Getting into DJing has become increasingly accessible thanks to a range of entry-level products. In this review, we check out the Tascam TH-02. An ultra-budget pair of DJ headphones. But are these affordable DJ headphones worth picking up in a crowded market? Read on to find out.
The Tascam TH-02 is a decent pair of headphones with some good features. But as with many headphones this cheap, they do have some issues that you need to consider.
Before diving into the review, it is worth highlighting how cheap these headphones are. While I critique all headphones equally, the super low price point is critical. You can’t expect the same level of quality as more expensive cans.
For headphones in this price range, the Tascam TH-02 performs very well. Typically cheap headphones lack fullness and clarity, but these are surprisingly well-rounded.
The low-end offer enough thump and kick to match beats, making them an enticing option for DJs looking for a cheap set of headphones. They are not as rich and refined as other choices, but they do a good job when stacked against other headphones at this price, they do a good job.
The Tascam TH-02 features a satisfying bass response.
The mids are well-defined and don’t come across as muddy or hollow. The highs also present well, but there is a distinct lack of precision. The highs can be a little harsh and sharp, especially with cymbals. Once again, these headphones are not exceptional, but certainly better than I expected from headphones this cheap.
The balance across frequencies is relatively neutral, without an overt emphasis on any particular frequency. This is usually a trait of more studio-focused cans, so it’s nice to see it in a DJ-friendly form.
With a frequency response of 18Hz-22kHz, they align with many of the other budget offerings. Some DJs prefer a greater emphasis on the low-end, but I feel Tascam has struck a decent balance. I just wish the highs were a little more refined.
These do an admirable job for a cheap set of DJ cans and are still much better than many consumer-focused options at this price point.
This is one area where the Tascam TH-02 presents some noticeable issues. DJ headphones must offer good comfort to keep you focused on your set. And unfortunately, these headphones have some fundamental flaws.
The most notable is the shallow and small ear cups. These are over-ear headphones, but due to the small cup size, they almost feel like a combination between on-ear and over-ear. I’ve got average-sized ears and finding that comfortable sweet spot was challenging, and I did find myself adjusting them regularly.
The ear cups are small and shallow.
The shallowness is also an issue. If you do manage to squeeze your ears in, it is highly likely you’ll be pressed up close to the drivers. My ears stick out a bit, so your mileage may vary.
The padding is decent on both the earcups and the headband and on par with many other headphones at this price point. Nothing remarkable but equally not horrible.
Breathability is quite good, but much of this is due to the lack of a tight seal, but more on that later. As for clamping force, these are quite firm. Combined with the awkward fit, people with glasses will likely find these unsuitable for longer sessions.
At 0.5 lbs. (227 grams), they also come in at around the average weight of most headphones. Weight distribution is pretty good, and there are no uncomfortable pressure points across the headband.
The Tascam TH-02 DJ headphones present a clean, straightforward design that isn’t obtrusive. The full black decor looks good and is a welcome change from some of the flashy and cheap-looking silver designs of other budget cans.
Beyond the white Tascam branding, there are no other accents. Plain and ordinary. Some may find them too simple but having seen many ugly-looking cans in my days, these present well.
The Tascam TH-02 features a simple design without many bells and whistles.
Looking past aesthetics, the Tascam TH-02 also offers some notable design decisions. The first is the cable. At 9.8 ft (3 m), this straight cable gives you plenty of length to play with. Well suited to a DJ setup. But the cable is not detachable. To be fair, I don’t expect detachable cables in this price bracket, but it is still worth highlighting if that is a feature you want from your headphones.
These headphones do offer a collapsible design. The smaller form factor is excellent for travel, but no case or bag is included. Once again not something I expect at this price point.
These closed-back DJ headphones offer some isolation, but the lack of a clean seal around your ears results in some sound getting in. If you mix at high volumes or at loud parties, you might struggle to block out exterior noise. But they don’t leak a lot of sound, making them a good choice if you don’t want people around you to hear what’s happening in your headphones.
These are simple and refined headphones with some great features for DJs, and at this price point, it is hard to be overly critical.
