The Best 5 In Ear Monitors For Drummers [Reviews 2020]

Posted in Recording & Audio Equipment | Last Updated on May 1, 2020

a drummer on a stage, wearing best in ear monitors

Personal monitors are a really practical answer to a typical set of issues in live performance. Typically, every musician is supplied with a monitor mix, allowing them to listen to themselves (and the rest of the band) while playing.

The problem with this kind of monitoring is that the monitor speakers (also known as floor wedges) and acoustic sounds from near instruments like drums interfere with each other, leading to volume wars between musicians. As a result, on-stage volumes will become dangerously loud, and also the threat of feedback is considerably enhanced.

In an acoustically resonant environment like a house of worship, the stage monitors additionally force the main P.A. system to be operated at a higher level, while at the same time disturbing the fidelity of the mix.

Basically, IEM systems eliminate monitor speakers by putting the monitor mix directly within the musician’s ear canals, making a much more controlled, (without feedback issues) environment for everybody on the stage. In short, any band that features a drummer and/or amplified instruments will benefit greatly by switch to personal in ear monitors.

Alright, enough theory, here we go:

The Top 5 Choices and Their Reviews

Audio-Technica ATH-IM70 Dual symphonic-driver In-ear Monitor

Audio Technica has made a remarkable innovation with the ATH-IM70 and its dual symphonic driver. It is an excellent IEM and well rounded overall, but the price point at which it is sold at would lead people to believe it is average.

The design of the IM70 is typical IEM with a removable cable, so there is nothing special in this case. Only gripe is the single color choice (red) which is/can be a little too flashy. White and black are preferred to blend in with the crowd.

The bass has a strong presence (not overpowering) sounds full with a healthy amount of attack and the correct amount of decay. The mid-range is forward and balanced equally with the bass. The treble is being natural with a enough amount of sharpness and brightness leading to very good balance with the bass and mid-range. It is also smooth and well-controlled making it resistant to sibilance.

  • Sound quality.
  • Comfortable.
  • Value for money.

  • Price.
  • Single color choice.

AKG Acoustics IP2 Professional In-Ear Monitoring

Most in-ear headphones are simply not as loud as you need, so they begin to distort at the maximum level. The AKG IP2s don't have that kind of problem. They have a particularly high maximum volume, to the point that my normal listening volume was truly very uncomfortable. This once more underscores the IP2s' ability to handle bass-heavy tracks, since your hearing is of course less-sensitive once it involves lower notes.

They additionally do a decent job of keeping your music within your ears, therefore people around you cannot hear what you are listening to. Despite filling your ear canal, they are truly quite comfortable over long stretches. You can wear them for a couple of hours and not feel much discomfort, that is rare for in-ear headphones.

  • Good design.
  • Comfortable.
  • Price.
  • Clear sound.

  • High frequencies in the foreground.

Fender FXA2 Professional In-Ear Monitor Headphones

A step up into the territory of significant audio professionals, these monitors from famous company Fender place high-grade audio reproduction first.

While these are designed for operating musicians, particularly bassists and drummers, any audiophile serious regarding the very best level of sound reproduction can think about this model. With a really powerful frequency range (6 Hz - 23 kHz), the Fender FXA2 can deliver rich, natural, bass without distorsion and clear highs, due to custom drivers made up of rare metals.

These monitors additionally showcase new 3D modeling and printing techniques, a revolution from normal injection-molded ear buds. With 3D techniques, Fender has created a universal ear bud which will match 95 % of ears at a fraction of the value of ancient custom ear buds.

  • Tonal range and clarity.
  • Comfortable.

  • Producing a very mid-range-heavy sound.

MEE audio M6 PRO Universal-Fit Noise-Isolating Musician's In-Ear Monitors

Editor's badge - budget choice


Targeted at operating musicians, the M6 professional IEMs provide a balance of quality sound reproduction and everyday comfort throughout extended listening sessions.

Though prepacked with universal ear buds, these monitors embrace seven totally different sizes of buds to assist you discover the proper fit. The detachable cables are made from a versatile memory wire in order to adapt to the user’s body and supply maximum comfort.

The memory foam ear tips additionally aid in noise reduction. The drivers use a brand new ultra-thin diaphragm that the company claims delivers superior sound with particularly sensible reproduction of detail.

Together with the included carrying case, these monitors are an excellent model for a serious musician.

  • Comfortable.
  • Detachable cables.
  • Mic, remote, and volume control for use with smartphones.

  • Over-emphasized treble.

Shure SE215-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver

Editor's choice best pick badge

They're well specific, though, coming with 3 sizes of Shure’s sound-isolating foam earphone tips, commonplace silicone polymer dome tips and a soft – however amazingly large – carrying case. The thick 1.6m cables are replaceable and may be detached from the earphones themselves with a tough pull. this is often designed to eliminate the problem of cables carrying through at the earpieces.

With an integrated ear hook to assist secure them firmly round the back of your ears, these feel to a small degree bulkier than most earphones however match snugly once properly positioned.

With outstanding design, a two-year guarantee, wonderful sound isolation and sensible audio quality, this can be simply one among the most effective sets of earphones you'll be able to purchase for the price.

It’s a perfect compromise between the painful valuation of 'audiophile' headphones and therefore the often-muddy sound of most dynamic-driver based consumer product.

