Best DJ Headphones – The Ultimate Guide for Every Budget

Best DJ Headphones

Headphones are an essential part of any DJ set and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If a “DJ” is on stage mixing without headphones then trust me, they ain’t DJing… Decent headphones can cut through the noise and make mixing a breeze, while bad headphones can make your set a nightmare.

Going purely on longevity, reliability, sound quality, and usage within the industry the clear winners are the Sennheiser HD25s. Although which headphones you choose is down to your ultimate aim. If you also want to use them in the studio then the Pioneer HDJ-X10s are the most versatile.

Although the two headphones mentioned above are the best, there are other options of course. However, if you have specific needs or a limited budget then read on through the ultimate guide of best DJ headphones for every price range.

Note – A glossary has been included at the end of the post for any terms you do not recognize.

Best DJ Headphones Buyers Guide: Factors to Consider

While your budget will play a big part in your decision, there are several other factors you should bear in mind when choosing your headphones.

  • Durability – If you are serious about DJing then it is worth investing that little bit extra to get durable headphones. Especially given the extra wear that you’ll give them as a DJ. Think of it as saving you money in the long run, as the old saying goes “buy cheap, buy twice”.
  • Clarity / Quality – When mixing it is important that you are able to hear all frequencies clearly. Headphones vary in their sound quality so clarity is an important factor to consider.
  • Rotating Capsules – Some headphones have rotating cups that allow you to turn one driver away from your ear so you can hear whats going on in the club. This can make it more comfortable and easier for you to mix.
  • Comfort – The amount of padding on headphones varies, some have less to make them more portable. Others are meant to be worn for long periods so are designed with your comfort in mind.
  • Enhanced Low-End – Many DJs beatmatch using the bass drums, you may do this yourself. To make this easier some DJ headphones have an enhanced bottom end (bass). If you are using your headphones for other things as well as DJing then you might not want this.

Top-Rated DJ Headphones Comparison

Sennheiser HD25 DJ HeadphonesSennheiser HD25
Best Overall (DJing only)
Industry Standard

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V-MODA Crossfade M100 DJ headphonesV-MODA Crossfade M100
Best for Audiophiles (DJing only)


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Pioneer HDJ-X10 DJ HeadphonesPioneer HDJ-X10
Best all-rounder (DJing, Studio & Casual listening)


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Shure SRH440 DJ HeadphonesShure SRH440
Best under $100 (Home DJing & Studio)
Not particularly durable for gigging

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Beats EP headphonesBeats EP
Best for Style
Multipurpose (DJing & Casual listening)

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Best DJ Headphones in 2019

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – Honourable Mention for Budget & Versatility (DJ & Studio)

Pro standard, multifunctional headphones for those that know good sound.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Critically Acclaimed Sonic Performance. Year after year the ATH-M50x are praised by studio engineers, live engineers and pro audio reviewers alike, and are used by professionals worldwide.”

The ATH-M50X in Detail

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

These headphones are good, like really good. They could arguably be priced almost double what they are and still be considered reasonable.

Audio-Technica are generally manufacturers of pro-level audio equipment, and that shows in these headphones. With a tiny bias designed to warm the bass end, the response on these is incredibly authentic. Their clean sound represents exactly what the producers intended you to here.

There is no falsifying frequencies or boosting anything to extremes. Instead, these are headphones designed for people that love clarity in their audio. The highs are crisp and smooth allowing you to hear everything, like all decent headphones they also improve given a little “run in” time.

The soundstage on these is also good especially given their closed-back. Mixes feel spacious and, by putting you in the middle, allow for the placing of instruments and sounds around you. If like me, you beatmatch by placing sounds in physical space around you then these should suit your style nicely.

Big with benefits…

Fairly large in construction, for most, they will do a good job of clamping the ears without being uncomfortable or painful over long gigs or sessions. This decent seal, along with their impressive volume means they do a good job of passive noise canceling.

Be careful with that volume in public though. As you get towards the top end they will leak, giving everyone around you a full performance of your audio.

The lockable cable does make them good for on the move. This means snagging them on something is less likely to cause a loose connection than on other headphones. When not in use they fold up for easier and safer portability.

Designed to be entry-level professional headphones, these are very suitable for all the producer/DJs out there. The cleanliness of sound will suit you well while mixing in the studio, whilst the very slight bass bump will serve you well mixing in the club.

