DJ headphones come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and comfort levels. Some are made to be extremely portable, while others focus solely on audio quality. While headphones designed for professional DJs can be much more expensive than a pair of earbuds designed for a novice runner, there are still some excellent bargains to be had.
When selecting the best DJ headphones for your needs, it is important to consider a number of factors. The most important factor is that the DJ headphones you purchase must be able to deliver adequate audio quality. In addition to that, it is also helpful if they are lightweight, portable, and comfortable. Make sure you check out this DJ Headphones Buyers Guide.
It is also important to consider the look and style of the DJ headphones. Incredibly stylish headphones will never make up for poor sound quality, but if everything else is equal, you’ll want to make sure that you are going to look good rocking these cans.
For side-by-side comparisons, check out our DJ Headphones Comparison Chart.
Here are some of the best DJ headphones according to our specifications:
Best All-Around DJ Headphones:
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 DJ Headphones
Most of the big-name brands in headphones are quite an investment in and of themselves. A decent quality pair of headphones for professional use can easily cost you a minimum of $100-$200 these days, with the more high-end studio monitoring headphones going for up to $500-$600. Now, while there is nothing wrong with investing in pricey but top-quality headphones for your personal or professional use, many factors should also be considered in determining if the amount of money you are putting down for stereo headphones is well worth the purchase.
When it comes to value for purchase, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 headphones are widely considered as the best value today. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 has a suggested retail price of $159.00, and while many headphones in the market today cost considerably less than this, the features and sound quality offered by the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are equal to or even greater than those offered by brands that are in the $200 and above range.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is described as professional studio monitor headphones, and its features really make it the preferred equipment for professional use. The earpieces are circumaural, come with 180 degree swiveling feature for one-ear monitoring, and padded ear cushions for listening comfort and maximum sound isolation. The headband is also easily adjustable and comes with comfort padding so the headphones don’t cause undue pressure or fatigue on your head during extended sessions.
Even if you are only planning on using these headphones for personal or recreational use, and not necessarily for professional DJ-ing, camera monitoring, or studio recording, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is still lightweight and comfortable enough for everyday entertainment use around the house or while traveling. The product weighs 13.3 ounces, not the lightest but certainly not the bulkiest either. It is easy to carry around or to store in your luggage or briefcase for long trips because of the collapsible design.
Of course, sound quality and overall audio performance are priorities when choosing headphones, and this is where you can really tell if a product is worth purchasing or not. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 has a tonal balance and audio clarity that makes it a favorite among musicians, studio engineers, DJ’s, and hardcore music lovers, and audiophiles. One important thing to look for in headphones is the minimized listening fatigue which can occur if you are using a pair of headphones for an extended period of time. Because of the audio clarity and the overall engineering of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, listening fatigue is all but eliminated.
If you are very particular with the bass sound in music, you will be thrilled to know that the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 has outstanding sub-bass extension (50Hz and below) for rich, deep bass sound. You should hear and feel the difference when you use these headphones, as the bass will sound a lot like how it would sound in full-size loudspeakers. Even though the bass sound is enriched, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 does not neglect the mids and treble frequencies either, as they are also reproduced at the right level without causing shrill noises.
Best Sound Quality DJ Headphones:
Sennheiser HD-25-1 II DJ Headphones
Sennheiser is one of those brand names that have become synonymous with excellent sound quality when it comes to headphones. The Sennheiser HD-25-1 II DJ Headphones live up to this standard in every way. The first thing you will notice when you see these headphones is the simple, minimalist design. Unlike other headphones in its class that boast of loud stylish designs and fashion bling, the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II has a relatively low-profile look, with exposed wires and cords and black components. What it understates in design, however, it makes up for in sound performance.
The Sennheiser HD-25-1 II has smaller drivers and ear cups, but the sound quality does not take a beating. The bass reproduction is superior and clear, while the mids and highs remain bright and crisp. The superior bass sound does not drown out other layers of music you are listening to, making the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II perfect for listening to any musical style or genre. Users have raved about the superior sound quality of these headphones even when listening to music at lower volumes.
