What would real drummers - musicians, who performed on stage, recorded in studios, played tv shows and / or are experienced drum teachers - answer if you ask them the following question:
What are the best in ear monitors for drummers?
I am pretty sure that the answer is quite different from those you can find on websites which are not written by (real) drummers.
I am so mean! 🙂
So let's take a look at the most important features when it comes to choose a great in ear monitor for drummers.
What features do You expect from an in ear monitor?
I have been playing drums for almost 30 years now.
When performing live on stage, rehearsing with a band or practicing on my own it all boils down to one thing:
Sound quality and a great listening experience!
Therefore, the most important features an in ear monitor for drummers need to have - at least in my opinion - are:
What does that mean?
Great & accurate sound
On stage, you need to hear your fellow musicians. Period.
As a drummer you are lost, if you don't hear the bass player properly. Your performance significantly depends on the listening experience and a high quality sound.
I always want a bit of everything to listen to while playing on my drum set. So my in ear monitors need to deal with a wide frequency range to make all instruments like bass (low), guitar (mid & hi), my drums and higher frequencies like female singers, trumpets and so on sound great.
So professional in ear monitoring needs to be able to handle a wide frequency range from low to high and handle all frequencies evenly.
Don't mess around with your ears!
You need your hearing ability until the end of your life and listening to noisy music again and again can lead to hearing loss & non-reversible damages.
And that's why many musicians suffer from severe tinnitus.
That's the end of musicianship, and you should avoid a tinnitus by all means!
High end in ear monitors come with adequate noise isolation. Noise isolation means that you don't hear much (if anything) of what's going on outside.
That's really important because you only want to listen to what's important:
When practicing drums on your own or rehearsing with your band you have to rely on great sound quality and a comfortable fit. Your in ear monitor must not distract you from playing drums and listening to the music you are playing to.
A comfortable fit can be achieved by interchangeable ear tips, which fit your ear canal. So a professional in ear monitor comes with several ear tips to choose from and to ensure a secure fit. It should also allow to choose between foam tips and silicone ear tips.
Interchangeable spare parts
A professional in ear monitor system does not only convince in terms of sound quality, frequency response or design. Most importantly all spare parts need to be replaceable to avoid total loss in case one component is lost or damaged.
The more parts are replaceable the better.
Of course, you want to change the ear tips now and then when cleaning doesn't work anymore. When the in ear monitor cable gets damaged you need to replace it without having to buy a complete new in ear monitor system.
Okay, now let's have a look at the products which really deserve the title "the best in ear monitors for drummers".
The best in ear monitors for drummers
I really like the Shure SE215, which I have mentioned already.
To my mind it's an absolute no-brainer and it costs less than $ 100,- which you can check here. Its sound quality and what you get for the money is absolutely amazing and I can recommend it!
There are several ear tips in different sizes included. I also bought these additional ear tips which I can recommend in case you have bigger ear canals and like a very tight fit for optimal sound isolation. They fit every in ear monitor made by Shure.
It also includes a detachable cable which is useful in case it gets damaged or lost. You can get a new detachable cable here.
I also tried the Shure SE535 and a few other in ear monitor products from different manufacturers which you can find in the following comparison.
The Shure SE535 is one of Shure's flagships which reflects in its features but also in the price of this in ear monitor for drummers.