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The 5 Best Headphones For Drummers Under $300 (2023)

Drumeo Team  /  Jan 19, 2023

Whether you’re playing along with songs, listening to a metronome (aka ‘click track’) or just trying to save your eardrums, drummers should always use headphones or hearing protection.

Good isolating headphones in the form of ‘closed-back’ headphones are critical for keeping the sound of your drums out of your ears so you don’t have to blast your music to compensate. It also prevents headphone sounds from bleeding into the microphones in the studio.

To help you play accurately and confidently while protecting your hearing, the Drumeo team has put together a shortlist of our top headphones for drummers. They’re tried, tested and true, and most of these products come recommended by several of Drumeo’s in-house drummers.

The best part? They’re all under $300!

 
 
If we could only recommend one set of over-ear headphones for the average drummer, it would be the Direct Sound EX29. The sound quality is good enough for listening to a song or click while practicing and playing live, but it’s the isolation capabilities that make this model a real winner for protecting your ears and preventing bleed. And the price makes it affordable for most.

Here are the top headphones we recommend drummers use in 2023 (all prices in USD):

The Best Headphones For Drummers


Vic Firth Isolation Headphones ($83)

Vic Firth Isolation Headphones
Vic Firth Isolation Headphones deliver a lot of bang for your buck.

Features

Type of headphone: Over-ear
Outside noise reduction: -25 dB
Headphone jack: ¼” and ⅛”
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms +/- 15%
Cable length: 6 feet

Details

Pros: Good isolation headphones are a must for any drummer. They need to fully encase your ears and create a solid seal to keep out loud drum noises so you don’t have to blast your music or metronome. 

The Vic Firth Isolation Headphones are popular for that reason: they fit comfortably while making sure you can clearly hear the music or click track coming through. You can use them as moderate hearing protection, too – just like commercial ear muffs.

Overall, these headphones deliver a lot of bang for your buck.

Cons: Some reviewers with larger-than-average heads say these headphones can be a little tight, so if you tend to have trouble buying hats you might want to try these on in person. If the cable is too short for your purposes, you might want to buy a cable extender.

These are affordable, comfortable headphones for drummers. But if you’re a pro sound engineer or audiophile, you may prefer an open-back design in a higher price bracket that focuses more on sound clarity.

Buy it now

 

Direct Sound EX29 Plus ($130)

DirectSound EX29 Plus Extreme Isolation Headphones
Direct Sound EX29 Plus Extreme Isolation Headphones offer some of the best sound isolation for drummers.

Features

Type of headphone: Over-ear
Outside noise reduction: -36.7 dB
Headphone jack: ¼” and ⅛”
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms +/- 15%
Cable length: 9 feet

Details

Pros: They call these “extreme isolation” headphones for a reason. Comfortable, adjustable and isolating to the max, the Direct Sound EX29 Plus was created by a studio drummer and comes with a red-felted side so you always know immediately which cup goes on the right.

If you have large ears, you might find these fit better than the average pair. The 9-foot-long cable is detachable and these headphones fold up nicely for storage or travel. The 1-year manufacturer warranty is a nice perk as well.

Cons: If you tend to punish your headphones with heavy use – or travel with them to and from gigs often – the plastic might not be strong enough. Like the Vic Firth model above, the sound quality won’t likely be up to snuff for the discerning headphone aficionado.

Buy it now

GK Music UltraPhones ($270)

GK Music UltraPhones Isolation Studio Headphones
The UltraPhones combine studio quality audio with major isolation.

Features

Type of headphone: Over-ear
Outside noise reduction: -29 dB
Headphone jack: ¼”
Frequency response: 10Hz – 20kHz
Impedance: 63 ohms
Cable length: 10 feet

Details

Pros: Enough pro musicians trust the UltraPhones to make these a worthy upgrade to whatever you’re using now. Created by GK Music – a small company led by drummer Gordy Knudtson of the Steve Miller Band – the UltraPhones house components from the Sony 7506 headphones in comfortable 3M foam cans for exceptional isolation with clear audio quality. 

They may look like something you’d use on a construction site, but now you can comfortably listen to music or a click track! The long cable is a plus as well.

Cons: Not all drummers want to spend $270 on headphones, especially if they won’t be used in the studio. If you care less about sound quality and are just looking for basic isolation, check out some of the less expensive options on this page.

Buy it now

 
 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($170)

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones offer superior sound quality.

Features

Type of headphone: Over-ear
Outside noise reduction: Up to -36db (certain frequencies only)
Headphone jack: 1/8”
Frequency response: 15Hz – 28kHz
Impedance: 38 ohms
Cable length: 10 feet / 4 feet / 4-10 feet (coiled)

Details

Pros: These popular studio headphones are known for fantastic sound quality, and they’re especially notable for their bass response. The M50x comes with three detachable cables of different lengths and soft, swiveling earcups. Audio-Technica also offers a wireless Bluetooth version for an extra 30 bucks.

Cons: The sound isolation isn’t as epic as the other products in this guide due to the lack of a strong seal around your ears. It blocks some high frequencies, but lower frequencies might still sneak in. If you want to keep out more of your drum sound or prevent audio bleed, you may want to try a different model. 

Buy it now

 

Drumeo EarDrums ($150)

drumeo eardrums in ear monitors for drummers
The Drumeo EarDrums provide high quality monitoring at an affordable price.

Features

Type of headphone: In-ear
Outside noise reduction: -29 dB
Headphone jack: ⅛” and ¼”
Frequency response: 18Hz – 22kHz
Impedance: 18 ohms
Cable length: 5 feet

Details

Pros: Earbuds (like Apple’s EarPods) aren’t the same as in-ear monitors (IEMs) – they don’t offer real sound isolation and the quality won’t be nearly as good as something with multiple drivers. If you want unassuming headphones that can fit in your pocket and deliver excellent sound right into your ears, the Drumeo EarDrums are true in-ear monitors that come with three drivers – more than most IEMs in this price range. 

You’ll get nine sets of ear tips (six silicone and three memory foam) so you can find your perfect fit. A slick carrying case and cleaning tool will help you keep these headphones safe and clean.

Cons: In-ear monitors provide the best isolation with custom sleeves/molds, but you’d have to order those through an audiologist. You can increase the modest cable length with a cable extender.

Buy it now

 
 

Protect your ears

Over half of these headphone models were created by drummers for drummers, but you can use them for more than just drumming. They’re perfect for listening to your favorite music, watching TV silently, or even protecting your ears while you use loud tools.

If we were to summarize the products listed in this guide:

  • Vic Firth Isolation Headphones: Good bang for your buck.
  • Direct Sound EX29 Plus: Exceptional isolation and still affordable.
  • GK Music UltraPhones: Great sound and isolation; worth the price.
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: Excellent sound, less isolation.
  • Drumeo EarDrums: Great sound, portable and reliable.

Everyone has their personal preferences. You might like one model while passing on another. You might be looking for a stronger seal to keep out drum sounds, or maybe you prefer a lighter seal to hear your bandmates better.

Try them – and if they don’t float your boat? Return them!


Drumeo Team Are you looking for inspiration, education, and support to take your drumming to the next level? Join our community of passionate drummers today at www.drumeo.com

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