What if you could play the drums with nobody hearing you?
Electronic drums are the answer. You can’t plug headphones into an acoustic set, but you can whack them into an electronic one. Still, you shouldn’t just whip out any headphones to accompany your play — they need to be the best.
The best headphones for electronic drums are the Sony Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone. They have everything you need for great sound and freedom of movement.
The best three electronic drum headphones are as follows:
- Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
- Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V2 (SIH2)
- Roland RH-300V Stereo Headphones
These Sony headphones enable you to listen to the most subtle echoes and resonating beats. This is thanks to the neodymium magnets and 40-millimeter drivers in these closed-ear design headphones.
Their sound works equally well with a frequency response of 10 hertz–20 kilohertz. This makes them guaranteed to deliver the sound quality you crave. You can also examine your drumming progress, or compose your rhythms with subtleties only you can hear.
Cushioned cups and a soft headband prevent headaches and earaches. They block out all background noise and lock in the sound of your beats, so you can listen to music undisturbed.
Most wired headphones have short cables, but the 9.8-foot cord guarantees you can move around the room without disconnecting. Plus, the cord isn’t detachable, so there’s no chance you’ll lose it.
The plug is a standard size for most headphone jacks. It also includes a 0.25-inch adapter to plug into amps and instruments with larger inputs.
These headphones let you drown in high-quality sound, and protect you from distraction. They’re fantastic for live recording because of how much sound they block out. You can listen to music, protected from the outside world.
Such bulky headphones look like they’ll block out the sound of your thoughts. The Vic Firth headphones reduce background noise by 25 dB, even when you’re not playing!
Their frequency response is unlike the others reviewed today, which go beyond the range of human hearing. These headphones don’t do that, but they don’t dip below the range — they deliver the full human hearing range with 20 hertz–20 kilohertz.
Padded-cups and a headband make these comfortable for extended listening. The cord is over 5 feet long, so you can flail and walk around the studio without removing them.
The Roland headphones are perfect to use with their range of V-drums and other electronic percussion. They also offer a lengthy 8-foot cord that won’t fall off when you move around.
They’re comfortable to wear as the head strap and ear cups are soft, cushioned, and closed in. They block outside sounds so you can concentrate on your beat. The resulting high-quality sound is optimized for extended frequency response and perfect for percussion.
With standard 50-millimeter drivers, you know you’ve got the expected quality. The drivers are possibly one of the least important specs, but theoretically, larger drivers can reproduce lower frequencies easier, with a richer sound. The larger area allows more room to vibrate and resonate.
More importantly, these headphones have a frequency range of 10 hertz–22 kilohertz, which is beyond the human hearing range, making them ideal for the best sound quality.
How to Choose the Best Headphones for Electronic Drums
Here are some essential elements to consider when buying the best headphones for electronic drums:
- Noise reduction.
- Sound quality.
When you’re casually listening to music, you don’t want to hear outside distractions. But noise reduction is even more important in making music; even a breath can mess with your timing.
Your headphones don’t have to block out sound completely, but they do need to trap that music. The three pairs of headphones we reviewed achieve this.
The term closed back is a common feature to look for, meaning the cups sit surrounding your ears, with no gaps.
The result is that your ears become trapped inside the small space, with thick material surrounding them. This keeps the noise at bay.
However, headphones that reduce noise in this way aren’t to be confused with active noise-reducing headphones. None of the headphones reviewed have this feature, so don’t confuse the active reduction with this closed-back noise reduction.
Active noise reduction happens when a mic in the headphones picks up a frequency, then creates a frequency to cancel it out.
The ideal range for headphones is the average range for human hearing: 20 hertz–20 kilohertz. Disregard anything less. Why would you want something incapable of delivering what your ears can take?
The Vic Firth pair offers you the average human hearing range. The other two go beyond, which is incredible for crisp highs and bassy lows.
If your headphones have a higher frequency response range, they’ll most likely have better-made components. This superior engineering will produce richer, more accurate tones across the board. The higher the frequency, the more dynamic and authentic the sound is.
When you’re in the studio, you’re probably doing so for hours. If your headphones aren’t cushioned or are too tight, ouch!
Headphones need that cushioning to protect the wearer and avoid headaches. And remember, one size doesn’t fit all. So, if the headband expands and collapses to fit different head sizes or over hats, that model is better.
All but one of the three products reviewed expand like this. The black sheep of the family is the Vic Firth.
A cushioned headband protects you from hard plastic digging into your head. The headband should be against, or at least close to, your head, so the cups stay in place over your ears.
