I think it’s OK to say that:
The headphones don’t make the DJ.
But they sure do make it easier to be great at the job.
That’s why you need a great pair of DJ headphones if you’re serious about getting into this business and making your mark.
It might surprise you to know that the market for DJ headphones is huge and rather cluttered. That’s where we come in. We’ve selected 10 sets of the best DJ headphones across the full price range and given each a thorough review. Decide on your budget and read our reviews to discover which headphones are right for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best DJ Headphones 2017
- 2 Sony MDR-7506 Professional Large Diaphragm
- 3 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Studio Monitor
- 4 Sennheiser HD 202 II – Low Cost Option
- 5 Pioneer HDJ-1500-S Professional
- 6 V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Noise Isolating
- 7 Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO – Made In Germany
- 8 Sennheiser HD25-1 II – For Mobile Monitoring
- 9 Numark Red Wave DJ Headphones
- 10 Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K – With Hard Carry Case
- 11 Sol Republic Master Tracks
- 12 DJ Headphones Buyer’s Guide
Best DJ Headphones 2017
|DJ Headphones||Weight||Rotating Cups||Price||Rating||Availability|
(Editor's Choice #1)
|8 oz (227g)||No||$||Check Price|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50x||10 oz (285g)||Yes||$$||Check Price|
|Sennheiser HD 202 II||12 oz (340g)||No||$||Check Price|
|Pioneer HDJ-1500-S||10.1 oz (286g)||Yes||$$||Check Price|
|V-MODA Crossfade M-100|
(Editor's Choice #2)
|9.9 oz (280g)||No||$$$||Check Price|
|Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO||9.5 oz (270g)||No||$$||Check Price|
|Sennheiser HD25-1 II||5 oz (142g)||Yes||$$||Check Price|
|Numark Red Wave||9.2 oz (260g)||Yes||$||Check Price|
|Pioneer Pro HDJ-2000MK2-K||10.5 oz (298 g)||Yes||$$$||Check Price|
|Sol Republic Master Tracks||8.6 oz (243g)||No||$||Check Price|
Sony MDR-7506 Professional Large Diaphragm
Sony has come to dominate the low-end price range in DJ and professional studio headphones and the MDR-7506 professional headphones are among the more popular entries in the lower price range.
They’ve piled up thousands of customer reviews on the web (almost all of them good) and are well-designed to offer terrific sound for a great value.
They’ve likely sold hundreds of thousands of them considering how many people get online to talk about the headphones. Which is remarkable.
When you’re considering a pair of professional headphones, whether it’s for DJing, recording sound for video production, or something else entirely, there are different considerations than if you’re seeking a pair to listen to music at home.
I guess that’s obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people assume that one pair of headphones will cover all their needs. For instance, the Sony MDR7506 headphones produce a louder, clearer sound at most volume levels. That might be annoying in some cases, but if you’re producing a track or recording sound, it’s exactly what you want. Ambient noise fades away and all you can hear is exactly what you need to hear.
The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are best used in the studio if you’re testing tracks or crafting your own beats or remixes. They’re designed to let you dig into the sound, to explore every little bit of it, and to hear everything your audience will hear, only on a deeper level.
They’re better than almost any other DJ headphone at allowing you to craft the track as you see fit. They’re good when you’re on stage too, thanks in part to the noise reduction features.
The 9.8 foot coiled cord lets you move about freely and won’t get caught up under your feet should you need to stay close in the booth. Not everyone likes a coiled cord, but it’s a great compromise if you want something longer that won’t be underneath you for half the show. It’s not a mistake that these are such popular headphones among audio industry professionals.
That goes away after long enough use, but it’s irritating at the start. It’s also recommended you get a better carrying case than the one provided, as it’s soft and does little to offer protection from anything other than the lightest potential damage, and if we’ve learned anything here it’s that DJs tend to abuse their headphones.
In some cases, the masses are correct when they fall in love with a product. The Sony MDR7506 are among the most popular in the professional audio industry and they’ve earned that place through relentless quality. Few headphones are designed to provide the clarity of audio that these do, which allows you to really study your sound and pick out the flaws, leading to perfection. When you consider the price it’s even more remarkable.
