Best Headphones for Drummers - Beats To The Head

Written by: Zander Brooks
Updated:

Headphones are a vital accessory for drummers. First of all, as a drummer, you really need to protect your hearing so that you can make music a lifelong activity. Second, you may want to practice with a track, other performers, or a metronome, and a pair of headphones will make that much easier. And third, headphones are really important for electronic drumsets – you’ll be able to practice without disturbing anyone else if you have a good pair of headphones! 

So with all of the reasons to have headphones when you play drums, how do you know which ones to purchase? In this article, we’ll give you the top six headphones for drummers. We’ll also tell you the criteria we used to select the best headphones, and of course, we’ll give you our pick for the best one! 

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Best Headphones for Drummers Reviewed

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – Most Comfortable Headphones for Drummers

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 ohm Limited Edition Professional Studio Headphones (Renewed)

Amazon 

Features 

  • These headphones use closed, over-ear headphones for passive noise reduction 
  • The soft, fuzzy ear cups provide extra comfort on your ears
  • They offer a pure, high-resolution sound for distinguished listeners
  • Beyerdynamic headphones are durable and sturdy 
  • They are a great price 

Summary 

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro gives you great sound at a great price. These durable headphones are made in Germany and have great tension across the head, as well as soft, fuzzy cups for extra comfort for those long jam sessions. They work great in the studio, at home, and for gaming or music listening. The wire is straight (not curly) to prevent tangling. 

Pros 

  • These headphones are durable and extra comfortable on your ears
  • They use passive noise reduction to reduce outside sounds so you can focus on the sound you want to hear

Cons 

They may make your ears feel hot after an hour or so of use due to the fuzzy ear cups

Shure SE846-CL Professional Sound Isolating Earphones – Best for Professional Drummers 

Shure SE846-CL Professional Sound Isolating Earphones with Quad High Definition MicroDrivers and True Subwoofer, Secure In-Ear Fit - Clear

Amazon 

Features 

  • These are in-ear headphones 
  • These headphones use both wired connectivity and Bluetooth
  • Lightweight and comfortable in your ears 
  • Durable, reinforced cable with a gold-plated cable. 

Summary 

The Shure SE846-CL Professional Sound Isolating Earphones block 37 dB of noise so you can focus on your music. They are available in three sizes (S, M, and L) to customize your fit. The cables fit over your ears to stay out of the way. These headphones provide a full-range sound and have a durable, reinforced cable. What sets these headphones apart from the rest is their incredible sound quality. They sound amazing across musical styles and types, but the price tag means you won’t be purchasing them for easy listening – these are probably best used by serious professional musicians.

Pros 

  • Outstanding sound quality across a variety of musical styles and genres 
  • Lightweight, over-the-ear cables are comfortable and keep wires out of your way 

Cons 

  • These are extremely expensive, especially if you are a beginner drummer 
  • It may take a while to get the correct fit, although a good fit is essential for noise reduction to work effectively. 

Alesis DRP100 - Audio-Isolation Electronic Drums Headphones  - Best Budget Headphones for Drummers

Alesis DRP100 - Audio-Isolation Electronic Drums Headphones for Monitoring, Practice or Stage Use with 1/4' Adapter and Protective Bag

Amazon 

Features 

  • There are silicone, over-the-ear, wired headphones 
  • These headphones offer plenty of outside noise reduction so you can focus on your music 
  • The silicone headband is flexible, stable, and sweat-proof for extra comfort during long sessions 
  • They are very sturdy and durable 
  • The Alesis headphone employs natural (passive) sound cancellation 
  • Provides a wide frequency range so you can hear every detail
  • It uses a 6-foot cable with a 1.8-inch mini plug and includes a 1/4inch adaptor

Summary

The Alesis Headphones are some of the most comfortable headphones at this price point. The silicone headband is stable yet flexible and, better yet, sweatproof for those long sessions. The wide frequency range means you can hear every detail of your music, and you won’t miss a thing. In addition, these headphones offer passive sound cancellation, so not everything will be silenced, but the external sounds will be dampened. 

