In Ear monitors are the best option for drummers who want to protect their hearing and hear everything in the mix. The big hurdle is in ear monitors can be very expensive some wireless setups run in the $1000 range, and custom moulded in-ears can range from $400-$1000+. This is a big financial hurdle especially for something you’ve never tried before. The good thing about being a drummer is we are typically tied to our drumsets so we don’t NEED a wireless setup this helps with the cost.
There are a few things to consider about in-ear monitors the most important thing is if something on stage isn’t Miced up, you will not have it in your monitor mix. It also important to know the limitations of your mixer (or the clubs mixer) you generally need your own mix for monitors which means your mixer needs to have a spare Aux send for the drum monitor mix.
Berhinger MicroMON 400 – $24.99
This is a super affordable monitor headphone amp, It takes a stereo or mono 1/4″ input. I like to stick mine in my stick bag on my floor tom so my headphone cables can reach easily. I would say the only thing about this monitor is that it doesn’t have a screaming output so typically I have to send a healthy loud signal from the mixing board, and I crank up the monitor level on the MA400 to around 7-8.
I use cheap in-ear buds, I try to find a pair that doesn’t have a microphone on it for cellphone use, but it doesn’t really matter. The soft buds that go inside your ear do a good enough job of blocking out the sound from your drums and the stage. Cheap buds will get you started with in-ears and you can save up for a better set.