  • Affordable, best value for the money.
  • Good sound.
  • Comfortable.

  • Durability (it comes with guarantee tho).

[Buyer's Guide] Choosing the Best In Ear Monitor

Improved sound quality

Both the praise band and also the congregation have the benefit of iem systems. For musicians, isolating earphones offer a rich, full mix at their preferred level while effectively eliminating competitive sound from other musicians. By the same token, the main house mix isn't any longer muddy by monitor leak, leading to higher fidelity for the congregation.

Feedback elimination

With no monitor speakers on stage, the chance of acoustic feedback is considerably reduced. This also reduces the time it takes for the engineer to equalize the sound for best gain-before-feedback.

Improved performances

The use of in-ear systems helps in two specific ways that. First, singers gain considerably better control of pitch since they no longer need to strain to listen to themselves over their monitor speaker. Additionally, musical timing improves since propagation delay because of the physical distance among ears and sound sources is nearly eliminated once using IEMs.

Freedom of movement

No matter wherever performers go, they're continuously within the sonic “sweet spot.” This allows for a lot of creative stage presentations.

Tech crew advantages

Monitor engineers spend less time equalizing the stage monitors for best without feedback.  The task of dragging large wedges and cabling on and off the stage is eliminated, as are the associated amplifiers and processors, leading to a clean stage and quicker setup.

Reduced risk of hearing disorder (if used properly)

By isolating the musician’s ear, the signal-to-noise is considerably improved, that allows for clear listening at significantly lower volume than once using floor wedges. However, this can be a learned behavior. Musicians should be actively encouraged to turn down the amount of their IEM systems to take advantage of this fact. Some ear monitor systems will still produce dangerously high sound pressure levels–in more than 120 db!

Fellow drummers

our instrument is loud. The harder one hits a drum, the better it sounds, so we can’t really be faulted for doing the right thing. A snare drum measures 90 to 100 dB in even the tamest of bands; anything else the drummer needs to hear must be at least 3 to 6 dB louder at the drummer’s ear.

It should be obvious that drummers are excellent candidates for personal monitors. In addition, because the drum wedge is the loudest sound source on stage, eliminating it is the biggest single improvement that can be made toward controlling a group’s volume. The good news is that most drummers will go willingly.

How should we tend to decide between wireless and wired IEM systems? The simple answer to this question is to treat it identical as selecting wired vs. wireless microphones. Stationary performers, most notably drummers and keyboardists, will use wired systems. Musicians who move around on stage, vocalists and guitarists, are glorious candidates for wireless monitoring.

Obviously, wireless systems are more expensive. It should be pointed out, however, that wired systems are easier to troubleshoot and less expensive to repair or replace. In some ways, this call is tied to the required type of the stage presentation, and also the technical skills of the staff.

Which earphones are right for me?

There's a typical thought that personal monitor earphones are the equivalent of the ear buds sold with portable music players. Such ear buds do deliver sound, however don’t always match firmly and provide very little isolation from ambient sound. In short, they're simply not adequate to be used on stage. An isolating earphone starts as an ear plug, fully protection the wearer’s ear from alternative sound sources.

Small speakers within the housing give the monitor mix directly to the ears. This allows musicians to listen to their mix while not disturbing the musician near them, an effort of engineering with which loudspeakers cannot compete. Isolating earphones are available in a range of forms starting from straightforward dynamic ear buds to multi-speaker devices, enabling superb sound reproduction.

Should we have a tendency to invest in custom earphones? Several manufacturers create generic-fit or universal-fit earphones. These devices have exchangeable or reusable ear tips made from foam, rubber or plastic. They are designed to suit in most anyone’s ear canals. While these “fit kit” systems work well for a few, the natural variation of ear canal size and form leads to variable degrees of success in terms of secure match, comfort and isolation.

A secure match could be a necessity, as a decent seal between the ear canal and earphone yields far better bass frequency response and a better signal-to noise ratio. Once a musician complains of bad sound quality, it's usually a fit issue. Custom-fit earphones are shaped specifically to an individual’s ears.

They additionally look better within the wearer’s ear, with a sleeker, low profile style. If made up of a soft, versatile material like gel silicone polymer, they're going to even be very comfortable, leading to the wearer’s ability to use them for extended periods of time while not “itchy ears” or different problems inherent in universal-fit earphones. In short, custom-fit earphones take greater advantage of the advantages of in-ear monitoring.

It makes sense to invest in custom. Many generic earphones are often converted to custom-fit by adding a shaped sleeve to exchange the universal ear tips. Custom sleeves offers a better comfort, a safer match and higher isolation while not defeating the earphone’s ability to suit somebody else once the custom tip is removed.


From the performer’s perspective, hearing protection is typically a secondary concern. Their initial priority is performing the most effective they possibly can. However the actual fact is, prolonged exposure to too loud sound may end up in permanent hearing harm.

The good news is that prime isolation in-ear monitoring permits exceptional fidelity that may still be heard at considerably lower volumes. Nearly each manufacturer of personal monitoring product claims that “when used properly” their product will provide hearing protection to the user.

However, few manufacturers provide specific recommendation on a way to use the product “properly” from a hearing safety perspective. When asked, most manufacturers will make a case for simply, “don’t turn them up too loud.” clearly, that’s not very specific. I hope your quest in search of the best in ear monitors ends here. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.