Headphones are a very important part of a drummer’s kit.
The use of headphones will:
- enhance your performance
- save your hearing from the unwanted frequencies
…and it’s an important tool for live performances and recordings in the studio.
However, you cannot simply use your everyday headphones.
Regular headphones have a narrower frequency range and are often directed toward the low and high-end frequencies to provide an appealing sound.
Anyway, the regular headphones couldn’t take that kind of frequencies, and they would probably die if you use them for the studio or live performance on drums.
Headphones for drummers are a special kind of headphones.
They can transfer the raw, live sound from the output, giving the quality level of high and mid frequencies that you cannot get with regular headphones.
Another important trait is that drummer’s headphones are noise isolating, and it’s crucial for live performances when you cannot hear the clear sound from the sound system.
Let’s look deeper into the difference between regular headphones and headphones for drummers, emphasizing the attributes you should pay attention to when buying.
Even if you are not a professional drummer, there is no sense in using your regular headphones.
Here are the main reasons why.
Sound isolation is the main attribute of over-ear professional headphones, which you cannot get with your regular headphones.
Even if they are an over-ear model, the regular headphones cannot sufficiently block the background noise.
Headphones for drummers will isolate your ears from external sounds so you can focus on what you are playing.
The headphones with passive sound isolation are the best for drummers and musicians in general.
Headphones with passive sound isolation naturally block outside noise with cushions and isolation materials.
On the other side, there are headphones with active noise-cancellation.
- neutralize the ambient noise around you with noise-cancelling technology.
- enhance isolation by nullifying sounds that seep into the headphones.
Headphones for drummers should have passive sound isolation.
The sound isolation of the headphones isolates your ears from the background sounds and stops the sound from leaking out of headphones to the mics when recording.
All this makes sound isolation the most important attribute of the headphones for drummers, which cannot be achieved with regular headphones.
Regular headphones are made to enhance tone and allow you to hear music in its best light or to emphasize the low-end frequencies.
A drummer needs headphones that deliver well-balanced sound with an extremely wide frequency range and accuracy.
The professional headphones for drummers are designed to provide an accurate reproduction of audio.
You should choose headphones with a clear sound and wide frequency range, so make sure to check specifications, compare and try them out if possible.
Durability & Comfort
Live gigs and frequent use will put a lot of pressure on your equipment.
Not only that you cannot use your everyday headphones, but you will need sturdy and durable ones that will be able to take the toll of the heavy frequencies and physical damage.
It’s good to choose headphones with parts that are replaceable and quality constructed for extended durability.
You will need a long and Kevlar-infused cable, preferably replaceable and damage resistant.
The comfort of the headphones is an important factor to consider, especially if you are spending a lot of time in the studio.
Replaceable and comfortable ear cushions are always a plus.
Also, it’s great if your headphones are adjustable, easy to manipulate and foldable.
Drummer's headphones buyers guide
First of all, you should know if you will mostly use headphones for jamming at home, recording an album, or gigs.
For the studio recording of the drums, your priority should be a clean sound.
Sound isolation is not the crucial factor since you will be recording your drum separately from the band.
However, if you are aiming for headphones more suitable for live performances, your priority is isolation from background noises, as well as the strong and clear sound and sturdy construction.
If you are regularly doing live performances and recording music, you should probably choose headphones that are balanced for both.
We picked some of the top choices for studio and live drum performances, which can be just what you are looking for.
SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones are optimized for critical listening and studio monitoring, with a wide frequency range and clear sound.
They have a 3m long, detachable spiral cable which can be replaced if needed.
Beyerdynamic DT770 (80 Ohms)
DT770 are great for long studio sessions, with good sound isolation, clean sound and comfortable earpads.
They have a 3m straight single-sided cable which is unfortunately not replaceable.
Direct Sound EX29
The Direct Sound EX29 are the favourite headphones for recording in the studio, with large 40mm speaker drivers and clear sound.
They are light, adjustable and heavily padded headbands are making them comfortable for listening and studio sessions
Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V2 (SIH2)
These headphones offer full-range feedback and hearing protection, ideal for live performance.
These high-quality stereo headphones reduce overall noise levels by 25 decibels.
Sennheiser HD25 Plus
HD25 are great for live gigs, with some useful extras, such as the coiled cable, which tend to last a bit longer.
They have dynamic and responsive sounds, good isolation and the ability to withstand very high sound pressure.
Headphones for drummers: wrap-up
Now it should be more clear why you cannot use your regular headphones for drumming.
You will need professional and durable headphones with a broad frequency range and sound-isolating powers for live performances and studio sessions if you want to do it right.
Read the specifications carefully before you buy, and check out which traits suits you the most.
Of course, the budget can be a big factor in your decision.
Even for a tight budget, there are quite satisfying and many times tested brands that will serve you for years if you treat them right.
Don’t forget that having good headphones is crucial both for your performance and the health of your hearing, so don’t hesitate to give a few more bucks for the quality and long-lasting equipment.