In ear Monitors vs Headphones – What Is Drummer’s Preference

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best in ears for drummers

In ear Monitors and Headphones are an essential gear that you can find within a drummer’s arsenal. A drummer needs to purchase them and ensure hearing protection. The main conflict is In ear Monitors vs Headphones. What is the better for you.

However, the process of buying headphones or in-ears from the market is quite overwhelming. Numerous options are available to consider for drummers who wear headphones, and you might not have a clear understanding of what exactly you need to buy. 

That’s why we thought of recommending you some of the best headphones and in-ears available in the market. You can go through these products and pick the best one out of them.

In ear monitors vs headphones under $150

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

in ear monitors

Shure SE215

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Best headphones for drummers under $150


  • Frequency Response:8Hz-25kHz
  • Impedance:64 ohms
  • Noise Attenuation:Ambient Noise Attenuation
  • Weight:0.49 lbs
  • 1/4″ and 1/8″ plugs


  • Comfortable
  • Cool design
  • Flexible


  • Leather cushions
  • Not all parts are replaceable

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro are excellent headphones for budget under $150. They can offer much-needed hearing protection for a drummer throughout performances. 

This is an excellent example of a durable headphones as well. That’s because it comes along with a heavy-duty coiled cable. It can provide excellent strain relief to you as well. Even if you want to replace the cable, you can do it with easily.

Drummers will have to wear their headphones for a longer periods of time. That’s why they need to pay extra attention to comfort. If the headphones are not comfortable, the drummers will not be able to perform well. 

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones come along with ear cup padding and a leatherette headband. Therefore, you can get a comfortable experience out of the headphone. 

Moreover, drummers who have already purchased this headphones have preferred the swivel design. It can deliver a perfect fit for different ear and head sizes

What I like

  • These headphones can provide you with sound isolating capabilities.
  • You will be able to keep the comfort while wearing them for long hours.
  • You can get a heavy-duty design, which will last for an extended period.
  • They are ideal for monitoring at a low volume.

What I don't like

  • Fit and padding can be too tight for drummers who have large heads.
  • Since there is a coiled cable, connectors can get strained.


If you are looking for sound-isolating headphones at a tight budget, this will be a good option. Since this is a low-end headphone, you cannot get the best sound quality. However, they are a great choice for drummers who are more concerned about sound isolation and comfort.

Shure SE215 Best in-ear monitors for drummers under $150


  • Sound signature: Detailed sound + enhanced bass.
  • Sensitivity: 107 dB SPL/mW.
  • Impedance: 17 Ω
  • Frequency Range: 22 Hz – 17 kHz.
  • Cable length: 162 cm.
  • Sound Isolation (up to): 37 dB.
  • MicroDriver: Single Dynamic.


  • Durable
  • Enhanced bass
  • Good isolation
  • Cool design


  • Detachment spot
  • Cable cost

Shure SE215 belongs to the category of high-performance in-ear monitors. However, you will be able to purchase them at an affordable price tag. These in-ear monitors have received a lot of positive attention because of their transparent and clear design. 

Due to this design, you can even see the electrical components and armature driver located inside the in-ear monitor.
They are popular among the drummers because of the excellent noise blocking capabilities. 

These in-ear monitors will be able to block up to 37dB in a higher frequencies. As a result, you can make sure that you are bringing down external noises to a healthy range. 

Enhanced bass is a great feature for all the drummers as well. Although they have only one dynamic driver sound is pretty clear and solid. 

The most important fact is that they don’t change the sound frequency when you turn up the volume. Also live instruments sound exactly like they suppose to; raw and clear.

Only cons I was able to find are the price of purchasing replaceable cable. The cable itself costs almost as full set of SE215 so it doesn’t make a sense to buy cable separately. 

The second con is the spot where cable attaches to headphones. If you detach cable more often some small non-replaceable parts could break.

What I like

  • These headphones can provide an excellent fit for you and help you with blocking out external sounds.
  • They provide a variety of frequency responses to you.
  • The bass output delivered by Shure SE215 is deep.

What I don't like

  • Price of the cable itself is to high
  • Durability of weak spot I mention is questionable


Shure SE215 in-ear monitors are popular among the demanding music listeners out there in the world. On the other hand, drummers will be able to purchase them as well. 

That’s because you will be able to block out background noises effectively with the support of isolating sleeves. 

When you compare the benefits that you can receive out of these in-ear monitors with the amount you spend, you will notice that they are a good investment for all the drummers.