Pros

  • Beautifully tuned, clean and understated
  • Spacious, well-defined soundstage
  • Definite value for money
  • The manufacturer specializes in pro equipment

Cons

  • Chunkier and heavier than a lot of competitors

Why You’ll Like Them…

The sound is virtually unrivaled at this price point and they are at home in both the studio or the DJ booth. Being well built they will also put up with the rigors of live gigs. A safe bet if you don’t want to buy multiple headphones for different uses.

DJs who use Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

Great but still entry-level so no established/touring DJs.

TL/DR

Excellent sound replication. Tiny bass bias. Exceptional value. Pro manufacturer. Suitable for DJing and studio.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Audio Technica

One of the more lowkey manufacturers of mainstream audio products, Audio-Technica have provided professional-grade equipment to the Film and Music industries for years. Because of this, they are well respected and sentiment shows chatter to be overwhelming on the positive side.

Audio Technica Manufacturer Sentiment
Audio Technica Manufacturer Sentiment

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: BlackFrequency Range: 15 – 28,000 Hz
Cable length: 1.2 – 3 m (changeable, 3 included)Jack plug: 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo (supplied)
Load rating: 1600 mWWeight: 286 g
Impedance: 28 ΩMax Output Sound Level (active): 98 dB

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • Nope.

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Sennheiser HD25 – Best DJ Headphones for Gigs / Tours

Long-standing industry workhorse, regarded as the best DJ headphones for a reason.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Lightweight and comfortable, even if used for long periods. Considered to be the “Industry Standard” for DJ Headphones, these headphones are often found in DJ Booths, small and large, around the world!”

The HD25s in Detail

Sennheiser HD25 DJ Headphones
Sennheiser HD25 DJ Headphones

These headphones have been around for years and have gone through various versions. Despite being originally designed for the professional audio industry (i.e film and studio recording) their exceptional quality and reasonable price meant they crossed over into mainstream use. And became a staple of the DJ world.

They remain so popular because of their crisp & clear sound (more on their sound signature below) and rotating/adjustable cups. This makes them perfect for wearing half on/half off when monitoring your next track in the DJ booth.

Being on-ear they are obviously not as good as active noise-canceling or over-ear headphones. Yet the solid build and closed back mean they do a good job of blocking out external sounds. This means you’ll have no problem focusing on the audio coming through the headphones.

Although they are made of plastic it is dense enough to feel sturdy and durable. Even more so given the double banding, which gives them more support and grip when moving/dancing behind the decks (see our recommended decks here).

Some headphones have very distinct sound signatures i.e they adjust the sound as it is converted from electrical signal to audio. These do not. They broadcast the music to you exactly as the track’s producer wanted you to hear it. And that is what makes them perfect for DJing.

Pros

  • Incredibly durable, especially when treated well and kept in a case when you’re traveling.
  • Replaceable parts meaning they could last you a lifetime.
  • The earpads are changeable between Leatherette & Velour depending on your preference.
  • Generous (& replaceable) padding makes them comfortable to wear for hours at a time.
  • Fully adjustable headband, as well as sliding & rotating cups make them customizable for most head sizes and ear positions.
  • The cable is also high-quality steel meaning it stays relatively straight and easy to untangle.

Cons

  • Not ideal if you’re looking for multipurpose headphones i.e although perfect when DJing, the ‘clinical’ sound might be too sharp when listening for enjoyment or watching movies.
  • Excessive use can cause loose connections and make the volume dip in one ear. However, replacing the cable will usually solve this for you.
  • Despite being highly adjustable, those with a larger head may still feel a bit of pinch.

Why You’ll Like Them…

With a long history and numerous big-name DJs vouching for them then you can’t really go wrong. The replaceable parts mean that should any part of them break during your DJ duties, you can easily order replacements and fix them yourselves. Because of this, it is not uncommon for DJs to have had the same pair for 10-20 years. This means although they are far from cheap, at least they should last you for a long, long time.

