Improve Your Performance! 10 Best In-Ear Monitors for Drummers

Looking for the best in-ear monitors for drummers? Look no further. Here at Basic Drummer, look at the best and most affordable gear for beginners, students. We make to give the clearest picture when it comes to budget drums and gear. Here, we will be reviewing every in-ear monitor for drummers and musicians for every situation.

What are in-ear monitors anyway? These nifty little devices look like your typical earphones and function in essentially the same way. Why should you spend around 50 to 100 bucks on in-ear monitors? A typical pair of earphones only cost a fraction of the cost. This is because in-ear monitors have a little more going on under the hood when it comes to producing sound.

In-Ear Monitors vs. Earphones / Earbuds

In-ear monitors are costlier not just because of the fancy technical name they have. In-ear monitors utilize a different system from regular earphones in producing sound. Earphones make use of dynamic drivers which are similar to the speakers found in typical sound systems. If you have taken apart a pair of broken earphones, you probably have seen what a dynamic driver looks like. These are the circular metal plates that are covered by a thin sheet and backed circuitry and wires.

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Dynamic Drivers vs Balanced Armatures

Dynamic drivers produce sound by translating electric current produced from a source to move a diaphragm which in turn, moves air in certain ways to produce sound. The design of dynamic drivers allows it to produce a wide variety of sound frequencies. This makes them an obvious choice for earphones. The cost of producing dynamic drivers is relatively low. For this reason, earphones are produced cheaply.

In-ear monitors on the other hand make use of balanced armatures alongside dynamic drivers. Balanced armatures are circuits that produce sound differently from dynamic drivers. These make use of a coil that is suspended in between magnets and an armature that connects to a diaphragm. Contrary to dynamic drivers, the design of balanced armatures allows it to produce niches of frequencies. For this reason, its first application was for hearing aids. However, balanced armatures have started seeing use in pro audio devices.

Earphones vs In- Ear Monitors

There is a reason in-ear monitors cost much more than earphones. These make use of both a dynamic driver and balanced armatures. Because of this, in-ear monitors are similar to a typical home theater sound system that makes use of multiple speakers. Depending on the design, an in-ear monitor will divide the sound from the source between its dynamic driver and balanced armatures just like a home theater sound system would. Because of this, music played through earphones tends to be much clearer.

Instead of cramming all the sounds from a source into a single dynamic driver, which is the case for a typical pair of earphones, in-ear monitors divide the sound to be played by its various components. Bass frequencies are sent to the dynamic driver because of its ability to move air and the other frequencies are sent to the balanced armatures. This separation of sound leads to a clearer sound picture.

IEMs For Casual Listening

For average listeners, in-ear monitors are definitely a step up from a pair of earphones. Something like those that come free with a new phone. The clarity of sound that in-ear monitors offer lets people enjoy sonically complex music such as jazz or electronic. Because of the in-ear monitors’ design, listeners can hear the whole spectrum of sound frequencies without muddiness. Listeners who are really into music will always seek to improve their methods of enjoying music. Even if it comes with a higher price tag.

IEMs For Live Sound Monitoring

Another great use for in-ear monitors is live sound monitoring. Musicians who are playing in a band need to hear each other to play in sync. Thus, stage monitors—which traditionally, are speakers that direct music played by each band member to the other players—are employed for live performances. Each member may want a specific mix played on the monitors assigned to them. Your vocalist or guitarist might only want to hear themselves and may request the sound guy to have only their channels come through. Kidding aside, stage monitors are important especially for us responsible drummers who need to hear what all the others are doing to adjust because no one else will.

However, in-ear monitors have started replacing traditional stage monitor systems because they have some benefits over the latter.

Benefits of In-Ear Monitors over Stage Monitors

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First, in-ear monitors are as lightweight as you can get. These devices could fit inside your pocket. In contrast to a studio monitor system which consists of several wedge speakers, a typical in-ear monitoring system will only consist of a transmitter that takes the monitor mix from the sound booth and transmits it wirelessly to walkie-talkie sized receivers.

Second, in-ear monitors are quiet relative to stage monitor speakers which can blare up to 100 dB of noise or more. Traditional stage monitoring systems get really loud especially in a concert setting with several hundreds of people making noise all at once. The stage monitors will have to compensate for the noise coming from the audience and the front-of-house by getting louder. In-ear monitors offer a more hearing-saving option because they can block out ambient noise by design. This leads to a quieter mix played through in-ear monitors potentially saving your hearing.