In ear monitors vs headphones under $500

best drummers heaphones

Neumann NDH20

best in ear for drummers

Shure SE535

Neumann NDH20 Best drummers headphones under $500


  • Linear sound balance, like Neumann’s acclaimed studio monitors
  • Excellent isolation allows working in noisy environments
  • Transparent sound with high resolution
  • High long-term comfort, Easy transportation
  • 150 Ohm headphone – Pre amp or headphone amp recommended


  • Great balanced sound
  • Comfort
  • Cool design
  • Durable


  • Cable quality
  • High price
  • No transport case

Neuman NDH20 are high-end headphones. Even if you have to spend more money to buy these headphones, you will never regret it because of the excellent sound quality and build quality that you are receiving at the end of the day. 

Neumann has been able to develop a unique sound signature throughout the past. You can discover the same in these headphones as well.

Build quality of Neumann NDH20 headphones are similar to a German tank. Most of the parts in this headphone are made out of cast aluminum. 

Due to the same reason, you can find a matte surface throughout the headphone as well. Therefore, you don’t have to deal with the frustration of fingerprints. 

Due to aluminum construction, they can handle a heavy use for many years. On the other hand, you can replace all the parts that are subjected to wear and tear. Hence, you can refrain from purchasing a new pair of headphones.

These are not the lightweight headphones. However, they perfectly fit to the ear, ensuring no pressure on hotspots. 

Therefore, drummers will be able to remain comfortable throughout the performance. The cable that comes along with these headphones can be troublesome at times.

What I like

  • Sound isolation capabilities are impressive.
  • You will be able to get a durable construction out of the headphones.
  • These headphones can provide a perfect fit for you at all times.
  • They deliver high-quality sound.

What I don't like

  • The cable can be troublesome, and it limits your mobility.
  • There is too much bass in the sounds provided.


Neuman NDH20 headphones are designed for people who spend their time with mastering and mixing. However, drummers who can afford the price tag will be able to purchase these headphones. 

They will provide much-needed protection to your ears by blocking extreme sounds in the environment.

Check out the full review here.

Shure SE535 Best in-ear monitoring for drummers under $500


  • Triple High-Definition MicroDrivers
  • Ergonomic Housings
  • Secure Over-Ear Fit Stays in Place
  • 18 Hz to 19 kHz Frequency Response


  • 3 drivers
  • Sound isolations
  • Premium sound quality
  • Very durable


  • Regular sleeves
  • High price

Shure offers a variety of in-ear monitors to the market at different price tags. They include some high-end versions as well. 

If you are in a position to invest in a high-end version, Shure SE535 is the perfect choice. It guarantees to deliver a worthy performance for drummers.

Sound Isolation: According to Shure, SE535 is a perfect example of sound isolating in-ear monitors. They highlight this feature even during their marketing campaigns. 

Therefore, a drummer who is concerned more about sound blocking doesn’t need to worry too much before investing in this product. It will help you to block out external sounds from getting into your eardrums. 

You will be able to provide additional protection to your hearing while being engaged with the performances.

The sound blocking capabilities offered by Shure SE535 are achieved with ear tips. According to Shure, they are known as sleeves. These sleeves are efficient with blocking external sounds from reaching your ears. 

Sound: The sound quality offered by Shure SE535 in-ear monitors is excellent. You will be able to get clear, accurate sound. That’s the main reason why these in-ear monitors are quite popular among music composers.

They have 3 dynamic drivers which is enough to separate 3 basic frequencies ranges. Low, Middle and High frequencies. 

A lot of famous musicians like Edge from U2 are known using custom made in-ear with only one driver.That said, 3 drivers should be more than enough.

What I like

  • These in-ear monitors can provide great sound quality.
  • They remain comfortable within your ear canal.
  • You will be able to get a tight seal and block out external noises from entering into the ear.
  • It is compatible with a Bluetooth module.

What I don't like

  • These in-ear monitors are quite expensive.
  • The same amount of sound isolation as cheaper models from Shure


Shure SE535 in-ear headphones are functional and comfortable. Therefore, you will be able to purchase them from the market without keeping any doubts in mind. 

If $430 is not far too expensive for you, you should decide to buy Shure SE535. 

Two main factors are much-needed hearing protection capabilities and the best quality sound as well. 

Regarding isolation it is hard to say that you get more isolation than with Shure SE215. They both use the same sleeves. However the difference in sound is substantial. 

Before you decide to purchase them check out the full review of these headphones.


Now you have a clear understanding of the in ear monitors vs headphones features it is up to you to combine these facts with your personal preferences and the amount of money that you are ready to spend.

The main difference is in comfort and sound isolation. 

  • Headphones win when it comes to comfort. Sometimes it is very hard to get used to in-ears. 
  • In-ear monitors have the better sound isolation because the fill your ear canal and block all the external noise.
  • Regarding a price it is the same both go from $50 up to more than $2000. 
  • Sound quality is similar, although with in-ear monitors you get more raw sound which is better for both live performance and mixing.


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