Spin Zone: The 7 Best DJ Headphones

Spinning out sick beats (can’t sue us for that one, Taylor) is hard enough by itself. Doing it while wearing the wrong DJ headphones is not just difficult, it’s painful, expensive, and can cause permanent damage. Without the proper pair of cans you won’t be able to hear your tracks correctly and your audience will tear you apart. If you end up with weak-sauce headphones, they’re going to break and put you out of a job. Worst off, if you use headphones with poor sound quality, you have to turn them up louder, which will injure your hearing.

Picking the right set of headphones designed for DJs isn’t an easy task. First off, you generally want them to have a closed-back design to cut out ambient noise so that you can hear the sound, not the atmosphere. They have to be comfortable because those little Princess Leia buns are going to be your office for hours at a time. You’re going to want some that are durable and portable so they can travel from gig to gig without breaking down or taking up space. Finally, they need to give you the best sound for your music. All-in, we found the 7 best DJ headphones.

Sennheiser HD201

Sennheiser HD201

Pro: Extremely inexpensive
Con: Not true DJ headphones

Budget-Conscious Beginners: Before anyone screams out that these aren’t truly DJ headphones, we know. These are meant for someone who wants to get into DJing but is flat broke. As over-ear headphones, these aren’t bad. For the price and the incomparable Sennheisder name, they’re a steal. No, you don’t get the coiled cord nor replaceable earpads of pro models. Instead you have a standard jack with an adapter and leatherette earcups that feel fine for hours. The silver body doesn’t look professional, but the 24-ohm impedance sounds good, gives you crisp, clean sound reproduction with a surprisingly good stage. Donate them to a DJ in need once you get hot on the 1’s and 2’s. The Behringer HPX2000 are another dynamite option for just 20 bones. [Purchase: $20]

Numark Red Wave

Numark Red Wave

Pro: Nice looks at a low price.
Con: Limited frequency response

Best Boom for the Buck: First and foremost, don’t tell anyone that your headphones are called the “Red Wave.” Secondly, these are the way to go if you’re ready to step out of the amateur leagues but aren’t swimming in spare cash. You’ve got a detachable cable, swiveling earcups, and 50 mm drivers all for under $100. At 24 ohms you aren’t going to get clarity to blow your mind, but with some practice they’re enough to get a solid mix without too much strain. The 15-20,000 Hz is a little on the disappointing side and you’ll lose both some bass and some treble at the ends of the bell curve. The 98 dB sensitivity is pretty good for the price. More than that, the vented leather cups are comfortable and these look badass. [Purchase: $62]

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

Pro: Multiple ohm options
Con: Several breakable (but replaceable) components

Sweetest Sound: You’re probably going to be a little leery of the 770 PRO if you tend to beat on your headphones or are constantly throwing them into your album case. All of the parts and pieces are replaceable, which is a boon, but they are also made from plastic or polymer that cuts weight, but is also breakable. Thanks to the lack of metal parts, they only weigh slightly over 10 ounces which allows them to be worn for long sessions and tough gigs easily. What really sold us on these is the ability to get them in your choice of 80, 32, or 250 ohms so that you can get studio quality drivers or something with better mobile applications. Whichever impedance you choose, you’ll find rich sounds with each area. Bumping bass and screaming upper ranges are each captured beautifully. [Purchase: $199+]

Sennheiser HD 8

Sennheiser HD 8

Pro: Multiple listening positions
Con: Does not use stereo sound

Comfortable Contortionist: Most DJ’s swear by the Sennheiser HD 25-1 II model as being the top of the line when it comes to on-ear headphones for DJ’s. One look at the HD 8 will prove that these have a far more traditional audience in mind thanks to their larger fit. Their frequency response runs at 8-30,000 Hz that has 115dB of SPL to block out ambient interference and reduce noise bleed. The crowning achievement of these is the headband and frame which can be folded, stretched, and abused only to pop right back into shape. The cups have a full 210 degrees of swivel so that you can find the ideal listening position for you. A 95-ohm impedance allows them to work with nearly any DJ equipment, whether you’re using secondhand turntables or a premium grade mixer. Our lone nit to pick was that these are clearly made with DJ’s in mind since they don’t have a truly immersive stereo sound. Better for single ear listening, worse for dual ear coverage. [Purchase: $285]

Pioneer HDJ-2000-MK

Pioneer HDJ-2000-MK

Pro: Replaceable parts
Con: Short cable

Best Balance: When it comes to meeting all the requirements of a pair of DJ headphones, these hit everything without skimping in any area. The headband and earcups aren’t just comfortable, they’re downright plush for no fatigue after hours of use. Though the frequency range runs pretty standard at 5 Hz to 30 kHz, everything is clean. Bass-heavy dance music and higher-range electronica come through pure as the driven snow for easy mixing. All of the components can be replaced piecemeal, though they also take a pretty serious pounding without giving up the ghost. Easy swiveling cups make wearing them cockeyed perfectly fine. You’ll get 36 ohms worth of resistance, yet they feel like an 80 ohm set. [Purchase: $299]

V-Moda Crossfade M-100

V-Moda Crossfade M-100

Pro: Hard to break
Con: Mids can get lost

Tough Mother: You’re either going to love or hate the industrial look of the Crossfade, but it’s easy to forget how they look when you hear them. The huge 50 mm drivers use dual diaphragm technology for better sound isolation between highs and lows though your mids can get a little lost. That drops off some after a proper burn-in period, but never fully retreats. You’ll get a good seal that’s closer to noise-cancelling headphones than those meant for a DJ. When it comes to toughness, the M-100 is truly bullet and bombproof with a kevlar cord, aircraft grade plates on the earcups, and a body that can take drop after drop. They come with a lovely carrying case that is also tiny because they fold up like an acrobat to be sealed safely away. Frequency response is pretty wide 5 Hz to 30 kHz with a 32 ohm impedance and a 103 dB sensitivity at 1 kHz / 1 mW. [Purchase: $300]

Audio-Technica ATH-M70x

Audio-Technica ATH-M70x

Pro: Large frequency response
Con: Do not collapse

Main Monitor: It is hard to imagine that Audio-Technica could improve on their stellar ATH-M50x, but these have managed to make waves since their debut at NAMM. At 10 ounces you can barely feel them. The earcups haven’t changed much from the M50x, and that’s a beautiful thing when it comes to comfort. For sound the M70x has an outstanding frequency response of 5 Hz to 40 kHz. They use a neodymium magnet to back their 45 mm drivers which gives you a rich, full stage that is top-notch for mids and bass, though the highs felt just a little tinny. The rotating cups have remained for easy one on/one off wear, though these don’t collapse like their predecessor, which you may love or hate. A sleek, slick carrying case and different cords work well for portability. The price is nearly twice as high as the M50x’s, and you certainly aren’t getting double the value. If your pocketbook is slim, stick with the ATH-M50x. [Purchase: $300]

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