As a drummer, you face more challenges as compared to other band members. One piece of equipment every drummer needs is headphones, so how you can select the right one?
Whether you have just started drumming or you have long years of experience behind the set, you know that unlike other band members you are to keep the beat steady and guide the whole band, while at the same time dealing with the constant extreme noise levels around you.
In order to protect both your hearing, improve and enjoy your drumming more, the quality of sound, noise isolation, comfort, cable length and even the impedance, are things to always be considered when choosing the perfect pair of headphones.
In addition to the above, one should always consider their setup, environment specifics (such as noise) and their optimal playing position.
Also as a drummer you would prefer an over-ear headphone over an in-ear one.
What to consider
A clear, crisp and balanced sound is critical to a drummer in order to hear everything they need correctly, while good noise isolation would help in maintaining lower volume levels and concentrating on the right sounds.
Comfort is not to be underestimated, especially if you tend to play over extended periods of time.
It is also worth noting the impedance of your headphones, as higher Ohm headphones might require an external amplifier to deliver their best.
Last but not least a good length of the cable will assure your comfort. A meter too short or too long can sometimes turn your new headphones to a new headache. So always consider your setup and playing the position when choosing your drumming headphones.
Sennheiser HD280 Pro – For those who really like it loud
The Sennheiser HD280 Pro is a pair of closed-back headphones that do not disappoint. They are not just good looking. The guys at Sennheiser did make sure that wearing these would feel good even after prolonged periods of wearing them. Adding their robust build, accurate and flat sound, extreme noise isolation and rotating earcups to the picture makes the Sennheiser HD280 one of the best choices for any drummer.
The HD280s are made of high-quality plastic and are definitely tough. The ability to change the headband padding and pads add even more to their life and appeal.
You probably already know how it feels to wear a pair of headphones that are too tight for a few hours. It’s a pain, isn’t it?
Well, the guys at Sennheiser obviously built the HD280 Pro with comfort in mind. These headphones feel nice even after a long day of recording.
At the same time, the rotating ear cups and tough one-sided cable are yet another few reasons to look into getting those bad boys.
The curly cord is around 1 meter long and can extend to about three meters. It has a stereo 3.5 mm jack with a 6.3 mm (1/4″) stereo screw-on adapter, so it should suffice for most use cases and let you sit in an optimal position behind the drums.
With a sensitivity of 113dB, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro is a great choice for those drummers who really like it loud. Due to their supreme noise isolation, however, you would often end up lowering the volume levels instead, as there are no sounds to interfere with what you are playing in your headphones.
With their well-defined low end, crisp and clear sound, nice flat response and a level of detail you hear only from high-end speakers, these headphones make a great pair of monitors for both live and studio drumming.
With 64 Ohm impedance, you can get quite a lot out of the Sennheiser HD280 Pro even when listening to music from your phone. Nevertheless, to gain the most out of your headphones you might want to consider using an external amplifier.
As we mentioned, the design and sound are far from being the only good things about these closed-ear headphones. The extreme sound attenuation of up to 32dB makes it great for anyone playing in a loud environment while maintaining lower volume levels. You can barely hear yourself talking when you put the HD280 on.
If you haven’t used headphones with similar isolation before, that change will likely have a major positive impact on your playing.
The Sennheiser HD280 Pro exceed many expectations. At a price just below $100, these headphones provide a great sense of quality and comfort, clean, crisp and accurate sound and amazing sound isolation. This should allow you to lower the decibels when monitoring and concentrate on being your band’s engine while protecting your hearing from all the noise.
- Awesome noise cancellation
- Durable cord extending up to 3 meters
- The cord is not replaceable
- Not suitable for use with mobile devices
- The coiled cable might not be suitable for everyone
Shure SRH840 – For those who likes studio environments
The SRH840 by Shure, are indeed some classy headphones. They might not be the best thing if you want to carry them around and listen to music on your phone, but if you are a drummer you should definitely check these beauties out.
Removable cable, with available replacements which are relatively cheap, 6.3 mm (1/4″) stereo adapter, a carrying bag and even additional earpads included are the first thing to catch the eye. And the sound does not disappoint either. With its warm mid frequencies, this sound is proof that not all monitor headphones sound boring.
These headphones are heavy and quite big, they could slip from your head easily and have a tightly-coiled cable suitable for studio use primarily. Therefore, the SRH840 headphones by Shure might not be ideal for use with your iPod, but if you are looking for a pair of headphones to use while playing the drums, you should definitely try them out.
The SHR840 has replaceable foam-filled fake leather pads and a heavy-duty build. However, there is an odd cable going out of the earcup and around the headband, which does look like a weak spot compared to the overall rugged design.
In case you like headbanging behind the set and you are considering the SHR840s, you might want to try them first. As mentioned, they have a tendency of falling off too easy.
Shure’s SRH840 are foldable and each of the cups swivels around 180 degrees.
