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The essential list of the best IEM for drummers to make you play better while protecting your hearing

MAKE LIFE CLICK
Best in-ear monitors for Drummers
2020

So, your a drummer and you’re looking for a great set of in-ear monitors. You might have already owned some in the past and you’re looking to upgrade or you might be new to IEM.

BASN Professional in-Ear Monitors
Editor’s Pick
While the JH Audio is an incredible unit, the price will just be too much for most drummers. The BASN IEM is a great choice with a good sound stage for most drummers playing live, at home or in the studio.

You might have played with no monitors or fold back monitors up until now and you may have also had to play behind a screen for noise control.

However you got here there is nothing like a set of in-ear monitors to level up your playing. Perfect for:

  • Ensuring your playing with the band
  • Allow you to adjust your mix to hear important bandmates like the lead vocalist so your drumming dynamics can adjust to how you play as a group live
  • Protect your hearing offering up to 30db noise reduction
  • If you’re drumming to a click track or backing track you can be sure you’ll be able to stay perfectly in sync

Hearing protection is a big deal for drummers and you want to ensure when you are picking in-ear monitors you’re going to get effective noise-reduction and isolation.

Also read: Best in-ear monitors for Singers

You’re also going to want to focus on getting good bottom end from the IEM you do choose. You don’t want to feel disconnected from your kick drum, where you get that solid feeling of impact and oomph.

You can get a bass impact accessory for your stool which will help you play ‘in the pocket’ but you’re still going to want to feel it in your ears too. Good bass can be found in affordable in-ear monitors too so nothing to worry about there.

As for the type of IEM – Custom or Universal, we’ll include both types and we’ll also include different driver formats like dynamic, hybrid or balanced armature.

1: Zildjian in-ear monitors for Drummers

Drivers : Dual Dynamic

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Zildjian in-ear monitors - Professional Drummers

It seems crazy not to start with a set of in-ear monitors from a brand that drummers know so well, Zildjian. Historically makers of some of the finest cymbals and drum accessories for decades they also have a really nice, and under-appreciated, set of in-ear monitors great for drummers.

These pro IEM come with a dual driver configuration which gives you a good range of frequency response driving both ends of the audio range.

The accessories include a rounded case which I would change for something a bit more robust but it does the job OK. Might be worth considering getting something like a small Pelican case for extra protection, especially with all the heavy gear you have to move.

A cleaning tool and 1/4 jack plug is included and you’ll need the former at the very least. You want to make sure you keep your IEM dry and clean.

The ear tips you get are official SpinFit™ tips. This is in medium and large. The cable is removable and allows some rotation.

Why we chose the Zildjian in-ear monitors?

It seems wrong to have a list for drummers without them. The fit is good and while it would be nice to have a set of small tips included, the SpinFit™ tips included are a good fit for most-all drummers.

The dual dynamic drivers gives good impact and the other accessories are all you need.

While the overall marketing package around these in-ear monitors is not overly flashy, they do a solid job at a good price.

The biggest negative is the lack of support around replacement parts and alternative eartip foams.

Pros

  • Good dual hybrid drivers
  • Impactful sound
  • Trusted drummers brand

Cons

  • Lack of replacement part options

Summary: A well-priced in-ear with SpinFit™ tips from a brand well known and trusted by drummers means this in-ear make our list. Check out the reviews but if you have any doubts there are more road-tested IEM below.

Read the latest reviews for the
Zildjian in-ear monitors for Drummers on Amazon


2: BASN Professional in-Ear Monitors

Cable / Drivers : MMCX / Dual Dynamic Micro

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz

BASN Professional in-Ear Monitors

BASN have had a good reputation with musicians for almost 2 years now. The affordable price makes them within reach of most drummers and in these we find another dual dynamic driver pairing for good solid 20-20 frequency response.

The cable is an MMCX fitted cable so this can be upgraded and swapped for other MMCX cables as needed.

The semi-transparent earbud casing is attractive enough and the fit and comfort is really good.

Accessories include a range of tips, a decent case and a cleaning tool

Why we chose the BASN in-Ear Monitors for drummers?