Pros 

  • These headphones come at a great price point
  • Sturdy, durable, and comfortable for long sessions 
  • Utilize a wide frequency range 

Cons 

  • These can get hot and sweaty quickly

Koss QZ-99 Noise Reduction Stereophone – Best Passive Noise Reduction

Koss QZ-99 Noise Reduction Stereophone, Standard Packaging

Amazon 

Features 

  • These headphones have passive noise reduction 
  • The ear cushions and headband provide an extra tight seal over the ears to eliminate ambient noise 
  • It can be switched from mono to stereo 
  • Includes volume control on the ear cup 
  • Uses an 8-foot, coiled cord 

Summary 

The Koss Headphones are unique in that they offer both stereo and monophonic settings. The ear cushions hold tight to the ears thanks to an extra secure headband to reduce or eliminate ambient noise. There is a simple volume control on the ear cup for easy adjustment, and the headphones connect via an 8-foot, coiled cord for ease of use. 

Pros 

  • These headphones do an excellent job at reducing noise passively 
  • They can be used as mono or stereo headphones 
  • Includes built-in volume control on the ear cup 
  • These headphones come at a budget price 

Cons 

  • The sound reduction is made possible by the tight-fitting headphones – they may be uncomfortably tight for some people. 

Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V2 – Best All Around Headphones for Drummers

Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V2

Amazon 

  • Features 

  • Reduces ambient noise by 25 dB 
  • These are wired, over-the-ear headphones which use passive noise reduction 
  • Includes 1/4” and 1/8” plugs for versatility 

Summary 

These headphones were created to reduce outside noise levels by 25 dB so you won’t be distracted by outside sounds. They offer rich sound in the low, mid, and high ranges, making them a great choice for live performance, studio work, and rehearsing and for acoustic and electronic drums. The headband is padded, and the earcups are cushioned to make sessions more comfortable for longer. 

Pros

  • These are very comfortable headphones for long sessions 
  • They protect hearing well 
  • You can purchase the Vic Firth Headphones at a great price point

Cons 

  •  These may feel heavy on the head and tight in the ear cups 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones – Best Sounding Headphones for Drummers

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black, Professional Grade, Critically Acclaimed, with Detachable Cable

Amazon 

Features 

  • 90-degree swiveling ear cups so you can use just one ear for ambient listening, when needed 
  • Excellent contouring around ears to comfortably reduce sound in loud environments 
  • These headphones offer superior sound with clarity throughout the frequency range 
  • They have an exceptional fit and comfort for long sessions 
  • Includes three detachable cables 

Summary 

The Audio-Technica Studio Headphones are highly revered for their excellent sound quality. The swiveling earcups are great if you want to listen in just one ear, but the contoured ear cups provide excellent passive sound reduction. 

The headphones come with three detachable cables to meet your needs. 

Pros 

  • Swivel ear cups add extra usability in the studio
  • These headphones provide extra sound reduction 
  • They produce amazing sound

Cons 

  • These headphones may be a bit heavy and tight 

Criteria for Choosing the Six Best Headphones for Drummers 

Next, we’ll take a look at the criteria we used to choose the best headphones for drummers. Once you have a good idea of what to look for in a great pair of headphones for drummers, you’ll be better able to pick the ones that work best for you. 

Purpose 

First of all, knowing the purpose of your headphones will help you choose the best ones for you. For example, are you interested in noise reduction because you are playing acoustic drums? Then you’ll want a pair that can protect your hearing. On the other hand, do you need really good quality audio over noise reduction because you are playing electronic drums? Also, what kind of music will you be playing? Is it drum-heavy, or is it softer music? Will you be playing along with a click track, other musicians, or just practicing alone?

Are the headphones for live performance, in the studio, rehearsing, or just for playing around? If you know your purpose, you’ll be able to better decide on a pair of headphones for you. 

Comfort and Fit 

If your headphones aren’t comfortable, you’ll probably end up not wearing them, leaving your hearing unprotected. So you need headphones that fit really well. You need snug-fitting headphones that completely cover your ears in order to block out the sound. However, you don’t want the headband to be too tight, or it will likely give you headaches or just be really uncomfortable. 

The ear cups should be cushioned for comfort, but they need to completely cover your ears, or they won’t be able to reduce or eliminate noise. Instead, choose a material that feels good against your skin. Over time, heat builds up in the air cups. As a result, your ears may feel hot, and you may need to give them a break from time to time. 

Overall, look for a pair of headphones that fit snugly over your ears but still feel comfortable. 

Hearing Protection and Noise Cancellation 

All of the headphones on this list offer some level of passive noise cancellation. This means that the ear cups are shaped to fit tight to your head and over your ears to keep out extra sound – many can reduce the sound by up to 25 dB or more! Click here to find out more about the difference between active and passive noise cancellation. 

