If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best DJ headphones are, then we recommend the Audio-Technica ATH M50x as the best one.
DJ headphones are one of the most important pieces of gear you will own. The amount of time you spend with them on your head will be massive. Owning a pair of pro DJ headphones is an investment all DJs should make, even if you are a beginner.
In this article, we’re going to review the following DJ headphones:
- Audio Technica ATH M50x
- Sennheiser HD 25
- V MODA Crossfade LP2
- Pioneer HDJ-1500
- Sony MDR 7506
- Sennheiser HD280PRO
There is a staggering amount of choice out there and an even bigger range of prices but not all DJ headphones are created equal. So what are the best headphones for DJs? Let’s dive into the details.
Open Back VS Closed Back Headphones
Before we get into the individual reviews there are a few things worth considering when it comes to the top DJing headphones available. Firstly the difference between open back headphones and closed back. Check out the video below that goes over the main differences.
In this review, we have selected the best closed back headphones. Closed back models isolate the DJ from exterior noise. This helps you beatmatch your tracks correctly without exterior noise distracting you. Been able to concentrate on your mix is critical to your success at mastering the art of DJing. This is why we consider these choices to be the best headphones for mixing.
Open back headphones allow air to escape from the headphones which will give you a better overall sound experience. This is usually achieved through some form of vents. This means that exterior noise can also make its way in. When trying to beatmatch this can make it more difficult to concentrate on your mix.
There are some more differences between the two types and if you want to find out more we have an in-depth guide available here.
Buying professional DJ headphones is well worth the investment. Unlike normal headphones, they will take a beating from you constantly moving them on and off your head. They hang around your neck and also get twisted for single-ear monitoring. A cheap pair of headphones will quickly begin to fall apart or even break. The padding may begin to wear out sooner than you would like as well.
Some of those headphones are reasonable for people who are looking for budget DJ headphones. They can even be useful for people who plan to not spend a huge amount of time mixing. Some can even be fine as cheap DJ headphones to have around as a backup.
In the reviews below we have avoided these cheaper headphones and stuck to headphones that can last the distance.
You’ll also not find any wireless DJ headphones or Bluetooth DJ headphones on this list. You will also not find any DJ headphones with microphone built-in. These tend to be more gaming headsets rather than DJ headphones. For the most accurate and reliable headphones, it’s best to stick to traditional dedicated DJ headphones.
The other thing worth considering when it comes to the top DJ headphones is how comfortable they are. As mentioned you’ll spend a lot of time with them on your head. You want your time on the decks to be as enjoyable as possible. Having a pair of headphones that dig into your head or are generally uncomfortable is not what you want.
Things to look out for is comfortable ear padding. Some manufacturers excel in choosing only the best materials for their ear pads. Others see it as one of the sections where cost cuts can be made. I still remember how quickly the ear pads wore out on my first pair of headphones. While you can pick up replacement pads it’s that extra bit of extra hassle I didn’t want when I was saving up for better gear.
It’s also important to assess how they feel when you only have them on one ear. All the headphones we have selected for this list operate well as one ear DJ headphones.
Allocating a budget for your headphones can be a little tricky. You want to make sure you get the best DJ controller possible. However, a set of good quality headphones is just as important.
A quality pair of DJ headphones is a critical part of a DJs gear.
If you are on a tight budget try to avoid buying cheap DJ headphones as you’ll end up spending more in the long term. If you’re on a tight budget aim to get the best budget DJ headphones you can afford. If you do spend a little more you’ll find the lifespan to money spent will be far better.
Of course, no pair of headphones is indestructible and all headphones will succumb to the wear and tear from constant use. Investing in a quality pair from the outset will delay this as much as possible.
This part is often overlooked. Much like all your equipment treat your headphones with care. Having an adequate bag or case for your headphones will prevent dust from finding its way into the drivers. This will increase the lifespan of your headphones.
Also, be careful with the cables. One of the most common faults in headphones comes from the cable connection getting damaged. I tend to get excited when mixing and often find myself grooving away. There have been times I’ve yanked on the cable by accident. Try to avoid this as much as possible, not the grooving part but the yanking part 😉
What’s In The Box
Speaking of bags, cases, and cables. It’s worth checking what your headphones come with when buying. Extras like a bag or case can save you having to spend more. Good cable options are also something to keep an eye out for. Often there will be a coiled or straight cable. Sometimes it may even include both to not only give you choice but also a backup.
