Shure is one of the most respected brands in the audio space. They provide a vast array of high-quality products that are staples for DJs, recording artists, audio technicians, and more. In this review, we check out the super cheap SRH550DJ, Shure’s offering for budget-conscious DJs.
The Shure SRH550DJ does have a lot going for it, but as with any budget offering, there are some issues that you’ll need to factor in. Below are the highlights before we take a closer look.
It can be challenging to balance affordability with features, and cheap DJ headphones inevitably have some drawbacks. But, Shure has made an impressive effort at tackling this tricky balancing act. Let’s dive in.
I’ll be honest I didn’t expect much from headphones this cheap. At best, I was anticipating a pair of headphones that would be serviceable but somewhat lackluster. But any preconceived notions I had went out the window once I got to use the SRH550DJ.
The sound quality on offer is rather impressive for headphones in this price category. Noticeably the delivery was exceptionally clear and accurate.
DJ headphones tend to place extra emphasis on the lows and highs with a v-shaped curve. That is present here, but these are flatter than other options in the DJ space.
Lightweight cans that deliver excellent sound.
The low-end has enough body and thump to deliver a satisfying listening experience. But it doesn’t overshadow the mids or highs. It gels cohesively into a sound profile that is distinct and surprisingly precise.
With a range of 5Hz-22kHz and a sensitivity of 109dB, these do an excellent job at realizing punchy lows and crisp highs with a lot of headroom. But that is where I did encounter one issue.
At higher volumes, some distortion made its way into the sound profile. Note that this is primarily with specific equipment. There were no issues for regular use with smartphones and lowered-powered gear, but the moment you try to use these with gear that has greater amplification, you’ll encounter the problem. It’s a minor gripe but worth highlighting, depending on how you intend to use these cans.
To be fair, I’ve heard much better from other headphones. But those headphones also presented a price tag several multiples greater than what Shure is asking for here. As always, perspective is crucial, and when lined up against similar headphones, the Shure SRH550DJ leaves many of its competitors in the dust.
I have some high standards when it comes to comfort and headphones. For DJing, you want a pleasant experience that keeps you engaged in your set without any annoyance from your cans. Likewise, for casual listening, I spend a lot of time with headphones on for extended periods. In both situations, the Shure SRH550DJ performed well.
The large 50mm dynamic neodymium magnet drivers feature ear cups that are large enough to encase your ears entirely. The depth to the driver is also sufficient to ensure that your ears won’t be hitting the driver cover.
The padding on the earcups is also comfortable and adapts well to your head shape. It isn’t super dense and plush as other cans on the market but at this price more than acceptable.
The SRH550DJ features comfortable ear padding.
It features the usual pleather coating that most headphones in this price range offer. These pads are also replaceable, which is a bonus. But as with most closed-back cans, these do tend to trap heat. Expect sweaty ears over longer sessions.
The headband also offers some padding and is adjustable. Finding the right fit is quick and seamless. Clamping force isn’t excessive and helps deliver a decent grip and seal for more boisterous sessions behind the decks.
There is nothing remarkable or innovative here, but nothing to complain about either. These are cheap headphones that get the job done and provide a respectable level of comfort.
The Shure SRH550DJ closed-back headphones have been around for a while, and in some respects, they are showing their age on the design front. But equally, these still hold up decently, considering how old they are.
The dark gunmetal grey contrasts nicely with the black plastic. Adding some glossy plastic breaks it up further to add multiple points of interest to an otherwise standard-looking set of cans. Clever use of curves and indentations add to the appeal. A rather slick and attractive set of cans.
Headphone design has come a long way over the last decade; to some, these might be a little on the bland side. You’ll need to look elsewhere if you prefer flashier colors or more futuristic design elements. But I like the more restrained aesthetic that these headphones offer.
The swiveling earcups are great for one-ear monitoring.
Beyond appearance, these headphones also offer a collapsible design that is well suited to travel. The 90-degree swivel ear cups also enable one-ear monitoring. Two very DJ-focused features that I’m happy to see.
Passive isolation is also decent and able to block out some exterior noise. You’ll still struggle in very loud environments. The deep lows will find their way in, whether that is a club or on a train. But for a budget set of cans, these perform above average.
The Shure SRH550DJ also opts for a two-exit cable. This terminates centrally with a 1/8″ stereo mini jack. I like how the cable rests comfortably in the middle. It keeps the cable away from your hands, allowing you to focus on your gear and not have to swat away an errant cable.
