We are all familiar with the sight of a DJ with his headphones on looking cool on the stage but does he really need them, is it all for just a bit of showmanship? We are sure in some cases it is, but there are also a few reasons why they wear them and why they are important.
Cueing is one reason. The DJ needs to try and easily work in the tempo of the next song to the one they are currently playing so as not to disrupt the flow. To do that he needs to hear it. Headphones. Build quality is important. They may want to block out the sound of the crowd sometimes or just use them to cover their ears to rest them from what is sure to be a decibel pounding.
They are considered by some to be part of the uniform, but they can play an important role, and therefore they need to be quality headphones. So let’s have a look at the best DJ headphones and find the perfect ones for you…
Top 10 Best DJ Headphones of 2023
1 AIAIAI TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ – Best Wireless DJ Headphones
AIAIAI is a fledgling company, and they’re looking in only one direction, the future. If you’ve been curious whether all the buzz around these headphones has any merit, rest assured that it does.
Before I get to what makes them special, let’s get the basics out of the way. The TMA-2s come in at around $350 and can be ordered to spec. The headphones are completely modular, meaning the earcups, the cushions, the headband, and the cable are all detachable and customizable.
Long-lasting, by design…
You can order your pair in any color combination, and this modular approach to design means that you can replace or upgrade parts instead of having to purchase a whole new headset. As far as value for money goes, this thing scores top marks.
The TMA-2s are well built and very comfortable, not that you’d want to, but you could easily fit third-party cushions to the earcups. As I said, you wouldn’t want to because the Alcantra memory foam is like a hotel bed for your ears if you ask me.
In the Box, you get the headset, a wireless audio transmitter, and a spring coil 3.5mm audio jack with a quarter-inch adapter. Depending on the add-ons you put in your package, though, you can have a number of extras included.
While the TMA-2s don’t feature much in the way of buttons or controls, they do have one neat design feature. All battery-powered devices will eventually reach the end of their lifespan, but luckily the TMA-2’s come with Audio jacks on each earcup, so you can use them wired.
Long battery life…
The TMA-2 has an 80-hour battery life when used in standard Bluetooth mode and 15 hours in the Ultra Low Latency Mode.
Speaking of which, the wireless gizmo that ships with the TMA-2 is a 2.4Ghz Wireless audio transmitter for Lossless audio. It transmits at 1600Kpbs, and it sounds fantastic.
From the rich, punchy low end, to crystal clear mids and highs that don’t lose fidelity when you push the volume, the TMA-2s can do it all. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a wireless headset that can compete.
The low latency mode works brilliantly, and the wireless experience makes for hassle-free listening, especially if you are recording with many instruments in one session and would like to switch between them without struggling with cables and straps.
If you’re looking for a practical, wireless audio solution that doesn’t sacrifice audio quality, this is the beginning of the future.
- Well Built
- Sounds Great
- Long Battery Life
- Can be used with a cable when the battery decays
- Low Latency Transmission of Lossless Audio
- Modular design
- There is some low-level hum when turned to the max
2 Korg NCQ1 – Most Versatile DJ Headphones
Korg is a name that must never be taken lightly when it comes to audio, and the NCQ1s are a prime example of this. They’re sleek, they’re serious, and they come in a sensible matte black and matte white for around $215 dollars.
Along with your headphones, you get a quarter-inch jack adapter, a 1.5m auxiliary cable, and a drawstring carry pouch. The carry pouch works well enough, but for headphones like these, it would be wise to get something more padded.
Practical and versatile…
The NCQ1s are very well made, and you can feel your money’s worth when you hold them in your hand. They have jacks on each earcup, so you can plug your cable in on either the right or the left side.
These headphones are, in fact, so well made that they can be used as ear protectors. Simply turn them off and wear them on your head to protect your hearing when in loud environments like clubs and bars.
Nice and comfy…
The NCQ1s weigh in at around 320grams, but as soon as you put them on your head, you’ll forget about that figure. The memory foam is of high quality and thick enough to make anyone’s head feel like they were made for it.
The big metallic hinges that allow the cups to swivel out of the way are particularly nice; they won’t wear down from being moved over and off the ear constantly.
The NCQ1s can be used wirelessly and have a battery life of up to 36 hours, depending on your usage. When used with a cable, all the Bluetooth features, like Noise Canceling, are deactivated. It charges via a USB C cable and will be fully charged in three to six hours, depending on your charging source.
And while on the subject of Noise Canceling…
Korg has pulled out all the stops on the NCQ1s. The high-quality memory foam cups and headband lining offer passive noise canceling, while the Hybrid microphone system provides Active Noise canceling.
The microphones on the outside listen to and eliminate ambient noise, and there’s even an attenuation button to help these microphones cope with high volumes of ambient noise like concerts. The inside microphones eliminate low-level stray frequencies.
The headphones feature buttons for Call Answering, Volume, Power, Bluetooth, Voice assistant, and track skipping.