Third, which is quite important especially for drummers. The design of in-ear monitors allows you to clearly hear what every band member is playing. This is due to the clarity in-ears offer. In-ear monitors also have good bass frequency responses. This allows you to hear and lock in with your best friend, the bassist, much better. The in-ear monitors can also double as earplugs which can protect your hearing from loud drums and cymbals.

Need affordable but great gear? Check out our reviews of the best budget drum-sets and cymbal-sets.

IEMs For Music Production

Before delving into this topic, this must be stated. Nothing beats a good studio monitoring system and a well-treated room when it comes to mixing and mastering. However, in-ear monitors can allow you to create decent mixes. And, without the hassle and expense of quality studio monitors and acoustic treatment. In-ear monitors emulate the construction of studio monitors. The latter typically consists of low, mid, and high-frequency drivers to produce the whole spectrum of sound frequencies. In-ear monitors do this as well. If you are a musician on a budget who needs to produce a demo or music for a video, in-ear monitors are good enough for mixing.

Best Budget In-Ear Monitors For Drummers

SIMGOT EM2 In-Ear Monitor for Drummers

SIMGOT EM2 High-Res in-Ear Monitor Headphones with 1BA+1DD Hybrid Balanced Armature Driver, Noise-Isolating IEM Earphones with Detachable Cable, Professional Musician Headset with HiFi Earbuds (Black)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 1 Balanced Armature

Frequency Response: 15Hz-40kHz

Connector: Modified 0.78mm 2-pin

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable
  • Braided-4 Core Cable

The SIMGOT EM2 are in-ear monitors for drummers that have a 1 dynamic driver and 1 balanced armature configuration. In features a 0.78mm 2-pin connector which makes replacement easy. However, the cables that come with the SIMGOT EM2 are a sturdy braided 4-core design which means that you would not be replaceing it any time soon.

In terms of sound, the SIMGOT EM2 offers a clean and bright sound profile. There is a distinct separation of instruments which makes it great for live sound monitoring. Bass enhancing tips are also provided right out of the box. This is great for listeners who like their bass deep and drummers who need to hear their bassist.

The SIMGOT EM2 also has molded ear-hook design that allows it to stay put even while performing. The elegant leather case that this in-ear monitor comes with is also an added bonus.

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Shure SE215 In-Ear Monitor

Shure SE215-K Professional Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure In-Ear Fit - Black

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Micro-Driver

Frequency Response: 22Hz-17.5kHz

Connector: MMCX

Cable Length: 5ft (152.4cm)

Features:

  • Form-able Wire
  • Detachable Cable

Shure has gone a different route in the development of in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians around the $100 dollar price range. Instead of going for a balanced armature and dynamic driver combo, Shure opted for a dynamic micro-driver. This makes the overall profile of the Shure SE215 much smaller than other in-ear monitors. Combined with the enclosure design which is designed to rest n the ear and the form-able wire, the Shure SE215 is built for live sound monitoring for musicians.

Because the Shure SE215 lacks a balanced armature, it lacks a god treble response. However, this is compensated by a boost in the bass and mid frequencies. The Shure SE215 is definitely a solid choice for bass lovers out there.

Its design allows for proper sound isolation and the included foam tips let it only do better in this aspect.

The small profile and fit of the Shure SE215 over the ear, combined with the formable wire allows drummers to move as much as they want around their kit without these falling out. The Shure SE215 are great in-ear monitors for drummers.

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Shure SE215 In-Ear Monitor

Shure SE215-K Professional Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver, Secure In-Ear Fit - Black

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Micro-Driver

Frequency Response: 22Hz-17.5kHz

Connector: MMCX

Cable Length: 5ft (152.4cm)

Features:

  • Form-able Wire
  • Detachable Cable

Shure has gone a different route in the development of in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians around the $100 dollar price range. Instead of going for a balanced armature and dynamic driver combo, Shure opted for a dynamic micro-driver. This makes the overall profile of the Shure SE215 much smaller than other in-ear monitors. Combined with the enclosure design which is designed to rest n the ear and the form-able wire, the Shure SE215 is built for live sound monitoring for musicians.

Because the Shure SE215 lacks a balanced armature, it lacks a god treble response. However, this is compensated by a boost in the bass and mid frequencies. The Shure SE215 is definitely a solid choice for bass lovers out there.

Its design allows for proper sound isolation and the included foam tips let it only do better in this aspect.

The small profile and fit of the Shure SE215 over the ear, combined with the formable wire allows drummers to move as much as they want around their kit without these falling out. The Shure SE215 are great in-ear monitors for drummers.

