How We Test Products

Our goal at has always been to provide high-quality advice and content that helps everybody, from beginners to seasoned veterans.

Comprehensive research is at the heart of our process, but we also have stringent testing and rating criteria that we apply to all products we review. After decades in the industry and an extensive network of friends, colleagues, and industry experts, we are in a prime position to put these products to the test.

The results of our testing help us put together our comprehensive guides on the wide world of DJ, studio, and live performance gear. It’s also the basis of our detailed product reviews.

This page delves deeper into what we look for once we have selected a product to review. We cover a broad range of products, and each category offers its own unique nuances that we factor in.

The result is advice that we can confidently stand behind, knowing that we have put every product through its paces before we give it our stamp of approval or our warning to steer clear.

DJ Controllers

How We Tests DJ Controllers

DJ controllers are a significant part of our site and a segment of the DJ gear scene we are incredibly passionate about. We thoroughly analyze what a controller has to offer to both new and established DJs. We conduct a rigorous testing process that involves countless hours of hands-on time.

When we back a product, you can be sure it has gone through extensive testing to ensure that when you hand over your hard-earned money, you can be confident that you are buying an excellent product.

  • Layout – The layout of a DJ controller can make or break a controller. It needs a logical layout that encourages a smooth workflow while giving you, the DJ, access to extensive features at your fingertips. Everybody’s workflow differs, so we leverage our DJ friends to gain further insight beyond our hands-on testing.
  • Build Quality – This is another critical area in our testing. DJ controllers can be expensive, so we always check how the controller holds up long-term. We assess the quality of every part of a DJ controller. The knobs, faders, jogwheels, connections, and screens, if applicable. We also ensure to come back and update reviews if we come across any new issues as time goes by.
  • Software – DJ software is a fundamental component of a DJ controller, so we take time to assess the quality of the included software, including testing the controller with multiple DJ software platforms. Critical factors like user interface, features, stability, and feature integration with the DJ controller are at the forefront of our testing.
  • Connectivity – In our testing, we also assess how flexible the controller is. We test all inputs and outputs, focusing on ensuring seamless integration in various potential setups. Critical assessments like connection options and low latency are also key testing points.
  • Value – Whether it is an entry-level budget controller or a top-of-the-line offering, each controller needs to provide value for money. We all work hard for our money and expect the gear we buy to represent good value. We carefully weigh up features and build quality with the price to determine if the DJ controller is worth your attention.


Headphones are one of the most popular pieces of gear that we review and cover the needs of both DJs and studio professionals. Each set of headphones needs to pass our base-level tests. Still, there are some critical differences in what we look for depending on its intended purpose. This ensures we test the essential areas that are most valuable to meet your needs.

How We Test DJ Headphones

DJ Headphones

Beyond decks/controllers, a DJ’s headphones are the next most important piece of gear. We assess DJ headphones from a strict perspective of whether they are suitable and up to the challenge of handling the demands of a working DJ. We achieve this by testing the headphones ourselves, along with leveraging our network of professional DJs to provide us with further feedback.

  • Sound Quality – DJ headphones must offer excellent sound quality so the DJ can distinctly hear the song and execute their mix accordingly. An emphasis on clarity, defined bass, and appropriate volume levels are the major sections we test when assessing sound quality.
  • Comfort – Spending hours behind the decks can take its toll, so each pair of DJ headphones we test is assessed on how comfortable it is. This involves using the headphones for long mixing sessions, evaluating the ear pads, headband, and heat build-up.
  • Isolation – DJ headphones need to be able to isolate you from the outside world so that you can prepare for your next transition. We test the strength of the isolation under increasingly louder environments to suggest the best use case for each pair of DJ headphones.
  • DJ-Friendly Features – DJs have specific needs that not all headphones offer. We assess if the headphones offer extra DJ-friendly features like swiveling earcups for one-ear monitoring, adjustable headbands for maximum comfort, cable flexibility, and transport-friendly features like a collapsible design.
  • Durability – DJ headphones tend to take quite a beating, so each pair of DJ headphones we test needs to pass stringent build quality standards. We assess the long-term durability of the frame, hinges, ear cups, ear padding, and connections to ensure the headphones can handle the rigors of frequent use.
How We Test Studio Headphones

Studio Headphones

While there are some similar testing methods to DJ headphones, studio headphones must also meet a range of vastly different criteria. Additionally, these headphones can serve multiple purposes: monitoring, producing, mixing, or mastering. After our detailed testing, we aim to identify what each pair of studio headphones is ideal for and how well they perform in that task.

