Best Headphones for DJing and Producing
Last Updated on
You simply cannot become a DJ without headphones, period.
Choosing the best dj headphones can be hard, dauntingly hard since there are now many brands to choose from. If you are looking for a new DJ headphones, but are finding it difficult to make a choice then read on.
- 1 Why The Best Headphones for DJing?
- 2 Top 10 Djing Headphones (2020)
- 3 Other Top Rated DJ Headphones
- 3.1 Technics RP-DH1200
- 3.2 Technics RP-DH1200 DJ Features
- 3.3 What do we think
- 3.4 Pioneer HDJ-2000
- 3.5 Pioneer HDJ-2000 Features
- 3.6 What do we think
- 3.7 Sony MDR V700DJ
- 3.8 Sony MDR V700DJ Features
- 3.9 What do we think
- 3.10 Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones
- 3.11 What do we think
- 3.12 Dr Dre Monster Beats Studio Headphones
- 3.13 What do we think
- 4 Choosing The Best DJ Headphones
Why The Best Headphones for DJing?
Your headphones are a filter through which you experience music. If you really like your headphones you’ll become attached to them, you’ll find yourself using them more often to listen to and create music. This is great for musicians, DJ’s and general audiophiles, since it means we’ll spend more time doing what we love and perfecting our craft.
On the other hand, if you just pick out your headphones based on specs and reviews but you really hate the way they look or feel, you’ll be less likely to use them and they’ll become a distraction and a hindrance that keeps you from your music. We definitely don’t want that!
Another thing to consider for DJs is that you’ll be performing live in front of people with your headphones, so you want them to look cool. Headphones are very noticeable and can add or detract from your image and stage presence.
This can also affect you psychologically too—if you think you look cool you’re more likely to be confident and put on a good show. So because of this your opinion of your headphones actually matters a lot more than the audience’s opinion, which is why it’s important that you like your headphones.
This article will help you to choose the right set of DJ headphones along with a list of the best DJ headphones that you should look into.
Here are some of the most important features of the perfect set of DJ headphones for both newbie and experienced DJs.
1. Your headphones should be comfortably worn around your neck
This may sound strange to newbies, but experienced DJs know that you mostly have your headphones around your neck and not on your head. The reason is that headphones are mostly used to cue tracks. Therefore if they chafe or scratch your neck you will only cause problems for yourself.
2. Your headphones should have a coiled wire
It is important that you buy headphones that have coiled wire. This will help you to easily move around your equipment while taking requests or managing the equipment. A coiled wire is easy to manage and doesn’t get tangled, making it ideal for DJing.
3. They should give great sound
For any DJ headphone it is imperative that they offer you sound that is loud and coherent. With new headphones that are coming in the market some use USB power to work that doesn’t give ideal output volume. You will not understand this if you are new to the profession of DJ, but you will be thanking this article when you hit your gig in very loud surroundings.
Top 10 Djing Headphones (2020)
Good Cheap DJ Headphones
You can find a great pair of DJ headphones for around $50–as long as you’re not hung up on precision or build quality. Headphones in this price range can sound really good and get the job done.
However, if you want headphones that use can use for professional DJ mixing or monitoring, you should definitely look more at the mid and premium price ranges.
Cheap DJ headphones are notorious for inaccuracy and frequency distortion. Not a big deal if you’re cueing up a track in a club, but definitely an issue if you’re recording or mixing in a studio.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of buying cheap headphones:
Here are some problems you might run into if you buy a cheap pair of DJ headphones:
- Lack of clarity
- Imperfect accuracy and frequency response
- Not as rugged, largely plasticy designs
- No noise cancellation
- They don’t fit well
Here’s what you can get from a cheap pair of DJ headphones, if you buy the right ones:
- Great sound
- Good Bass Response
- Really Cool Looking Headphones
- Long life, if you take care of them
So can you get away with buying cheap DJ headphones?
The answer to that depends on your personal preference, and what you need from your headphones.
If you’re trying to get into the world of professional DJing, recording or remixing, the answer is NO. Cheap headphones will just become a frustration, as they won’t be able to supply the precision you need.
If you’re just looking for headphones that sound really good for for cueing up tracks live or for casual listening, then you can definitely get away with buying cheap DJ headphones.
If you do decide to go cheap, check out Sennheiser’s HD 202 Dynamic Headphones. They’ll set you back about $30 and they sound as good as headphones 20x the price. Sennheiser is a well respected brand in the pro audio world, and with over 1,500 reviews on Amazon these headphones still have a 4.5 star rating. Not bad!
