The 6+ best in ear monitors for drummers

Keno Hellmann    Updated on 30 Sep 2022

You love playing drums, and you need to protect your ears while getting a great monitor sound on stage?
Then this article is exactly what you were looking for. I will show you Shure's best in ear monitors for drummers; what they can do, how much they cost, and which iem is right for you!

These are Shure's best in ear monitors for drummers.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, which means, that I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase using those links. This doesn't cost you anything! Here's more info about affiliate links.

Good morning, and thanks for visiting Midnightdrummer.com today! 

In the last 8 weeks, I was able to test and review 4 of the best in ear monitors for drummers.

Shure was so kind to lend me their most sought after iems for musicians, which I reviewed and tested for you.

Here they are:

Best Beginner in-Ears 

Shure SE215 earphone piece

Shure SE215

The Shure SE215 is the most inexpensive in-ear monitor in this line-up and a very good entry-level product. These will protect your ears while playing drums and overall sound quality is decent.

For more information, please click here or continue reading. There's a lot more to tell about the the Shure SE215.


Most popular musician's in-ears 

Shure SE535 in ears for drummers

Shure SE535 (Pro)

The Shure SE535 (pro) are triple-driver in-ears. This model is probably the most popular in-ear headphone for drummers and musicians worldwide.

Besides protecting your ears from too much noise, this product is capable of creating exactly the sound you need on stage. 


Best Beginner in-Ears 

Shure Aonic 4 in white

Shure AONIC 4

The Shure AONIC 4 is a dual-driver in-ear headphone. This model is one of the top consumer's in-ears, but works excellent for musicians too!


In-Ears with Epic features

Shure Aonic 5 in-ears

Shure AONIC 5

The Shure AONIC 5 is another high-end triple driver in-ear headphone. It's quite similar to the SE535, but comes with a few extras, drummers will enjoy.


The best in ear monitors for drummers

Before I go into more details with each of these fantastic Shure in-ear monitors, I'd like to let you know, that every product has its pros and cons.

I really enjoyed them all, and I can recommend every single one of them in its pertaining price segment.

The best in-ear monitoring systems

If you need a fantastic in-ear monitoring system for your gigs on stage, here's probably the best address to go.

>> Sweetwater.com offers the best in-ear monitoring systems starting at ONLY $184,- for a low priced system.

Probably the greatest feature of each product which I present here, is the fact, that every single component can be replaced!

Yes, every single piece is interchangeable!
The earpieces itself, the cable, the ear tips and so on.

Additionally, you can also buy 3 different types of cables:  

  • EAC64CL – 63.78 inches (1.62 m) – very sturdy
  • EAC64CLS – 45.27 inches (1.15 m) – very sturdy
  • EAC64BK – 63.78 inches (1.62 m) – soft

The ladder is a softer type of cable, which I personally prefer. It's easier to move your head when wearing these in-ears using that softer type of cable.

Another great thing is, that all Shure in-ears can be connected to the True Wireless Adapter Gen2, which I probably will talk about more in another blog post / review. Connecting your Shure in-ears to these adapters will create wireless Bluetooth headphones, which is really great!

In the resources box, you will find even more accessories for these Shure in-ears.

Protect your ears!
All following Shure in-ear monitors will protect your ears, while playing drums and making music! This only works, so long, you pick the best-fitting ear tip!  

The only thing I cannot do is to make a decision for you.

Please read yourself, what each of these best in-ear monitors for drummers can do:

5/5
Shure SE215 earphone piece

Shure SE215 – The best budget in-ear monitors for drummers

The Shure SE215 in-ear monitor is an excellent entry-level product. It sounds great, sits well and is available in several colors: clear | blue | black 

When you buy this product, you will get the earpieces left and right, a sturdy (replaceable) cable – EAC64CL – several ear tips in different sizes and a bag to carry them wherever you go.
These Shure in-ear protect your ears and help to decrease the outside noise up to 37 dB!

