Being a disc jockey means it is our responsibility to spin what the people want: good music depending on the occasion and mood. Our ability to feel out the general music taste of the individuals among us is uncanny and a bit hard to explain — naturally we just know what’s going to get people going. Even if there aren’t people around and we’re entrapped in our studio crafting some music, the gear we use is a make or break when it comes to the quality. We saw in our best studio headphones article that the typical consumer-market models just won’t cut it if you’re serious about your music, and the same goes for those specifically looking for DJ headphones.
How to choose your DJ headphones
- Your budget. This is a big one right right here; we’ve seen a lot of solid pairs of DJ headphones for under a bill, but some others that go even higher than that to give you superb quality. It all depends on how much cash you’ve got to invest.
- Headphone type. It can get confusing a bit with all of the fancy terms, but we highly prefer closed-back designs (over-ear) to help isolate the sound. When concentrating on the mix, you can’t have any outside sound get in the way or the other way around with having the sound leak out for others to hear. Most of these models we’ve chosen follow this headphone design.
- They’ve gotta fold! I need folding headphones when I DJ — to us it is just essential. The swiveling earcup function of these DJ headphones is a must for when we have to isolate an ear. It’s also useful if a pair is collapsible for traveling, making them more compact and convenient.
- Additional accessories\features. Does it come with a case? Extra earcups? Adapter? In terms of features, is the cable interchangeable? How are the Ohms and other specs? If the impedance allows, you may want a headphone amplifier to fully power the pair as well.
- Color\style\overall aesthetics. This is important to some while others could care less. A few of these models come in different colors, with some looking a bit more sleek and others just basically an all jet-black color.
The top 10 best headphones for DJ’ing
Below is our list of top 10 best headphones for DJ’s. We list them in order of our ranking, although many will fluctuate in price. In our experience, it takes a lot of sifting through in order to find a genuine pair of headphones for DJ’s. A lot of companies use the phrases ‘DJ headphones’ or even ‘studio headphones’ to beef up their marketing — but never fear, we did the dirty work for you. If you want an immediate answer, we love the Pioneer HDJ-2000-K for the best overall DJ headphones, otherwise the Numark Red Wave for best budget-friendly pair.
We didn’t let budget get in the way of our picking, otherwise you may want to check out our best DJ headphones for under $100 article as we focus more on budget-friendly headphones there. Let us know which pair of cans you end up grabbing!
We all know that Pioneer DJ household name. This comes in at #1 because we can’t ignore the quality they give. It fits the perfect mold for best DJ headphones, checking off the list we’ve given earlier in this article. You have an extremely comfortable fit with leather make all around (what stands out the most), they collapse and have swivel earcups, big 50 mm dome drivers, decent Ohms of 36, a carrying pouch, replaceable cables and ear pads, and have a helpful ‘click’ when you adjust the cups. Frequency range is quite broad at 5 Hz to 30 kHz and weighs around 11 ounces so it isn’t luggy at all. The overall specs, features and comfort of these DJ headphones make them the best in our opinion, not to mention the positive reviews around the net to back it up. They’re a good investment because you can replace the major components (earpads, cable) to extend the life for numerous years if you take care of it properly. Although it comes close between these and the Xones, this is our favorite pair of headphones for DJ’s and highly recommend them.
Allen & Heath XONE XD2-53
We consider Allen & Heath to be one of the best dj gear creators in the market today. Talk to any experienced DJ and they’ll swear by the name. This is their signature headphone and they’re mentioned in pretty much any discussion for DJ’s. I’ve spoken to quite a few DJ’s I’ve been making music with for a while who swear by these. Firstly the build quality is super solid, folding works perfectly, and also gives us a detachable cable if you want to replace the stock one with a longer or shorter wire. Drivers are hefty at 53 mm, 36 Ohms impedance, a very wide frequency range at 5 to 33 kHz and the earpieces rotate as well. It comes with a carry pouch which is never a bad thing. It was almost a tie between these and our prior choice, and these are slightly cheaper so if you want to save a few bucks we’d go with these instead. We even recommend saving up a few more dollars if you have to: they’re one of the best pairs of DJ headphones out there. Not to mention they look super slick.
Numark Red Wave
This pair of DJ headphones won the best for under $100, so we had to stick them in here as well. Numark DJ gear takes the prize as the best budget-friendly model, the Red Wave offers us merely all of the required features at an affordable price. The earcups swivel, cable is detachable and the drivers are quite big for the price at 50mm. The leather padding won’t cause any pain after long uses but if you sweat a lot it may get to be a bit uncomfortable. May want to take a break here and there to give your ears some breathing since they cover them (over-ear design). Many people swear by these simply because of the price and the fact that the quality gives a lot of the more expensive and popular models a run for their money. What’s cool about these (or merely any of the models in this article) is the fact that they can be used for other activities as well, not just DJ’ing — you don’t have to limit it. We recommend going with these if you’re on a budget — don’t let the price tag fool you.