Other Top Rated DJ Headphones
Technics claims the RP-DH1200 Dj Headphones’are for those that want absolute quality, style, and comfort on the decks, or at the studio? Well then, let’s take take them for a spin and see how these babies perform. Are they worth the money?
Technics RP-DH1200 DJ Features
Of the features Technics lists for this model, we felt the most important ones were:
- Closed-ear design so you hear every note
- Folding swing-arms for one-sided monitoring
- 24k gold plated stereo plugs for flawless contact.
- Able to handle very high volume so you can CRANK IT UP.
What do we think
Ok, the first thing we noticed is that the volume can be turned way up without any distortion at all. You may even want to record your mp3s at higher bitrates because you will be able to hear the difference between 128 and 256. If you own a generic set of headphones you will be noticing the difference immediately.
Club and Venue DJ’s should determinately “hook-up” with a pair of these. They’re designed like a tank…durable. They are one of the most durable headphones we’ve come around.
We thought the weight was an ounce or two heavier than some of the other models, but man, the sound makes up for it. Also, the coiled cord stays out of the way. Overall, Oh, yea, we liked them! We fought over who got to keep these babies.
What do others say about them
We pretty much found that the RP-DH1200′s always rank between 4.5-5 stars in other evaluations.
Pioneer claims the HDJ-2000 Professional Dj Headphones’are their premium headphones, “tweaked for studio sound”. Oh yea; ”tweaked for studio sound”? Well then, let’s take take them for a spin and see how these babies perform.
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Features
Of the features Pioneer lists for this model, we felt the most important ones were:
- Tweaked for Studio Quality You are supposed to hear the difference like night and day
- 3500 mW power handling magnets
- Awsome surround allowing you to crank it a bit down for “no fatigue” extended periods.
- Metal construction instead of plastic to keep them from breaking.
- Head and Shoulders above the HDJ-1000
What do we think
Wow, this is a real true professional DJ headphone set.
You are going to notice the awesome surround immediately. Since the cups are huge and go over the ear we found it necessary to turn it a bit down to “save the ear”.
It’s pretty easy on the ear also, it’s got memory foam. And for those that use it, it’s also got a mono/stereo switch.
The only thing to say about the construction is that it feels pretty solid. It’s metal, probably magnesium. Goodbye to the cracks you get from plastic models. We gave it a good wall banging and they didn’t break. Dude, forget the cheap units, after you sample these, you won’t ever compromise on headphones again. #@?#>, don’t you hate it when this happens?
Sony MDR V700DJ
Sony claims the MDR V700DJ’are for DJ and remix applications. So let’s cue up the sound, start spinning and see how these babies perform. Are they worth the money?
Sony MDR V700DJ Features
Of the features Sony lists for this model, we felt the most important ones were:
- Studio Quality advanced engineering to provide a clean, detailed sound for professional DJ and remix applications
- Neodymium 3000 mW power handling magnets for professional applications.
- Reversible Swivel Earcups and Auto Swivel Return to enable single-sided monitoring.
Note: One of our guys actually turned out to have used this model for over a year, so we persuaded him to give us a tour from a DJ user point of view.
What do we think
Ok, the first thing we noticed about the Sony MDR-V700DJ is the bass. You don’t just hear it, you can feel it vibrate in your ear. Pretty much gives you an extra level of intensity and fullness when compared to the cheaper dj headphone models we’ve looked at.
These babes definitely pass our criteria for bass oriented genre.
But, what about the vocals? Or other genre?
Fortunately we found that even with the outstanding bass levels, it does not seem to overpower the treble instruments or vocals, they still come through clearly. But be advised, in some instances you may need to crank the volume down, yep, they actually vibrate and can make the bass overpower other genre.
The Materials seemed pretty good too, we gave them a good all around tossing and they seemed to hold out well. No broken pieces or attachments. The pair our guy has been using for a little over a year also look in pretty good shape. So, while things may differ depending on care and amount of use over years, it looks like this model is solid enough to withstand the wear and tear. But the construction is plastic.
Sennheiser claims the HD280 PRO Headphones’are Perfect for professional monitoring applications. Well then, let’s take take them for a spin and see how these babies perform. Are they worth the money?
