Drummers arguably have one of the most important roles when it comes to making music in a group.
Their beat holds the music together and keeps everything in time; without them, everything could fall apart in an instant.
However, many drummers will know that staying on time and performing well is not an easy task. External noise is a huge distraction and can easily throw you off in a heartbeat.
Luckily, isolation headphones have emerged as a key piece of equipment for drummers. These headphones help to block out external noise, allowing you to focus on the music and nothing else.
This article will break down the top five isolation headphones, and give you some tips on how to choose the best pair for you.
Let’s get into it!
Why Isolation Headphones are Essential for Drummers
While many people are correct in assuming that drummers wear headphones as a means to protect their hearing, this is only part of the reason why drummers choose to wear them.
Another reason drummers wear isolation headphones is that they are unmatched in providing a clear and uninhibited sound, as they block out any external noise that could potentially throw the drummer offbeat.
This allows the drummer to hear a crisp and clear playback of either the recorded music they are listening to or the live band they are performing with.
Isolation headphones are ideal for blocking any crowd or surrounding noises, allowing drummers to focus on the music and helping them to stay on time.
On top of this, headphones are crucial for drummers as a way to protect their ears from the loud sounds of their instrument.
Isolation headphones provide both a physical barrier with their thick padding as well as with their noise canceling technology. This helps to prevent the volume of the drums from slowly degrading the drummer’s hearing over time.
Wearing headphones can potentially stop a drummer from experiencing hearing loss further down the track, making them a crucial piece of equipment that every percussionist needs to have.
Top 5 Isolation Headphones for Drummers in 2024
Here is a breakdown of our top five isolation headphones for drummers right now!
- Reduces outside noise by approximately 25 decibels
- Frequency response of 20HZ – 20kHZ
- 50m/m Dynamic Speaker
- Extremely high sound quality
- Delivers powerful low-end, clean mids and clear highs for premium sound
- Thick, padded cups for extra comfort
- Large ear cups, which can be uncomfortable for some
- No Bluetooth compatibility
Topping our list of the best isolation headphones for drummers is the Vic Firth SIH2 Stereo Isolation Headphones for drummers.
These headphones provide drummers with nearly everything they could want: crystal clear sound quality, comfortable wearing, and a high level of external noise reduction.
Plus, they are not overly expensive – making this a great choice for the budget-conscious.
If you are in the market for a new pair of isolation headphones for your drumming sessions, these should be the first ones you try out.
- External noise reduction of 35 decibels
- 105 decibel sound pressure level
- Replaceable earpads
- Designed to be comfortably worn for a long time
- Precise playback
- Bass reflex technology for enhanced listening
- On the upper end of the price scale
- Can be too tight for some drummers
Coming in next on our list are the Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones.
These headphones are some of the best that money can buy, and they have been designed by percussionists, for percussionists.
These headphones offer some of the best noise isolation technology in the business, and this is paired with an extreme level of sound quality.
Their main drawback (and the reason these headphones aren’t number one) is that they are a little more expensive than other models with similar specs.
However, if you are willing to splash out and spend your money on a high-quality product, you cannot go past these headphones.
- 10Hz – 30kHz frequency response
- Sweatproof silicone band
- 2-meter cable
- Purpose-built for electric drum monitoring
- Extreme audio isolation
- 40mm full-range drivers
- Bulky design can make for uncomfortable wearing
At number three on our list of the best isolation headphones for drummers are the Alesis DRP100 Isolating Headphones.
These are especially great for those who use an electronic drum set, as they have been purpose-built to capture the vast range of sounds an e-drum set can produce.
These headphones are also equipped with extreme noise canceling features, making them ideal for the drummer who likes to be fully immersed in their music and doesn’t want any outside noise to be able to filter in.
The only con is that the design of these headphones is quite bulky, which can make them a little uncomfortable for some to wear and also makes transporting them difficult.
Despite this, if you are looking for a solid pair of isolation headphones to help you fully focus on your music, then these might be the pair for you.
- Noise reduction of up to 20 decibels
- Fully Bluetooth supported
- 20KZ frequency response
- Can be used completely wirelessly, or with cables
- Tight-fitting designed perfect for on-stage use
- 20 hours of battery life
- Noise cancellation features are not as good as other models
- Thinner padding around the earcups
If you’re someone who doesn’t like to be held back, the Vic First Bluetooth Headphone may be the perfect isolation headphones for you.
