Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate or an expert DJ, headphones are something you’ll absolutely need. While you can experiment with regular headphones or iPhone earbuds or even ‘ride waveforms’ using your tablet or laptop while mixing, you’ll put yourself at a significant disadvantage. Wondering why? Well, the answer is simple and straightforward.
Regular headphones don’t have the required bass response, noise isolation and clarity for a disc jockey. Therefore, they are not useful for mixing in noisy places. DJ headphones or professional headphones are specialized monitoring equipment that are best suited for DJs. Regular headphones can make beat mixing challenging as you’re unable to clearly hear what you’re cuing next.
In this comprehensive guide to the best DJ headphones, we’ll list the top 8 best headphones for DJing on the market currently. We’ll list their features, pros and cons, and so on. We’ll also cover ground on factors you should consider while buying DJ headphones. Keep reading to know more.
How We Reviewed the Best Headphones for DJing
Our professional headphones experts shortlisted over 20 DJ headphones on the market and tested each to understand their features as well as pros and cons. They also read over 1000 reviews and ratings by existing customers to understand their experience with each of the headphones.
After thoroughly testing all products, our experts finally narrowed down their choice to 8 best DJ headphones (we’ll discuss them in the upcoming section.)
Factors You Should Consider While Buying DJ Headphones
Before moving to the individual product reviews, let’s quickly look at some key factors you should consider while buying DJ headphones:
We’re not talking about the accuracy of sound production here. DJ headphones should deliver crisp highs and enhanced lows. When mixing, you’re paying utmost attention to hi-hats, kick drums and snares, not the minute sound-related details. In technical terms, DJ headphones should have:
- Drivers that are at least 40 mm or larger for thunderous lows.
- A frequency range between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. You can go a little higher, but it’s not required.
- An impedance of 25 ohms or more.
- Maximum input rating. The higher the input rating, the lesser will be the distortion at higher volumes.
No matter how long you’re wearing them, DJ headphones should be ‘comfortable.’ Make sure you check the following before buying DJ headphones:
- Quality of the ear pads.
- Padding in the headband area.
- Adjustment options.
- Replaceable ear pads and cables.
Around the neck, over-the-head, the single-hand-single-ear hold ― DJs have a bit of constantly twisting and playing with their headphones during a performance. So, make sure you buy durable DJ headphones that can bear the unintentional abuse. Make sure you check the following:
- The quality of the materials used.
- Strength of the hinges and joints.
Portability and Weight
While bulky DJ headphones come with a rugged look, they’re not easy to handle while you’re performing on the stage. Most top-rated DJ headphones are made of aluminum, magnesium and titanium to make them lightweight.
Headphones with more than one cord are not DJ headphones. Professional headphones or DJ headphones have a single-cord design for minimizing booth accidents and tangles.
Best DJ Headphones of 2020 – Our Top 8 Picks
Before we deep-dive into the detailed reviews of our top 8 best DJ headphones, here’s a quick overview of our choices:
- Best All-Rounder DJ Headphones – Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- Best Affordable DJ Headphones – Tascam TH-02
- Best Premium DJ Headphones – Sennheiser HD 700
- Best Noise Isolation DJ Headphones – Status Audio CB-1
- Best Live-Suited DJ Headphones – Pioneer HDJ-1500-S
- Best Studio DJ Headphones – Sennheiser HD280PRO
- Most Comfortable DJ Headphones – Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K
- Best Open-Back DJ Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: Best All-Rounder DJ Headphones
- Value for money
- Sturdily built, durable
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Detachable headphone cables
- Mids are a little more balanced so they provide better sound separation
- Bundled in a hard case for easy travel
- Good for monitoring and gaming
- Have better bass than the M40x
- Do not require batteries
- The headphones block out ambient noise well
- Some users have mentioned that the headphones have a very narrow soundstage
- Some users have also mentioned that the headphones’ jack comes with a locking mechanism
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones are extremely popular among DJs. Don’t be surprised if you notice famous DJs wearing these headphones around their neck.
The 45 mm large-aperture drivers comprise rare earth magnets and they’re connected and powered by copper-covered aluminum wire voice coils. The result ― a clear, crisp and flat response. While your regular headphones provide you with a great experience by configuring the sound or enhancing the bass, good-quality DJ headphones don’t put in a lot of effort to mold the sound.
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones provide you with a frequency response between 15 Hz and 28 kHz, that is more than what you typically need for an average mix. When it comes to impedance, the headphones work at 38 W. Apart from the sound performance, the headphones come with a sturdy built, properly contoured ear pads, 90-degree swiveling ear cups, and great comfort.
While they sound perfect, they feel comfortable on your ears and are less prone to breakage. Our experts simply loved the stylish black rubberized PVC exterior finish and the velvety lining.