The Shure cable is removable. It uses a 2.5mm stereo jack and a twist-to-lock mechanism. The cable stretches to 3m, and it features a screw-on 3.5mm to 6.35mm jack converter for maximum flexibility.
If we ignore the few little design flaws in the Shure SRH840 headphones, they are a pretty nice set of monitor headphones for your studio. The Shure SRH840 delivers a very clear sound, which is warm and leaning slightly to the bright side. They have a great top-end and plenty of low-end to go around and combined with the mid-range warmth, this makes them much more interesting to listen to than many other analytical headphones.
That takes out of the top-end transparency a little, but it is a fair trade, as there is plenty of space in the top-end. That makes Shure’s SRH840 perfect for both leisure use and for use as monitors when you are playing your drums.
With a sensitivity of 102dB, the SRH840s are not as loud as the Sennheiser HD280 Pro, but their sound is no less worth hearing.
With their 44 impedance, the Shure SRH840 would work on your phone or music player. However, you would definitely get more of them if you use them with an appropriate external amplifier or other hardware.
Shure’s SRH840 are closed-back headphones. This massively reduces the amount of noise coming in and going out. It is not just the closed-back that blocks the sound. The material used in the pads is of no lesser importance.
Although using velour pads is often preferable for the sake of comfort, reducing the heat on your ears and getting rid of the stickiness of fake leather, this kind of pads often leak much more noise than the materials used here.
The SRH840 do heat your ears a little, but the pads surfaces are nonetheless soft, well-padded and comfortable. The sound attenuation of approximately 15dB makes the Shure SRH840 a really good choice if you have to play in noisy environments, without having to increase the volume to cover up the background noise and, at the same time make their awesome sound stand out.
Apart from a few minor design oddities, the Shure SRH840 headphones are amongst the best in their price class with (arguably) the best monitor sound out there. Due to the warmth of their sound they ideal for both leisure listening and in studio environments. However, it might not be the best idea to take them outside.
- Clear sound with nice warm mid-range
- Replaceable cable
- Good sound isolation
- Some design oddities
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – For those who likes long recording sessions
Legendary headphones such as the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro can easily be put on top of this list of the best headphones for drummers. The DT 770 Pro also features a 3-meter cable on a one side which would allow you to move around freely.
They are perfect for long recording sessions, rehearsals or even watching movies at home, as comfort was obviously a bullet point in their development.
As expected for the contenders on our list, it provides nearly perfect noise cancellation which works very well in more demanding environments.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio Headphones are closed-back, diffuse-field headphones featuring a bass reflex technology for improved low-frequency response and clinically accurate high and mid-range reproduction. The DT 770 Pro has also a solid metal headband construction and single-sided cable.
These headphones are bulky and big, but it is probably one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones you could ever try. They won’t fall off your head too easy, even if you like getting a bit crazy behind the drums. The 770 ear cups are made of hard, composite textured plastic, similar to the kind used for musical instrument cases.
The huge ear cups are covered with giant soft velour pads that provide lots of isolation and long-wearing comfort. As expected, Beyerdynamic is paying attention to the details when building their products.
And same goes for the sound of the DT 770 Pro. The headphones deliver powerful and heavy bass while keeping it as clear in the higher register. With an amazing frequency response of 5Hz to 35kHz, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is one of the best choices you can make for monitoring your drums.
With a pair of 45mm drivers and a closed design, the DT 770 Pro is very well-suited for audio monitoring purposes.The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro works extremely well with an external amplifier.
This is not a requirement though, as the headphones would still work pretty well with any mobile device or laptop you may use it with.
With ambient noise isolation of over 35dB, you are likely to hear the bloodstream through your body. This great noise cancellation together with the comfort of the velour ear cups grants the DT 770 Pro headphones a place among the best headphones for drummers.
The overall excellent quality of the DT 770 Pro, as well as the number of options provided by Beyerdynamic make these headphones one of the best and practically a legend in their class.
The closed-back design, amazing driver speed, great bass and treble performance, the insane noise cancellation and the comfort the DT 770 Pro provides make them an awesome choice for any drummer, with a taste of old-school craftsmanship and amazing sound.
- Great balanced sound
- Very comfortable even when using over long periods of time
- Awesome noise isolation
- Big and bulky
- Non-replaceable cable
- Not suitable for mobile use
Vic Firth VF SIH1 – For those who likes superb noise cancellation
Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones developed with Rod Morgenstein were definitely built for comfort and noise reduction in mind, so your ears are well protected from harm. Excessive noise level can result in traumatic and lasting effects such as hearing fatigue, tinnitus and even permanent hearing loss.
But do not fear, the Stereo Isolation Headphones are here to protect you and they come at quite a cool price too. Although affordable, the Stereo Isolation Headphones low price does not compromise on their user’s comfort or sound whatsoever. And that is to be expected from the leading manufacturer of isolating headphones “ Vic Firth.
