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Having a good set of sound isolation headphones is vital for any drummer. They are comfortable to wear and do an excellent job of blocking out sound so that drummers can hear the music over the sounds of the drums and cymbals.
Having a good pair of drumming headphones will improve your playing experience drastically while making your practice sessions more effective.
Drumming is quite loud, and without good sound isolation, you run the risk of damaging your hearing. Drumming headphones are designed to protect your ears, so you can focus better on your playing and improve faster.
It can be difficult to find a good set of headphones without trying them yourself, as you won’t get to experience the sound quality. However, there are certain qualities to look for in headphones that will give you a fairly good idea of how they sound.
Sound isolation is most important, but sound quality, design, and cost all follow very closely. I’ve compared all these features in this guide with a few headphones that are excellent options for drummers.
- In a Rush Round-Up
- How I Tested and Selected the Best Headphones for Drummers
- Drummers' Headphones Reviews
- Drummer Headphones Buyer's Guide
- Benefits of Using Drumming Headphones
- What Features to Look for in Headphones
- Drumming Headphone FAQs
In a Rush Round-Up
How I Tested and Selected the Best Headphones for Drummers
I own multiple sets of headphones at home, and I’ve tried out almost every popular option on the market. I’m a big audiophile, so I’m constantly searching for the best headphones that combine audio quality and ear protection when I play drums.
I’ve found several great options from trying everything out. While testing them, I looked at noise reduction first, as I think that’s the most important feature. Drummers need headphones that can block out external noise to protect them from hearing damage.
Sound quality was also crucial in my evaluations. I focused on headphones that deliver a clear and balanced audio experience, allowing drummers to discern nuances in their playing and enjoy their favorite tracks without compromise.
I then looked at comfort. I’ve assessed the design and padding of each pair to ensure each pair stays snug and comfortable to wear during long drumming sessions.
Lastly, I looked at build quality and value, as those told me how long the headphones would last and how worth the cost they were.
Drummers' Headphones Reviews
Kicking off this list of the best headphones for drummers, we have the Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Drumming Headphones that offer an impressive noise reduction of 20 decibels.
Vic Firth has well and truly knocked it out of the park with these drumming headphones. The newly improved version boasts upgraded 50mm drivers for incredibly rich and deep sounds for an immersive listening experience.
I’ve owned a few pairs of these over the years. There was an initial design that Vic Firth later updated, and they’ve always performed very well.
The sound quality has always been good, especially for the price. The drivers deliver a great full-range sound with deep bass and present highs.
This pair of isolation headphones for drummers boasts an impressive 20dB of noise reduction to protect your ears from hearing damage.
I find that they are comfortable to wear, especially with the upgraded headband that offers more padding and comfort.
The overall construction of the Vic Firth drum headphones is excellent, and these are a great investment for any drummer. The integrated cable is robust and sturdy, and you won’t experience any loose connections over time.
The Vic Firth drummer isolation headphones are also comfortable enough for long drumming sessions and rehearsals, making them my top pick as the best headphones for drummers.
- Powerful 50mm drivers deliver a musical, full-range response
- Amazing value for money with 20dB of passive noise isolation
- Comfortable to wear for longer periods of time
- Design is a little bulky, but no real complaints here
The Direct Sound EX-29 Plus Isolation Headphones offer exceptional sound quality and sound isolation for drummers.
Direct Sound has overhauled the old EX-29 model to deliver even better quality sound and level of noise isolation – up to 36.7dB of passive isolation.
The Direct Sound EX-29 Plus offers better noise isolation, and the latest model also boasts better comfort for long rehearsals and recording sessions.
Out of all the headphones I tried over the years, these had the best sound isolation, protecting my ears the most when using them.
The adjustable headband is lightweight, whilst the newly designed ear cushions are heavily padded and create a solid closed-back chamber of sound.
The build quality and design of these drumming headphones are outstanding. The 20-20 High Precision Audio drivers with 1000mW input power offer crisp, professional-level sound.
These Direct Sound EX-29 Plus drummer headphones are the best isolation headphones for drummers in all scenarios.
For stage, studio, and rehearsals; you’ll benefit from the premium sound and comfort these headphones have to offer.
- Best headphones for drummers with outstanding noise isolation
- Premium, detachable gold plated cable
- HPA 40mm drivers for high fidelity performance
- Expensive option, but well-worth it
- The yokes that hold the ear pieces on can break if not looked after properly
The KAT Percussion Drummers Headphones are ideal for drummers who want to benefit from a high level of noise isolation whilst playing drums.
The KAT Percussion drumming headphones are comfortable to wear and fit tight, offering an impressive 26dB of noise isolation.
The 40mm drivers pack a punch, too – offering a wide dynamic range, and they go loud as well, so you’ll always be able to hear the music you are practicing.
For the money, you can’t go wrong with these isolation headphones for drummers. They are comfortable, offer a high noise reduction level, and decent sound quality.
This pair of drumming headphones ticks all of the boxes at a fair price. These are good headphones for drummers.
- Lightweight and durable construction
- Impressive 26dB passive noise isolation
- Excellent value for money
- The sound quality isn't as good as Vic Firth or Direct Sound headphones
- Some reliability issues with the adhesive KAT uses to hold the ear piece to the headphones
Up next on our list of the best isolation headphones for drummers we have the affordable Alesis DRP100 Drummer Headphones, that offer a good level of sound and noise isolation and are comfortable to wear.
The Alesis DRP100 drumming headphones are outfitted with 40mm drivers that capture a full range of sound and deliver a tight low end. The sound wasn’t as good as the Vic Firth drummer headphones, but these are a more affordable pair.
For the price, these drummer headphones are comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.