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MEE audio M6 PRO (2nd Generation)

MEE audio M6 PRO Musicians’ In-Ear Monitors with Detachable Cables; Universal-Fit and Noise-Isolating (2nd Generation) (Black)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver

Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

Connector: 2mm DC

Cable Length: 4.25ft (129.54cm)

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable
  • IPX5 Water Resistance

The MEE audio M6 PRO are in-ears that are marketed for professionals and musicians. At $49.99, these are an affordable set of in-ear monitors for drummers who are on a tight budget.

Like the Shure SE215, the MEE audio M6 PRO use a single dynamic driver to deliver the sound to your ears. However, unlike the former, the treble response of the MEE audio M6 PRO is greatly increased. This is an improvement over the original M6 PRO. However, this boost to the higher frequencies can be fatiguing to some.

Because the MEE audio M6 PRO are marketed towards pro-audio consumers and musicians, the accessories in the box offer great expandability to these in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians. It contains 6 extra silicone tips and a pair of memory foam tips, a headset cable with a mic, shirt clips, and a ¼” adapter. The ¼” TRS adapter allows the MEE audio M6 PRO to connect to other pro-audio equipment like audio interfaces and mixers.

Do you sweat a lot during performances? Well, the MEE audio M6 PRO has got you covered. Boasting IPX5 Water resistance, the MEE audio M6 PRO allows you to perform without worrying about sweat.

The MEE audio M6 PRO is a great pair of in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians who want a feature packed set of monitors right out of the box.

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FiiO FH5 In-Ear Monitor for Drummers

Status Audio IEM-2X Dual Driver Micro Buds - 3.5mm Cabled Connection, in-Ear Monitors with Dynamic + Balanced Armature Drivers, Award Winning Audiophile Sound (Gunmetal)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 3 Knowles Balanced Armatures

Frequency Response: 15Hz-40kHz

Connector: MMCX

Cable Length: 3.9ft (120cm)

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable

Ever wondered what a classic sports car would look like if it was turned into an in-ear monitor? Look no further. Check out the FiiO FH5. The FiiO Fh5 is an in-ear monitor that caters primarily to the high-end audiophile market. FiiO took a lot of inspiration from the design and stylings of cars when creating the FH5. The inner working of the FiiO FH5 also resembles a high-performance sports car in terms of capabilities. The FiiO FH5 features 1 dynamic driver and 3 Knowles balanced armatures which are all separated by respective sound bores. This is reminiscent of the cylinders on a car’s motor. The structure of the FiiO FH5 features a patented S.Turbo sound tube that enhances the bass frequencies of the music playing through it.

These are not in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians on a budget. Still, it does the job on live sound monitoring very well. The FiiO FH5 has a well-defined sub-bass frequency response and an overall balanced sound profile. The separation of instruments in the mix is also outstanding due to the sound bore separation.

The features of the FiiO FH5 make it a solid choice for drummers who don’t mind spending a little bit more on a premium product. At $259.99, the FiiO FH5 is like a premium sports car as well in the price aspect. However, the high-grade drivers, superior build, and great aesthetics make the FiiO FH5 worth every penny.

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Status Audio IEM-2X In-Ear Monitor

Status Audio IEM-2X Dual Driver Micro Buds - 3.5mm Cabled Connection, in-Ear Monitors with Dynamic + Balanced Armature Drivers, Award Winning Audiophile Sound (Gunmetal)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 1 Balanced Armature

Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz

Connector: n/a

Cable Length: 3.9ft (120cm)

Features:

  • 3 Button Remote
  • Headset Cable With microphone

Do not be fooled by the appearance of the Status Audio IEM-2X. Although they look like your run-of-the-mill pair of earphones, the Status Audio IEM-2X are in-ear monitors under the hood. Featuring a 1 dynamic driver/1 balanced armature setup, these deliver the depth and clarity that in-ear monitors are known for.

Obviously, these pair of in-ear monitors are built for day-to-day listening. The typical qualities of in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians are not present in the Status Audio IEM-2X. However, the sleek and compact profile of these pair of in-ear monitors looks really great for everyday use. They will sit comfortably inside your ears without getting cumbersome for long periods of time.

In terms of sound, the Status Audio IEM-2X have a generally balanced frequency response with a boost around the 30Hz to 80Hz mid-bass frequencies. The high frequencies are also slightly tamed in order to minimize listening fatigue.

Although not built for the stage, drummers will find the Status Audio IEM-2X to be great for general listening or even mixing for long periods of time.