- Professional sound across the full range makes for accurate monitoring.
- Closed-ear design provides excellent noise reduction.
- Padded headband is soft and comfortable.
- Nearly 10 foot coiled cord gives freedom of movement.
- An incredible price for the quality offered.
- Provided soft travel case offers less protection that is ideal.
- They are more on-ear than over-the-ear and can be uncomfortable.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Studio Monitor
Audio-Technica produces four sets of what they call Professional Studio Monitor Headphones and sitting at the top of the heap is the ATH-M50x model.
They’ve kept the price relatively low (we love a good value), which is one of the reasons they’ve earned such good marks from reviewers around the web, us included.
They’re remarkable DJ headphones that offer exceptional quality for a price that’s so reasonable it might surprise you.
In their words, the ATH-M50x headphones are ideal “for the most critical audio professionals”, and if you’re serious about pursuing a career as a DJ you need to count yourself among that group.
Above all else the quality most desired in a great pair of professional headphones is the sound quality. They absolutely cannot skimp on that.
A wildly bass-heavy sound works for amateurs that want their heads to vibrate while listening to music, but if you’re trying to produce DJ tracks you need a crisp, even sound and the ability to customize the experience to give you full control over your production. Thankfully, these DJ headphones have been expertly engineered to produce the finest sound.
This model also includes detachable cables, which are far handier than you might imagine. If a cable happens to break during a show or recording session it’s a breeze to replace it and get right back to work (you get three cables with your purchase).
The 90 degree swiveling ear cups are especially helpful for one ear monitoring, offering comfort while you’re performing. In other words, they’re not going to break apart and make you look like an idiot up in the DJ booth and they can hold up to some pretty good abuse while you’re working.
It’s not breaking new ground to say that the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones offer the best sound quality in their price range. That stands as the best reason to buy them. They’re also durable, come with replacement cables should yours break, and offer a good combination of comfort and fit to ensure the best experience. Outside of issues with bass at lower frequencies they’re pretty close to perfect.
- Incredible sound quality, especially for the price range.
- 90 degree swiveling ear cups for one ear listening.
- Durable and comfortable.
- Detachable cables with three extras in the package.
- Proprietary cable connections mean all cables must be bought from Audio-Technica.
- There can be issues with bass at lower frequencies.
Sennheiser HD 202 II – Low Cost Option
Is it possible to deliver a high quality pair of DJ headphones for a few bucks? Sennheiser believes that’s the case and the HD 202 II are by far the cheapest you’re going to find in this market.
Let’s get this out of the way at the start. I don’t want to disappoint any of you that were hoping to get your high-paying DJ career started for only a handful of dollars, these headphones don’t deliver the same quality of sound you’d get if you spend $250, but you’re a lunatic if you think they’re going to.
These are basic, starter DJ headphones and that’s fine. You might want to just jump to something more expensive, but these are great if you’re in an experimental phase of your life and just want to try on a new career for a little while.
If you have a feel for the music you’ll get by with these, but you have to understand that when it comes to this review, the price matters. At this price these are fairly remarkable, but if you have a big budget and you’re looking for the absolute best sound you should consider the pricier options on our site.
They claim a clean, deep bass response, but it’s not as good as you find in the higher end bass headphones, which is a real “no duh” kind of thing.
The Sennheiser brand is a big part of what makes these DJ headphones worth considering. The company has spent decades perfecting headphone and microphone technology, and the billions they spend on research and development benefit even their lower-end products.
You get that quality Sennheiser sound while paying a fraction of the price because they can afford it. Ultimately, you’re not going to find sound of this quality for this price anywhere else, so if you’re working with an incredibly tight budget you should go for it.
There’s no greater bargain in our collection of reviews for DJ headphones than the Sennheiser HD 202 II. They deliver rather remarkable sound across the spectrum, providing you with a quality listening experience and the ability to DJ successfully. They’re ideal for people with a limited budget or those just starting out. As you probably know, the headphones don’t make the DJ, so if you have to make do with a low cost pair you can’t go wrong with these from Sennheiser.
- An incredible bargain.
- High quality Sennheiser sound.
- Removable ear cups.