DJs who use Sennheiser HD25

Nina Kraviz, Guy J, Tale of us, Minilogue

TL/DR

Long history. Lots of big-name DJs use them. Clear sound. Super adjustable. Replaceable parts & accessories.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Sennheiser

Sennheiser Manufacturer Sentiment
Sennheiser Manufacturer Sentiment

Sennheiser has been around for years and have a good reputation for placing emphasis on audio quality and function above all else. Although they occasionally take a beating for their outsourced customer service, this won’t affect you if you purchase through Amazon.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-earEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: BlackFrequency Range: 16 – 22,000 Hz
THD (total harmonic distortion): < 0.3 %Jack plug: 3.5/6.3 mm stereo (supplied, screws in place)
Cable length: 3 m (1m, changeable)Weight: ~ 140 g
Load rating: 200 mWMax Output Sound Level (active):: 120 dB
Impedance: 70 Ω 

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • Be aware that Sennheiser also produces the HD 25 light, which are actually different headphones than discussed here. They are cheaper but, due to their different sound signature, are not as suited to DJing. You want the HD25 or HD25 Plus (which just means the headphones come with spare pads, an extra cable and carry case).
  • Sennheiser did produce a limited edition run of white HD25s in partnership with Robin Shultz. These are no longer available and so your only chance to own them is to pick them up second hand.

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V-MODA Crossfade M100 – Best DJ Headphones for Audiophiles (DJing only)

Meticulously researched, broad appeal headphones from a specialized & dedicated manufacturer.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Crowdsourced by experts. Trusted by Pros.”

The M100 in Detail

V-MODA Crossfade M100 DJ headphones
V-MODA Crossfade M100 DJ headphones

The V-MODA Crossfade M100s shine when it comes to bass heavy genres. Their tuning allows the bass to cut through the noise without muddying the mids and sacrificing just a touch of the treble (which helps prevent any harsh sibilance). Making them perfect for mixing in noisy environments i.e clubs. That said, they do lose a little when it comes to sub-bass, however, this could have been to make the general bass more punch.

Marketed as “crowdsourced” headphones where you see this put into practice is in the V-MODA craftmanship. These units are designed to be taken on tour and used gig after gig. Meaning the metal-based build quality is solid and durable. While many headphones rattle and creak when moving or playing at max volume, the solidity of these makes sure that they most definitely do not.

The closed-back means that isolation is also very respectable. Although to do this they do clamp over your ears, which may cause tension in those with larger heads. However, V-MODA advises that, with a bit of gentle persuasion, the headband can be widened to make them comfortable for any head shape. Replaceable XL ear cushions are available that not only increase comfort, but also help prevent sound leakage. It is shame they are not included as the standard but it’s not the end of the world.

One fairly unique feature they have is being able to plug in into both cups independently. This allows you to daisy-chain headphones or listen to 2 different inputs simultaneously. However, how often you will actually find this useful is debatable.

Designed with DJs in mind these do the job beautifully. Even for casual listening, they’ll give you a nice warmth of sound due to their slight leaning towards the bass end of things.

Pros

  • Punchy bass without sacrificing too much clarity on higher registers makes them perfect beatmatching headphones.
  • Higher material & build quality when compared to similarly priced competitors.
  • Dynamic enough to suit any DJ, whether you’re playing small clubs or large festivals.
  • They come with multiple cables, one of which includes a microphone. Ideal if you want to use them for calls or gaming.

Cons

  • Not as comfortable as some other over-ear headphones (although you can purchase additional XL ear cushions which improve this).
  • The tuning towards the bass means they are not ideal for DJs also wishing to use them for producing or studio work.

Why You’ll Like Them…

If you play out regularly or are always on the move then they will not let you down, ever. They are simply built to last. Tuned to complement perfectly mastered tracks, whilst also being forgiving to downloaded bootlegs, they get the job done and do it well. A rare instance where you generally feel like you’re not just getting your money’s worth, but actually getting more for it.

DJs who use V-MODA Crossfade M100

The Chainsmokers, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Morgan Page, Lost Kings, Pete Tong, Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, Nicky Romero

TL/DR

Superior build quality for the price. Weighted bass, good for mixing. Microphone on cable. Smaller cans than other over-ear competitors. Not as comfortable as most. Widely used by top DJs. Well respected. Recommended.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: V-MODA

V-MODA Manufacturer Sentiment
V-MODA Manufacturer Sentiment

Although they’ve now branched out to speakers, for a long while V-MODA made only headphones. Which makes them the only specialized manufacturer on this list.

Leading with a research first approach from day one it’s no surprise their flagship headphones came to be held in such high regard since their original 2012 release. In a partnership since 2016, Roland completed its full acquisition in early 2019. Meaning there’ll be plenty more coming out of the V-MODA camp down the line.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: Black / SilverFrequency Range: 5- 30,000 Hz
Jack plug: 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo (supplied)Weight: 280 g
Max Output Sound Level (active):: 103 dBImpedance: 32 Ω

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • V-MODA have also released the M100 Master headphones, which they are planning will supersede the M100. This review will be updated once we tried them.