The foam-covered headpiece and plush earpieces make your listening experience even more pleasurable. The Sennheiser HD-25-1 II has a frequency response of 16-22000 Hz, and a nominal impedance of 70. This delivers audio quality that promises to make you experience sounds and music details that you probably would miss if you were using lower-quality headphones. The Sennheiser HD-25-1 II has consistently been ranked as among the most recommended for production engineers, cameramen, and professional DJ’s because of the audio clarity and detail.
Noise canceling is another feature that many people look for in headphones. The earpieces trap the sound in and keep ambient noise out, allowing the user to truly immerse oneself in the music. The Sennheiser HD-25-1 I has supra-aural earpieces, meaning the headphones will sit right on your ears instead of over them. This makes sound isolation and noise-canceling more effective.
For long-term listening sessions, the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II won’t make your head or your ears feel tense or pressured. The engineering design is geared for extended comfort, and the adjustable headpiece means any user will be able to set it to a comfortable position. If you need to monitor outside audio, the earcups also come with swivel features for single-ear monitoring.
One way to gauge the effectiveness and overall quality of any pair of headphones you purchase is to look at the responses and reviews of previous customers. One of the primary things that stand out about the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II is the quality of the sound and the features at a very affordable price range. Compared to more expensive models that are twice its price, the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II is relatively within the purchasing power of most audiophiles.
Carrying the headphones around for travel and other purposes is relatively convenient with the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II. While it looks bulky, it is actually very lightweight compared to others in its class, clocking in at 4.94 oz. The components of the headphones, such as the cables and earcups, are also detachable, making it easy to replace any parts if necessary or to stow them away in your luggage or suitcase without breaking anything. It extends the life of your headphones and gives more value to your purchase.
Best Value DJ Headphones:
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Professional DJ Headphones
Among Pioneer’s line of professional DJ headphones and accessories, the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro DJ Headphones is considered as their flagship product. It does, after all, benefit from years of engineering innovations and concepts within Pioneer, so it carries the title of flagship professional DJ headphones with relative ease.
Professional DJs, musicians, and recording engineers are the main consideration of the features of the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro. The high-quality frequency response of these headphones ensures a clear, crisp and highly detailed audio quality that allows the user to hear the various levels of music very clearly. The audio clarity combined with the unique sound isolation technology utilized by Pioneer makes the HDJ-2000 the best all-around headphones for professional recordings, studio mixing, and live DJ performances.
As far as sound performance, the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro is powered by a driver unit with the best diaphragm material for optimal thickness, a voice coil for intricate balance of treble and bass, and superior sound insulation. This makes it easy to hear music details whether you are in a quiet living room, an enclosed recording studio, or in the middle of a noisy performance at a club or concert hall.
Even if you have to use the Pioneer HDJ-2000 for an extended period of time, it is designed to keep you comfortable and minimize pressure on the head or the ears. The Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro is equipped with flexible protein leather for a soft, luxurious feel around your ears or head. In addition, the headphones’ ear pads and head pads contain low-rebound urethane foam for a snug, comfortable fit around your head and ears. The main body of the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro is composed of magnesium alloy components for long-wearing comfort and a snug fit.
The popular swivel mechanism is also in the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro. Both earcups turn 90 degrees, making it convenient for one-ear monitoring or other listening positions or styles. The headphones are also easier to store or keep in one’s luggage because of this feature. Also, the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro has a Mono/Stereo switch so you can continue monitoring music even during single-ear monitoring.
Professionals often have to travel around with their equipment, and the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro is very user-friendly and easy to maintain. The headphones are built to last usual wear and tear and engineered to withstand various external factors. Also, the HDJ-2000 has a convenient foldability feature that allows the user to store the headphones in his or her bag or luggage. If you prefer, you can use the carrying couch which comes with the headphones. In case of the cable breaks, the HDJ-2000 has a removable Mini XLR Connector to make the replacement more convenient.
As you can see, many of the features of the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro are commonly found in higher-end professional DJ or monitor headphones, and the engineering and design of the Pioneer HDJ-2000 Pro itself is one that is at par with the more expensive brands. However, with its under-$200 price tag, it is definitely one purchase that offers great value, giving you superior sound quality and listening comfort at a great price range.