Sennheiser HD280 PRO Headphones Features
Of the features Sennheiser HD280 PRO lists for this model, we felt the most important ones were:
- Dynamic, closed-ear headphones with up to 32 dB attenuation of outside sound so you hear every note in all the ranges.
- Correct blend of bass, midrange and crisp highs without one overpowering the other.
- Extended frequency response and warm, natural sound reproduction to block out background noise.
- Single-sided, coiled cable so you don’t have to deal with either insanely long or short chords.
- Earpads, headband padding, and audio cord are easily replaceable so you don’t have to ditch the headphones over a broken cable or torn headfoam or headband.
What do we think
The first thing we noticed is the crisp highs, no distortion there. Also the cups are huge, in case you have big ears, no problem there. The cups also spin around so they can be folded, this is a must for many users including this dude. The bass had to be tweaked a little, but once set, it sounded awsome.
These babies can be cranked up without loosing the balance between the bass and the highs.We liked the fact that most of the pieces can be replaced without having to ditch the headset. How many times has a broken wire doomed your favorite headset?
Our only concern is that they are made of plastic. We didn’t experience any cracks but plastic units have a possibility of getting them after heavy abusive use. Overall, pretty darn good sound, especially for the money, can’t go wrong with these.
What do others say about them
We pretty much found that Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones always rank between 4-5 stars in other evaluations.
Dr Dre Monster Beats Studio Headphones
Dr Dre Beats Studio Headphones’are for those that want absolute balanced high volume performance anywhere including the studio. Well then, let’s take take them for a spin and see how these babies perform. Are they worth the money?
Monster Dr Dre Beats Studio Headphones Features
Of the features Beats Studio by Dr. Dre lists for this model, we felt the most important ones were:
- Really loud great audio quality so you hear every note the way the artist intended.
- Awsome blend of the correct bass and crisp highs at the same time without one overpowering the other.
- Noise canceling so background sounds don’t interfere with the music.
- Able to handle very high volume without distortion so you can CRANK IT UP.
- Plug in Cable so you don’t have to ditch the headphones over a cable problem.
What do we think
The first thing we noticed is the volume capability. These babies can be cranked up without loosing the balance between the bass and the highs. Both come in at the same time and sound awesome. We could even hear some of the notes that we missed when not using headphones.
The noise canceling microphone was insane, the humming from the A/C was gone. Can’t wait to try making my GF’s accusing voice dissapear- just kidding. Really, just kidding bae 🙂
A simple but great feature is the mute button on the headphones. No need to take them off, just mute when you need to talk to someone and actually hear what they are saying. They were pretty comfortable too.
One thing we missed though is the full rotation of the cup, some of us are used to this feature.Overall, yep, they saound awsome and they look pretty darn cool.
Choosing The Best DJ Headphones
Finding a good pair of DJ Headphones is not as easy as finding a common pair of headphones. DJ Headphones are special because they are made specifically for DJs and the type of music they handle.
The amount of money you need to invest to get the headphones that are best for you depends on what you plan on doing with those headphones.
DJ Headphones can vary drastically in price, from the $20-30 range, all the way up to over $1000.
Expensive headphones are expensive for two reasons: Isolation and Accuracy.
Isolation means how well the headphones block out external noise, such as the roar of a club or the baby screaming in the airplane seat behind you while you’re trying to sleep. The better your headphones are at isolation, the more expensive they will be.
Accuracy is incredibly important, which is why incredibly accurate DJ headphones are incredibly expensive. If you listen to a song with your computer speakers, then listen to the same song on your car radio you’ll notice that they sound completely different.
This is because speakers and headphones that are not professional will have imperfect frequency response. This means that certain audio frequencies will be louder or softer than they should be.
For instance, your computer speakers have very little bass frequency response. You’re not going to get that subwoofer bump from your laptop. Conversely, when you listen to a song through that massive sub you installed in your trunk, you’re probably getting too much bass frequency, and not nearly enough treble or mids.
Ideally, as a professional DJ or musician you want headphones or speakers that have a flat frequency response. This means that when you listen to a track, the sound you’re hearing is exactly the way the recording engineer mixed it, without any inaccurate frequency boosts.
This is important, because you want your mixes to sound the same on stage or in the club as they did when you were creating them at home.
So how much isolation and accuracy do you actually need?
Well, it depends on what you want to do. Let’s say you’re DJing a small event at a college, you’re spinning other people’s tracks and not remixing anything in advance or doing anything too complicated. Or maybe you just want a good pair of headphones for casual listening.