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Pioneer HDJ-X10 – Best DJ Headphones for Audiophiles (DJing & Studio)

Pro-level headphones designed with input from touring DJs and military standard testing. Great for dogs.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Outstanding audio quality, superior durability and improved functionality for a deeper connection with your music.”

The HDJ-X10 in Detail

Pioneer HDJ-X10 DJ Headphones

Pioneer have obviously put a lot of time and money into researching and producing these headphones. I say obviously because they come in at a much higher price than most of the competition. The trouble is they may have been over-engineered and overproduced something that wasn’t actually needed.

One of the main plus points of the HDJ-X10 is the vastly superior frequency range over other headphones. However, the frequency ranges are so high that human ears are not even able to hear it all. So, unless you have superhuman hearing, you won’t notice much difference in clarity. Even with hi-res, uncompressed WAV files. Dogs, with their higher hearing range, might be able to tell the difference, but you probably won’t.

In an improvement to their previous flagship HDJ-2000MK2 headphones, Pioneer has boosted the bass tones in the HDJ-X10s. This make things easier when mixing in loud environments.

The HDJ-X10 Sound Stage…

One element that does take a bit of getting used to in the HDJ-X10s is the wide soundstage. Imagine standing in a large room with one speaker all the way on your left and another all the way to your right. This does a good job of making you feel like you’re right “in” a mix but, given that most headphones make it feel like the music is in front of you, then it can take some getting used to. For my style of beat matching, where I imagine beats in physical locations within the room, I actually find this type of soundstage beneficial.

All of that said is not too knock these headphones at all. They are really quite spectacular in the audio they produce but they are perhaps a little too much for all but the most perfectionist/audiophile DJs out there.

Another of the main selling points for Pioneer is the durability of these headphones, and it really is impressive. Almost like ringing a towel you can twist the headband without fear of cracking or breaking cables. This is not surprising given that the Pioneer built the headphones to withstand military-grade stress tests. The water-resistant nano-coating is also very effective and a nice addition. That alone helps longevity as it will prevent cracking and breaking down of the padding.

Pros

  • Outstanding sound clarity.
  • Cups swivel & twist for one-sided listening and compact storage/portability.
  • Quite light despite their chunky design & durable construction.
  • The tight (but comfortable) seal around your ears and quality closed-back construction makes them great for blocking out ambient noise.
  • Amazing durability, more flexible than any headphones you will have used before.
  • Nano, water & sweat resistant coating works great, even if you tend to sweat buckets during a show.
  • Perfect for aficionado DJs who always play on professional, highly tuned systems.
  • Suitable for Djing and Studio work.

Cons

  • The extra frequency range isn’t quite the selling point that it sounds like (given that it is twice the limits of human hearing, although perfect for dogs that DJ….)
  • Maybe expensive for what is on offer i.e the chances of the extra frequency range actually benefiting you is minimal especially if on a budget. In which case the HDJ X7 or HDJ 1500 are good alternatives.
  • The lack of any bass boost makes them harder to use on louder, less refined sound systems. This means you may need the headphones at a higher volume than other DJ specific headphones.

Why You’ll Like Them…

If you are a music fan that loves to explore layers and discover subtle sounds within your favorite tracks then these headphones give you the absolute best chance of doing so. The same goes if you are regularly playing on superior, top of the line sound systems. These headphones will help you get the best out of them for your audience i.e they are the headphones that will closest mirror good sound systems.

DJs who use Pioneer HDJ-X10

  • Carl Cox, DJ Puffy, Roger Sanchez, Claude VonStroke, Danny Avila, Karizma, James Zabiela, Joe Kay, Sick Individuals, Technasia

TL/DR

Exceptional sound quality. First headphones to offer this frequency range. Swiveling cups. Passed military durability/shock tests. Sweat-resistant padding. Replaceable cable. Includes carry case. 2-year warranty.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Pioneer

Pioneer Manufacturer Sentiment
Pioneer Manufacturer Sentiment

Pioneer gets a lot of love in the DJ world due to their commitment to pushing DJ tech forward. This is helped by their longevity as the industry-standard when their CDJs started replacing Technic vinyl decks (see our recommended decks here) in clubs around the world. A position they look to maintain with their DDJ controller range, even in the face of ever-increasing competition from other manufacturers.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: Black / GreyFrequency Range: 5 – 40,000 Hz
Cable length: Changeable, 1.2m coiled cable (3m when extended) 1.6 m straight cableJack plug: 6.3 mm stereo
Load rating: 3500 mWWeight: 328 g
Impedance: 32 ΩMax Output Sound Level (active):: 106 dB

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • Also available are the Pioneer HDJ-X10Cs. This replaces the plastic finish with carbon fiber making them even more durable and sleek looking. The included straight cable also has an extra coating to make it stronger while the warranty is extended, by a year, to 3 in total.

