Selecting the right budget pair of DJ headphones is not as simple as it seems. There are plenty of choices available in the budget space. Unfortunately, many of the best cheap DJ headphones out there lack the refined features a DJ needs. In this review, we check out an affordable pair of headphones that bucks this trend. It offers great value without skimping on quality.
There is a lot to like about the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x. But while it may appear like the perfect set of budget cans it does have a few small flaws.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is a budget pair of headphones with a lot going for it. Let’s see where it shines and where it falls short.
By far one of the most important elements a DJ needs to consider is the sound quality of their headphones. This is one area where the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x does an excellent job. The tonal range is clean and precise across all frequencies. Clarity is high without any grating tones.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x delivers amazing sound quality at its price point.
The high-end is sharp without any tinniness though it does lose some of its tonal range in the high upper end. The mids are well balanced with plenty of body. The lows are also impressive. If you mix bass-heavy music you’ll appreciate the distinct thump the 40mm drivers deliver.
The frequency response of 15Hz-22kHz is on par with more expensive headphones in the market. The sound delivery is also very flat. Possibly a little too flat for some people’s liking. You may prefer a more smiley-faced EQ curve. But the distinct flat response makes these an excellent choice for mixing and mastering.
At this price point, Audio-Technica has delivered an outstanding budget pair of headphones that sound great.
If you play long sets as a DJ you’ll already be aware of how important comfort is. Likewise, if you are a producer who spends hours at their workstation fine-tuning your latest musical creation.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x offers a tight yet comfortable fit. For some, the tight fit might be a little too much, especially if you have a larger than normal head. But for me, the security of a firm fit is something I appreciate. When DJing I’m often bopping my head along to the music. There have been times where loose headphones have slipped off my head.
The long straight cable allows you to move throughout your workspace with ease.
At 0.49 lbs. (222 grams) they are relatively lightweight as well which further minimizes the pressure on your head.
The circumaural earpads envelop your ears. There is just enough room for them to sit comfortably within. Your mileage may vary depending on how big your ears are. My ears tend to stick out a bit but I had no issues with comfort. As expected with closed-back headphones there is some heat build-up. This can lead to some minor irritation throughout longer sessions. But this is the case for most closed-back headphones.
The overall comfort level is very high but everyone’s head and ears are different so keep that in mind.
The aesthetics of the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x are excellent. A distinct and clean design that looks smart and professional. But, the all-black look may not be for everyone. If you prefer your headphones to make a statement you’ll need to look at other options.
These headphones also offer a collapsible design which is perfect for travel. It is also great for taking to and from gigs. The added pouch is also an excellent inclusion. Easy to collapse then slide into your pouch for effortless portability.
The collapsible design is perfect for travel.
But there are a couple of key issues with the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x which are worth mentioning.
Firstly the headphone cable is not detachable. This can expose you to accidental damage if the cable gets caught. Once this cable fails you’ll be up for a new pair of headphones. The other issue is the exposed wiring. This is another potential situation where you can accidentally damage your headphones. But with an appropriate amount of care and awareness you should be able to avoid these two issues.
Despite a few unfortunate elements it is hard to fault these budget-priced headphones. Attractive and functional with some excellent features.
For a cheap pair of headphones, the Audio-Technica MTH-30x offers robust build quality. The headband is firm and durable. The hinges are also dependable and secure. The all-plastic build feels tough and looks the part.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30X strikes a great balance between value and quality.
The leather padding is also high quality. Many cheap headphones suffer from poor quality materials. These quickly wear out leaving you with unsightly exposed padding. I’m glad to see Audio-Technica has not skimped on materials even at such a low price point.
By far one of the most appealing aspects of the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is the aggressive price point. It is hard to find a dependable pair of headphones at this price that also sounds this good.
The included carry pouch is durable and convenient.
The added pouch also adds to the value proposition. Couple that with the included ¼” adapter and you have a well-rounded package at a great price. By far one of the best value budget headphones available today.
What Others Have To Say
The entire ATH-M range is very popular among both casual users and DJs. The M30x is especially applauded for the cheap price point while maintaining high fidelity.
Why Isolation Is Important
One of the most important features of DJ headphones is the isolation level. This is the amount of external noise that they manage to block out. The more isolation the better. As a DJ, you’ll want to be able to distinctly hear the track that you are preparing to mix in. Headphones that offer great isolation allow you to focus on the incoming track and nail the mix.
Headphones with good isolation are crucial for DJing.
Isolation is also useful for DJs in other aspects. If you commute often it is an ideal time to prepare and preview new music. Headphones with high isolation allow you to play the music loud without annoying other commuters. This also applies to when you are at home and don’t want to disturb your friends or family.
Closed-back headphones offer the highest level of isolation. With no vents or grilles, there are few ways for the sound to escape. Thick and secure ear padding that envelops your ear also adds to this buffering. If you are serious about DJing make sure to pick up a pair of headphones that offer solid isolation.
There are some other options available if you are on the lookout for budget DJ headphones. Here are some alternatives worth considering.
Sennheiser HD 25 Light Review
Sennheiser is another excellent brand that develops a range of audio gear. The HD 25 Light is their entry-level version of the popular HD 25. A great choice for DJs who want an affordable and capable set of cans.
- Excellent detail and clarity with plenty of punch on the low end.
- Impressive passive isolation thanks to a firm and secure clamping force.
- Lacks some nice-to-have features like a collapsible design and rotating cups.
Sennheiser HD 25 Light
Roland RH-5 Review
If you want some cheaper headphones the Roland RH-5 is a good option, especially for tracking and monitoring instruments.
- A dynamic sound that is ideally suited for electronic music instruments like keyboards and drums.
- Relaxed fit and long cable for maximum ergonomics.
- The ear padding is prone to early flaking.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO Review
The HD 200 Pro is a budget pair of headphones that offers plenty of value. A v-shaped sound profile along with solid isolation make these a great pair of headphones for casual listening or DJing.
- Super comfortable padding that easily adjusts to various head shapes.
- Replaceable ear cups add to the longevity of these affordable cans.
- The unbalanced sound profile makes these unsuitable for serious studio work.
Sennheiser HD 200 PRO
Should You Buy?
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is an exceptional pair of headphones. There are certainly better headphones out there but it is hard to find a worthy competitor at this price point. They offer excellent sound delivery. When you factor in the solid isolation it makes these a great pair of beginner DJ headphones.
Despite a few tiny shortcomings, these are easily one of the best budget DJ headphones available today.