Best Looking DJ Headphones:
Beats By Dre Mixr DJ Headphones
Headphones have become more than just equipment that we use for listening to music or enjoying our movies on-the-go. For much of contemporary culture, the headphones that you use and wear around your head or your neck are just as much a reflection of your personal tastes, preferences, and lifestyle. Headphones have become a status symbol for many of the younger set, and are considered as fashion accessories.
The popular Beats By Dre line of headphones are very popular with younger people and audiophiles
because of their celebrity-driven status and designs that were conceptualized by big names in the recording industry. The Beats By Dre Mixr DJ headphones came about with the prodding of renowned world-class DJ David Guetta, who had asked Dr. Dre to design world-class ear cups. After many prototypes, they came up with the final design for the Beats By Dre Mixr, and this set has become one of the best-selling in the product line.
True to the general concept of Beats headphones, the Beats By Dre Mixr headphones are very stylish and contemporary. The cans are available in eight different colors, ranging from standard black and white to the vibrant shades of neon green, neon pink, neon orange, and red. In the selection of colors available, you are likely to find one that suits your lifestyle and fashion sense to a T.
The design and craftsmanship of the Beats By Dre Mixr headphones also speak of an elitist music status. The headphones feature less plastic and more aluminum components for a sturdy, elegant style. These headphones are carefully designed to discreetly fit around your head, and you will not find any sharp edges or overtly loud shapes. Instead, the engineering is minimalist but with a modern flair. If you are more low-key, the black variant would probably be more your thing (or white). But for users who like the bold color statements of today, the neon-colored variants would be more appropriate.
With a high-precision finish and the right combination of aluminum and plastic, the Beats By Dre Mixr headphones make for great professional or recreational audio equipment. Users have commented on the sturdy design of the Mixr headphones, bei
The Beats By Dre Mixr headphones definitely look very stylish, but the sound quality is just as commendable. Of course, with big names in music behind the engineering of the product, you would expect something that has most of the features that music lovers and professional DJ’s would look for in headphones. The sound is definitely bass-driven, with audio quality that is biased towards bass-driven styles such as urban, R’n’B, dance, techno, or electronica. As with most of the other Beats headphones, the Mixrs are great for these genres, and although reproduce all frequencies clearly, would not be recommended for professional monitoring or recording. They are, however, great for personal listening or for professional DJ performances and able to withstand normal wear and tear, bending, scratching, or twisting. The cables are also quite sturdy and don’t break easily.
The DJ Headphones Guide
Being a DJ sounds cool, but as you probably know, it can be more difficult than it looks. You have to juggle the turntables, the mixer, and probably a few Apple devices. You need to be an expert on just about every genre of music. Whether it’s jazz, rap, rock, or country, if someone requests it, you need to know what they’re talking about. It’s your job to keep the party going strong.
When it comes to DJ equipment, the headphones are often the most overlooked item. DJs use their headphones constantly to screen and cue music before blasting it out to whatever bar, club, or party they’re entertaining. Just as there is a wide range of quality when it comes to DJs, DJ headphones are also not all created equal.
Here are some of the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect headset for your DJ setup:
If you’ve never paid close attention to the different DJ headphones available, they come in two options: closed-back and open-back.
Open-back headphones have holes in the back of the cups, allowing sound to pass through. These will not be as effective for noise-canceling and will give the sound a more “airy” feel. On the other hand, Closed-back headphones have no holes in the ear cups and do an excellent job of tuning out any outside sounds.
As a DJ working in a loud environment, you will most likely want to focus on closed-back headphones so that you can carefully listen to the music you are screening or cueing while tuning out the music you are playing for the crowd to hear.
Being a DJ is a late-night job. You are likely working parties and events that last into the middle of the night. The last thing you need is a set of headphones that turns into a torture device two hours into an eight-hour gig. You’re going to be spending a lot of long hours with your headphones, so make sure that they will feel comfortable all the way through to the end.
A comfortable set of headphones is one that feels good on your ears. They should have just the right balance of tightness and breathability. They should also be large enough to cover the shape of your ears comfortably.
Headphones don’t stay on your ears all night though. During those times when you aren’t screening or cueing music, you most likely let them hang around your neck. Make sure that you can do this comfortably. You don’t want the band to chafe or scratch the back of your neck.