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Behringer HPX2000 – Best DJ Headphones for No Budget

What the Manufacturer Says…

“High-efficiency cobalt capsules that provide incredible high-resolution performance – at a price that is very kind to every budget!”

The HPX2000 in Detail

Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones
Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones

These are by far the cheapest headphones on this list that has to be taken into account. Behringer generally is known for making reasonable quality audio equipment at less than usual price so are these DJ headphones any good well as the saying goes….you get what you pay for.

The sound quality is not ideal despite Behringer’s claims of high-quality bass, it is almost non-existent. If you turn your volume to max to try and create the bass, then instead it starts to distort.

That said, at lower volumes, and in quieter environments, i.e at home then these will do the job. After all, Behringer is an established audio manufacturer so they do know what they are doing when they want to.

And that is the key point here… home use…

Their price point means they are made with cheap plastic and components so are not really durable enough for gigging or being thrown in backpacks. It doesn’t take too many knocks for the cups to start rattling and for volume to become unbalanced between the two sides (Behringer suggests you “tap” the cups to restore the balance).

Not especially ergonomically designed, the circular earpads won’t cover everyone’s ears. This means they are often not very efficient at canceling out background noise.

Sound leakage also becomes an issue. This is actually made worse by the fact they are not entirely closed, meaning those around you will be able to hear what you are listening to pretty clearly.

In an effort to improve isolation these headphones do have quite a tight clamp. However, the padding is quite thin which causes the drivers to sit on your ear. This can become painful when wearing for extended periods.

After a while, the spring in the headband will loosen so then you end up with the opposite problem…. the headphones have no grip and can easily slip off your head.

The build quality extends into the pads as well. Although easily reattached, the fact that they can fall off so easily does become annoying. The fake, non-breathable leather can cause your ears to get hot, and after too much sweating cause the pad’s coating to flake and stick to your ears.

They are however multifunctional, so if you also wanted to use them for watching TV etc then they will do you very well for this.

But for anything more beyond beginner home DJing, then you are going to want to spend that little bit extra for higher build quality and better sound definition.

Pros

  • Some of the cheapest on the market
  • Fine for watching movies etc
  • Can be used as a backup set of headphones

Cons

  • Not at all durable
  • Prone to rattling
  • The headband can be too tight, then too loose after continued use

Why You’ll Like Them…

They’re super cheap, but still a known brand.

DJs who use Behringer HPX2000

  • Couldn’t find any professional / touring DJs.

TL/DR

Very affordable. OK for beginners. Not durable. Home use only. No bass. Not comfortable for long periods. Doesn’t cover ears completely. Leaks sound.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Behringer

Behringer Manufacturer Sentiment
Behringer Manufacturer Sentiment

Behringer is known for making affordable audio gear that often exceeds the sound quality of other similar brands and price points. They benefit from a lot of online chatter, the overwhelming majority of which is on the positive, if subdued, side.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Semi-Open
Rotating Cups: YesWireless: No
Noise-Cancelling: NoColor: Black & Silver
Frequency Range: 20 – 20,000 HzCable length: 2 m
Jack plug: 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo (supplied)Load rating: 100 mW
Weight: 310 gImpedance: 64 Ω
Max Output Sound Level (active):: 110 dB 

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • None

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Beats EP – Best DJ Headphones for Matching Your Outfit

Entry-level edition of the Beats range, great sound for the masses, form over function for touring DJs.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Beats EP is an ideal introduction to Beats for any music lover seeking a dynamic listening experience. Its durable frame is reinforced with stainless steel and adjustable vertical sliders allow for personalized comfort.”

The Beats EP in Detail

Beats EP headphones

Whether beats are suitable for DJing is a common question so I thought it only right to include the entry-level version in this guide. And to be fair they actually do deserve a place here.

Their sound representation, particularly in terms of DJ use, puts them at least on par (if not ahead) of other competitors at a similar price point. Tuned towards the lower end the Beats EP do produce excellent bass, giving plenty of rumble and punch that many DJs need while monitoring and mixing.