BASN have produced an IEM that just seems to punch way above its price point.

The cost comes in to the budget iem range and yet the sound quality competes with in-ears three times the price. While they are not new-to-market, they are no slouch and worth a listen.

If you have the money then it’s worth going up in price to get something that has the kind of bass response some of you are looking for. These are good, and certainly excellent for the price, but there are other models with more boom and impact in the bass.

Pros

  • Full and balanced sound
  • Price is nice
  • MMCX cable can be changed

Cons

  • Not super heavy in the bottom end

Summary: If you’re just entering in to this in-ear space as a drummer and either don’t have a big budget or just want something that you can throw around at practices then the BASN are a great pick. Nothing lacking at this price point.

Read the latest reviews for the
BASN Professional in-Ear Monitors on Amazon


3: JH Audio JH13 v2 in-ear monitors (Universal fit)

Cable / Drivers : 4-Pin Cable / 8 x BA Drivers

Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 20 kHz

JH Audio JH13 v2 in-ear monitors
Jerry Harvey JH 13 v2 in-ear monitors

Taking an immediate step up to the true professional range we head to the JH Audio JH13 v2 IEM.

This is a universal fit so no need for custom mold although that is available too in the JH13 CIEM, if you prefer to get custom IEM molds done.

The JH13 have been a solid performer for pro musicians for years. They boast 8 individual BA drivers in each ear. 2 are dedicated to bottom end (bass), 2 to mids and 4 drivers for high end.

A professional drummer friend of mine bought his almost 8 years ago and swears by them, and that was the V1 version.

Before I purchased my Heir Audio 8.0 CIEM I considered these as they both have 8 BA drivers per ear. I only went for the Heir Audio as I wanted to try something from the Wizard (now Noble Audio)

Why we chose the JH13 v2 in-ear monitors?

At this price, with this much pedigree from a brand with as much heritage as JH Audio, it’s impossible to leave them off the list. Of course you can also look at the JH16 and other models but this is a great mid priced pro IEM which is a great fit for drummers.

While you might want more bottom end drivers the main thing you’ll get from the JH13 is a quick, fast and tight sound profile.

In my experience, there are really two custom in-ear monitor companies that supply the bulk of performers and that is JH Audio and UE Pro. Funny that Ultimate Ears and JH Audio both had and have Jerry Harvey behind them. You’ll have to read our in-ear monitors guide for more on the history.

Yes, they are more expensive that many on this list but I didn’t say this would be all cheap or affordable.

The universal fit option (meaning you don’t need custom ear molds done) makes them more accessible to more drummers.

Something JH Audio do that is really unique is the customisable bass response. This is done by using the supplied screwdriver and adjusting the unit which is inline on the cable. You can adjust each ear and increase or reduce the bass response by up to +10db! I used this on the JH Audio Roxannes a couple of years ago and was impressed with how well it works.

Want more bass? Dial it in. Want less bass? Dial it out. Easy.

Finally, the accessory kit is awesome. You get 3 sets of Comply Foam tips, which are my personal favourite, and 3 pairs of silicone tips. The hard case is excellent as is the cleaning tool.

Pros

  • Huge pedigree in the IEM space
  • Universal makes this pro accessible
  • 8 x BA drivers per ear
  • 3-way crossover
  • Tunable bass frequencies

Cons

  • Price

Summary: If you’re just entering in to this in-ear space as a drummer and either don’t have a big budget or just want something that you can throw around at practices then the BASN are a great pick. Nothing lacking at this price point.

Read more about the JH13 v2 in-ear monitors on JH Audio


4: Etymotic Research ER4SR in-ear monitor

Cable / Drivers : MMCX / Balanced Armature

Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 16 kHz

Etymotic Research ER4SR in-ear monitors

I got my first pair of etymotic in 2004 when I lived in London and we were just starting to sell them online. The team from etymotic came over from the US and gave us a few pairs of their new ER4S to enjoy. Immediately I loved what I heard. The ER4S was an industry staple for years…until they got an upgrade.