One Ear Listening
As we have already covered, DJs have to multitask. Your headphones won’t either be on or off of your ears. There are also times when they are somewhere in between. It is important that your headphones be able to swivel, twist, or spin to let you listen with just one ear.
This will give you the flexibility to listen to an upcoming track in one ear while still monitoring the house music as well as taking requests. One ear listening will also be helpful when manually beatmatching and mixing.
Good DJ headphones are not cheap. Therefore, if you are going to invest in a good pair, you need them to last. You can’t go buy a new pair every two weeks because they don’t stand up to the nightly abuse, and we all know that our equipment can get abused.
Traveling can be rough on your gear. There are also dangerous elements in many of the places DJs are used to working. Drinks, smoke, dusts, and sweat all pose as potential threats to your new investment. You need to be confident that it can stand up to the abuse.
Look for headphones with sturdy hinges that are made out of metal. It is also beneficial to buy headphones that have replaceable parts so that you can fix them instead of having to buy a whole new pair. Another great way to assess durability is to read lots of reviews about the products you are considering purchasing.
It might not be the wisest idea to purchase headphones that cost more than your mixing board, but at the same time, they shouldn’t cost less than an iTunes album either. DJ headphones are another example of an item where you get what you pay for. Quality fluctuates with price.
The amount you are willing to spend on headphones is really a personal preference decision. The cheapest headphones probably aren’t going to meet your quality standards. The most expensive headphones are probably no necessary. The best price strategy is usually to focus on the mid-priced models and compare features and read reviews.
Most of the places that DJs find gigs are extremely loud environments. In these noisy places, a normal speaking voice cannot be heard. The same goes for the music coming through your new headphones. Even the best noise-canceling headphones still need to have enough volume to let you listen to the track you are screening or cueing.
You need your headphones to be loud enough to perform in the toughest environments. While just about any headphones will work fine when you test them out at home, it is a whole different ballgame when you use them on a gig. They need to be loud enough to be heard over the house music you are cranking as well as the crowd at the event.
Your headphones might be exceptionally loud, but if they sound more like a jet engine than the music you’re supposed to be screening, what good are they?
In order to get the most out of your equipment when it comes to beatmatching and mixing, it is essential that your headphones have an excellent sound quality and can provide well-defined bass along with clear treble and mids. While most headphones can get either the bass or the highs right, you want to find the headphones that can effectively deliver both.
A traveling DJ is usually a successful DJ. If you are going to be successful in the DJ business, you can expect to be hauling your gear all over the place. While laptops and mixers generally come with travel cases, headphones are a little more complicated.
It can be a big plus if a pair of headphones is either foldable or comes with a travel case. Foldable headsets come in a few different styles. Folding the headsets is a great way to protect them. Having a strong carrying case to put the headphones in is also a great way to protect them from the abuse of travel.
One mistake that has been made by many DJs is focusing too much on the cans and neglecting the cord. Headphone cords come in a variety of different setups, shapes, and jack sizes. Some have detachable cords and some are wireless. Some cords are coiled and some are straight.
Detachable cords give you the ability to swap out the cord in the event that it is damaged. As far as the style of the cord, most DJs prefer the coiled versions because they are constantly in motion and these are less likely to get caught on things as they can expand and contract. In terms of jack sizes, having adapters that allow you to switch back and forth is helpful.
Headphones are a lot like sunglasses. Some of them just aren’t going to fit comfortably with the shape of your head. This is different for everyone, and the only way to find out what works for you is to try out a number of different sets. You want to make sure that you’ll be able to move and dance as needed with the headphone in all different positions without them falling off.
While most headphones are very adjustable, some just aren’t going to fit right. If you can’t get yours to feel right, take them back and try a different brand.
Let’s be honest, whether you’re working a nightclub, a wedding, or your cousin’s graduation party, you want to look good doing it. You don’t want to look like you snatch your headphones from your grandparents’ basement.
You’ll want to pick out headphones that have a look that matches your DJ persona. You should also make sure that the look you are going for is appropriate for the gigs you’ll be working. Hot pink headphones might not go over well at a wedding but could fit in perfectly at a trendy nightclub.