- Long cord stretching almost 10 feet and a hip clip to spool it.
- Decent blocking of outside noises.
- Sound quality isn’t the same as high end headphones.
- They wear out quicker than more expensive options.
- Lack full noise canceling option.
Pioneer HDJ-1500-S Professional
Unless you’re deep into the professional DJ world you probably didn’t know that Pioneer is one of the leading companies in that realm. And rightfully so.
Pioneer DJ (formerly known as Pioneer Pro DJ) produces headphones, decks, effects unites, mixers, and more for DJs and has achieved remarkable success thanks to the quality of their work.
This is a company that makes a ton of money catering to DJs, which is quietly one of the highest paid professions in music thanks to the EDM craze.
If you’re just getting started in the business you might find the Pioneer HDJ-1500-S Professional DJ Headphones to be exactly what you need.
The cost currently hovers around a medium price range, which is a remarkable price point for what’s offered by these pro headphones.
Perhaps even more important is that they’re exceptionally comfortable, offering a tight but not overwhelmingly so fit. The ear cups are soft and offer just the right level of noise cancellation to ensure a good performance while you’re working as a DJ.
More importantly, the sound quality is superb. The Pioneer HDJ-1500-S offer comparable sound to headphones running twice their cost. Everything is crisp and clear, and the sound isolation is top of the line. You know that’s important because you want to hear everything in the music you’re making/playing when you’re up on stage.
The headphones are fairly heavy, but for me that means a good fit and no need to worry about them slipping off and falling to the floor (for you it might mean a headache at the end of the night). The bass is especially good, so if you’re working in a realm of music that requires good bass sounds you’re going to love these.
People have complained about the weight, too. That’s a subjective issue, but if you’ve had trouble with heavy headphones in the past you should keep that in mind. Along those same lines, some users have complained about them being too tight (this can be a bigger issue for people that wear thick glasses).
Sound is everything when it comes to choosing the right professional DJ headphones, which is why the Pioneer HDJ-1500-S model earns such high marks. They provide the kind of sound you’d expect to pay twice as much for, including incredible bass. The price isn’t cheap, but it’s actually quite a bit lower than many of their competitors for the same or better level quality. If this is your budget range, you can’t do much better.
- Incredible sound for a great price.
- They look great.
- Exceptional sound isolation.
- Sounds better than headphones twice the price.
- Great for EDM and other bass heavy music.
- Some users experience flaws in the construction.
- Weight of the headphones bothers some users.
- Can feel too tight around the head.
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Noise Isolating
V-MODA is really excited about their Crossfade M-100, and they should be.
More than 40 of the world’s top 100 DJs use them, they’ve won countless editor’s choice awards from magazines and websites, and the plaudits coming in from reviewers on sites like this one are unanimous that this is a spectacular pair of headphones for DJs and for casual music listeners if you’ve got the money to spring for a pair.
V-MODA took a unique approach to developing the M-100 headphones by asking a huge swath of people for their opinions on what would make a great experience.
They asked audiophiles, producers, recording artists, DJs, gamers, and more and with thousands of data points crafted what they feel is the perfect pair of headphones. The results speak for themselves, but since you probably don’t have a pair I’ll tell you a little about them.
You shouldn’t be actively beating up your headphones, but it’s nice to know that if you happen to drop and step on them (perhaps you’re super clumsy) they won’t snap instantly and leave you furious with yourself. The cable is built to be bent over 1 million times (sometimes test numbers from manufacturers seem utterly absurd), giving it a long and healthy life.
The headphones are also meant to withstand your sweat, extreme heat and cold, and even salt spray if you’re DJing at the ocean. Yup, they took into consideration the fact that some DJs have ocean side gigs and want a pair of headphones that can withstand salt spray without getting worn out. That’s a manufacturer that cares!
V-MODA emphasizes that they use more expensive components than other manufacturers in their price range, likely meaning they take a smaller profit margin to beat out the competition, which also leads to higher quality sound for you (this is a really good brag if true).
The ear cushions are made from memory foam, meaning they should easily conform to your ears with each wearing and feel fantastically good. To improve sound quality they’ve done away with batteries in the head phones, which is of the utmost importance for DJing. They sound exceptionally good. The driver quality is consistent across a wide range of frequencies, once again resulting in a top notch sound experience.