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CCA C10 In-Ear Monitor

CCA C10 High-Performance in-Ear Monitor,HiFi 1DD 4BA Hybrid Five Drivers in-Ear Earphone,Zinc Alloy Shell+Resin Cavity Wired Earbuds with 0.75mm 2 Pin Gold Plated Detachable Cable(Cyan Without mic)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 4 Balanced Armatures

Frequency Response: 7Hz-40kHz

Connector: 0.75mm 2-pin

Cable Length: 3.9ft (120cm)

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable

The CCA C10 is an in-ear monitor that offers a 1 dynamic driver/4 balanced armature system at the $40 price range. This are great in-ear monitors for drummers on a budget because it offers an expansive driver system at a low cost of $40.99. The robust housing features an acrylic casing with a metal faceplate.

Due to the powerful bass response on the CCA C10, drummers will appreciate using this in-ear monitor because they will hear the bass player clearly over the mix. Regarding the other sound elements, the midrange has a slight V-shaped spectrum while treble is rolled off in some parts.

The main strength of the CCA C10 is its instrument separation. This lets you hear all the other elements in the mix and allows for a better monitoring experience.

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Sennheiser IE 40 PRO Monitor

CCA C10 High-Performance in-Ear Monitor,HiFi 1DD 4BA Hybrid Five Drivers in-Ear Earphone,Zinc Alloy Shell+Resin Cavity Wired Earbuds with 0.75mm 2 Pin Gold Plated Detachable Cable(Cyan Without mic)

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver

Frequency Response: 20Hz-18kHz

Connector: Customized MMCX

Cable Length: 4.3ft (130cm)

Features:

  • Form-able Wire
  • Detachable Cable

Sennheiser is a reputable brand and manufacturer of pro-audio gear, known for producing reliable and high-quality equipment. With the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro, they deliver an in-ear monitoring system for musicians at the $100 price range.

The Sennheiser IE 40 Pro are in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians on a budget who want the reliability of Sennheiser products. This in-ear monitor like all the other monitors that cater to the pro-musician market is designed to be used as live sound monitors. Thus the haptics and ergonomics of the  Sennheiser IE 40 Pro reflect this. It features a form-able ear hook that lets the wearer wrap the monitors around their ears for a secure fit.

Foam tips are provided as extras right out of the box. Installing these in the Sennheiser IE 40 Pro will greatly imrove the fit inside the ear canal. It will also create a tight seal that will prevent sweat from entering the monitor. This also provides a decent amount of sound isolation which is crucial for live settings to have a clear perception of the monitor mix and protect the wearer’s hearing.

The Sennheiser IE 40 Pro’s sound profile is generally balanced. However, in comparison to the Shure SE215, which is its main competitor in the $100 pro-audio range, it has a more pronounced treble profile around the 10kHz area. This is great because it allows for a transparent monitor mix that prevents guitars and bass from clouding the mix too much.

Like the Shure SE215, these are a generally good choice for in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians.

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KZ ZS10 Pro Drummer’s In Ear Monitor

KZ ZS10 Pro, Linsoul 4BA+1DD 5 Driver in-Ear HiFi Metal Earphones with Stainless Steel Faceplate, 2 Pin Detachable Cable (Without Mic, Black)

Price: $48.99

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 4 Balanced Armature

Frequency Response: 7Hz-40kHz

Connector: 0.75mm 2-pin

Cable Length: 4.1ft (125cm)

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable

The KZ brand has become a prominent name when it comes to the in-ear monitor sphere. Releasing a multitude of in-ear monitors within the past few years and learning from the mistakes they had, KZ are great manufacturers with a reputation for delivering quality in-ear monitors at low prices.

The KZ ZS10 Pro lives up to the expectations consumers have for KZ products. At the $50 price range, the KZ ZS10 Pro features 1 dynamic driver and 4 balanced armatures. The quantity of balanced armatures in proportion to its price is quite impressive. Still, more balanced armatures do not always equate to a better sound. However, in the front, the KZ ZS10 Pro delivers as well.

Instrument separation is one of the key qualities that distinguish a good in-ear monitor from a bad one. Fortunately, the KZ ZS10 Pro offers a great level of separation between instruments. This allows it to be used for live sound monitoring even if it is mainly marketed towards the casual and consumer market.

The main gripe consumers have for KZ products are its bloated bass profile and piercing highs. KZ have addressed these issues when designing the KZ ZS10 Pro. The bass frequencies are wide-ranged and incorporate a nice sub-bass profile. The mids are warm and the highs are slightly rolled off. Although not really marketed as pro-level, the KZ ZS10 Pro has found use as in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians. Some of our writers actually use these for live sound monitoring and have reported satisfactory results.

