Whats the best and cheapest way to play to music without damaging your ears


Senior Member
The only way that I know of with an acoustic kit is to go the expensive route.
Mic the kit through a mixer then through expensive noise reduction headphones. Then mix the song in that you are playing to.
Sorry, I don't know of any cheaper way.

Playing with plastic brushes, i.e., Blastick's will be one way to play an acoustic kit at lower volumes to allow your phones to be lowered.
I have to agree completely with this one especially if you want to record or play with others. I use Vic Firth isolation phones (I took out some of the padding over the earpiece as the highs are muted. The bass still isn't great in these. ) with a 16 Chan mixer and a balanced sound card in my laptop - PCMCIA type. I also run a CD player in to my mixer along with my drum mics, harmonica mic and a vocal mic. This set up allows me to do a lot of things - all with my drum sound mixed with other inputs and not too loud. I can do drum play along, solo, jam with others online and record music either with others and/or add loops etc using music creation/recording software (I use Reaper).

I suggest you think about where you want to get and what you want to do and build so that you don't do much replacing. I would start with the phones and your PC or laptop and maybe just a cheap PC mic to get the hang of hearing all of this and using online jamming options and music creation/recording software. This will be noisy and not sound great because you are using a single unbalanced mic but you will get a feel for what can be done. Then you upgrade to get things sounding good. (Your PC is your mixer in the Volume Control app)


I just use $30 closed air-type Sony earbuds. The type with the flexible rubber seal that fits tightly but gently into your ear. With an iPod at 60% volume, I can hear everything clearly and my drums don't overpower the ear buds. I suffer from tinnitus too, and still I don't need that much volume from the iPod.

You might need to play quieter too. If you are playing full blast all the time, you will never learn the wonderful art of dynamics. You might be surprised how softly some loud sounding cats are really playing.

Rock it out! :)


Platinum Member
How much did your ride cymbal cost? Your snare? Your kick pedals?

For less than the cost of a good ride cymbal, you can get professional ear plugs or IEMs.

You only get one pair of ears.

It amazes me that folks will go on about the distinction between a seamless Black Beauty and a seamed clone, but then go looking for $15 ear plugs. Again, for the difference between a Black Beauty and a Big Black Bob you can correctly protect your ears.

I guess I'm different in that I have Sensaphonics custom molded ear plugs with Etymotic filters in them, and then I'll put something like Sony MDR7506, or Grado SR80 (if I want to hear the drums clearer) headphones over that. My ears are limited first, and then I put the sound into them.

This way, what I hear of the drums is more spatially natural. Instead of a fixed perspective stereo feed into IEMs. I have Shure E2s and had a set of E3s with Sensaphonics molds but don't like those as much.

But since I play with the ER molded ear plugs all the time any way, putting semi open air headphones like the Grados on over them just adds in the music I'm trying to practice to (or record to).