One area this may be less forgiving however is when playing bootlegs or poorly mastered tracks. These can cause the bass to become muddy at higher volumes. The bass also does vary depending on the position and seal on the ear. That said, this is more a trait of on-ear headphones more than being specific to the Beats EPs.

Across the rest of the sound range the Beats EP do an exceptional job of producing clear but warm sound. Which makes them suitable for both DJing and casual listening. Despite being the entry-level model they are an example of how Beats brought superior sound quality to the masses.

Design over function?

In terms of durability, they benefit from a stylish yet simplistic design. Less moving parts means fewer chances of things breaking yet this does have its downsides, however. The fixed, and fairly thin, cable is not replaceable so any damage will render the whole unit useless.

Generous in padding they are definitely comfortable for short periods. The fixed ears pads, and flexible (yet stiff) headband does mean that the fit varies massively depending on the size of your head and ears. For some, it will be perfect while for others they will be far too tight and cause tension pain after wearing for long periods.

Probably not recommended for those that spend more time using their headphones for DJing than casual listening. The Beats EP will still be suitable for those wishing to use them for practicing at home. You just might end up buying a more flexible and comfortable pair for those marathon live shows.

Pros

  • Tuned towards the lower end makes them great if you’re a bass lover
  • Nice warm sound in general
  • Stylish so at least you’ll look good
  • Most affordable of the Beats range

Cons

  • None of the parts are replaceable
  • Don’t fold down for portability
  • Not overly adjustable (ears pads slide up & down, that’s it)

Why You’ll Like Them…

They sound great, look sleek and do just fine for those that DJ just for fun. Not too much money lost if they accidentally get broken.

DJs who use Beats Headphones

Skrillex is known to use the higher tier Beats, not the EPs

TL/DR

Good bass. Warm Sound. Extendable headband. Fixed cups. Thin cable. Tight on big heads.

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Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Beats by Dre

Beats by Dre Manufacturer Sentiment
Beats by Dre Manufacturer Sentiment

Beats have always been somewhat divisive. Some praise their obvious style and for bringing improved audio to the masses, while audiophiles say they are overpriced for the sound they deliver.

Either way, the chatter analysis shows Beats have grown a user base that is “happier” with their product than any other manufacturer on this list, so they’re not going anywhere that’s for sure.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: Black / Blue / White / RedFrequency Range: 20 – 20,000 Hz
Jack plug: 3.5 mmWeight: 227 g

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • These are the entry-level Beats, they, of course, go up in price and features from the EPs.

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Shure SRH440 – Best DJ Headphones for under $100 (Home / Studio)

Entry-level studio headphones from a well-respected manufacturer, these excel in one area and fail miserably in another.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Exceptional sound reproduction and comfort. Optimized for home and studio recording, SRH440 headphones reproduce accurate audio across an extended range.”

The SRH440s in Detail

Shure SRH440 DJ Headphones
Shure SRH440 DJ Headphones

Although primarily designed for studio use the Shure SRH440s have also found their way into DJ booths. This is due to the well-defined frequency balance that means they reproduce sound cleanly and accurately. The treble is perhaps a little bright on occasion however that is being picky in an otherwise excellent overall balance.

In the low end, the SRH440s do a good job of representing the mid and upper bass registers. However, deep and sub-bass is a little lacking when it comes to specific DJ use. This would make them more suitable for home use rather than in a noisy club with booming monitors.

That said, replacing the stock the pads with those from the SRH840s does give you a slightly better bass response (as well as increased isolation) so it is a shame these do not come as standard.

Some of the products in the Shure range are known to be amongst the most durable in the industry, sadly, these headphones can’t lay claim to that. Bulky and made of plastic means they are prone to creaking, this means they’re not ideal for traveling or gigging with. Especially given a common weak point, resulting in the plastic earpiece attachment being prone to snapping.

While the clamp will be a good fit for most heads, the above-average weight and the thin padding (meaning the drivers can sit on your ears) can make the Shure SRH440s uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.

A very respectable Sound Balance makes these headphones a good option for those wishing to both DJ and produce music. However, given how easily they can break due to the rigors of moving or playing live means they are sadly not as versatile as they could be.

Pros

  • Accurate and clear sound
  • Suitable for both DJing and Producing (at home)
  • Foldable/portable
  • Detachable/replaceable cable

Cons

  • Not durable enough for gigging
  • Lacking in deep/sub-bass
  • Uncomfortable for longer sessions

Why You’ll Like Them…

The sound is great and they are reasonably priced.

