Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones[SIH2] Review: Great Improvement Compared to the SIH1
The Vic Firth headphones are designed to not only allow you to listen to the drums you play but also to save your hearing while doing so. They are intended to be used with both electronic drums and acoustic kits, and they can reduce the drum kit noise when you listen to a mix. They are said to provide noise isolation and great comfort while wearing them, while also being reasonably priced. As Vic Firth is a rather reputable brand – which is expected from a company that is founded by a drummer – they have a lot of expectations to live up to, which is why we have decided to put this model to the test.
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Driver / Diaphragm Size
This model has a driver size of 50mm, which is standard for this kind of headphones. They have a frequency response of 20 hertz – 20 kilohertz, which is rather nice and will provide good sound quality. One of the problems that the first version of these headphones, The Vic Firth Stereo Isolation Headphones V1, had, was the aggressive and sharp sound, especially when it comes to deeper tones. This model provides cleaner mid-tones which makes everything a lot more comfortable to the ears. Bass sound is also improved compared to the previous version and now it is much easier to distinguish different tones. All in all, the sound quality is rather good compared to the price point, everything sounds more realistic and lifelike, especially if we look at the older and outdated V1 model.
One of the biggest advantages of this model is that it provides a 25 decibel sound isolation. In other words, outside noise is reduced by 25dB without counting in the isolation that is provided by the padding, which is quite a decent amount. This will also help you save your hearing, as you won’t have to turn the volume up to very high levels to hear everything clearly, as most drummers tend to do. As a drum kit can exceed 120dB, which is beyond the range of approved noise exposure, the 25dB reduction will also lower the noise level to the safer numbers, at least if we speak about a period of 4 hours. Also, the headphone sound leak is brought to a minimum, so if you decide to simply listen to the music with them you don’t have to worry about people around you being disturbed with the noise.
When you take the headphones in your hands, one of the first things that you will notice is that this model is heavy. This is never good when you want to use something that will have to stand on your head for hours a day. Also, they tend to squeeze your head quite a bit, which makes them a bit uncomfortable after some time. The good news is that after some time they tend to loosen up a bit, so this is a problem that remains only while they are new. Of course, the hard grip is necessary for them to stay on your head, so if nothing you won’t have to worry about them falling off while you bang your head to the rhythm of the drums.
Another downside to this is that the padding is made of rubber, which tends to make you sweaty. If you don’t plan on sharing them, this shouldn’t be a problem, but it isn’t the most hygienic thing if a group of people is planning to use it. Luckily the rubber is easy to clean, just be careful not to get soap or any sort of liquid to the inner piece, which can damage the electronics.
The model is made of heavy plastic, which means they won’t break down easily. The headband seems cheap to the eye, but the material is rather firm and solid so you don’t have to worry if they fall on accident – but try to keep good maintenance of them. The rubber padding tends to fall off after some time, but it isn’t too big of a nuisance, as it’s rather easy to glue back on with any kind of super glue. Some people complain that after some time they can hear some sort of an internal rattle on one side, but we didn’t notice that problem. In short, if you take just a bit of maintenance to these headphones they can last you a long time, probably even several years.
The Vic Firth headphones don’t come with any sort of bag and are packed in a clear plastic wrapper, which doesn’t serve any purpose once you open it and take the headphones out. However, they are partly foldable, which means that you can easily pack them in any bag that you carry with yourself. When folded, they will be protected from most damage so you don’t have to worry about whether or not they will break if you don’t provide additional protection. The heavy plastic that they are made of, despite not being too pleasant to the eye and reducing comfort, serves a purpose in keeping this model free of most damage that can happen during traveling. This is great for most musicians, as this is a profession that oftentimes demands traveling from one place to another.
The SIH2 model comes with a 5ft 5ins (1.65 meters) long cord which isn’t removable. This is long enough to provide you comfort and mild ability to move around, while not making it easy for the cables to tangle. They don’t have a Bluetooth option, which is a downside if you prefer your headphones to be wireless. The cord comes with a 1/8 ins plug, but also has a 1/4 ins adapter, which means that they will work with most electronic drums models.
How Does It Stand Out?
These headphones reduce outside noise by 25 decibels, which will help you save your hearing while playing your (rather loud) favorite instrument.
Suitable for both electronic and acoustic drums
You can use these headphones with both acoustic and electronic drums, as they provide a nice variety of sound. No matter what instrument you are using, the sound will be clear, which isn’t an easy task when it comes to drums.
These headphones are a great improvement compared to the SIH1 model. The sound quality is great and it can compare to some of the high-end headphone models and they are easily portable, so the long drives from your home to the studio won’t be a fuss. The best part of it all is that you will protect your hearing while enjoying your favorite instrument, and if we look at the fact that most drummers develop some kind of hearing damage after several years of playing, this is a great feature that should be a must for all headphones that are intended for electronic drums. The only downside to all of this? These aren’t the most comfortable headphones that you will use.
All in all, for a price point of around $70, this is a great pair of headphones if you are a professional electronic drummer.
If these headphones are not what you were looking for, check out our Best Headphones for Electronic Drums Post.