Please keep in mind that the the optimal protection only works when you use them with the best fitting ear tips for optimal sound isolation.

In my case – for example – I had to order these Shure ear tips to really isolate my ears from the outside noise.

Quality

Although the Shure SE215 in-ear monitors are an entry-level product in Shure's product range, you'll get a fantastic product for the money.
Every piece of this product is very well-thought-out, and the sound is great too!

Contents

In addition to the Shure SE215 and the EAC64CL cable, you will get several ear-tips, a soft transport case and a cleaning tool.

Cost

The Shure SE215 is one of the most inexpensive in-ear monitors for drummers. It protects your ears from noisy surroundings and, of course, while practicing drums and making music. The provided ear-tips will help you find the perfect fit, and the soft case will keep everything save and secure while travelling.

Summary

The Shure SE215 are very good entry-level in-ear monitors for daily use. I almost wear them each day, and they work great as my number 1 ear protection and as earphones to play to my favorite music and click tracks.
Due to the single driver, you cannot adjust lows, mids and high frequencies individually. If this is your number 1 priority, you should have a look at the following Shure in-ears.

If you want to try your 1st in-ears and your budget is tight, you should definitely consider this model.

Pros

  • Price
  • Good sound
  • Protects your ears
  • All parts replaceable
  • Also works with True Wireless adapter Gen2

Cons

  • Sound isn't that detailed

Here you will find an in depth Shure SE215 review.

5/5
Shure SE535 in ears for drummers

Shure SE535 – in-ears for professional musicians

The Shure SE535 in-ear monitors for drummers have been and still are one of Shure's flagships for professional musicians.

This product is ideal for gigs, studio, rehearsals, and it works great as your favorite in-ear headphone on any smartphone.

Due to its triple driver technology, the sound is very detailed in the lows, mids and high frequencies, and it can be modified to your individual needs using an EQ.

Out of the box, the sound of the Shure SE535 is very linear and neutral. No frequency dominates. No basses are “pumping” or sound unnatural – unless you want that.

The Shure SE535 is available in several colors:
clear | read | bronze 

When you buy this product, you will get the earpieces left and right, a sturdy (replaceable) cable – EAC64CL – several ear tips in different sizes and a bag to carry them wherever you go.
The Shure SE535 also protect your ears and help to decrease the outside noise up to 37 dB, but you need to use the best fitting ear tips to achieve that level of protection!

Quality

The Shure SE535 is very well-built, and it makes the impression of a high quality product. 

The earpieces and the cable can easily be connected to each other, and the cable length of 64 inches (1.63 m) is great for playing on stage with a lot of room to move.

Still, the packaging of these in-ears isn't that great as you would expect it from a product as this price point. 

But don't judge this book by its cover!

Contents

In addition to the Shure SE535 and the EAC64CL cable, you will get several ear-tips, a transport case, a cleaning tool and a 3.5 mm to 0.25 inch (6.35 mm) headphone adapter.

Cost

The Shure SE535 is certainly not cheap, but in comparison to the SE215 you will get a lot more built in technique and features, which support professional drummers on stage and in the studio. If you need a more detailed sound with more possibilities to influence the sound, this model is the best in-ear monitor for you.

Summary

The Shure SE535 are excellent in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians who perform on stage and in the studio. These in-ears are equipped with a reliable ear protection, and you can influence the level of protection by picking the best fitting ear tips for your ear canals.

This model has been on the market since 2010, and it's still one of the bestsellers, which I can fully understand. All components can be replaced, and you don't have to buy the complete product when something gets damaged or lost.

Pros

  • Triple Sound Driver
  • Protects your ears
  • All parts replaceable
  • Also works with True Wireless adapter Gen2

Cons

  • Packaging could be better
5/5
Shure Aonic 4 in white

Shure Aonic 4

The Shure Aonic 4 is the little brother of the Aonic 5. It's another in-ear headphone meant for the consumer market. 