Here’s Shure‘s spin on a high-end DJ headphone and it’s got a pretty decent reputation among us spinners. It’s around the same price point as the Xone model previously spoken about. The ear pads are replaceable which always turns our heads since spending a decent amount of money on headphones means it’s an investment and it’ll prolong the life greatly. You also get a carry bag with this one and it’s quite lightweight at half a pound. I’ve heard of individuals use these for other activities, such as mixing and mastering, video editing and podcasting — a good all-around headphone as well.We have these coming in at fourth because we still prefer the Allen and Heath or Pioneer, but if you can find these at a lower price on some websites you should grab it while it’s cheap. Shure is always a good bet if you want quality gear, they’ve proven it for decades.
It seems as if the M50’s are always mentioned in headphone discussions regardless of the exact activity it’s for. But we’re not even mad — these are made to span across a wide range of studio uses. The reviews are just way too positive to not include it here. Not to mention they have many key features DJ’s should be looking for when it comes to getting a pair of headphones for spinning. They come in three colors, black,blue or white, so if aesthetics are important you have some options. The padding and headband is leather, some of the most comfortable we’ve worn to be honest. Interchangeable (the 50x means it has the feature as the older versions do not) and the earcups swivel. Like the others they also fold and collapse while coming with a carrying bag. We’d recommend grabbing these if you’re an AT fan like us, or more importantly will be using your headphones for a wide range of uses as opposed to those strictly DJ’ing. Check out our Audio-Technica M50x review for some more details. There are also some lower versions that come with similar specs but with lower prices. Some people say Audio-Technica or bust, and we don’t really disagree with them. The have also just come out with a new upgrade: the ATH-M70x studio headphones as well.
A headphone article isn’t proper without a pair of Beyerdynamics in them. They’re one of the higher-end brands when it comes to headphones, and no we don’t mean a Beats by Dre type — they aren’t marketed as much but trump others when it comes to overall build and specs. The DT-1350’s are high quality closed-back headphones with a comfortable fit. The impedance is higher than all other pairs in this article (80 Ohms) so if power is important for you, this could be the pair to buy (yes you’ll need a headphone amp or audio interface to power them fully). The earcups are of course swiveling and the headband is very flexible for a natural fit — it’s a “split” so you get two parts of it to adjust around your head. A bit different in terms of fit but it works as intended. Beyerdynamic is one of the best headphone brands out there, period, so when you get this you have confidence in the model that it’ll last you years. Super nice audio quality with these and the only downfall is that they’re up there when it comes to price, but if you can afford it and want a premium pair of DJ headphones these Beyers are perfect.
A little bit harder to find around the net, this pair by AKG gives us pretty high quality for a decent price point. Most noticably that makes it stand out among other DJ headphones is the ‘bass boost’ switch available — if you’re in the mood for some bump I say go for it. It’s not necessarily good for mixing and mastering because of this, and if you’re boosting it in your headphones it may not match up well with what others are hearing. Other than that, the cable is detachable, you get 50 mm drivers and a super convenient folding mechanism to complete them as a solid pair for DJ’s. They’re pretty lightweight and comfortable so no worries about the fit. Grab them if you want a pair within the middle price point and if you’re looking for some extra bass to bump your ears.
Good ol’ Sony Electronics here with this one and it’s probably the most expensive we’ve got in the article (depending on where you look), but with the specs and features it’s pretty justified. Only 40 mm drivers but remember that size isn’t necessarily better; you have some smartphone controls built-in to the cable so if you plan on using these with a smart device or for everyday use alongside your DJ’ing it’s great. Comes with a carrying puch and the cable is fully interchangable, but other than that it’s straightforward. We’d recommend grabbing this if you really need some control of what you’re using, otherwise there are cheaper models in here that are better for DJ’ing.
Stanton DJ Pro 2000
These headphones are pretty crazy, and although they use it as a marketing strategy, DJ Tiesto uses them so it has to mean something, right? The earcups rotate, the cord (stock is coiled) is detachable and the drivers are big at 50 mm. You get a mini-jack adapter and a carrying pouch for travel, but other than that you’re not getting anything different than the others but it’s still a good pair to look at especially if you pay attention to brands. Stanton is pretty synonymous with DJ gear in general and the build is a nice aluminium that won’t break on you easy. They’re pretty cheap and compare to the Red Wave’s considering most sites offer them for under a Benjamin.
These are super cheap, coming in around twenty bucks street price (price will change depending on the seller, be aware), so if you’re looking for a super budget-friendly pair of DJ headphones, this may be one you want to look at. We listed them last because of the pricing and just in case you were looking for something within this range. The cups rotate as planned, a rugged headband construction and a decently sized dynamic range. Nothing too out-of-the-ordinary here but it’s probably one of the best pairs of headphones you can get for this price. We stuck it in last to give you the option just in case.