DJs who use Shure SRH440

Couldn’t find any professional/touring DJs.

TL/DR

Excellent overall sound. Clear. Accurate. Does lack in deep bass. Earpiece prone to snapping off. Heavy. Thin Pads.

CHECK Shure SRH440 ON AMAZON

Official promo:

More Info: Shure SRH440
Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Shure

Shure Manufacturer Sentiment
Shure Manufacturer Sentiment

Respect for Shure is generally pretty high in the audio industry. Their microphones are amongst the industry standard for live performance. They used to be a bigger part of the DJ community (their M44-7 needles were a standard for me personally) but they have now discontinued a lot of products.

Some products get a bad rep (these headphones aren’t especially durable for example) so they tend to have more chatter on the negative side than say, Sony, for example.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: BlackFrequency Range: 10 – 22,000 Hz
Jack plug: 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo (supplied)Cable length: 3 m (detachable)
Weight: 311 gLoad rating: 500 mW
Max Output Sound Level (active):: 105 dBImpedance: 44 Ω

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • None

CHECK Shure SRH440 ON AMAZON

Sony MDR-7506 – Best DJ Headphones for under $100 (Gigging)

The long-standing king of (reasonably priced) clarity. Especially for those looking for headphones they can take out of the studio and into the DJ booth.

What the Manufacturer Says…

“Engineered for a combination of strength, comfort, and practicality, and are used daily in broadcast & recording studios worldwide.”

The MDR-7506s in Detail

Sony MDR-7506 DJ Headphones
Sony MDR-7506 DJ Headphones

These headphones are one of the staples of the pro audio world. Mostly due to their famously flat sound profile. The bias, if any, is towards the upper mids and highs so they are exceedingly clear and bright, but without ever being harsh or piercing. This means you’ll be able to hear details in tracks that you may have never picked out before.

While this makes them great for everything from recording to watching films, DJ’s wanting a bit more punch in the bass region might be disappointed. That’s not to say that they don’t have solid and satisfying bass response, but they definitely don’t kick out the power that you get from other DJ tuned headphones such as the Beats or HD25s.

Another reason the Sony MDR-7506s are known for their clarity is due to their expansive soundstage. This allows you to really feel like you are in the mix and be able to pick out the background details of your tracks.

Long-standing Design…

The design of these phones has remained largely unchanged in the nearly 30 years they have been in production. And this is because they just work.

They fold up nicely to keep them safe during transportation as well as being useful for one-ear monitoring. Although largely plastic, the build of the headphones is sturdy, yet light, making them suitable for long sets or long producing sessions.

The coiled cord is perhaps a bit too long and chunky for comfortably using out and about (with your phone for example), however, it is also this that makes it extremely durable in a DJ Booth or studio setting.

The cup adjustments are numbered which lets you have a specific setting to ensure they fit snugly on your ears. While the pads are not breathable (causing warm & eventually sweaty ears) they do an excellent job of preventing external noise from getting in and sound leakage getting out. Depending on the size of your head they might clamp tightly but over time they will adjust.

There is a reason these have been around for so long because they do exactly what a set of quality studio headphones should. And that is, produce the sound exactly as the original producer wanted you to hear their music.

Pros

  • Flat sound profile means they are super clear and detailed in their audio reproduction
  • Excellent choice if you want to use them for both DJing and producing/studio work
  • Durable & reliable build makes them great if you’re gigging regularly
  • Rotating cups allow you to monitor with one ear
  • Sound quality beats out most other competition at this price point

Cons

  • Not tuned specifically for DJs (if you like bass-heavy, these aren’t for you)
  • Too chunky to use as casual headphones i.e with your phone

Why You’ll Like Them…

Plenty of top producers, DJs and audiophiles have supported and used these over the years so you can’t really go wrong at this price point. Particularly if you are someone that likes clarity and hearing tracks as the producer intended you to.

DJs who use Sony MDR-7506

Paul Van Dyke, whether he still does…

TL/DR

Perfect sound, super clear. Not bass-heavy. Plastic but durable. Chunky, oversize cord. Good crossover headphones i.e for DJing and producing. Excellent value for money.