Again, these in-ears work very well on stage and for music purposes, too. The only thing you need to replace is the “communication cable” which is far too short for performing music.

The Aonic 4 is equipped with a so-called dual driver, and it is available in several colors: white | black 

Quality

The Shure Aonic 4 is another great product which works very well for musicians.

Still, you would need to buy a longer and more sturdy cable for music making.

Contents

In addition to the Shure Aonic 4 earpieces and the 3.5 mm communication cable, you will get several ear-tips, a soft transport case, a cleaning tool and a 3.5 mm to 0.25 inch (6.35 mm) adapter.

Cost

Price wise, the Shure Aonic 4 is cheaper than the Aonic 5 and SE535. 
Still, you will get professional in-ears for the money.

Summary

The Shure Aonic 4 are great in-ear monitors too, which aren't meant for making music in the first place. If you want to buy an extra cable like the EAC64CL, you are ready for the stage and for making music wearing the Aonic 4.

Like all the other Shure in-ears I talked about on this page, the Aonic 4 will protect your ears while playing drums.

Pros

  • Price
  • Dual Driver
  • Protects your ears
  • All parts replaceable
  • Also works with True Wireless adapter Gen2

Cons

  • Sound isn't that detailed
  • Included cable is quite short
5/5
Shure Aonic 5 earpieces

Shure Aonic 5

The Shure Aonic 5 in-ear monitors are consumer market in-ear headphones which also work great on stage, in the studio and for making music in general.
They are available in several colors: clear | red | black 

These Shure in-ears are very similar to the Shure SE535 in terms of sound and built-in technique.

A great feature – which the SE535 – is not equipped with – are the changeable filters, which influence the overall sound of the Aonic 5. These can be changed using a little screwdriver, which you can see in the image gallery.

Unfortunately, the Shure Aonic 5 comes with a quite short “communication cable”, which isn't suitable for performing on stage. But again, every single component is exchangeable, and you can buy another cable here

Quality

The Shure Aonic 5 is very well-built, and every single component is of high quality. The earpieces look absolutely stunning and worth the quite costly price.

Only the communication cable doesn't seem to be that sturdy. It's made of some kind of thin plastic, which probably doesn't last that long. 

Contents

Besides the Shure Aonic 5 earpieces and cable, there are also 3 interchangeable filter pairs which do influence the sound:
bass | mids | highs

Several ear tips will help to find the best fit for your ear canals, and a small case keeps everything where it belongs.

Cost

The Shure Aonic 5 does cost quite a lot of money in comparison to the other Shure in-ears on this page. If you like to experiment with the extra feature (aka frequency filters) you will have to swallow the pill of a higher price.

Summary

The Shure Aonic 5 are great in-ear monitors which are created for consumers. Still, this product delivers everything a professional musician dreams of. Only the included cable doesn't work properly on stage and while making music. It's simply too short for this purpose. 

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Triple Sound Drivers
  • Protects your ears
  • All parts replaceable
  • Interchangeable filter tubes for different frequency responses
  • Also works with True Wireless adapter Gen2

Cons

  • Quite costly
  • Included cable is quite short

How to find the best earbuds for drumming?

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 2 tiny things:

Ear protection and a great listening experience!

Therefore, the most important features the best earbuds for drumming must deliver are: 

  • Great & accurate sound
  • Ear protection
  • Noise isolation
  • Comfortable fit
  • Interchangeable spare parts

What does that mean?

I'll explain:

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 an accurate listening experience and a high quality sound of your colleagues' instruments.

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. 

That's not easy to accomplish in such a tiny device like an iem earphone.

So professional in-ear monitoring needs to be able to handle a wide frequency range from low to high and handle all frequencies evenly. 

Ear Protection

Don't mess around with your ears!

Never!

Ever!

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. Here you can find examples of noise levels, including a drum set.  

And that's why many musicians suffer from severe tinnitus, which can be avoided using proper ear protection.