I felt the sweat-proof silicone headband fit well, and the overall design was lightweight, which helped make them feel less obstructive while I played.
What makes these some of the best headphones for drummers is the price. They are a bargain, and although the sound isn’t exceptional – they are good enough for drum practice, and they’ll protect your hearing!
- Good comfort and sound quality
- 40mm Drivers provide tight bass
- Free protective bag and adapter included
- Sound quality isn’t fantastic
- Noise cancellation doesn't work as well as expected
Up last for review is the budget-priced CAD Noise Isolation Drummers Headphones – and these cut ambient noise by up to 19dB.
This is an acceptable amount of noise isolation, but the least of all the drumming headphones featured here.
While they weren’t as isolating as the other options, I still felt like these were a great fit when playing the drums. They just felt really comfortable and unassuming.
The seal is not quite as tight or strong as the other drummer headphones, but these headphones are also the cheapest ones I tried, so that can be forgiven.
However if you are looking to invest in a high-quality pair of isolation headphones for drumming, I would recommend investing in a more expensive pair such as the Direct Sound EX-29 Plus.
These CAD drumming headphones are reliable, however, and I found the sound quality is surprisingly good.
They do hold up well and do their job properly. So if you are looking for good headphones for practicing drums, this is an affordable set worth looking at.
- Affordable drum headphones
- Reliable and durable
- 50mm drivers produce quality sounds
- Not as comfortable as other options
- Lacks premium materials and construction
Drummer Headphones Buyer's Guide
The best headphones for drummers feel comfortable to wear for long periods, allow you to move freely without shifting, have excellent sound quality, and have long enough cables to allow you to sit comfortably at the kit.
Not only will they give you top-quality audio, but they’ll also reduce the sound hitting your ears so that drumming feels more comfortable.
Investing in a good set of headphones is a great idea as they are a much better alternative to using inexpensive earphones for rehearsing and practicing drums.
High-quality headphones can be expensive, so it’s important to buy a pair that will last longer and have features suitable for drumming.
Benefits of Using Drumming Headphones
- Drumming headphones block out ambient noise and offer good sound isolation so you can practice for longer periods without the risk of damaging your hearing. This is extremely important!
- Drum headphones make it more comfortable for you to play for longer without being exposed to as much noise, so that you can focus better on your playing and improve faster.
- Drummer headphones provide a more immersive experience and the sound quality is superior to using regular headphones or earbuds. You’ll be able to hear the nuances of the music better whilst you play.
What Features to Look for in Headphones
Over time, loud drums and loud tracks in your ears can cause irreparable damage. Hearing loss is a serious risk for drummers; therefore, blocking out some of the noise of a drum set is essential when practicing.
The two main types of headphone designs are closed-back and open-back. You’ll need to get closed-back headphones for drums, as open-back headphones don’t provide nearly as much sound isolation.
If your headphones don’t block out enough of the drum sound, you’ll push the volume higher when listening to music to compete with the drums.
Always look for headphones that block up to at least 15 dB of sound.
Remember that drums are incredibly loud, meaning you’ll still be able to hear them clearly with significant sound reduction.
The more sound being blocked, the lower you can put the volume of the music you’re playing.
Sound quality is fairly subjective to the listener. Some people love bass-heavy headphones, while others like balanced ones.
If you’re going to use headphones to monitor your drums, I’d suggest getting headphones with balanced outputs.
All the parts of a drum kit cover every frequency range, so having a balanced mix gives you the best idea of what your kit sounds like.
If you’re just getting headphones to jam to music with, bass-heavy headphones could work well, especially when jamming to bass guitar parts.
Inexpensive headphones tend to have poor sound quality. This may frustrate you after a while if you’re accustomed to high-quality sound.
The best headphones have excellent sound quality that clearly accents all the lows, mids, and highs of the track you’re listening to or the drum mix if you are monitoring.
If you are operating on a smaller budget, inexpensive headphones work quite well for hobbyists and those who haven’t yet become audiophiles.
Drummers tend to move a lot, so the best drumming headphones fit tightly on your ears.
The best drumming headphones feature comfortable cushions and are suitable for wearing for long gigs and rehearsals.
Cheaper headphones are generally lighter but more prone to break after a shorter time. High-quality headphones will be heavier, comfortable, and last years of good use.
Look for headphones that have good sound isolation and are comfortable to wear. Plus, ensure that they fit snugly over your ears and don’t leak sound.
Many drummers experience certain headphones with cables that are too short. Drum kits are large, and the source that your headphones are connected to may be quite far away.
Having a short cable will either cause you to move your kit around to accommodate that, or it will cause you to feel uncomfortable while the cable pulls with a bit too much tension.
The longer the cable is, the more comfortable you’ll feel while playing. You won’t need to worry about your headphones being pulled off your ears or your smartphone being yanked to the floor.
All the options I’ve mentioned above have four feet or longer cables, which is more suitable for drumming. Ideally, six feet or longer is suitable, or you’ll need a headphone extension cable.
Drumming Headphone FAQs
Will the Same Headphones Work Well for Acoustic and Electronic Drums?
Yes. However, you don’t need as much sound reduction for electronic drums because they have much lower volume outputs. This means that you could get a more affordable pair that would work wonderfully.
You’ll need a tonally balanced pair for electronic drums since the headphones will monitor all the drum sounds.
Are Headphones Better Than Earphones for Drumming?
Professional drummers typically use in-ear monitors when playing live shows. Both those and closed-back headphones have their place in drumming.
If you’re only using headphones at home to practice, I suggest getting closed-back headphones. You’ll get better sound quality at a more affordable price.
You should get in-ear monitors for gigs as they are less bulky and feel more comfortable to wear on stage. If you want high-quality sound, be prepared to spend more.