Best in ear monitor system for drummers is becoming more and more popular and affordable. Do you suffer from grotesque sound on stage? Restricted movement space? Permanent whistling? Then in-ear monitoring may be just the thing for you. In this guide, you’ll learn the most important facts about the small speakers in the ear canal.
What is in-ear monitoring?
In-Ear-Monitoring (IEM) means “In-Ear-Control”. A musician on stage gets his monitor mix directly into his ear. The headphones developed especially for this purpose must meet various requirements.
Although professionals have been using this method since the 1980s, such systems were still very expensive at the time. Since the 2000s, you’ve seen more and more small bands with inconspicuous ear plugs. And not without reason.
In-ear systems can handle the entire stage monitoring. Angled stage monitors (wedges) are only set up for backup purposes or are no longer needed – provided all band musicians use IEM.
Of course, mixed forms are common. For example, only the singer and the drummer can use in-ears. The rest of the band then gets their mix via common monitor boxes.
Don’t forget the Technical Rider!
No matter which constellation your band uses: Don’t forget to record this in the Technical Rider – the document with technical requirements of artists for performances. Otherwise, the sound engineer won’t be able to prepare himself optimally.
This in-ear headphone test for drummers is about the best products for use on drums and for musicians in general. But not only that! Of course, non-musicians will also find useful information to help them find good headphones for perfect listening pleasure.
For this article, I have deliberately also taken a closer look at the cheaper models, which save money and are therefore also affordable for young drummers. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness, I will mention headphones further down in the text that are particularly suitable for professional stage and studio use and are often found in the higher price segments.
Your Experience with In Ear Headphones & In Ear Monitoring
If you have experience with In Ear Headphones and In Ear Monitoring, I would be happy to hear your comments following this article. Which model do you use? How expensive is it and what do you appreciate most about the system of your choice?
Short Info: What is an In Ear Headphone?
Before we continue with different models of In Ear headphones, here is some information about what is meant by such headphones.
In Ear contra On Ear Headphones
As the English term already suggests, so-called In Ear headphones are those which are inserted into the ear and therefore do not require any further support in the form of a headband or similar accessory to be attached to the head or to the auricle. In Ear headphones are often supplied today as a common accessory for MP3 players of all types and manufacturers. They are small, relatively robust and give the impression of full basses and Hi Fidelity.
As a counterpart to the “In Ear Headphones” there are the so-called “On Ear” headphones (see photo above right). Here, the headphones are held by a headband on the outer ear and do not penetrate the ear canal like the In Ear headphones. Some don’t like the feeling of a technical object in the ear and therefore choose On Ear headphones.
Headphones up to 50 Euro
I’ve been using the Panasonic RP-HJE120E1A for about 3 years and can therefore say exactly how I find it and what I can expect from it. I am very convinced of the price-performance ratio alone! Currently, these In Ear headphones are available for less than 10 Euro – at Amazon.de from 6,99 Euro. I use it both as MP3 headphones on my iPhone and as studio headphones when I record drums. In addition to the Panasonic RP-HJE, the use of a capsule ear protector has proven itself for use in the studio and in rehearsals. I’ve described exactly how this works here.
Self-built drum headphones
Even when jogging, it remains firmly in the ear and the ideal fit can be further optimized with the included silicone plugs.
Philips SHE9000 In-Ear Headphones
The Philips SHE9000 is also one of the affordable headphones. It has a 1.2 meter long connection cable, which should be long enough for most applications. Other accessories include silicone caps in three different sizes to ensure an ideal fit in the ear.
Sennheiser CX 400
The CX 400 In Ear headphones from Sennheiser are quite a bit more expensive than the two previously introduced products. That’s mainly because, but not only because there are a few more accessories. These include the ear adapter set for the right fit in sizes S/M/L, a cable winder, cable clip and a carrying bag.
Profi In Ear headphones for musicians
In this section you can find some more information about Profi In Ear headphones for musicians. These much more expensive products usually offer a variety of additional features that make your work more comfortable, especially in the professional area. These include the exact fit of many headphones through so-called earmoulds. These are manufactured with an individual impression of the ear and the auditory canal. The connecting cables of many professional headphones can also be removed for transport or replaced in the event of damage, without having the expensive earmoulds produced again. The sound can also be individually adjusted by the expensive representatives. Some of these small Hitech headphones have up to 6 ways technology under the “hood”.
The company Ultimate Ears is one of the top dogs on the market of In Ear headphones for professional use. The cheapest models are available from approx. 350 Euro. One of the cheapest Ultimate Ears models is called UE-4 Pro and features modern 2-way technology with a bass and a high frequency driver. According to manufacturer information, a frequency range of theore
The company Ultimate Ears is one of the top dogs on the market of In Ear headphones for professional use. The cheapest models are available from approx. 350 Euro. One of the cheapest Ultimate Ears models is called UE-4 Pro and features modern 2-way technology with a bass and a high frequency driver. According to manufacturer information, a frequency range from 20 Hz to 15 kHz can theoretically be mapped. The noise reduction is approx. 26 dB, which isolates one from the musical environment almost completely. Since the headphones are individually adjusted by ear impression, they fit perfectly and cannot slip.
But Ultimate Ears can be “even better” and therefore more expensive; The model with the name Ultimate Ears UE-18 Ambient costs about 1500 Euro and has 4-way technology in such a small space.
Besides Ultimate Ears the company Fischer Amps is also very popular with musicians. Jochen Fischer is the founder of the company and also supplies hearing protection and headphones for in-ear monitoring at the highest technical level. One of the most popular models of Fischer Amps is the FA-3E, which you can see here.
Shure SE 115 to Shure SE 535 & 846
The US-American company Shure is known among other things for the production of microphones for stage and studio. One of the best-known microphones is the SM 58 vocal microphone or, for example, the SM 57, which is mainly used as a snare drum and/or guitar speaker microphone.
In addition to numerous first-class microphones, Shure also manufactures In Ear Monitoring headphones in the mid price range between 100 and 500 Euros. These include the following models:
- Shure SE115
- Shure SE215
- Shure SE315
- Shure SE425
- Shure SE535
- Shure SE535-CL
- Shure SE846
To conclude this article, I wanted to get rid of a few sentences about the pros and cons of In Ear headphones. Especially when it comes to rehearsing at low music volume, the presented headphones are highly recommended. However, one should choose the dosage of the music volume with caution, because by the proximity to the eardrum a damage can develop with too loud music fast. If you haven’t used to In Ear headphones, you usually don’t want to exchange them for On Ear headphones anymore. In my personal experience, the sound quality is unbeatable. With In Ear Monitoring, the stage sound is also much more direct than would be possible with remote monitor speakers.
If you want to get your first experience with In Ear headphones, I can highly recommend the inexpensive models from the first table on this page. The expensive professional headphones should only be ordered after extensive testing.
Have fun making music!