CHECK Sony MDR-7506 ON AMAZON

Unboxing:

More Info: Sony MDR-7506
Manufacturer Sentiment / Summary / Specs / Notes / Special Editions

Manufacturer Sentiment: Sony

Sony Manufacturer Sentiment
Sony Manufacturer Sentiment

As you’ll know Sony is fairly legendary in the audio business, so much so that sentiment analysis shows the overwhelming majority of chatter hovers in the contented/calm region. If anything, this shows how normal a part of people’s everyday lives they have become.

Summary / Specs

Type: Over-EarEnclosure: Closed-Back
Wireless: NoNoise-Cancelling: No
Color: BlackFrequency Range: 10 – 20,000 Hz
Jack plug: 3.5 / 6.3 mm stereo (supplied)Cable length: 3 m
Weight: 230 gLoad rating: 1,000 mW
Max Output Sound Level (active):: 106 dBImpedance: 63 Ω

Notes / Versions / Special Editions

  • None

CHECK Sony MDR-7506 ON AMAZON

Conclusion: Best DJ Headphones

There you have it, everything you’d need to know about the best DJ headphones for every need and budget.

As you will have seen a lot comes down to whether you’ll use them exclusively for DJing, or produce tracks as well. Remember, it’s okay to be budget-conscious when buying headphones but try not to skimp if possible. You will only regret it when you’re in the club and can’t hear your tracks properly.

Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions and I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Types of Headphone Construction

Depending on their use, and your personal preference, there are several different types of headphone construction in use today.

  • On-ear – this is where the headphone cups sit on your outer ear, without covering the whole of your ear. These are often used by DJs as they are easy to maneuver around you ear i.e half on/half off so that you can hear the music outside of the headphones as well as that inside.
  • Over-ear – this is where the cup covers your entire ear which helps isolate the music inside the headphones and block out any external noise. These are often used by producers that need to hear their audio in extremely high detail.
  • Closed – Closed headphones mean that the back of the unit that sits over the ear is completely encased this stops any ambient noise coming through the headphones, as well as stopping any audio within the headphones leaking out.
  • Open – open headphones do not have an enclosed casing and you can often see the inner workings of the headphones (i.e the Driver Unit, see below). This means that both ambient noise can come through the headphones, as well as audio being able to leak outwards from the headphones.

FAQs: Best DJ Headphones

Although they look simple there is a ton of technology packed into headphones and that’s why you’ll see and hear lots of different abbreviations and technical terms used to describe them.

If you are fully familiar with audio terminology then you can skip this section, however, if you want to learn more then here is a quick glossary to explain the various terms associated with headphones.

What is Sound Pressure Level (SPL) in Headphones?

SPL is how the sensitivity of a set of headphones is measured. in other words this means how effectively your headphones convert the electric signal into an audible signal.

The most likely real-world case where you would have experienced a mismatch of headphones to system is when on an airplane. And airplanes headphones are designed very specifically to be low power and low volume, so when you plug in your decent, and efficient, set of headphones and turn the volume up it can be way too loud or even distorted.

What Does Driver Unit Mean Headphones?

This is a general term used to describe the actual ‘cup’ section of the headphones. The Driver Unit houses various coils a diaphragm and magnets that help turn the electrical signal into sound pressure that is then audible to your ear. Or to put it super simply, the Driver Unit is the tiny loudspeaker that sits over your ear.

What is Impedance in Headphones?

Impedance is the measurement of electrical resistance in a headphone unit which is used to measure how efficiently the current flows through the wires and through the unit.

For maximum efficiency, the impedance level (measured in ohms) would be the same on the amplifier and the headphone unit. However, this rarely happens which is why amplifiers tend to output more power which overcomes the difference of impedance i.e power being lost as the current flows.

What is Frequency Response in Headphones?

Frequency response is a measurement of the range of bass, mids, and treble that your headphones are capable of transmitting. One way to think about this is how dogs can hear certain sounds (i.e frequencies) that a human ear cannot. This is because their ears have a different frequency response to ours.

Some headphones do offer a wider range but the average for headphones tends to be in the 20 to 20,000 Hz range. Offering a better frequency response does not always mean there will be better sound quality.

What Is Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) in Headphones?

You have probably experienced headphones that when played with her at high volume start to distort. This is because the diaphragm in the driver unit cannot keep pace in converting the signal in audio.

The THD is a measurement of how well your headphones can handle high volume. When buying headphones, you want to go for the lowest THD percentage possible. Most established headphone manufacturers will produce units with less than 1% THD ratings, while high-end headphones having ratings as low as 0.1%.

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