When V-MODA set their sights on the DJ headphones market they wanted to leap right to the top. To do so they consulted with hundreds of experts in the field and used the information gleaned to craft an almost impossibly excellent set, the M-100 noise isolating headphones.
Those are arguably the best DJ headphones on the market. They’re built to last an exceptionally long time, come with a hard carrying case to prevent damage during transport, and can be used in a variety of settings without suffering wear and tear. Plus, the sound is top of the line.
- Extremely durable.
- Memory foam ear cups are very comfortable.
- Great price for the exceptional sound and design quality.
- Very little sound leakage.
- Expensive materials for a good price.
- Material on the headband sometimes peels off too soon.
- Some users report they’re not as indestructible as they claim.
- Customer service can be slow when it comes to repairs.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO – Made In Germany
German company Beyerdynamic was founded in 1924 and stands as one of the oldest audio companies in the world.
Most of their products are still made in Germany, though they have a headquarters in New York as well.
Some of the world’s most popular musicians have used Beyerdynamic equipment on stage and in the studio and they produce a line of DJ headphones made to enhance the quality of your music, with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro being their most popular model.
There really is something to the idea of German engineering outperforming their competitors.
The DT 770 Pro was designed for critical music and sound monitoring and comes in three models.
- The 32 ohms model is made for use with mobile devices.
- The 80 ohms model is made for recording applications in the studio.
- The 250 ohms model is made for mixing applications in the studio.
It’s possible you’ll need all three depending on the range of your particular needs, but that would be quite costly so it’s wiser to customize based on what each of the three sets of headphones do.
The headband was also designed with comfort in mind so it feels incredible resting against your head. A good pair of DJ headphones needs to be more than comfortable, but it really makes a big difference when you put these on. At the very least you should find a store that will let you sample them so you can enjoy the softness against your ears.
You’ll be treated to exceptional sound when you wear the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. The fact that they’ve created three models to cater to three specific needs shows you how serious they are about making your profession easier.
For that reason, these are not headphones to invest in if you’re looking for an audiophile-style listening experience. If you want to be a better DJ, the Beyerdynamic headphones are the way to go. They’re exceptionally popular among recording industry producers, engineers, and artists and they remain so because Beyerdynamic works tirelessly to listen to their customers and innovate with each new release.
Beyerdynamic has a long history of working with professionals in the music and sound recording industries and they’ve crafted the DT 770 Pro headphones to be used by those professionals. Whether you’re on stage DJing or in the studio putting together a track, they offer exceptional sound.
There are three versions available to you and the details of their differences are listed above and should let you customize your user experience to make it exactly as you need. The price range is right and there are little to no issues reported by customers.
- Three different versions of the headphones to customize to your needs.
- Velour ear cup are exceptionally comfortable.
- Good price for the quality you’re getting.
- Great sound quality.
- Wind can cause sound distortion during outdoor use.
- 32 ohm version can suffer from low bass.
Sennheiser HD25-1 II – For Mobile Monitoring
The deeper I dig into the world of headphones the more I realize what a breathtaking variety of options there are.
You have dozens of great choices if you’re looking for a high quality sound experience, and that doesn’t include the dozens more available for sound professionals.
In that realm, the Sennheiser HD25-1 II DJ headphones have become hugely popular, coming as close to being an industry favorite as is possible.
Sennheiser, eager as always to deliver the high quality products possible and well-aware of the burgeoning market for DJ and sound professional headphones, designed the HD-25-1 IIs to meet almost every need.
At their core these headphones are made for mobile monitoring, meant to be used while you’re on the job and in need of a great pair to make sure the sound is perfect.
If you’re recording sound for movies and TV they’re perfect too as the background noise fades away and all you can hear is what you’re supposed to be recording for the director.
At first glance the Sennheiser HD25-1 II headphones might look simple, but that’s really the point. The ear cups are comparatively small, but they’re meant to get the job done, not overwhelm you. Plus, when you’re working with other people you sometimes need to free your ear to hear what someone is saying.
