy for you to stay on track while listening to your bandmates!

Pros:

  • Dynamic sound quality
  • Punchy bass response
  • Thick isolating ear cups
  • Great for electronic drums
  • Folding design

Cons:

  • Heavier build

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 10-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 25KHz

2. Best Value for the Money:
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Headphones

Sennheiser is another reputable brand worth checking out. The HD 280 PRO headphones give you decent isolation and some impressive sound quality. All the while, it won’t break the bank!

In total, this unit provides about 32 decibels of attenuation. It’s particularly effective at cutting out higher transients and excessive ambient noise. Thanks to the closed-back design, you can get lost in your little world while monitoring your performance.

Even with the isolation, the sound recreation is nothing to turn your nose up at. It has high sensitivity and good sound recreation. As a result, monitoring yourself and your bandmates is a breeze!

Pros:

  • High sensitivity rating
  • 32 decibels of attenuation
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Replaceable components
  • Produces accurate sound

Cons:

  • Earcups can get a bit hot

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 9.8-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 8Hz – 25KHz

3. Best Overall for Drummers on a Budget:
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones

If you’ve spent any time in a studio, you might have seen these headphones at some point! Thanks to the flat frequency response, they’re a staple in studios. The large, 45mm drivers have a wide frequency range. But, they are no discernible peaks on the spectrum. That way, you can get an accurate recreation of your playing with no coloring whatsoever.

The headphones provide some decent sound isolation. They’re not as quiet as some other options out there, so they might not be the best choice for louder stage venues.

Acoustics aside, every detail is well-thought-out. You’re getting top-notch materials, good flexibility in how you use them, and plenty of sleek styles!

Pros:

  • Balanced sound
  • High-quality materials throughout
  • Versatile fit options
  • Flat frequency curve
  • Stylish design

Cons:

  • Cups might not fit everyone

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 9.8-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 28KHz

4. Best Sound Quality:
Sony MDR7506

Sony MDR7506 Headphones

At first glance, these Sony headphones don’t have any indication that they are high-quality. But, don’t let that no-frills design fool you! They are well-designed and offer great performance for drummers.

Sony made the MDR7506 headphones with studio professionals in mind. The closed-back design and thick cups provide excellent noise reduction. You can still hear some music leaking in. But external sounds are cut back to a whisper!

On top of that, the headphones have a flat frequency response. Perfect for hearing things as they sound, you don’t have to worry about jarring frequency bands. While they do a fantastic job in the studio, they can also serve you well on the stage. Thanks to the coiled cable, you get plenty of mobility if you need it.

Pros:

  • Super portable design
  • Stretchy coiled cable
  • Flat frequency response
  • Impressive noise isolation

Cons:

  • Not the most comfortable choice

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 9.8-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 20KHz

5. Best Isolation Headphones:
KAT Percussion KTUI26

KAT Percussion KTUI26 Headphones

Made for drummers by drummer, the KTUI26 headphones from KAT percussion have you covered in any situation. You can wear them on the stage or in the studio and get impressive results either way.

The thing we like most about these cans is noise isolation. Like most drumming headphones, they utilize passive sound cancellation. You don’t need any batteries or power. Everything is accomplished through thick cups that create a tight seal around your head!

In total, you’re getting about 26 decibels of attenuation. That’s more than enough for most uses. Pair that with the lightweight design and relatively compact footprint, and you have headphones ready to travel from the studio to the stage.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and lightweight design
  • Reduces ear fatigue
  • Great sound attenuation
  • Flexible use
  • Wide frequency response

Cons:

  • The cord is on the shorter side

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 6-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz

6. Most Durable Headphones:
Vic Firth V2

Vic Firth V2 Headphones

Need a pair of cans that will hold up to some wear and tear? Check out this model from Vic Firth. Officially endorsed by established drum brands, the headphones are tough enough to withstand a lot! The closed-back shell is thick and precisely molded for durability. It acts as a shell that protects the drivers from accidental dings and drops.

Beyond the build quality, these headphones have a lot to offer in terms of performance. It’s sporting 50mm drivers for accurate and flat sound reproduction. On top of that, the thick pads reduce outside noise by as much as 25 decibels!