For the last 5 years, or I have been selling Etymotic in North America and was very excited when the updated their older models with the Etymotic ER4SR and ER4XR.

In my opinion Etymotic don’t get enough attention. They are a superb IEM with an excellent sound signature and a nice fit.

The sound isolation results in up to 35-42 dB reduction in sound. It’s hard to believe with such a small footprint how they could be so effective but considering Etymotic also excel at hearing protection and medical hearing devices.

The ER4SR are a balanced armature driver IEM with a small footprint and nice fit. One of the reasons I wanted to include them was due to their unique, and tight fit.

The fine tuning and frequency adjustments are done in the USA and they have over 100 patents.

Why we chose the Etymotic ER4SR in-ear monitors?

The ER4SR provide an incredibly accurate sound. The fit is comfortable and the MMCX cable means you can change it up. Ideally, you’ll stick with Etymotic cables as these are not your typical over-the-ear IEM fit.

The other reason I chose these for the best IEM for drummers list? Filters. Etymotic knows how ears work and so they have fitted small filters at the end of each IEM to prevent ‘stuff’ clogging up your sound.

They ship with the filter removal tool and replacement filters. This provides a much better life span for these in-ears as a build-up of nasties in your in-ear monitors is one of the biggest killers.

The accessories kit includes all you need with a decent semi-hard case, shirt clip, 1/4″ plug adaptor (these are a reference IEM after all), filter tool with replacement filters and a range of eartips.

Pros

  • Nice small form factor
  • Big sound for a small unit
  • PRAT is excellent

Cons

  • Might want stronger thumping bass

Summary: Exact and precise timing matters when you’re drumming. Etymotic provides such great accuracy and PRAT it’s brilliant. The form factor is different but the small bullet-like anodized steel housing is tough and comfortable.

Read the latest reviews for the
Etymotic ER4SR in-ear monitors on Amazon


5: CCA C12 in-ear monitors with HiFi Bass (hybrid)

Cable / Drivers : MMCX / Hybrid – 1 x DD 5 x BA

Frequency Response: 7 Hz to 40,000 kHz

CCA C12 in-ear monitors - Drummers

Taking a big step down in cost again, but not a big step down in drivers, we land on the CCA C12. There are a few CCA, KZ and Linsoul in-ear monitors that make affordable buying around this price but I’ve chosen the CCA C12 as it has a great hybrid driver model and a deep (read deeeeeeep) bass response.

This provides a nice fat bottom end in your ears while you’re playing. As I always say, you have to feel the music to make

Why we chose the CCA C12 hybrid in-ear monitors for drummers?

It’s incredibly affordable for a device that has 4 x BA drivers and 1 x Dynamic driver.

While the bottom end is big it’s not as exact as you would expect from something like the JH13 or JH16 level IEM.

Pros

  • Cost
  • Driver configuration
  • Nice open soundstage

Cons

  • The bass is deep but some might not find it tight enough

Summary: As value for money goes this is a great in-ear monitor from a brand that has made some good inroads in to the IEM market.

Read the latest reviews for the
CCA C12 in-ear monitors on Amazon


Also, consider these in-ear monitors for drummers

  • Shure SE215 – it makes all our lists so we thought we’d leave it off for a change but it’s worth a look
  • Westone UM Pro 50 – if you’ve ever drummed in a studio with a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-990 or DT-1990-Pro headphones and enjoyed it? Then the Westone UM Pro 50 IEM will be a great pick for you. 5 x BA drivers for a great, natural soundstage

Conclusion

If you’re looking for in-ear monitors for drummers under $100 there are a silly amount to choose from. Especially from Linsoul. As you move up in price the market things out.

In the over $1000 category there are more and more brands worth a look at. UE, Empire Ears, 64 Audio, JH Audio, Westone and others will offer you custom in-ear monitors and universal in-ear monitors that will impress your ears.

The units I’ve listed above are the best in the price ranges they sit in but I am always open to recommending an in-ear monitor for your drumming that is specific to a sound signature you are after. Just ask in the comments below.

This post was last updated on 2020-11-02 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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