A rotatable capsule allows for single ear listening and despite their appearance, these headphones are tough and can withstand being dropped and battered (within reason; don’t go kicking them around and expect them to hold up).
The noise canceling effects are nice, but some DJs complain that they can actually be an issue during shows because you’ll end up taking off the headphones to hear what’s being played. There have been complaints about the length of the cord, but that only really applies if you’re moving away from your DJ station with frequency. It’s also very easy to replace with something shorter.
Among the industry leaders in DJ headphones, the Sennheiser HD25-1 IIs are expertly constructed for maximum comfort and sound monitoring. It’s hard to find anyone that’s disappointed in their purchase of these headphones, especially if they’re DJing on a regular basis.
They’re flexible, tough, and provide great sound to make your job easier. They’re designed to be used in clubs more than in the studio, but since that’s the bulk of a DJ’s work they should suffice for most readers of this review.
- Lightweight and comfortable.
- Crisp, clean sound in all ranges.
- Handles very high sound pressure levels well.
- Single ear listening is possible thanks to a rotatable capsule.
- Beloved among industry professionals.
- Struggles to handle the bass at high volume levels.
- Cord is too short to move to multiple stations while working.
Numark Red Wave DJ Headphones
What makes a great pair of DJ headphones to you?
Do you want them to look exceptionally cool while providing a high quality level of sound, feeling comfortable resting over your ears, and coming in at a reasonable price?
If so, the Numark Red Wave Professional DJ Headphones might be the ones for you.
Take a look at the Numark Red Waves and you’ll see they play right into their name with a dash of red in the design. It’s not overwhelming, but they look awfully cool when you’re up on stage.
The shiny silver is a perfect contrast and the design on the outside of the ear cups looks great. You’d be surprised at how effective it can be to simply look good while you’re working. This is especially true if you’re looking to generate romantic interest while you’re DJing (that’s at least part of the fun, right?).
The headbands are made of a solid-feeling metal and are adjustable with multi-pivot points that make customizing the feel simple. They hold up to rigorous use, which is an issue with many DJ headphones that tend to break because the manufacturer doesn’t put enough thought into how their customers are actually going to use them.
It’s still smart to bring along a carrying case though, because you never know who’s going to dump into you as you’re on your way out of the club or back to your place and that crunching sound when you know you’ve broken another pair of headphones is horrific.
It’s good bass, but it’s not overpowering, letting you cleanly hear the voice tracks on the music you’re playing. I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t say that these don’t provide quite the same high level of sound quality that a pair costing 2 or 3 times the price do, but you get what you pay for with technology.
If your budget is in the medium price range then you really can’t go wrong with the Numark Red Waves, and when you get into higher paying gigs you can always upgrade if you like.
These DJ headphones double for casual listening as well and can plug into your mobile device so you don’t need a separate pair for enjoying music.
The leather ear cups look and feel great, but after a long night they can get rather sweaty despite being breathable. That’s just the nature of leather, which is why so many manufacturers choose a different material. I think club owners purposefully keep it warm so people will buy lots of drinks to help them cool down, but it sure can be a pain for the DJs.
Some users have complained about sound bleeding, but you need to have your device turned up to 75% of the max, which is enough to damage your hearing, so it’s not something you really need to worry about.
It’s difficult to find a better pair of DJ headphones in this price point than the Numark Red Wave Professionals. They offer an excellent mix of good design, comfort, high quality sound, and flexibility. Little details like the long cord and metal base are much appreciated, making the job of being a DJ a little bit easier. If these are in your budget they deserve your consideration.
- Great construction for durability and comfort.
- Priced very well for the quality you’re getting.
- Good for DJing and personal use.
- They look really cool.
- Will hold up for long term use.
- Leather ear cups can make for a sweaty experience.
- Sound bleed at high volumes.
- Cable length can be too long depending on where you’re DJing.
Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K – With Hard Carry Case
If you happen to have money burning a hole in your pocket you’re going to love this set.
Let’s move towards the top of the DJ headphone heap and check out the Pioneer Pro HDJ-2000MK2-K model to see if they live up to the reputation for quality they’ve developed.