Read the Full Audio Technica ATH-M50x Review
2. Tascam TH-02: Best Affordable DJ Headphones
- Affordable, budget-friendly
- Foldable design to carry them easily
- Clean sound and rich bass
- Closed-back dynamic design
- Durable and sturdy; the plastic built surprisingly withstands the test of time
- Value for money
- The headphones are somewhat uncomfortable to wear for long duration and the ears start hurting, especially larger ears
- Some users have mentioned that the louder levels, there is a disturbing resonance in the upper midrange
While we were testing the Tascam TH-02 DJ headphones, we had no idea about the product’s price. And, when we finally found out the price, we were stunned!
Yes, we’re not exaggerating here. Tascam TH-02 headphones are extremely pocket-friendly. Moreover, they’re good for beginners and experts. They’re probably the best DJ headphones under 50 dollars.
The headphones offer a frequency response between 18 Hz and 22 kHz which pretty much cover the entire spectrum. The sound handling is also pretty decent at 98 dB; however, at 32 ohms, they’re on the lower side of the impedance list. Nevertheless, the headphones produce clean highs, clear mids and rich lows. The bass is good enough to produce the lows of heavy-metal music, the mids are fairly clear and even and the highs are not tiring. The 50 mm drives are great for the low price of the headphones. All in all, the headphones produce clear sound and perform well during high-energy performances.
Ask about the built and construction of the Tascam TH-02 headphones and our experts we’re really pleased. Even though the ear pads come with high-quality stitching, they aren’t very soft and comfortable. The 9.8-foot cable is pretty long but its quality is not up to the mark.
To be fair, the headphones come with a variety of features that make them a good option if you’re on a shoestring budget.
Read the Full Tascam TH-02 Review
3. Sennheiser HD 700: Best Premium DJ Headphones
- Great sound stage with a balanced and warm audio reproduction
- Efficient drivers capable of producing high sound pressure level
- Cutting-edge industrial design
- Natural sound experience
- 2-year warranty
- Open back ear cups design facilitate transparent sound
- Warranty doesn’t cover replacement ear pads
- Some users have mentioned that there’s a slight echo in the sound that’s somewhat disturbing during live performances
If budget is not an issue, Sennheiser HD 700 DJ headphones can be a great pick. The headphones come with a circumaural and open design that provides them with a classic look. Our experts found the combination of directional clarity of the shape of closed-back headphones as well as the added bounce of the open-backs appealing.
The uniquely tuned drivers are efficient and push the dB levels in a way that they reach the right ear bands for clear sound. They offer a frequency range between 15 Hz and 40,000 Hz, so you get maximum coverage. They also offer a flat, studio response that’s a must-have for professional headphones. You’ll be surprised to know that the Sennheiser HD 700 DJ headphones provide a nominal pressure level at 105 dB.
Sennheiser has also added a well-optimized ventilated magnet system to reduce air turbulence and inter-modulation distortion. When it comes to comfort, you shouldn’t have any second thoughts while buying these headphones. After all, how can you expert discomfort at such high prices? Our experts found the headphones to be luxurious and ultra-comfortable.
Read the Full Sennheiser HD 700 Review
4. Status Audio CB-1: Best Noise Isolation DJ Headphones
The Status Audio CB-1 DJ headphones are truly the best noise-cancellation DJ headphones on the market. Not only this but they are also the best affordable DJ headphones for their compelling features and great design.
When it comes to the looks, Audio Technica ATH-M50s and Status Audio CB-1 are somewhat similar. The headphones are comfortable, durable and versatile. Our experts tested them in and out and were impressed by their performance. In fact, they feel that the Status Audio CB-1 headphones can become the new standard for mastering, mixing and recording.
The over-the-ear design provides excellent noise isolation, which is a must-have for DJs and instrumentalists.
The 50 mm drivers are good enough to provide powerful bass as well as a complete range of clear, crisp sound highly suitable for studio reference monitors. Also, they offer a frequency between 15 Hz and 30 kHz.
Even though our experts feel that the body of the DJ headphones is made of cheap plastic, they don’t want to judge the product based on this factor and are advocating for its performance. The ear pads are soft and thick, and the plastic body makes the headphones lightweight. Lastly, the headphones come with 2 detachable cables (a straight and coiled cable).
Read the Full Status Audio CB-1 Review
5. Pioneer HDJ-1500-S: Best Live-Suited DJ Headphones
- Best suited for live performances
- Come with groundbreaking soundproofing technology
- Lightweight and durable
- Perfectly designed to withstand the wear and tear caused during live performances
- Memory foam ear cups provide utmost comfort
- Deliver perfectly balanced sound
- Come with enough bass to create magic during live performances
- The only thing we din’t like about the DJ headphones was the unavailability of color options
If you’re looking for the best DJ headphones under 200 dollars and most suited for live performances, you’re in for some great news. While our experts were testing one of the best Pioneer DJ headphones, i.e., Pioneer HDJ-1500-S headphones, they found them to be perfect for live DJing.
Monitoring tracks on a crowded and noisy dance floor is easy-breezy with the Pioneer HDJ-1500-S headphones by your side. The headphones offer frequencies between 5 Hz and 30,000 kHz, so get a plethora of responses on the low end for managing the bass drop in crowded settings.