Connection type is also important. If your DJ gear can only take a ¼ inch jack you need to aim to get headphones that have that type of connection. Some headphones will come with adapters to solve this problem.
Best Headphones For DJing
The reviews below do mention bass quite a few times as this really helps with beatmatching. If you’re looking for the best headphones for EDM music this list has you covered. So let’s get stuck into some of the best DJ headphones currently available. You can also click through to the individual DJ headphones reviews for further info.
Audio Technica ATH M50x Review (4.5 Stars)
These stylish Audio Technica DJ headphones are a popular choice for DJs. Offering an impressive soundscape that manages to do what few headphones do in its price range. Offering clear and crisp sound that is appropriate for DJ use, personal use and even applicable to the studio environment.
- Fantastic Sound Quality – One of the trickiest parts for DJ headphones to master. The balance between good bass without losing quality in the mids and highs. The ATH M50x delivers on this front for a pleasant listening experience.
- Solid Bass – The bass is right in the sweet spot. Good for DJs to help with beatmatching. Not overbearing like some popular mainstream brands of consumer headphones.
- Color Choices – Black not your thing? Never fear there is a great range of colors to choose from. Been able to express your personal style via your headphones is a great benefit.
- Detachable Cable – Offering two cable options (coiled and straight). The cord is detachable and is locked into place with a clever twist mechanism. This means they can’t be unplugged while you’re in the middle of a set.
- Good Build Quality – Solid construction means these can handle constant use.
- Comfort – I found these to be comfortable to wear even for extended periods of time. I have heard if you do have a particularly large head you may find these a little uncomfortable.
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Sennheiser HD 25 Review (4.5 Stars)
You’ll likely have seen these Sennheiser DJ headphones on the heads of some of the world’s top DJs and for good reason. They have stood the test of time as one of if not the best on-ear DJ headphones on the market.
- Lightweight – One of the biggest benefits is the lightweight feel of the headphones. This makes them great if you plan on long sessions with these on your head.
- Durable – You would think the lightweight design would result in headphones that break easily. That’s not the case and make these DJ headphones best suited for the traveling DJ.
- Replaceable Parts – All the components are replaceable. So even if something were to go wrong you won’t be up for a whole new pair of headphones.
- Excellent Sound – A good balance across all the frequency ranges. While the bass may not please everyone they do deliver a solid flat sound.
- Ear Pads – Thes on-ear design can result in a little bit of sweating and are prone to wearing out. Various earpad options are available but keep this in mind if your studio gets hot.
- Design – This is subjective but they are not the most stylish headphones available. A classic example of function over design. For those looking to make more of a statement with their headphones, they may not be the best choice.
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|>> FULL SENNHEISER HD 25 REVIEW <<|
V MODA Crossfade LP2 Review (4 Stars)
The V Moda Crossfade LP2 headphones offer a distinctive design with a powerful punch. The 50mm Dual-Diaphragm Drivers offer impressive sound. For DJs, the punchy bass will be appealing and that is where they shine. Beyond the DJ they are good for general listening but do leave a bit to be desired if you plan on using them for studio work.
- Great Sound For DJs – Sporting an inner and outer ring the sound never feels muddy. There is an emphasis on the bass but not in that tacky “bass-boosted” style you get from cheaper headphones. That bass emphasis is helpful when trying to beatmatch.
- Durable Construction – With an aluminum headband, these can take a beating. I’ve never been concerned I was going to break them which is a testament to the build quality.
- Customizable – The sides can be customized with shield kits in a range of colors and styles. Adding that personal touch to your headphones is a great addition. They are also one of the only options if you’re looking for custom DJ headphones.
- Kevlar Cords – Rugged kevlar wrapped cords is also a nice addition. This once again shows that these are built to last.
- Case Included – Not that I think it is needed considering how tough these are but a hardshell case is also included. Handy if you do want to travel with them.
- Not Great For Studio Use – As a DJ good bass is what I want but when it comes to mixing and mastering these are not ideal. The mids do leave a bit to be desired and the punchy bass can make monitoring tricky.
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Pioneer HDJ-1500 Review (4 Stars)
The HDJ-1500 Pioneer DJ headphones are the successor to the ever-popular 1000s. They were one of the industry-standard headphones for many years. Pioneer has continued the tradition of offering quality products at a variety of price points. These headphones are a solid choice for DJs.
- Nice and Loud – These headphones pack a serious punch. If you love your music loud and want to still be able to cue up your next mix you’ll appreciate the increased volume.