A revision of the previous version, the HDJ-2000, these headphones have added enhanced sound isolation, extra comfort in the ear cups, and further optimization of the audio quality, among other features.
I’m a fan of the minimalistic design they’ve gone with for the Pioneer Pro HDJ-2000MK2-K.
They look simple and absent any needless bells and whistles. Of great importance is their emphasis on comfort. If you’re working as a professional DJ, which is what these headphones were made for, you’re going to have them on an awful lot and they need to feel good.
If you’re DJing in clubs, sound isolation is a significant issue. If your headphones of choice feature poor isolation it will be difficult to hear if what you’re playing sounds good, which is why the choice to focus on the best sound isolation possible for the second version of the Pioneer Pro HDJ-2000MK2-K was a wise one.
With thick insulation, excellent stitching, and top notch damper, even in the noisiest club full of partying people you’ll be able to hear what you’re playing and make sure everyone is having the best time possible. That’s the reason you want to become a DJ, right? Just imagine that scene playing out in front of you.
Like most DJ headphones they feature ear cups that swivel 90 degrees and these have an auto-return feature to help with monitoring in an on the shoulder style if that’s what you prefer. They use an l-type mini jack to prevent disconnections during performances, which is helpful if you’re in a tight space and bumping up against people.
There comes a point in any DJ’s career when it’s time to upgrade to the best equipment and if you’re at that point then congratulations. Presumably, you’ve been playing gigs regularly, built up a fan base, and learned your craft. Now you want to take it to the next level and make a career out of it. That’s the time to look at the Pioneer Pro HDJ-2000MK2-K DJ headphones.
These are for the high end buyer and they’ve got every aspect covered. They’re comfortable, hard to damage, and filled with features that will make your work as a DJ easier. That’s why it’s worth the price tag.
- Great sound quality.
- Exceptionally comfortable with a snug fit that’s not too tight.
- Many features for the professional DJ.
- Excellent sound isolation for loud clubs.
- Comes with a hard carry case to prevent damage in transport.
- Price is steep.
- A small number of users have reported their headphones broke.
Sol Republic Master Tracks
Sol Republic (Sol stands for Soundtrack of Life) is a relatively new entry to the world of audio manufacturing, having been founded in 2011, but they’ve made impressive headway in a business that’s already crowded with venerable, decades old companies that have won the hearts of audiophiles, DJs, and consumers alike.
With their Sol Republic Master Tracks headphones they’re hoping to provide quality sound to a wide range of people and artists.
Typically priced very reasonably, these headphones feel like a great bargain. With the design they strove for excellent vocal accuracy, clear highs, and powerful bass to ensure the sound quality is up to snuff for DJs working in clubs and at parties.
As Sol Republic has stated, they built their Master Tracks headphones to withstand abuse, and a survey of the hundreds of user reviews online makes it clear that they’ve succeeded in that regard.
The headband in particular is built strong and can withstand fairly strong twisting and bending. They say you can drop them, but that seems risky since the earphones could easily break. The cushioning for your ears is soft and durable and it doesn’t get uncomfortable when you sweat, which is likely to happen on stage.
It’s not related to DJing, but the headphones come with a built-in microphone that lets you use them to make calls and the sound is incredible. People on the other end will have no idea you’re using headphones to talk to them and you’ll be able to converse hands free. You can also use the buttons on the remote to control your music and answer and hang up calls.
It seems that the Sol Republic Master Tracks have a higher rate of failure, so it’s worth looking into the insurance for them. That being said, the price is certainly right as you’re getting the sound quality of headphones twice as expensive.
It’s easy to like the Sol Republic Master Tracks, especially when you consider the bargain price. They’re exceptionally comfortable, they’re genuine over-ear headphones, the sound quality is excellent, and they’re exceedingly durable, which fits a DJs lifestyle quite nicely. They’re competing in a popular market, but they’re doing it exceptionally well.
- Great price means you get top notch sound for a bargain.
- Comfortable earphones.
- Exceptionally durable.
- Interchangeable parts let you customize your look.
- Take phone calls, listen to music, and control it all with a remote.
- Noise isolation feature is well-tuned.
- Sound is not as tightly tuned for DJs as it could be.