A headband that’s too tight will compress you and may cause a headache. But then, a headband that’s too loose will move around, and the ear cups won’t stay in place.
Once you’ve got those ear cups in place, make sure you’d like to keep them there. Say no to hard plastic surrounding or on your ears.
The material that covers the cushioning matters, too. Would you prefer rubbery leather over soft velour? For the feeling, go with velour, but most leather is more durable. Plus, leather helps to create an excellent bass response. It won’t give you the warm fuzzies, but it’s not uncomfortable and lasts.
All three pairs of headphones reviewed have leather over the cushioning. You can tell because leather has that, well, leathery look — deeply wrinkled, maybe shiny in the light, but mainly matte. It may feel rubbery to drag your finger along, but not unpleasant.
Velour headphones will remind you of that squishy couch you want to dive into forever. They’re almost like earmuffs, without the fur.
Soft to the touch with minimal visual shine, they’re like a cuddly toy you can wear. They may also be wrinkled depending on how tight the material is pulled, but it’ll look more like creasing.
It’s no fun carrying extra weight around, be it your heavy instrument or a pair of headphones. You want headphones light enough that you don’t even feel the weight on your head.
The lightest headphones are Sony’s pair. They weigh 8 ounces, where the other two weigh 10 ounces or above. None of them are particularly heavy, which is a good sign, but if you’re prone to headaches or neckaches, the Sony is the sensible choice.
For drums, you want it all—the highs of the snare, the mids, then the thundering kicks that rattle your brain. If your headphones aren’t delivering the full range of 20 hertz–20 kilohertz in complete dynamic depth, they’re doing it wrong.
Drivers are the most vital feature in a pair of headphones concerning sound quality. The drivers create vibrations that produce sound waves, aka the overall sound.
The standard is 50 millimeters in diameter. However, bigger tends to be better. A 40-millimeter driver is a standard choice for over-ear headphones, and none of the reviewed go below that.
Sensitivity is what shows how well the headphones convert electrical into acoustic signals. It’s measured in sound pressure level (SPL.)
Not every pair of headphones will show you what their SPL is, but if you see it, make sure it’s within a range of around 85–120 dB SPL/milliwatts. Anything above 120, and it’ll start to hurt.
If sensitivity is your deciding factor, you should know the Sony Professional headphones have the highest known sensitivity at 106 dB/w/m. Roland’s RH-300V isn’t far behind at 103.
Unfortunately, the manufacturers of the Vic Firth haven’t been kind enough to disclose that information for their headphones.
Impedance is measured in Ohms, with the higher the impedance, the more power you need to get the headphones to work at their best.
Headphones with an impedance lower than 32 will work at their best, even with just your phone. But professional headphones with an impedance of 300 or more require an amp to get them going.
For electronic drums, you’re generally going to be using an amp, so don’t worry. Just don’t freak out if you plug your headphones into your phone, and you think they died. They still work fine! It’s your phone’s fault.
You can rest easy knowing all three pairs reviewed have all the right specifications you need for quality.
Headphone Jack Size
The average headphone jack size is 0.13 inches, most commonly referred to as 1/8-inch in product descriptions. However, with instruments and amps, a 0.25-inch connection — referred to as a 1/4-inch — is more common.
Luckily the three pairs of headphones reviewed come with both sizes, so you can plug in anywhere and don’t need to purchase an adapter.
Wired VS. Bluetooth
Wired connections are more reliable than Bluetooth ones, in general. Bluetooth headphones have batteries that can die quickly, requiring frequent charging. Wired ones can be utilized at any time.
Would you want your headphones to die unexpectedly in the studio? This is why a wired connection is better. Unfortunately, the wired connections all three reviewed headphones offer aren’t removable.
Often, when headphones start to die, the sound cuts out on one side, which is usually the wire’s fault. With many headphones, you can replace the cable, which is cheaper than replacing the headset. With these, you’ll need a replacement or an upgrade if they fail on you.
Looking on the bright side, our reviewed models are top-quality headphones with long cables. You have the ease of movement Bluetooth headphones offer, with the reliability of a high-quality wired connection.
The Verdict on the Best Headphones for Electronic Drums
The best headphones for electronic drums are the Sony MDR7506 pair. They have the highest sensitivity, and they have the longest cord, so the most freedom to move.
Another excellent feature these headphones have is an excellent sensitivity rating. This feature enables a loud volume without distorting your music or damaging the headphones or your ears.
It’s a win-win situation, no matter which pair you pick — the other two are the perfect runners up. They each come with the basics you need to have the best drum-listening experience.