Monitoring Tips for Drummers
Saturday January 13, 2018. 10:56 AM , from Sweetwater inSync
I have some questions for you, my fellow drummers. When you’re playing your drums, how do you like to hear yourself? How do you monitor yourself in the studio and live? Do you monitor yourself the same way in both situations? I ask these questions because, even though drums are a loud instrument, sometimes it’s hard to hear them while we play, especially when playing live. But it can also be an issue in the studio if you don’t have the right headphones. There are so many great options for isolating headphones and in-ear monitors at Sweetwater; here’s advice that will help you make the right choice for your situation.
Before I start, know that my favorite way to monitor drums in a live situation is with wedges and the Porter and Davies BC Gigster drum throne. The BC Gigster has a “thumper” built into the seat so that you don’t need a giant subwoofer to hear and feel the low end. It all comes from your seat. You really feel your drums, which makes you play easier. It also brings the volume down on the stage because you don’t need the kick drum blaring though the wedge. In my wedges, I usually just have a little bit of snare drum if the stage is big and a nice balance of the other instruments and vocals. In the studio, I prefer isolating headphones, rather than in-ears, along with the BC Gigster drum throne.
Whether you’re in the studio or live, you need to be able to hear yourself as well as protect your hearing. You need headphones that bring down outside volume but are comfortable, allowing you to play for a long time without getting fatigued. Here are some great options:
Vic Firth SIH1
These headphones bring down the volume by about 24dB. They fit on your head in a tight but comfortable way and don’t move around even if you’re banging your head. On a funny sidenote, my son loves to use the Vic Firth SIH1s when he mows the lawn. He can still listen to music clearly over the noise of the mower.
Direct Sound EX-29
These EX-29 headphones are great-sounding, comfortable headphones with a more rectangular earpiece and they bring down the volume by about 29dB.
Metrophones Studio Kans
These Studio Kans headphones have gel-filled earcups that are very comfortable, and they bring down the volume by about 29dB. Plus, they’re Bluetooth enabled, giving you a wireless option.
Westone Am Pro 20
These Am Pro 20 universal in-ear monitors have a big assortment of sleeves for the perfect fit and a port on each earpiece that allows a bit of the outside ambience in. Sometimes bands have microphones onstage pointed at the audience, so they can add that ambient sound into their in-ear mix and not feel totally cut off. These Westone Am Pro 20s allow a bit of that outside noise in to provide a more natural experience.
These Shure SE425 in-ears are very comfortable and sound great. Fitting them with the perfect sleeve size for your ear is quick and easy, and they bring down the outside volume a lot.
The Westone ES60 are professional in-ears that are custom-molded to precisely fit your ears. With six drivers, these in-ears sound amazingly clear and full and are a very nice option when you’re ready to step up to a professional set.
These are just a small sampling of the in-ear and headphone options available. The main thing is to find the monitor system that allows you to hear what you want to hear at the right volume. Being comfortable and relaxed while playing drums is really important, so make sure you find what is right for you. Keep making music!
To find out more about great monitoring solutions for drummers, contact your Sweetwater Sales Engineers at (800) 222-4700.
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