You want to make sure that the headphones fit snugly over both ears so that they can do their job properly. Hearing protection is extra important for drummers because of their close proximity to the drumset. You need a pair of safe, sturdy headphones to protect your ears so that you can have a long music career. 

Budget 

You can spend hundreds of dollars on headphones, but you probably don’t need to. Instead, you need to find a pair that fits your budget, no matter how big or how small. With headphones, a smaller budget usually means less sound quality; however, most of these headphones still have good quality sound no matter the pricetag. Just keep in mind how budget affects the sound quality when you are shopping for your next pair. 

Sound Quality 

The first thing to suffer when you have a low budget is the sound quality. So you need to make sure that the sound quality of your headphones is good enough to meet your needs. Ideally, the headphones will have crisp clear sound that can be heard easily as the noise is reduced or eliminated. You’ll want to be able to cleanly hear all of the different drum sounds you’ll be making, whether its from an acoustic or an electronic kit. And of course, you’ll want to hear the rest of the music, too, whether you are playing along with a band, a click track, or just a metronome.

Types of Headphones 

There are several different types of headphones. So naturally, you’ll want to choose the best style that suits your needs. 

In-ear headphones: These are small ear pieces that fit directly inside your ears. There are only one pair of in-ear headphones on our list. They are a little extra expensive because they have to fit really well in order to block out the sound from your ears. 

They have a small cable that fits over the ears and connects to a battery pack. The pack communicates via Bluetooth to your sound system or drums. 

Over-ear headphones: Most of the headphones on our list are over-the-ear headphones. These cover the entire ear and fit snugly against the head in order to block out sound. Typically, they use passive sound reduction to block the sound. Typically, the headband is adjustable, so you can make them fit well against your ears. In addition, the ear cups have a thick cushion for comfort and sound reduction. 

These work great for protecting your ears and allowing you to hear the music in your headphones clearly. These can be used for live performances, studio work, rehearsing, and music listening. 

On-ear headphones: There are no on-ear headphones on our list. These sit on top of the ears but don’t completely cover them. They are generally more comfortable than over-ear headphones, but they don’t offer the ear protection that over-ear headphones can. The best use for these types of headphones is for practicing with an electronic drum kit since you can manually control the volume. 

They are generally more comfortable and cooler than over-ear headphones, but we did not choose any due to the lack of sound reduction. 

Connectors 

The type of connector you have available is also crucial to deciding on what headphones you need. Most of the headphones on our list connect via a direct cable, typically either with a mini-jack or a jack. Many of the headphones will come with an adaptor so that you can use either one. 

You’ll want to make sure that the cable you have is long enough to reach your sound system or drum set. If not, they obviously won’t do you any good! 

On the other hand, the in-ear headphones have Bluetooth capability. They aren’t wired to your sound system or drum set – you have to use Bluetooth. Make sure your cables are also durable. Some of the headphones on this list have curly cables, which keep the wire out of the way but are a little harder to work with. It’s really just a personal preference when it comes to a straight or a curly cable. Just make sure it is long enough to meet your needs. 

If you need to know a bit more about the different types of jacks, check out this article for info.

Our Pick for the Best Headphones for Drummers 

It’s hard to choose the best headphones for your specific head – you really need to find a pair that fits just right. However, considering all of the available options, we think the best overall headphones are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones.

First of all, we love them for the passion for sound quality. But we also love that they use passive noise cancellation to reduce or eliminate ambient noise. So if you’re playing the drums loud, the noise you hear when wearing the headphones properly will be much softer than if you weren’t wearing any at all. This protects your hearing and helps you be able to hear the other parts better. 

As for the cost, these aren’t the most expensive or the cheapest ones out there. These mid-range headphones cover all the bases, ideally giving you some great sound, thorough hearing protection, and at a great cost. 

The detachable cables give you plenty of connection options and help to ensure a longer life for your headphones, too. The swivel cups are a nice add-on, since you can hear ambient noise when you want to and not when you don’t. This sounds really good to me! 

Written By:
Zander has been playing drums for over 20 years. He is passionate about music and uses his years of experience to teach his students. While he is a full-time instructor, he is also working on growing a YouTube channel where he shares his insights. You can see him playing there, or on Instagram where he posts daily videos.

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