- Many reports of sound in one ear dropping out after 1-2 years.
DJ Headphones Buyer’s Guide
A decade ago it would have been unheard of for a DJ to be among the highest-earning figures in music, but these days Calvin Harris regularly appears on the top ten (earning more than $60 million in 2016, for example).
The 12 highest-paid DJs earned more than $260 million that year. Given that, it’s easy to understand why there’s been such an explosion in the DJ business.
As a result of the tens of thousands of new DJs seeking to fill clubs with bodies writhing to their music there’s a booming business in providing equipment, including headphones.
Being a good DJ starts with the headphones you choose and there are options for any budget. We’ve prepared a buying guide to help you decide, with full-length reviews for ten incredible options that cater to any budget. Before you dig in, make sure you know what you’re looking for, because a DJ’s job can be more than simply spinning tracks in a club.
What do you want to do as a DJ? At the most basic level a DJ plays music. They can also mix music together, for which you’ll need an exceptional pair of headphones.
If you’re going to be a DJ/producer, you’ll be working in the studio to create tracks that you’ll play in the clubs. Keep in mind that some headphones are better in the club that in the studio and vice versa.
Let’s run down the list. Remember, you can read in depth reviews to get a better sense of the quality of the DJ headphones. We’ll go from most expensive to least, so keep that in mind.
What to Look for in a Pair of DJ Headphones
- Deep Bass and Clear Highs – DJ headphones aren’t meant for a casual listening experience. They’re for your job and you need them to have deep bass and clear highs so you can hear the bass and drums to know if you’re getting the sound right.
- Closed Back is Better – a closed back design prevents ambient sound of entering your ears as you DJ, which is preferred. That’s why you often see DJs with one earphone off so they can get the clear sound in one ear and hear the club in the other.
- The Right Specs – you want driver diameters over 40mm (most DJ headphones have this), a maximum input rating over 3000 milliwatts (this prevents distortion) and a frequency range between 20Hz and 20,000HZ (anything else is largely pointless).
- Durability is King – your DJ headphones are going to get beat up. That’s just how it works. You’re going to shove them haphazardly in your bag, bump into people, and be pulling and pushing on them throughout your gig. If they’re not designed with durability in mind they’re going to break and you’ll be buying a new pair before long.
- Cable Length – you’re looking for a sweet spot when it comes to the length of your cables. Too long and you’re going to get caught on stuff. Too short and you won’t have the freedom of movement you need. Six feet is generally excellent.
- Replaceable Parts – some DJ headphone manufacturers let you replace ear pads and cables when they’re worn out. In the long run this can save you money. The headphones tend to cost more, but if only the parts need to be replaced it can end up being a good investment.
- Lightweight is Better – though a snug, heavy pair of headphones can feel great when you’re listening to music, they can end up feeling burdensome when you’re working as a DJ. By the end of the night you can end up with a headache, sweaty ears, and a throbbing across your head you’re not keen on.
- They Gotta Look Good – everyone sees you when you’re the DJ. Sometimes you’re raised above the dance floor and you’re responsible for everyone having a good time so they’re going to look at you. That’s why you can’t look like an idiot in your headphones. They’ve got to look good. Or really, they can’t look unbearably ugly. You’ll be able to find a pair that’s both good looking and right for your budget.
Our Handpicked DJ Headphones for Every Budget
- Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K – the most expensive of the headphones we reviewed, the Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-Ks are designed with DJs in mind. A revision of the previous version, they’ve carefully crafted these headphones to have exceptional sound isolation, comfortable ear cups and a relaxed fit against your head to prevent that sense of being crushed, rotatable housing for on the shoulder monitoring, and a nicely designed mini jack that makes it exceedingly difficult to disconnect the headphones during use. These are full-featured DJ headphones that cover all your bases.
- Sennheiser HD25-1 II – Sennheiser is among the most-respected audio technology companies in the world and they’ve produced a tremendous set of DJ headphones that offer the highest quality sound possible. Their HD25-1 IIs are a revision in the previous model and feature upgraded comfort and quality and the kind of sound you’ve come to expect from this well-regarded German company.
