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Best in ear monitors for drummers
You are probably bored with too loud guitar sound on stage or having a problem with hearing some other instruments.
I had a problem with hearing my bass drum and band just being too loud, so I decided to turn the volume down and control the sound of the whole band.
That became possible with my Shure Se215 – the best in ear monitors for drummers under $100.
The reason behind the use of in-ear monitors by drummers is sound isolation.
Headphones can’t isolate enough sound and they bleed into mics while recording the drums is very common.
That’s why more and more drummers to transition to in-ear monitors. If you ask me they have better sound than the headphones.
Check out full article on Headphones VS In ear monitors for drummers.
If you are convinced that professionals in-ear monitors are just the right thing for you let’s dive deeper into it.
What is the difference between IEMs and normal earphones?
Songs that are recorded, mixed, and produced have normal signals so to say.
While live instruments have an “unpredictable” signal. Raw, uncut, and strong.
Professionals in-ear monitors can support that raw signal while normal earphones can’t.
That is the main difference. You can play mp3 songs through in-ear monitors but you can’t play raw drum signals through earphones.
Maybe you can, for a few times but you risking burning their electronics. I’ve fucked up 4 earphones before I figure out this and decided to spend $100 on a set of in-ear monitors.
To get isolation and better sound control is why drummers wear headphones.
Earphones don’t isolate that much sound as in-ear monitors.
In-ear monitors use rubber sleeves that form the shape according to your ear and they go much deeper into your ear canal.
There is a substantial difference in sound isolation. Let’s say earphones block up to 50% the noise coming from outside, well in-ear monitors for musicians block up to 80% of that sound. I am talking about passive noise isolation.
Are in ear monitors worth it?
Burning every set of earphones is not affordable so, YES they are fucking worth it.
I purchased now famous Shure SE215 back in 2012. Since then I stepped on them, soak them in beer, wash them along with my pants and they are still alive.
They cost less than $100, have enhanced bass and replaceable cable. I can strongly suggest these in-ears as a great choice for us drummers.
Custom in ear monitors, now that is something different. They cost a lot more. Although they are designed from your ear sample I am not sure they isolate the sound more than sleeves I mention.
I didn’t use custom type but I tried making the homemade custom IEMs and that didn’t work for me since I got the worst sound actually and less noise isolation.
Check out what I did in the video below.
A number of drivers influence the price the most. For instance Shure SE215 cost less than $100 because they have only one driver. Shure makes in-ears up to 8 drivers currently.
I think anything more than 3 drivers is for commercial purposes. Trust my words they will make 20 driver headphones until 2022.
I tried several cheaper in ears and there is a big difference in sound. It can happen that frequency completely changes while you increasing the volume, while on my Shure in ears everything stays the same.
They have some low-quality sleeves so you’ll get less isolation as well.
With this article I decided to cover in ear monitors with one, two, and three drivers after that it gets expensive so you get into dilemma of purchasing custom in ear monitors instead.
Why do I think 3 drivers are enough?
Somewhere along the road the manufacturers went from one driver up to 16 and more. What for?
With three drivers you separate low, mid, and high frequency and what more can you ask.
I can compare this phenomenon to cameras nowadays. They produce cameras with 51 mega px on smartphones while even 5mp is more than enough to shoot a great photo. So, why making the 51 mega px camera, well marketing-wise.
While some celebrities use 16 driver custom in-ears, others use single or triple driver custom in ears.
It all comes to a fact that you can buy 16 drivers in ears custom made, frosted with diamonds. I f you have money, why not. Do you need anything more than 3 drivers? I really doubt.
I scraped the web the check what others have in mind when it comes to in ears and still didn’t find better in ear monitors for drummers than these 3 I used.
They provide the best value for the money ratio, sound, sound, isolation, and built quality.
- Shure SE215 (1 driver)
- Mee Audio M7 PRO ( 2 drivers)
- Shure SE535 (3 drivers)
- Very durable
- Enhanced bass
- Isolation level
- Great sound
- Only one driver
If your budget is under $100 this is the best deal on the market. I love comparing them to a legendary mic Shure sm57 that costs around $100 but it is that good that the best studios and musicians use it which is not a common fact for products in this price range.