The powerful 50 mm drivers produce sound at 108 dB as a result of which you get additional headroom, which is a must-have during live performances. The best things about these DJ headphones are their construction and design. The headphones are available in different colors such as metallic gold, metallic black, white and so on, that make it aesthetically appealing during live performances.
6. Sennheiser HD-280 PRO: Best Studio DJ Headphones
- High ambient noise attenuation
- Accurate, linear sound delivery
- Comfortable ear cups
- Lightweight and durable
- The volume level is suitable for DJing
- Great sound quality
- They do a decent job at blocking external noise
- The built quality is rock solid
- The headphones produce crisp highs, clean mids, and powerful bass
- Some users have mentioned that the foam around the ear cups tend to come off after a few uses
- The plug and cable are heavy and stiff
- The headphones do attenuate the higher frequencies, but the lows and mids get through
The Sennheiser HD-280 PRO headphones truly deserve the ‘best studio DJ headphones’ tag. They are extremely comfortable, durable, and reliable. Moreover, they can cover the lowest possible frequency between 8 Hz and 25,000 kHz.
These Sennheiser studio headphones provide DJs like you with a flat response that is flat and full. Not only this but the headphones also isolate noise for less noisy DJing experience. However, it’s important to note that the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO headphones are not noise cancellation headphones. The brand claims that the perfectly-fitted ear cups diminish about 32 dB of sound, making it somewhat convenient for you to perform in front of an energetic and noisy crowd.
When it comes to comfort, the collapsible ear cups are ultra-soft and the headphones are lightweight. So, if you’re planning long hours of mastering and mixing, we recommend you buy these Sennheiser headphones to enjoy maximum comfort while you’re working.
The only issue our experts found with the headphones is the absence of a detachable cord. Even though the headphones come with a 10-foot long cord, a detachable cord would have been a better and a more convenient option. Nevertheless, if you’re on the lookout for the best studio headphones in 2020, you can explore the Sennheiser HD-280 PRO headphones.
Read the Full Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Review
7. Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K: Best Comfortable DJ Headphones
- High-quality sound
- Low-volume air chambers in the ear pads maximize insulation, reducing external noise in the low to mid frequencies
- The L-type mini jack ensures the DJ headphones don’t snap or get disconnected during live performances
- The built is firm and sturdy
- Crystal clear sound
- Durable and versatile
The Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K headphones are not just high-quality, they’re ultra-comfortable too. When asked to vote for the most comfortable DJ headphones on the market, our experts had a clear choice – Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K.
The headphones come with surprising clarity and great sound separation. The level of comfort provided by these headphones cannot be defined in mere words. The headphones come with lightweight bindings on the hanger and headband to minimize the pressure on your head. Moreover, the soft, leatherette memory foam ear cups ensure a great fit. So, whether you’re performing in a crowded club or recording in a studio, you can use the Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K headphones for long durations without any discomfort.
All in all, if you’re looking for DJ headphones that provide high-quality sound separation and utmost comfort, you can give the Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ-2000MK2-K headphones a chance to prove their worth.
8. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro: Best Open-Back DJ Headphones
- Incredible spaciousness
- Benchmark for studio sound
- Great comfort
- Durable and sturdy
- Outstanding tonal depth
- Suitable for professional mastering, mixing and editing
- Strong bass and treble
- Detailed resolution and transparent sound
- Wide soundstage
- The treble is a little harsh if the headphones are not tuned properly
An open-back design can improve the response of your DJ headphones if you’re looking for DJ headphones for your mastering and mixing sessions. The result is a bass-heavy, louder mix that will sound somewhat similar to speakers.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones have been voted as the best open-back DJ headphones by our experts. They can offer frequencies between 5 Hz and 35,000 Hz. The construction is sturdy and the ear pads are velvety soft. Professional users around the world are using these headphones to create magic on stage. Thanks to their open-back design, they deliver impressive spaciousness and detailed tonal depth.
Read the Full Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Review
Frequently Asked Questions About DJ Headphones
The answer to this question is somewhat confusing. It’s a mix of ‘no’ and ‘yes.’ Unlike professional headphones, gaming headphones do not have a great sound quality or flexibility. However, if you’re fine with not having both, you can use DJ headphones for your gaming sessions.
Yes, noise-canceling headphones are highly suitable for DJing as they help DJs ignore the noise in the background and focus on mastering and mixing their tracks.
Well, yes! To ensure you mix your tracks perfectly and each has the same beat and tempo, you certainly need DJ headphones.
Now that you know almost everything about the best DJ headphones on the market, do you have a clear choice in mind? Well, if you don’t, that’s perfectly fine. Make sure you explore all the products one by one to find the DJ headphones that will suit your requirement the best.
Look for DJ headphones that have a sturdy built and are designed to last. Also, make sure they have features such as noise cancellation, a flat response, detachable cables, comfortable ear pads, and so on. After all, DJ headphones are a significant investment.
We hope you liked our guide to the best DJ headphones and found it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below. Also, if there are any other DJ headphones that you’d like us to review, please write to us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.