Cheap open headphones for drumming
Jan 15, 2013 at 11:00 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 1


New Head-Fier
Aug 22, 2012
I'm posting this in the full-size headphones section as well, since it kind of applies to both.
I'm a drummer and a sound guy at my church. We're not too big (nor are we the best musicians either, but we get by), and have a pretty modest set up with one mixing desk, some crusty old FOH speakers, two foldback channels and a few wedge monitors on the stage. Our band usually consists of a piano, bass, acoustic guitar, drums, and some singers. The foldback is split into one channel for the singers, one for the band.
In an effort to reduce some of the excess sound coming off the stage, we recently removed some of the wedges and are using headphones for the piano and drums. The church's budget can't really afford a proper wireless IEM setup, and most of the musicians wouldn't be willing to shell out that much cash for them either, so currently we're using some somewhat jerry rigged wired solutions with two mini-mixers acting as volume controls, and cheap crappy earbuds, or whatever other headphones the musicians want to bring from home. Unfortunately I wasn't really involved in the purchasing of this setup, but we have it now so I just have to work with what we've got.
Since we've always used wedges for foldback in the past, and the hall is small enough that the drums don't need any extra amplification (we also run the FOH at a fairly sensible volume since we have people of all ages), the drums aren't actually mic'ed up. Again, we probably can't afford to do that any time soon either - new FOH speakers are the current priority. Because of this, I still need to be able to hear the drums through my headphones. The cheap earbuds we have are ok in this regard, but their sound quality is pretty rubbish, and it's a struggle to make out the different instruments through the distortion without turning them up to dangerous levels. When we first set it up I brought in my AKG K601s and tested them out with the drums, and they sounded infinitely better, but even though they're open they muffled the top end a bit too much so I couldn't really hear the high-hat and cymbals. The velour pads also got a bit too warm and sweaty after playing a few songs - they're definitely not meant for wearing during activity :p
I'm looking for a relatively inexpensive (sub $100 would be great if possible) open set of headphones that I can knock about a bit without worrying, and that don't isolate the sound too much, especially the high treble.
Sound quality-wise, the most important aspect is clarity so I can make out the other instruments. Otherwise I don't really mind, since anything you guys recommend is probably going to sound better than earbuds. Also, I know it's normally recommended to wear closed headphones or IEMs for drums to protect your hearing, but I tend to play pretty quietly, plus I just need to hear the drums since there are no mics for it, so I can't do much about that. Besides, up until now I've been playing without headphones with a wedge monitor, so decent headphones shouldn't be too much louder.
One option I've been looking at is the Grado SR60i (or the SR80i or Alessandro MS-1i, whatever is best suited for the job). How do they go isolation-wise? Does anybody have any other suggestions? I know there aren't too many open headphones at this price range, so my options are probably pretty limited.

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