Unfortunately, this is another area where the Tascam TH-02 falls a little short. I’ve tested and reviewed a lot of cheap DJ headphones, and while these are not that far removed from some other choices, they are still noticeably inferior in feel.
The hinges on the Tascam TH-02 are not the most reliable.
The main concern here is the quality of the plastic and the hinges. The plastic creaks under pressure, more so than some other budget headphones I’ve tried out in the past. This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that these will be able to last in the long run.
The hinges also feel a little unstable and cheap. These are headphones you’ll need to handle with some level of care, and I can’t see these surviving long if you are rough with your cans.
But once again, this all needs to be put into perspective. These are not premium headphones. These budget cans get the job done but don’t offer the attention to detail you’ll find from more expensive options.
If there has been one recurring theme throughout this review, it is how cheap these headphones are. And it’s something that needs emphasis. It is hard to find a decent pair of headphones at this price point, and the natural result of a low price is a drop in quality.
But despite the super low price point, these have a lot to offer. They are also miles ahead of some consumer-level options on shelves today. If you need a cheap set of cans, these provide decent value for money.
While my review might be a little critical, several people have purchased the Tascam TH-02 and seen them for what they are. Cheap and capable headphones that are good enough for a range of tasks. And while many highlight how these are not the best quality, they also mention that it is hard to find better at this price point.
Pursue Your Hobby. No Matter What
One of the things I’ve observed across the DJ scene and even a variety of other hobbies is gatekeeping when it comes to equipment. People always say you can’t start with this or that and you’re wasting your time with cheaper products. And I have to disagree.
Equipment quality should not be a barrier for someone getting into a hobby. We all need to start somewhere. And not everyone can invest hundreds or thousands of dollars from the outset.
You don’t need the best equipment to get into DJing.
I began my DJ journey with computer software and then moved on to a super-cheap DJ controller and a pair of budget cans. These cheaper products didn’t hold me back, and I continued to evolve and learn even with cheap gear. In time I’ve upgraded but still look back fondly on those early days.
The worst thing you can ever do is hold yourself back because of what you or others perceive as the “right” way to get into a hobby. If I had listened, I might have never started DJing in the first place. So don’t hold back.
A cheap pair of cans like the Tascam TH-02 will do the job. And I’d much prefer you to get started and enjoy yourself rather than put your dreams off due to the perceived gear you should own. Skill and passion translate no matter what equipment you use.
There is some heavy competition in the budget DJ headphone market. Below are some other options worth considering.
AKG K72 Review
Stepping up slightly in price opens up the AKG K72 as an option. This aggressively priced pair of headphones offers noticeable improvements in some areas, making it an appealing choice.
- Large and generously-sized earcups with good padding. Excellent comfort level.
- Better isolation than the Tascam TH-02 makes it more dependable for DJing.
- The low-end response is slightly underwhelming and less complete than the Tascam TH-02.
Audio Technica ATH-M20x Review
Audio-Technica is another well-known brand that offers fantastic headphones. The entry-level ATH-M20x delivers on the sound front while maintaining an approachable price.
- A balanced sound profile makes these good for DJing and light studio work.
- Clean and professional design along with solid isolation.
- These do feature exposed wires from the ear cups that can catch on things.
Audio Technica ATH-M20x
512 Audio Academy Review
The last option I’d like to highlight does stretch the boundaries of budget cans. But these are still affordable headphones and worth the extra money you’ll need to spend.
- Excellent build quality and a fantastic range of included accessories. Excellent value for money.
- Rich and detailed sound profile that provides plenty of clarity.
- Much like the Tascam TH-02, these are a bit bland in appearance.
512 Audio Academy
Should You Buy?
I’ll have to admit I’m a little torn when it comes to the Tascam TH-02. On the one hand, it has some notable issues. Below-average isolation, low comfort level, and cheap construction are concerns.
But then I look at the price point and realize how much these get right while maintaining one of the cheapest entry points to DJ headphones. They offer a better sound profile than you would expect and a clean, functional design. And at its price point, it is hard to find anything comparable that can beat them.
So if you want to stretch your budget to the max, the Tascam TH-02 is a good option. A solid choice that can serve as a stepping stone to a better pair down the line.