Either way you would be fine with a pair of Shure SRH 240s
However, if you plan on being a professional DJ, DJing big clubs where you play your own remixes and cue up every song, then you’ll want something that’s much more accurate and isolating, so you can hear the track in your headphones over the song currently blasting out of the speakers.
These Pioneer HDJ-2000 are great for pro DJs. They’re designed to protect your hearing by reducing the actual decibels hitting your eardrum, while maintaining the same perceived loudness. So they sound as loud as other DJ headphones but your ears take 40% less punishment. Great if you’re going to be in the mix for an extended period of time. Not great, however, if you’re on a tight budget.
As you can see, there are many things you have to consider when choosing your DJ headphones. Gathered here are some of the other key things that you should know about when buying a new pair of DJ Headphones.
Reviews are Important
Unless you’re actually going into a brick and mortar music store to pick out your headphones in person, reading reviews is an absolutely essential part to the selection process. Reviews give you an honest, first hand analysis of the product, often times by someone who knows a lot more than you do about it.
At My DJ Headphones I do reviews on some of the most popular headphones on the market, but it’s always good to get a second opinion. My three favorite sites for reviews on DJ Headphones are Amazon.com, MusiciansFriend.com and GuitarCenter.com. (This site is affiliated with Amazon, so they pay me a small commission if you buy from them. It helps support me and lets me keep this site running and up to date. Thanks in advance if you use that link!)
Make sure when you’re reading a review on DJ headphones that you take into account the reviewer’s credibility—for instance, is he/she a professional DJ, or just an enthusiast? Do they actually know what they’re talking about? Often times people get frustrated or excited and write very emotionally driven reviews. Look for reviews based technical expertise and experience.
Also, make sure you aren’t getting ‘first impressions’ reviews. Your headphones are a long term investment, and as such should last a long time. You should find some reviews from people that have owned and used the product for at least six months, preferably a year.
It’s a good policy to start with the worst reviews first, as sites often try to bunch the positive reviews towards the front, to give you a skewed perception of the product as being better than it is. This makes you more likely to buy it.
Finally, make sure you read as many reviews as possible, and only pick headphones in the 80th percentile or higher. In other words, 4/5 stars is the lowest you should go. There are so many headphones on the market that there’s no real reason for picking a pair with a less than stellar rating.
DJ Headphones Should be Comfortable – not too tight, not too loose
When choosing a pair of DJ Headphones, you should make sure that they’re extremely comfortable. I say ‘extremely’ because I’ve found that headphones that feel ‘pretty’ comfortable will often feel not-so comfortable after 3 or 4 hours of use.
Odds are, if you’re considering investing in a decent set of DJ headphones, you’re probably planning on wearing them often, and for long periods of time.
The last thing you want is for your headphones to become painful to wear halfway through a set. This can be a major distraction and can hurt your performance.
Even if you don’t plan on using your headphones live, it’s still important that they be very comfortable. If you buy headphones for your home studio, and they cause you discomfort after an hour of so of use, then you’re much more likely to spend less time working on your projects. Discomfort can affect your creativity as well.
When checking headphones for comfort, you should focus on four areas: The earpieces, the headband, how they sit, and the cord.
The earpieces should be well padded (with durable padding), and cup securely over your ears. The headband should be padded and should rest well on the top of your head. The headphones should be able to adjust easily to fit your particular head shape. They should sit comfortably and securely, so that you can move without the headphones falling off or shifting much. Finally, the cord should be unobtrusive, out of the way, and long enough to allow you mobility while wearing the headphones.
Obviously the best way to check headphones for comfort is by trying them on, but if you’re buying them online this may be impossible. In that case, it’s important that you read some reviews online and see what other people have to say about their comfort.
This can actually be even better than trying them on yourself, since you might not notice discomfort for a few hours and you’ll probably get some funny looks from the Guitar Center guys if you try to walk around the store wearing their headphones.
Consider buying “closed back”
Every experienced DJ knows that closed back headphones as compared to the open casing ones are more durable and reliable. Closed back help you in disabling the background noise and allow you to listen and create music in complete isolation from unwanted noises.
Don’t worry about the cost
Like most shoppers you may want to buy cheap DJ headphones, but you will regret this decision the moment you get them. The reason is that with low cost you have to put up with bad quality of sound, poor design that leads to chafing against your skin, irritation and uneven sounds – a poor balance of treble and bass. Go for good quality DJ headphones.