  • Neutrality – Studio headphones need to offer accurate sound so that you can make confident decisions when monitoring, producing, mixing, and mastering. We assess the frequency response and identify any peaks and dips that can impact the overall sound signature of the headphones.
  • Sound Stage – The sound stage is another critical element that we test. We assess studio headphones on how well they offer a true-to-life listening experience that retains authenticity and can mimic what the source will sound like when played through speakers.
  • Technical Design – Studio headphones cover a broad range of options. Closed-back options are perfect for monitoring, while open-back options offer an airy sound well-suited to production, mixing, and mastering. When testing studio headphones, we identify what elements of the technical design impact on what role the headphones are ideal for.
  • Construction – While studio headphones might not take as much punishment as DJ headphones, they still need to be able to handle hours upon hours of use daily. We test the quality of the construction but also assess the quality and availability of replacement components that help extend the headphones’ lifespan.
  • Comfort – This is one area where studio and DJ headphones have much in common regarding our testing. Once again, we spend a long time wearing the headphones to gauge comfort levels. This is also where we leverage our network of friends and colleagues to gain a more holistic overview of comfort levels across various head shapes and situations.

DJ Mixers

How We Test DJ Mixers

DJ Mixers are the heart and soul of a professional DJ setup. Due to how critical they are, we aim to test all the vital areas of the mixer to ensure it meets the demands of a professional setting. We test mixers in-house but also contact our network of DJ professionals for additional testing data that helps inform our reviews and analysis.

  • Ergonomics – Every mixer must encourage a smooth, logical workflow with easy access to all relevant features. We spend hours using the mixer ourselves. But every DJ is different, so we also check in with our network to see if the layout is appropriate for their needs.
  • Connectivity – High-quality connection points and an extensive selection of choices are priorities for a professional DJ mixer. We test each connection point to ensure the mixer can handle simple and complex setups.
  • Sound Quality – Sound is crucial whether the mixer is an analog or digital option. We assess the sound quality via multiple music styles and connection configurations to determine how good the mixer sounds in various settings.
  • Feature Set – We test each mixer to determine how much functionality and creative freedom it offers a DJ. Much of this focuses on FX access and quality but encompasses other elements like EQ and Fader quality.
  • Production Quality – The quality of the materials, along with the overall durability of the mixer, is a top testing criterion. DJ mixers are tactile instruments that must be able to handle the rigors of frequent use. Beyond our internal assessments, we reach out to our industry network for further feedback on longevity based on real-world applications.


How We Test Loudspeakers

Loudspeakers undergo a thorough testing process to ensure they meet the demands of the working mobile DJ or band. We have established testing sites that we utilize and frequently engage with our network of DJs and musicians to expand the range of testing situations to attain a detailed insight into the key areas we test.

  • Sound Balance – Whether playing for a small gathering or a party with hundreds of people, you want premium-quality sound. We assess tonal balance across various situations, emphasizing clean bass, lively mids, and crisp highs.
  • Volume – Total power and output potential are other critical areas we assess. Ample headroom and enough coverage are essential to a quality loudspeaker. We also test the upper limits of each loudspeaker to uncover any distortion issues or aggressive degradation of sound quality due to internal protections.
  • Tuning Flexibility – Every gig presents new challenges. We assess each loudspeaker’s flexibility and effectiveness to adapt to different scenarios. This will involve testing all available tuning options while also evaluating the quality of life features like remote control.
  • Portability – Years of transporting gear have given us an appreciation for portability. We assess each loudspeaker not only on how heavy it is but also on how it compares to similar options. We also test handle placement and quality to gauge how ergonomic it is to transport and set up each loudspeaker.
  • Design – Appearances matter in a professional setting, as does technical design. We assess the loudspeaker’s appearance and its functional design features like installation flexibility and connection options.