They’re designed specifically for audio quality monitoring, letting you get specific with your mixes to ensure that you get the details right and deliver the best quality to the people dancing in front of you. You’re paying for quality here and you’re definitely receiving a full-fledged brilliant product.
- V-MODA Crossfade M-100 – V-MODA took a unique approach to crafting their M-100 DJ headphones. They went out to hundreds of sound professionals and audiophiles and asked for their opinions on what would make a perfect pair of headphones and used the data they received to craft an incredible set.
DJs in particular asked for durable headphones and they responded with a nearly unbreakable pair that’s able to withstand far more abuse than a typical set would. They look great too and double as an excellent way to listen to music at home or on the road.
- Pioneer HDJ-1500-S – doesn’t the idea of wearing professional headphones during a DJ gig sound nice? You can get a pair of the Pioneer HDJ-1500-S models and be that professional. The design is simple with an emphasis on comfort over everything else and they feel great against your head. They’re heavy, but they’ve made sure they feel great. The sound is great with a strong emphasis on bass, even on the lower end. They work exceptionally well right out of the box too, with no tweaking needed.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – if you see yourself as a DJ/producer the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are a great choice. They’re designed with an eye towards audio professionals of all types, including those mixing and making songs to play at gigs.
You’ll experience sound clarity across the entire frequency range and the kind of deep bass you’re looking for. They’re comfortable for long wear periods, so feel free to get lost in the studio for hours to perfect your song.
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO – the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro DJ headphones come in three versions with three different purposes in mind. The 32 ohm version is meant for use in mobile applications and personal listening. The 80 ohm version is designed for use in the studio. The 250 ohm version is made for mixing and at home use.
They all come with incredibly comfortable and soft velour ear pads that feel absolutely perfect when you gently place them on your head. There’s also a long history of design quality that leads to perfect sound and exceptional versatility to meet all your needs.
- Numark Red Wave – can a pair of DJ headphones be sexy? If so, the Numark Red Wave Professionals definitely qualify. They look great, but there’s steak to go along with that sizzle too.
Designed with input from professional DJs, the headphones feature breathable leather padding, an around the ear design to maximize noise cancellation, and a 50mm driver that delivers great sound while you’re working. The swiveling ear cups are well-designed and the headphone cable is remarkably good at staying untangled.
- Sony MDR-7506 – they’re exceptionally good at bringing out every element of the sound playing in your ears and are best used in the studio for producing the perfect track. They feature a 10 foot coiled cord that gives you freedom of movement, comfortable over the ear cups, and a padded head band. The 40mm drivers offer a high quality sound that keeps things crystal clear.
- Sol Republic Master Tracks – people are positively crazy for the Sol Republic headphones. The positive reviews are flowing and people gush over the sound quality, which is of the utmost importance if you’re working as a DJ.
The interchangeable parts let you customize the way your headphones look so you can try something new from gig to gig, though of course that will increase the price. Because of the microphone that lets you answer calls from your cell phone and sound that’s tuned for consumer listening, these are an excellent choice if you’re looking for something to do your DJ work and for at home listening.
- Sennheiser HD 202 II – you’d never expect to get your hands on a pair of Sennheiser headphones at this price, but that’s exactly what happens here. Obviously, they don’t offer the same level of quality as a pair of headphones ten times the cost, but the sound is remarkably clear.
These are best used for when you’re just getting started and looking for a pair of headphones to tinker with or your budget is limited. In truth, it’s not bad to learn on a pair like this to train your ear to hunt for quality.
A DJ needs a pair of headphones, unquestionably. That’s the easiest part of this decision. After that, things get a little more complicated because you have to pick the pair that’s best for you. If you have an unlimited budget it’s pretty easy since you can just pick from the select few expensive sets that provide the widest range of features and the highest quality. If you’re like most people and your budget is a little smaller you need to dig into the reviews and decide which features you’re most interested in.
Luckily, you can’t go wrong with anything we’ve highlighted. As soon as you put on the headphones of your choice you’ll be one step closer to becoming a professional DJ, playing tracks for a crowd of eager club goers that want to dance all night long. Use our guide to study up on the best DJ headphones available and make an informed decision that will best serve your needs. Then it’s time to get to work on booking your first gig.