This is the area where the SRH550DJ suffers the most. Shure has an excellent reputation for durable and long-lasting products. But with these, I can’t help but feel it is not up to their usual standards.
The cheap plastic is flimsy, and the headband does creak when strained. I can’t foresee these handling the rigors of frequent and aggressive use. I’ve seen worse, but I’ve also seen better.
Once again, perspective is critical in evaluating these. Budget headphones inherently will use cheaper materials to keep costs low, and you can’t expect them to be built tough. But even then, I feel Shure could have done a better job.
The SRH550DJ feels a little flimsy due to the lightweight plastic.
Having said that, they do come with a lengthy 2-year warranty, so my fears could be unfounded. Either way, I suggest you try your best to be gentle with these.
The straight cable is 6.56 ft. (2 m) in length but is also relatively thin and flimsy. Minimal shielding does mean it can be prone to interference, but depending on the complexity of your setup, this might not be an issue.
It is also worth noting that it is a hardwired cable. I would have preferred a detachable cable, but you can’t expect all the bells and whistles for headphones in this price bracket.
There is no denying that the Shure SRH550DJ headphones offer excellent value. These cheap headphones feature a sound profile miles ahead of many of their competitors.
The SRH550DJ comes with a convenient pouch.
There are cheaper cans out there, but I feel Shure has struck a decent balance between performance and affordability.
You’ll also gain a handy drawstring pouch. Once you collapse the headphones, they slide comfortably in, making them a compact choice for the traveling DJ. The included ¼-inch adapter is also a handy inclusion.
The majority of reviews lean towards the positive side for the Shure SRH550DJ headphones. Most applaud the impressive sound profile that is both clear and punchy. A few mention the cheaper feel of these cans, but they also appreciate that you can’t expect everything at this price.
Hardwired cables can be problematic as they can be an obvious failure point. If you happen to catch the cord on something and then proceed to exert pressure on the connection, it can cause irreparable damage.
Detachable cables mitigate this issue by simply disconnecting when placed under pressure. Some headphones will offer a bayonet-style clip that will lock the cable in place. This can also help prevent undue strain on the cable.
Keep your cable away from your hands, so it doesn’t interfere with your mixing.
But just because you have a pair of hardwired headphones doesn’t mean all is lost. My main tip is always to be conscious of your cable management. Avoid placing the cable where it could get caught on other items. A dangling cable is a recipe for disaster.
Some people employ a tactic to run the cable underneath your keyboard and have any excess cable lying on your lap or in front of your monitor. This method is especially useful if you have a hardwired cable that runs central to you, as the Shure SRH550DJ offers.
Wading through the glut of cheap headphones can be an exacerbating experience. So to save you the trouble, below you’ll find a selection of other DJ headphones worth considering.
512 Audio Academy Review
The 512 Audio Academy headphones are another budget-minded pair of cans. They offer a few extras over the SRH550DJ but are a little more expensive.
- A well-defined audio profile that is clear, detailed, and well-balanced.
- Two included cables for maximum flexibility and a hardshell case add to the value proposition.
- A bit bland in appearance compared to the SRH550DJ.
512 Audio Academy
KRK KNS 8402 Review
Stepping up a bit further in price is the KNS 8402 from KRK. If you are already familiar with and like the warm sound profile of KRK monitors, these should be on your list of options.
- Punchy and tight low-end with a warm sound profile that is engaging.
- The rigid and dependable plastic construction makes these more durable than the SRH550DJ.
- While pleasant to listen to, the sound profile is unbalanced, emphasizing the lows.
KRK KNS 8402
Mackie MC-350 Review
If the constraints of budget cans are putting you off, the MC-350 is worth exploring. While you’ll need to stretch your budget, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic set of DJ headphones.
- Vibrant and punchy sound with good balance. Ideal for DJing and casual listening.
- Secure fit ensures maximum passive isolation while retaining a high comfort level.
- Excellent accessories, but the microphone on one of the cables is below average.
Should You Buy?
Selecting a pair of budget cans is not an easy task. Sticking to a reputable brand like Shure is always a safe bet. While the SRH500DJ doesn’t quite live up to the lofty reputation of other Shure products, it is still a capable pair of headphones.
The sound profile is by far the most appealing aspect. It’s vibrant, detailed, and precise. A critical feature for when you are lining up your next mix. And at this price point, they are a value-focused buy that will get the job done.