Subwoofers play an essential role in both live sound applications and home studios. In both situations, we address critical testing areas to assess whether a subwoofer is worth investing in. But there are some vital differences between studio and PA subwoofers.

How We Test PA Subwoofers

PA Subwoofers

PA subwoofers help flesh out the lower frequencies to alleviate pressure on your loudspeakers and extend depth and definition. When assessing PA subwoofers, we test the following areas.

  • Bass Definition – The key role of a PA subwoofer is to provide high-quality bass response. We assess the bass’s depth and quality by testing various music genres with extensive low-end frequencies to determine how refined the bass output is.
  • Distortion – Muddy tonality and distortion are other critical testing criteria. The PA subwoofer should be able to deliver premium sound quality without excessive distortion or tonal degradation.
  • Volume Capacity – PA subwoofers need to be able to fill a space with satisfying output levels. Much like loudspeakers, we test PA subwoofers in indoor and outdoor spaces to assess their real-life potential to offer earth-shattering bass.
  • Installation Options – Whether you are a mobile DJ/band or are looking to install a complete in-house system, the flexibility of installation choices is vital. To assess their potential applications, we test all mounting options, including stand and flight.
  • Manufacturing Quality – While build quality is a fundamental testing criterion across all products, PA subwoofers, in particular, need to pass stringent quality tests. PA subwoofers undergo a lot of pressure and movement by design, so the quality of the cabinet and woofer is essential.
How We Test Studio Subwoofers

Studio Subwoofers

Studio subwoofers serve the same purpose as a PA subwoofer: to deliver increased bass response and definition to low-end frequencies. But unlike PA subwoofers, studio subwoofers present different goals and must pass additional testing criteria.

  • Tonal Integrity – A studio subwoofer must retain authenticity within its bass response. We test for clarity and precision and assess if the subwoofer over-hypes the low-end, which can impact decisions in a studio setting.
  • Flexible Tuning – Much like studio monitors, the subwoofer should be able to handle different situations. We test all available tuning options for effectiveness and usefulness.
  • Cabinet Construction – A studio subwoofer’s cabinet is crucial for how well the unit can handle low frequencies. We test for durability but also investigate the technical design of the cabinet, including bass ports, to assess if it encourages clean bass delivery.
  • Dimensions – While some natural dimensions come with different woofer sizes, brands also have a lot of variance. We test how easy it would be to integrate the subwoofer into a studio space, including varying placement positions.

PA Systems

How We Test PA Systems

PA systems cover a broad selection of products. After decades in the industry, we have developed a thorough testing process for each subsection of products. This allows for a more flexible and accurate approach to each product with a keen eye for its intended application. Some key considerations we focus on are below.

  • Fit For Purpose – Each PA system offers a distinct purpose. We test each PA system to determine how well it achieves its intended purpose. This includes several tests often unique to a specific system. Still, all revolve around the question, “Does this PA System fulfill its purpose?”
  • Sound Signature – Sound quality is an essential testing criterion and involves testing with both pre-recorded and live sound. We test for tonal balance and dynamics across a broad range of genres.
  • Transport Potential – PA systems need to meet our transportability tests. We assess how easy the unit is to transport and set up and factor in crucial features like size, weight, and quality of life features like carrying bags and handles.
  • Output Level – Much like loudspeakers, the potential output level is another important test we conduct. With a distinct focus on its intended application, we test volume, dispersion, and tonal integrity.
  • Inputs & Outputs – Connectivity is at the heart of a PA system, so we conduct a series of tests on the number, flexibility, and usefulness of available inputs and outputs. For systems with Bluetooth, we also test range and connection stability and look for any degradation in sound quality.


How We Test Microphones.

There is a vast array of microphones on the market and an even more significant disparity in quality. We internally test microphones and work closely with our network of industry professionals to gather deeper insights into critical areas that we may be unable to test. Below are the key sections we assess.