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Large and powerful drivers
  • Accurate sound recreation
  • Ample noise isolation
  • Dual plugs

Cons:

  • The cord is too short
  • Limited adjustability

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 6-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz

7. Best Headphones for Electronic Drums:
Alesis DRP100

Alesis DRP100 Headphones

Here are some headphones that were purpose-built for electronic drums. Of course, they also work well with acoustic sets. However, the DRP100 model from Alesis has a couple of performance features that can help your electronic kit come to life.

The most impressive is the frequency response. These cans will recreate the lowest of lows and the highest transients. It climbs up to 30 kHz, which is far higher than most on the market. As a result, you’ll hear every subtle detail with exceptional clarity. Overall, the sound quality is punchy and crisp. Even when you’re dealing with samples, the sound reproduction is so good that it makes it sound like the real thing!

Pros:

  • Tight and punchy bass
  • Ultra-wide frequency response
  • Sweatproof band
  • Good sound isolation

Cons:

  • The cord is short and non-detachable
  • Clunky design

Key Features:

  • Closed-back headphones
  • 6-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 30KHz

8. Best In-Ear Headphones for Drummers:
Shure SE425-CL

Shure SE425-CL in=ear Headphones

If you need a pair of in-ear monitors for the stage, you can’t go wrong with Shure. This brand is one of the most well-known in live sound engineering. While you don’t get the over-ear design to block out noise, these monitors can outperform many traditional headphones.

The monitors come with several ear tips to get the right fit. Once the buds provide a tight seal, you can get up to 37 decibels of sound attenuation! But that’s not all.

The sound quality of the monitors is impressive for the size. That’s because Shure uses dual drivers in each bud. You get a separate tweeter and woofer for each ear, ensuring that the music sounds crisp and clear.

Pros:

  • Balanced sound
  • Easy to secure in-ear
  • Swappable ear tips
  • High sound isolation capabilities
  • Portable and lightweight

Cons:

  • Lower frequencies are a bit weak

Key Features:

  • Sound-isolating in-ear monitors
  • 6-foot cord
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 19KHz

What to Look for in the Best Headphones for Drummers

Once you have a better understanding of your needs, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty! Headphones are a dime a dozen in today’s market. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that any old pair will work for your instrument!

Pay attention to the following features to narrow down your options and find the best pair.

Noise Isolation

The most important thing to have? Noise isolation. Don’t be confused. This is not the same thing as Active Noise Cancellation. You still need to hear your bandmates and the instrument you’re playing.

Noise isolation is all about creating a physical barrier from ambient sound. Think of it as applying insulation to your house. Thick foam padding and a well-designed can will block out enough noise while still letting the critical stuff through.

Weight and Comfort

Headphone fatigue is a real thing! Even half a pound of extra pressure on your head will weigh you down after an intense play session.

Stick to lightweight materials. Also, pay attention to the headband design. Clamp force, tightness, and tension all come into play when it comes to prolonged comfort.

Over-Ear vs In-Ear

There are many different kinds of headphone designs out there. The two most common you’ll see for drummers are over-ear headphones and in-ear monitors.

Over-ear headphones, also known as circumaural headphones, cover your entire ear. As you can guess, they create a tighter seal for sound isolation. Thus, they are the go-to for professional drummers.

In-ear monitors are pretty popular with stage performers. Typically, they’re worn by vocalists and other members of the band. Some in-ears can provide good sound isolation. But, this usually comes at the sacrifice of sound quality.

Cable Length

Finally, pay attention to cable length! In a studio setting, you should make sure that you can reach the headphone amps comfortably. The same goes for stage performing. Unless you’re jumping around between sets, you don’t need a super-long cable. But still, it’s critical to consider your kit’s position to the gear you’ll connect to.

Last words

Wearing a pair of headphones while you rock out can make all the difference! No matter the genre you’re playing, they keep you in line throughout the entire performance.

Listening is key as a drummer. With the best headphones for drummers, you can stay focused and drown out all the extra noise. They let you hear yourself and your bandmates to deliver the best show possible.

Any one of our top picks will give you the isolation and sound quality you’re after. Give one of them a try and see for yourself! You’ll notice a difference immediately. Plus, you can shut your bandmates up once and for all and finally take control of the music!            

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Giorgio P
Giorgio P
Music has always led the path and I’ve been following doubtlessly. After many years of recording in studios as a singer of a swing/cabaret band, I decided to create my own home recording studio and built a blog about it. It involves exactly the things I love the most which are writing, creating, and learning. And that’s why I called the blog Sounds Wow. It really does!