These headphones are quite comfortable and fit pretty well when you put them over your head. Although the build might appear somewhat cheapish with all the plastic and the vinyl-covered headpiece, the Isolation Headphones are quite tough.
The rest of Vic Firth’s Stereo Isolation Headphones is even better and comes to a price of under 50 bucks.
The cord length on the Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones is 2 meters long. This is somewhat less than the 3-meter cord length offered with the other notable mentions in our list but should normally suffice.
If all else fails, you can always get a cable extender for a few bucks or even make one for even less.
The amazing sound isolation provided by these headphones is backed up by a sound which is great. The response is nicely flat with a wide dynamic range. The sound is not particularly loud, however, having in mind the Stereo Isolation Headphones were built with protection in mind this is to be expected…
And it is not an issue at all. Vic Firth’s Stereo Isolation headphones come with massive 50 mm drivers.
With a 32 Ohm impedance, you should get pretty amazing results from these headphones, even when using them with mobile devices and laptops.
The incredible noise cancellation of the Stereo Isolation Headphones takes care of it all. With an overall noise reduction of approximately 24 dB, there is no need for them to be loud. There is hardly a sound that can get through, so you can enjoy every detail of the music in your headphones.
From another point of view, you are unlikely to find better noise-cancelling headphones at this or lower price.
The Vic Firth VF SIH1 is without a doubt the best pair of headphones for drummers that $50 can buy. The sound is very decent and the noise cancellation is superb. So, if you are on a budget and need a pair of new headphones to use with your drums, the Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones are the way to go.
- Amazing noise cancellation
- Very good sound
- Low price
- Cheap looking plastic
- Can get sweaty
- Headband it too tight
KAT Percussion KTUI26 – For those who likes a wide dynamic range
Now, these lightweight headphones were created specifically for drummers. As this was supposed to be the main point in their engineering, the Ultra Isolation Headphones should have everything you might need. With the amazing ability to cancel noise up to 26dB, the KTUI26 Ultra Isolation Headphones from KAT Percussion can be quite useful in both demanding environments and long recording or practice sessions, due to their comfortable fit.
Unfortunately, the KTUI26 headphones are not particularly tough when it comes to physical stress.
The KTUI26 are not too sturdy, apart from what you would expect from a pair of headphones designed for guys who hit stuff all day. But still, they are made quite pleasant to wear even when you do so for hours.
This is partially thanks to the large ear cushions filled with foam. On the other hand, the headphones are kept lightweight at approximately three hundred grams, which increases the comfort level even further.
Unlike the Stereo Isolation Headphones, however, the KTUI26 doesn’t look that cheap. Actually, the KATs look quite shiny.
The cable is around 1.8 meters, which is the shortest of all the above-mentioned headphones, which you should probably have in mind if going for a pair of the KTUI26.
With their 40mm dynamic speakers, the Ultra Isolation Headphones provide an awesome flat output, with great lows and highs, and a wide dynamic range. And this is just a little more expensive than Vic Firth’s Stereo Isolation Headphones. With a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, the KATs are ideal for drummers and can be used both in the studio and live.
The impedance of the KTUI26 is 32 Ohm. This makes them suitable for both studio equipment and mobile devices, without the necessity of any external hardware.
KTUI26 are backed by a noise reduction of up to 26dB. With that kind of passive noise cancellation, even the noisiest environment would not be an issue.
At a price below $70, KAT KTUI26 Headphones are pretty awesome for drum practices“ great sound, wide dynamic range, 40mm drivers and comfortable fit, the KAT Percussion KTUI26 headphones are well worth their price and along with Vic Firth’s VF SIH1 should be a mandatory consideration in their price class.
- Superior noise cancellation
- Wide dynamic range
- Sturdy, lightweight and comfortable
- Too big
- Not suitable for use outside of the studio
- Short cable
Best headphones for drummers presented above are chosen based on a few main points every drummer should consider. We all have different priorities when it comes to buying gear but the above selection of headphones for drummers was done to present the best options out there considering your budget and technical expectations.
Starting from as low as $50, you can get Vic Firth’s awesome Stereo Isolation Headphones, or you can go stellar with Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro.
But the best option is Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones as they have it all:
- Comfortable (even when used over long periods of time)
- Awesome noise cancellation
- Durable cord extending up to 3 meters
- Clear flat output
And although you might argue if some of our other suggestions are better, at a price just below $100, the HD280 takes the first place in the list of best headphones for drummers.
A good pair of headphones is a must for drummers both at live performances, rehearsals, and practices. It would help you protect your health and become a better drummer at the same time.
Whether you are on a tight budget or want to invest some more money in high-class gear, the above list would hopefully prove useful to you. Nevertheless, we come in all sizes and shapes, so to make sure a particular pair of headphones are the right ones they should be tested. And the same goes for the hearing.