A tinnitus can mean the end of musicianship.

Don't take the risk!

Noise Isolation

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:

Your Band! 

Comfortable Fit

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 replaceable 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 picking 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 gets lost or damaged.

By the way; int this blog post, I share my Shure SE215 replacement tips.

The more parts are replaceable, the better.
For example:

  • Ear Tips (of course)
  • Wires / Detachable Cable
  • Connectors
  • Earphone pieces (left & right)

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. It's just too expensive! So a detachable cable is a must.

What makes good in-ear monitors for drummers?

The most important feature of any in-ear monitor for drummers is proper ear protection! Without that, any other feature doesn't make any sense at all.

In case the in-ears don't fit properly, sound isolation and ear protection aren't possible to achieve. 

Thus, a great monitor sound can only be achieved if the the prior points are met.

All Shure in-ear monitors I reviewed meet these criteria, but you need to find the ideal ear tip for yourself for the best sound quality and ear protection.

My final thoughts on in-ear monitors for drummers

Everybody perceives sound subjectively.

That's why it's impossible to make an absolute recommendation in terms of buying the best in-ear monitors for drummers. 

Some musicians like a more bass oriented sound with a warm range of frequencies. Others prefer a linear and neutral sound quality. That means that you will have to try different products until you find the top in-ear headphones for yourself. 

I chose the Shure SE215, although I had the chance to compare it directly to the SE535 and the SE425 which cost nearly 3-4 times more than mine.

I like the SE535 a lot, but the sound is very neutral. My favorite songs felt strange to me when listening to them wearing the SE535.

Well, that's many years ago when I last tried this product, and I would love to make another attempt with a later version of the iem.

Maybe the Bluetooth adapter set changes the sound? Perhaps the ear tips do? I suppose yes, because a snug fit increases lower frequencies compared to a loose fit when the ear tips are too small for my ear canal.

Can I Use the Shure SE215 as in-ear sport headphones?

Yes!

I don't only use them when playing drums. I also wear them while running & meditation. As noise isolating earphones, they work pretty well for such purposes.

As I mentioned above, you can also get the Bluetooth version of the SE215, which you can find here. This will give you a more hands-free version, which should be better when doing sports. 

So, what's your choice?
Which earphone is your favorite? Will you choose a wireless system or one with cable? Will you only use it while playing drum tracks or in other occasions too?

Please let me know in the comments.

Cheers and talk soon!

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about in-ears for drummers. If you can't find an answer to your question, please use the comment section at the end of this article.

Why do drummers use in-ear monitors?

There are several advantages for drummers who wear professional in-ear monitors:
On the one hand, high-end products protect the ears from too much noise while playing. They help avoid hearing loss and tinnitus. On the other hand, good in-ear monitors deliver the best sound possible while making music on stage, in the studio and while rehearsing. Listening to your fellow musicians is essential to deliver the best performance possible. 

How do in-ear monitors work for drummers?

In-ear monitors for drummers are the ideal solution for playing drums on stage, in the studio and when rehearsing. They help achieve the best possible sound of your fellow musicians while making music. Using a mixer helps to split the signals a drummer needs to hear while playing. This way it's easy to create the optimal sound to create the best drumming performance possible. 

What do drummers hear in their earpiece?

Most drummers who are wearing earpieces, listen to their band, to instruments like the bass, to a click-track and even to their own drum set. The sound a drummer needs to listen to while playing can be very individual and a lot of testing can help to find the ideal mix for the best performance.

Keno Hellmann

Keno is a professional drummer & blogger from Hamburg, Germany.
In his career, he played drums for prominent artists like Elton John and popular German bands like Rosenstolz, Big Soul and others.
Since 2004 he's also teaching drums to students of all age-groups from beginners to advanced and semi-professional drummers.

He loves kitesurfing in Germany's North Sea & Egypt's Red Sea, cooking, and he is a big supporter of the HSV football team.

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