It almost seems like a mistake that Shure released this good in ear monitors for less than 100 bucks.
The Shure SE215 has the best value for the money ratio that you can find in today’s market.
What makes them drummers headphones? Enhanced bass, clear sound.
What makes them perfect for all musicians. Raw sound – you hear instrument exactly as it sounds, no frequency or effect added.
The “picture” you get from it provides solid insights into the sound of your instrument. That way it is easy to control it an modifying it.
As a drummer the main reason for using in-ear monitors is isolation. I don’t want my ears to bleed because of guitar amp, to loud singer voice in the on-stage monitors or some crazy bassist who can’t hear himself enough but don’t want to use headphones.
This in ears is solving this issue. The package contains 3 pairs of ordinary sleeves like the ones you get with a smartphone and 3 pairs made out of memory foam.
I tried making DIY custom in ear monitors and just for comparing purposes the memory sleeves done a better job when it comes to sound isolation.
After you put them in the ear canal the fill it out and block around 80% of sounds coming from outside.
They are durable as well. I used them for more than 7 years. For that time period I wash them along with my pants, step on them, draw them in beer and they still survived.
I ended buying Shure SE535 but I still have them and use it sometimes.
Sennheiser IE 40 Pro
- Extremely comfortable
- 2 cables
- Natural sound
- Affordable price
- Only one driver
We have arrived at a model from the kingpin of the IEMs manufacturer world that is Sennheiser. This is their budget model that is inferior to their other models in terms of sound, but the price-quality ratio is exceptional.
The main characteristic that can distinguish IE 40 Pro is the comfort that they offer. You can jam for hours, and you won’t feel them in your ear.
However, the length of the proprietary cable can seem a bit too short, so that may be a real problem for you.
They come with just one sound driver, but that is expected at this price range. Obviously, their direct counterparts are Shure SE215 and Mee Audio MX2 Pro, as they are similar in price, quality, and sound that they offer.
Sound-wise they offer natural sound with the solid bass quality and sound isolation which is a must for drummers.
Shure vs Sennheiser comes down to your personal preference, as they offer almost equal products, but I may prefer the Shure model better.
Mee Audio MX2 Pro
- Great bass sound
- Dedicated subwoofer
- Affordable IEMs model
- Decent number of accessories
- Not the best mids and highs
Mee Audio designed the new MX Pro series to replace their older IEMs models such as M6 Pro and M7 Pro. The MX2 Pro model is specifically designed as a counterpart to the M7 Pro at a lower price.
The number in the name of the newest Mee audio models tell us how many sound drivers they have, so this means that MX2 Pro has 2 dedicated sound drivers.
One subwoofer is entirely dedicated to basses, so at this price range, they are a very good choice for an average drummer.
At this price range, Mee Audio offers a solid accessories package that includes 3 pairs of single silicone tips, a pair of double silicone tips, and a pair of foam tips. If that is not enough, you can order custom ear tips designed specifically for your ear.
They are very comfortable and offer above-average sound isolation that can always be enhanced by custom accessories.
The best advantage of this model surely is the price and what you get for it is indeed impressive, but the whole design may seem cheap. Translucent design can look very ugly!
Mee Audio M7 PRO
- Dual driver
- 2 cables
- Great price
- Cheap replacement parts
- One design option
- Only 2 foam sleeves
Mee Audio is a cool company little bit underestimated and not as big as Shure, Seinheiser, and all the big names in this industry.
That’s why they often offer more. Let me give you a few examples.
- They are one of the rare companies who offer the dual driver in ears at this price range
- M7 Pro comes with two cables while Shure, for instance, tend to sell cable at a high price so it’s more affordable to buy new in-ears instead just a cable
- You can make a custom mold for this in ears which is a cool alternative for custom in ear monitors
- They offer a 50% discount if you need to purchase some part or new in ears, they call this Life replacement program.
So, as you see a lot of advantages. I would say Mee Audio M7 Pro is a competitor to Shure SE315.
They both have dual drivers but M7 Pro is cheaper and comes with more add-ons.