  • Application Potential – Each microphone goes through a thorough testing process to identify the key areas where the microphone excels and the scope of what you could use the microphone for.
  • Sound Profile – Every microphone offers a unique sound signature that might be ideal for some but a lousy choice for others. We leverage our network of industry professionals to get a holistic view of the tonal qualities of the microphone and whom it will serve best.
  • Feature Selection – Microphones can offer multiple polar patterns, filters, and pads, which can enhance functionality. We test each feature to see if it adds value and contributes to the microphone’s potential.
  • Robustness – The delicate components of microphones mean that they need to have appropriate levels of build quality to ensure longevity. We assess the housing, internal component quality, and overall durability.
  • Comparability – Microphones range in price and can suffer from diminishing returns. We compare each microphone to similarly priced options and assess how well the microphone balances price with features and performance.

Studio Monitor Stands

How We Test Studio Monitor Stands

Stands can play a pivotal role in a studio. They help elevate your studio monitors to the correct height but can also offer decoupling features. Considering how much trust we place in studio monitor stands, we are especially critical of some key areas.

  • Stability – The most important feature we test is how stable the studio monitor stand is. The stand should be able to sit securely on the floor or desk without a significant risk of tipping.
  • Height Flexibility – You need height-flexible stands to attain the correct height for your monitors. We test how easy it is to adjust the studio monitor stand’s height and total range. 
  • Surface Adaptability – We test studio monitor stands on a range of surfaces. For floor stands, this will involve testing on wooden floors, carpets of varying pile height and types, and tiles.
  • Load Capacity – Testing the capacity of the studio monitor stand is essential to ensure that the recommended weight range listed by the manufacturer is accurate. We utilize various studio monitors and weights to push the stand to its limits.
  • Material Quality – The stand itself should offer robust, durable, and dependable construction. We stress test the frame, top plate, and any included isolation material.

Studio Monitor Isolation Pads

How We Test Studio Monitor Isolation Pads

Much like studio monitor stands, isolation pads can add much-needed decoupling of your monitors from surfaces. When testing studio monitor isolation pads, we place added focus on the following areas.

  • Absorption Quality – We run extensive testing on how well the isolation pad decouples from surfaces and how well it absorbs vibrations. We utilize different monitors and sound levels to determine the isolation pad’s potential.
  • Longevity – Many isolation pads feature foam as a core component. We stress-test the foam’s durability and any additional components. This might include rubber and plastic. 
  • Tilt Options – Some isolation pads feature tilt flexibility to angle your monitors. We test the range of tilt available and whether the isolation pad retains good stability and grip on your monitor when tilted.
  • Value For Money – Our testing features a value category. We assess and determine how much value the isolation stand offers compared to other choices on the market and whether the balance between price and features is good.

Studio Monitors

How We Test Studio Monitors

Studio monitors are an integral part of any studio, whether that is a project home studio or a full professional-grade location. We test studio monitors in our studio, but we also engage with our broader network of industry professionals to attain further feedback and expand the scope of our assessments in the below vital areas.

  • Frequency Response – Accuracy is the name of the game and takes center stage in our testing. We assess studio monitors on whether they can accurately represent the source material. Using high-quality audio sources, we test a range of diverse genres to see how the monitor handles the whole frequency range.
  • Acoustic Controls – Every studio is different, so we test a monitor’s flexibility to adapt to various spaces. This involves testing across multiple studios, but we also assess the range of tuning controls available and how effective they are in tackling common sound issues in studio spaces.
  • Application Versatility – We also test studio monitors for their potential to integrate into various studio settings. Elements like connection options, port locations, and tuning flexibility inform these decisions, but the real test comes from engaging with our network to see how the monitor performs in often complex studio configurations.
  • Build Quality – Dependability is another important category that we test. We assess and check connection points, protection circuitry, the durability and design of the cabinet, and the drivers’ quality.
  • Value For Money – Studio monitors vary dramatically in pricing. Each studio monitor is tested and assessed within the framework of other similar-priced options. Our testing helps uncover whether a monitor is excellent value or overpriced for what it offers.