Every DJ uses a different combination of equipment; some like a traditional, retro analog setup, while others prefer a more contemporary, digital configuration. You need a solid set of headphones whether your setup centers around a turntable or a tablet.
A good set of closed-back studio headphones will typically be a good choice, but there are a few things to watch out for. The best DJ headphones have rotating ear cups or a flexible headband so you can listen to the club’s mix with one ear while monitoring your set with the other. A lengthy, coiling cable will allow you to roam about the stage without restriction, and if it is replaceable, you can do it right away if it breaks during a performance. Moreover, you’ll need headphones with effective noise cancellation so that you can alternate between concentrating on the crowd and setting up your mix.
Electronic Arts ATH-M20x
Check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x if money is an issue. At this price, greater sacrifices must be made. However, these over-ears’ low cost comes at the expense of their sturdy construction and straightforward design. Due to the thin and flimsy metal used to brace the headband, they feel even less sturdy than the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. Moreover, the cable that connects the ear cups is occasionally exposed, making it more prone to damage. These fit reasonably well and don’t clamp down too hard on your head.
They have a fairly well-balanced sound profile with a very precise mid-range response that makes sure lead instruments and vocals are audible and distinct. Although they lack some low-bass, they also have a fairly neutral bass response, giving your audio punch and warmth. They have a treble response that is underemphasized, which dulls sibilant sounds like cymbals. Although not being removable, the 10-foot audio cable gives you plenty of room to move.
MDR-7506 by Sony
The Sony MDR-7506 should be taken into consideration if you’re seeking for something more reasonably priced. At this pricing point, you’ll start to notice compromises made to improve comfort and quality while preserving a DJ-friendly sound. Compared to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, these over-ears with a classic design feel far more cheap and plasticky. While soft, their cushioning appears to be prone to deterioration with time. Their v-shaped sound does, however, give a little extra bass that doesn’t overpower the rest of your track. Instruments and vocals are still audible and present. They are constant across reseats, thus their sound won’t vary significantly based on fit, location, and seal.
With the 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter that is included with these over-ears, you may connect them to your audio interface. Also, their non-detachable coiled wire form lets you move about freely without worrying about tangling. This also means that you’ll have to replace the entire machine if the cable is destroyed. They also have trouble isolating background noise, but this is a problem with many closed-back audiophile headphones.
The best headphones for DJing in the upper mid-range that we have tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These over-ears perform better than their price point despite not providing nearly as much customization as the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless. They also provide a well-balanced, generally neutral tone. The warmth in the audio is still present, but it doesn’t overpower the other parts of your mix. Even if you’re performing at a more quiet environment, they won’t stand out much because to their unattractive all-black design. They also have a detachable audio wire, which is convenient because it prevents you from having to buy new headphones if they become broken. They are lightweight and comfortably padded, so they are wearable for extended periods of time. Its ear cups can also rotate, which makes it simpler to monitor the venue’s sound mix.
Sadly, they perform poorly in terms of noise isolation, making them less than ideal if you’re seeking for headphones to shield you from outside sounds. Also, they aren’t particularly portable and just have a soft pouch to store them in, which doesn’t offer as much protection as a hard case. At this price range, you can also find the equally performing over-ears, the AKG K371. Although they have an even flatter and more neutral sound profile than the Audio-Technica, they are more prone to audio delivery irregularities. If you have thick hair or wear glasses, you might notice a decrease in bass more than others.
Wireless V-MODA Crossfade
The V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless are the top DJ headphones we’ve tested. The V-MODA Crossfade 3 Wireless over-ears are the model’s predecessor. The second-gen model is still worth considering even though we haven’t tested their replacement yet, especially because they are still readily accessible from the manufacturer. Because of their reinforced headband, memory foam ear cushions, and interchangeable (and adjustable!) aluminum shields, these headphones have a high build quality. They last over 11 hours continuously and are wireless, which is fantastic if you don’t want to worry about a cord tangling with something and yanking them off your head. Nevertheless, you can also utilize the provided audio cables to use them wired.
The snug fit of these over-ear headphones reduces fatigue during extended sets. In busy gatherings, it can be challenging to clearly hear your audio since they struggle to block background noise. They also tend to have more bass-heavy sounds. A decrease in the mid-treble dulls sibilants like cymbals yet the additional thump, rumble, and boom don’t bloat singers and instruments. They can still be a good choice for genres like EDM and hip-hop even though their sound isn’t as flat or neutral as some of the other choices on our list.
In each price bracket, we have included the headphones that we believe are currently the best for DJs. We take into account availability, visitor comments, and price (cheaper headphones prevail over more expensive ones if the price difference isn’t significant) (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
Here is a collection of all of our closed-back headphone reviews so you can make your own decision. Avoid getting sucked into the details. There are no headphones that are ideal. Your choice will be more influenced by your own preferences, tastes, and listening styles.