In comparison to SE215 which has “enhanced bass”. Let’s be clear on this, there is no true enhanced bass without separated driver only for the lowe frequencies.
With two drivers you get more clear sound and while I think in ear monitors with 3 drivers are the right thing, 2 drivers are more than enough and are more affordable.
They come with 4 regular sleeves and 2 memory foam sleeves.
Audio Technica ATH-E70
- Exceptional sound quality
- Very versatile
- Light and comfortable
- For professional use
- They are worth the price, but only for professional musicians.
It is finally time to review one of the premium IEMs from another giant of the industry- Audio Technica. They are a well-known music accessories manufacturer that offers 3 IEMs at a different price range E40, E50, and E70.
We will take a look at their premium model E70.
I am very impressed by the specs and sound quality that E70 provides. The sound is clean, very versatile as it has exceptional basses, mids, and lows.
But this is to be expected of such an expensive model of IEMs. They are well worth it, but for average drums enthusiasts, this is certainly a very pricy deal.
Three sound drivers provided by this model are more than enough even for professionals, as they can be used in a studio. One driver is dedicated to lows, one for mids, and finally, one for highs. To say that they are versatile is an understatement.
Every premium model is exceptionally good, but our choice for today is Audio Technica ATH-E70. All other companies offer excellent premium models, and you won’t go wrong with any of them.
Shure SE535 - Triple driver in ear monitors
- 3 drivers
- Isolation level
- Clear sound
- Additional sleeves
- High price
- Only 2 design options
Since I’ve been more than satisfied with SE215 from Shure the upgrade to 535’s was an obvious choice.
Shure made it clear that they are not making a compromise when it comes to quality. Even low-end products from sure have high-end quality.
It is kind of “for $100 we will give you great in ears but with only one driver” which I think is fair.
This is the best model with 3 drivers I was able to find at a reasonable price. I really wouldn’t recommend paying more for any other 3 drivers in ear monitors.
I found about Shure SE535 as the in ear monitors that Dave Weckl uses. So if one of the best drummers doesn’t need custom in ears and doesn’t need more than 3 drivers what more can I ask for.
You can purchase 16 drivers in ear monitors but 3 drivers should be more than enough. The difference between one and three drivers in ears is huge but between 3 and 6 it gets smaller. I guess they reach the top with 3 drivers and after that, there is not so much room for improvement.
Shure really does have great value for the money ration for a great amount of the products they produce. It is the same with these drummers in ears.
After this model I would go to custom made in ear monitors as an upgrade.
- Great build quality
- Abundant accessories
- Basses are solid
- Very flexible and versatile
- Sound isolation can be a bit better.
So, for our final model, we have a less known manufacturer and model, Mackie MP-240. I wanted to present a perfect alternative for the standard well-established models.
Out of the box, these IEMs look very professional, as it offers some serious package accessories. Mackie offers 3 foam tips, 3 dual tips, and 3 standard single tips which are impressive, to say the least.
Build quality is also very good, the cable looks very durable and sturdy, and it will last you for a very long time.
I have already talked about accessories, and that only means that they are extremely comfortable as they provide impressive levels of customization. Another bonus is that they looked very appealing to the eye.
These are standard dual-driver IEMs, it is equipped with one dynamic driver, and one balanced driver. Basses are loud and can be easily distinguished from mids and low, but they also offer a decent level of flexibility and versatility.
For every drummer, the most important thing, apart from lows sound, is sound isolation. Mackie offers good sound isolation, but they can improve a little on that field.
You may not have heard of Mackie MP-240 before, but you may want to consider this model because they are some serious alternatives to your standard IEMs.
I provided the best in ear monitors for drummers at 3 different price levels and with 3 different amount of drivers in them.
Depends on your need but three drivers are more than enough. After then it gets more expensive and the value for the money ration decreases.
As a drummer you need something durable, quality made with good isolation possibilities. All three models have these assets and that’s why I think they are great options for drummers.
If you think you need more than regular in ears I would suggest going with custom made in ear monitors made just for you rather than purchasing 8 drivers in IEMs.