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KZ AS10 In-Ear Monitor

KZ AS10 IEM 5 Balanced Armature Driver Earphone, Stereo HiFi KZ in Ear Monitor Headphone Musician Headset with Detachable 2 Pin Cable(No Microphone, Black)

Driver Configuration: 5 Balanced Armatures

Frequency Response: 20Hz-40kHz

Connector: 0.75mm 2-pin

Cable Length: 3.9ft (120cm)

Features:

  • Ear-Hook Wearing
  • Detachable Cable

Like the KZ ZS10 Pro, the KZ AS10 in-ear monitors are produced by the same company. However, the difference between the KZ AS10 from the ZS10 Pro are the drivers utilized. KZ have opted for a 5 balanced armature system without the inclusion of a dynamic driver. This has led to a narrower bass freqeuncy response. The housing of the KZ AS10 is the same as the ZS10 Pro. They also have the same features of a detachable cable and an ear-hook design that will keep the monitors in place.

Because of the replacement of a dynamic driver with a balanced armature, the KZ AS10 has a weaker bass profile compared to the ZS10 Pro. However, this does not mean it is anemic by in-ear monitor standards. The KZ AS10 sticks to the new principle of KZ when designing in-ear monitors; a fairly balanced frequency profile.

Like the ZS10 Pro, the AS10 can also be used for live sound monitoring. The slightly rolled off bass gives it a different character form the ZS10 Pro which may favor drummers and musicians who desire a different sound signature from most other pro-level in-ear monitors for drummers and musicians.

At $59.99, the KZ AS10 offers a 5 balanced armature in-ear monitor at an affordable price. This makes the AS10 a great in-ear monitor for drummers and musicians on a budget.

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TIN Audio T3

Linsoul TIN HiFi T3 Premium Single Knowles BA Single PU+PEK Dynamic Hybrid Driver InEar Earphones, CNC-machined Metal Design, Detachable Gold-Plated OFC SPC MMCX Cables

Driver Configuration: 1 Dynamic Driver | 1 Knowles Balanced Armature

Frequency Response: 10Hz-40kHz

Connector: MMCX

Cable Length: 3.9ft (120cm)

Features:

  • Detachable Cable

The TIN Audio T3 is another in-ear monitor that looks like it caters more towards the casual day-to-day listener market. However, don’t let its appearance fool you. It is a highly capable and sought after pair of in-ear monitors.

The innards of the TIN Audio T3 are housed in a small profile, all-metal, enclosure and it’s worn by wrapping the cable around the earlobes. Obviously, it is similar to the typical design employed by various in-ear monitors. However, it does not feature a dedicated ear hook. This leads to the TIN Audio T3 to be less suited for live situations especially for drummers who tend to move around a lot. Where the TIN Audio T3 shines however is its tuning and sound quality.

A previous version, the TIN Audio T2 has made waves around the audiophile community due to it having a neutral sound profile. Naturally, at first glance, it may seem like this statement translates to the TIN Audio T2 sounding bland. This actually means that the TIN Audio T2 allows listeners to hear sound without the coloration of the listening device. The TIN Audio T3 improves upon the flaws of the original, making it more neutral. This makes the TIN Audio T3 an good pair of in-ear monitors not only for listening to music but also allows it to be used possibly for mixing audio.

Still, its design is not for the live performance however this is still a great in-ear monitor for drummers and musicians because it allows mixing on a budget.

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FAQs About the Best in ear Monitors for Drummers

What is the use of in-ear monitors?

In-ear monitors allow musicians and performers to have a hearing-safe alternative to stage monitors that tend to get loud. This is especially true for performances at huge venues that are jam-packed with people and loud equipment. Continuous exposure to loud noises which is a regular occurrence for musicians especially drummers will lead to hearing damage; the one thing musicians should avoid.

Over the course of time after the introduction of in-ear monitors in the pro scene, the technologies utilized have been picked up by manufacturers of consumer-grade audio manufacturers to produce great-sounding listening devices for the regular listener. Such that, many of the in-ear monitors out in the market today are marketed towards the casual music listener and audiophiles.

Are in ear monitors better than headphones?

The distinction between headphones and in-ear monitors is rather vague for people who are not in the loop regarding audio gear. However, the main difference between in-ear monitors from headphones is that the former tries to replicate sound as accurately as possible while avoiding adding color to the source.

Headphones on the other hand sometimes try to add “ear candy” to the source by boosting different frequencies; most prominently the bass. Still, many manufacturers of in-ear monitors have started tuning their products in certain ways that add color to the sound while still marketing their products as in-ear monitors. This is where the confusion starts. A general rule of thumb is that in-ear monitors are either pro-level or consumer/audiophile-level. The distinction does not denote a difference in quality but instead, a difference in their use and application.

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