- Solid Isolation – It certainly becomes evident these were made with the DJ in mind. Loud and also very well isolated.
- Good Build Quality – The 1000s had a history of breaking especially at the hinge. Luckily Pioneer has addressed this. Even though they are plastic these will be able to take much more of a beating before they break.
- Color Options – The base design is quite stylish and understated but can be jazzed up with silver and gold option. Personally, the gold is a bit much for me but still good to have that choice.
- Excellent Sound Quality – Good sound across all frequency ranges. No particular frequency takes center stage. This sound reproduction lends itself well for accurate mixes.
- Ear Padding – While not terrible the earpads on the more expensive HDJ-2000s are superior. They are still comfortable though.
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Sony MDR 7506 Review (3.5 Stars)
The MDR 7506 Sony DJ headphones have been around for a long time. How long? All the way back to 1991. The fact that these headphones still make the list is a testament to the quality these headphones provide. While they are a good affordable option they are starting to show their age.
- Good Mids and Highs – These headphones excel at the mid and high-frequency range. The crisp definition will bring out the finest details which are useful for DJs who mix songs that have a heavy emphasis on these frequencies.
- Powerful Drivers – The 40mm drivers do pack a punch and are quite loud. Full closed back isolation also helps encase you when preparing your next transition.
- Cord Length – A long 9.8ft coiled cable is included with a unimatch plug for ¼ and ⅛ inch jack support. The long cable allows you to move about while mixing but can be a bit much if you want to take them outside of your home studio.
- Translates to Production – Due to the emphasis on the mid and high-frequency range, these lend themselves to production. These are a good choice if you want to move beyond DJing without investing in another set of headphones.
- Lacking in Bass – While the mids and highs are great the bass isn’t so great. The bass is there but it doesn’t take center stage like other headphones available. If you love your bass these may not be the best choice.
- Outdated Design – Made from mainly plastic and with no swivel options its functionality for the modern DJ is a little lacking. I’ve seen photos of my fashion choices in the early 90s so I’m willing to cut them some slack for this.
- Ear Padding – These headphones are fairly comfortable but the padding is not the best. You may need to invest in better ear pads down the track.
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Sennheiser HD280PRO Review (3.5 Stars)
The Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones are another solid closed back option for DJs. While it is lacking in the bass the extra features it offers may be too much to resist for some. It offers an understated all-black design which some will like while others will find a little on the boring side. Good sound quality for a reasonable price makes these a decent option for beginner DJs.
- Comfortable – These headphones are very comfortable. The good quality ear padding is backed up by plush headband padding. Do note if your head is a little on the bigger side it will take a little while for these to settle.
- Shines in the Mids – The mids are fantastic on these. Clear defined sound no matter what genre of music you are playing.
- Good Isolation – The closed back design coupled with the ear padding give these great passive noise isolation. When you have your speakers loud you’ll appreciate still been able to tee up your next mix accurately.
- Solid Build – While still made from plastic they are solid and can take a beating. They fold up as well for easy transport.
- Replaceable Parts – The earpads, headband padding, and cable are all replaceable. This can extend the life of your headphones without having to buy a new pair.
- The Highs and Lows – While the mids are great the lows do leave a bit to be desired. While I can appreciate the flatter response, as a DJ bass does play a big role in my mixing. Highs are also a little odd. They are crisp but a little “too” crisp to the point of sounding a little harsh especially at higher volumes.
- Heavy Cable – The long coiled cable is convenient but is quite weighty which can put pressure on the connection. If you have these dangling from your DJ setup you will notice the weight which could cause connection issues down the track.
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Headphones are such a personal component of a DJs gear. It’s also one of the pieces of gear that can be used in other parts of your DJing life. You may take them with you on the commute to work to listen and review new music. You may also use them for listening to TV shows and movies.
All the headphones in our review are strong contenders for my top recommendation. If you don’t care what your headphones look like and want a flat soundscape I’d suggest the classic Sennheiser HD 25.
However, as a DJ I need a bit of kick in the low end which really helps when beatmatching as well as just generally enjoying the music. As a result, I’d recommend the Audio-Technica ATH M50x as the best option amongst headphones in a similar price range.
They offer great sound and build quality to make sure your headphones can survive the constant use. The punchy bass will please nearly everyone except for those who want to blow their eardrums out! A functional locking mechanism on the cable along with color options make it a stand out choice for all DJs from beginners to pros.