These headphones are Bluetooth compatible, meaning they can be used completely wirelessly – giving you greater freedom of movement and ridding you of any annoying tangled cables.
Plus, they are equipped with the fantastic Vic Firth technology that we have come to know and love.
The downside is that they aren’t quite as good at noise cancellation as other models at a similar price point.
However, this is outweighed by their Bluetooth capabilities – making these a great choice for any drummer looking for a quality pair of headphones.
- 50 mm drivers
- 3m cable
- Custom tuning
- High level of immersive sound
- Memory foam cushioning for extra comfort
- Extra long cable for tangle-free drumming
- No Bluetooth capabilities dispute being designed for e-drums
Last but by no means least on our list, of the best isolation headphones for drummers out there right now are the Roland VMH-D1 V-Drums Headphones.
Roland teamed up with V-MODA to bring us these headphones, and we’re very glad they did.
With 50 mm drivers and custom tuning designed by the sound engineers at V-Moda, these headphones offer a crystal clear yet immersive sound as well as a high level of outside noise cancellation.
Their main downside is that they do not have built-in Bluetooth, which can be a major drawback as they are designed for E-drums.
However, they are still a fantastic choice for any drummer looking for a great pair of isolation headphones.
Features to Look for in Isolation Headphones for Drummers
If you want to get the most out of your isolation headphones, there are several factors that drummers should look out for.
The most important feature that any good pair of isolation headphones should have is noise cancellation.
While the headphones themselves should provide a physical sound barrier with their thick over-ear padding, they should also have built-in technology that properly shuts out any external noise.
Some headphones claim to be noise canceling but fall short when it comes to filtering out loud external sounds.
Make sure you test your headphones out before buying to ensure they have adequate noise-canceling features.
Additionally, you should always prioritize comfort when looking for a pair of isolation headphones.
If you’re a session drummer, you could be using these headphones for hours at a time so you need to find something that is comfortable and easy to wear.
There is nothing more distracting while playing than a pair of ill-fitting headphones causing you discomfort and pain.
Look for headphones with a good amount of give and enough padding around the ears to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.
Finally (and perhaps most importantly), a good pair of isolation headphones needs to have premium sound quality.
The whole purpose of the headphones is to block out external noise and let the listener only hear their chosen input; however, this is pointless if the sound quality is low.
Ensure that you test the sound quality across a range of different types of music and sounds before committing to a pair.
While some headphones may carry bass very well, they can be lighter on the treble (which can throw off the whole quality of the music).
Isolation headphones are a crucial piece of gear for any drummer who is serious about their art.
However, not all headphones are made the same, and it is crucial that you shop around and do your research before committing to a pair.
Finding the right pair of isolation headphones has the potential to take your drumming to the next level and allow you to reach a standard you never thought was possible.
What makes isolation headphones different from regular headphones for drumming?
Regular headphones simply provide the wearer with the input sound and do not have any features that block out external noise, meaning they can likely hear the sounds around them when listening to music.
Isolation headphones have extra features that block out external sound and isolate the input, allowing for a clearer and more concentrated sound.
How much sound isolation do drummers typically need?
There is no correct answer to this as it is entirely up to the individual. Some drummers like to be able to hear some external noise, while others like an isolated sound.
What is best for you is up to your personal preferences and what you need to play at your best.
Can isolation headphones for drummers also be used for regular music listening?
Absolutely! Isolation headphones for drummers are some of the best headphones in the game, and they offer premium sound quality that is perfect for recreational music listening.
The only drawback is that most corded isolation headphones don’t have a jack that is compatible with most phones; however, this is easily fixable with adaptors.
What is a reasonable price range for quality isolation headphones for drummers?
Isolation headphones for drummers can be pricey, as the technology behind them is not cheap to develop or make.
However, there are some affordable products on the market – bringing the overall price range down.
As a general rule, you can expect to buy a decent pair for $50-$150, however, it is possible to find far more expensive models as well.
Philip had the founding vision for Audio Assemble, previously known as Pro Tools Tutorial. In 2008 Philip began recording and producing songs and had a hard time finding free and accurate information on Pro Tools software. From there the website was born. Philip currently works as a Software Engineer for Amazon and handles the editorial strategy as well as much of the technical aspects of Audio Assemble’s website.