There are also touch controls that allow you to turn off cue mix in one earcup and listen to the ambient noise with a double tap. If you tap and hold, you can cycle between having a low or high cut applied to your ambient noise.
The 41mm drivers in the NCQ1s deliver exquisite sound quality with a very well-balanced signature. No matter what material you run through them, they are going to eat it up and ask for more.
- Well Built
- Well-equipped with features
- Great sound quality
- Good battery Life
- Can be used with a cable
- Hybrid Mic ANC system
- Carry pouch doesn’t offer much protection
- Touch controls can sometimes register false inputs
3 Phillips SHP9600MB – Best Budget DJ Headphones
At $90, the SHP9600MBs are the most budget-friendly option on my list of the Best DJ Headphones you can buy, yet they still come from a trusted name like Phillips.
Good sound, considering the low price…
These headphones aren’t going to be winning any competitions for superior sound quality, but they are definitely respectable. While plastic is largely featured in the design, the headset doesn’t feel cheap.
It’s well designed, and anyone who owned a pair of the 9500s will be glad to see that Phillips has listened to user feedback and made their headset larger. The 9600s have swiveling earcups and very plush cushions.
The headset weighs next to nothing, and it feels it when you first put it on. The adjustable headband allows for any head size to find there fit, and even if you like to bob your head a bit, these will stay on with no problem.
In the box, you’ll find your headset, detachable microphone, a 1.5m detachable auxiliary jack, and a quarter-inch adapter. I wish the cable was braided, though.
The 9600s are definitely more comfortable than their predecessors. The larger earcups and bigger cushions are a huge improvement on the 9500s. The only downside is that they aren’t too breathable, so you might get sweaty after wearing them for a while.
The 9600s have a bassy sound for sure, so if you like low-end and you’re on a budget, these are definitely worth looking at. In fact, they are easily one of the best low-cost DJ headphones for bass lovers on the market.
Nicely balanced after a few adjustments…
The mids have a slight boost, but this only enhances the audio; likewise, there’s a bit of shine on the treble side, but a sharp cut in the very high frequencies balances it out nicely.
At very high volumes, there may be some loss of detail, but these best DJ headphones under $100 still sound very good. The mic quality is above average but doesn’t go recording poetry with it; for gaming and making calls, you should be fine, though.
- Well Made
- Decent Sound and Mic quality
- Can get sweaty after a while
- Some distortion at very high volumes
4 Pioneer DJ – HDJ – X5BT – Best Affordable DJ Headphones
Coming in at around $150, the HDJs aren’t exactly budget priced, but they aren’t what you’d call premium either. Pioneer DJ’s entry-level model still packs a proud name and plenty of punch, though.
What’s in the box?
You can get the X5BTs in either Black and Gold, White, Red, or Black. Inside the case, you’ll get your headset, a nice colored auxiliary cable with a straight and coiled section, and a quarter-inch adapter.
The headphones themselves feel very well made, as you’d expect from Pioneer, but they are mostly plastic. Still, they feature swiveling and rotating earcups that can also be folded up for easy storage.
Safe and secure…
The X5BTs are very comfortable to wear, and the earcups are deep enough to allow for a decent amount of clearance. They don’t become sweaty after long periods of use and sit quite securely if you want to do some weightlifting or some spring cleaning. Don’t go for a run, though.
The X5BTs feature simple controls limited to volume, power, and Bluetooth buttons, and there is also an LED indicator. Then again, these are simple headphones with a simple purpose.
These compact headphones will deliver a very impressive 20 hours of battery life and take around three hours to change. One downside is that they still use the almost redundant Micro USB connector.
Overall the sound on the X5BTs is very pleasing and more than acceptable for the price range. There is more than enough power to blow your ears out, although you will notice some distortion when you really push it to uncomfortable levels.
The bass is definitely enhanced but not overbearing, the mids are still very clear and pristine, and the high end has plenty of color to it. As for using them to DJ with, I’d say they are easily some of the best entry-level DJ headphones you can buy.
- Well priced
- Well built
- Decent Sound
- Good Battery Life
- Distortion at high levels
- Micro USB charging
5 Crossfade M-100 Master Over-Ear Headphone
V-Moda is making a name for themselves in the Headphone market with their unique designs and powerful performing equipment. The Crossfade M-100 is one of their range that is excelling.
Great sounds across the frequency range from deep bass to crisp and clean highs with mids that are uncluttered and clear are achieved with high-resolution, dual-diaphragm drivers. And the stereo sound is outstanding.
Dig the bottom end…
They have been designed and built to produce top-quality performance, and their big 50mm drivers produce a bottom end that does not impinge upon the mids as so many with accentuated bass can do, but they stay clean. The mids don’t get muddy, and the bass is powerful, but without any boom.
At the top end, the cymbals and high-hats cut through with just the right amount of accentuation, giving you a crisp and clear reproduction. The sound is something you should experience yourself, and it is more than surprising from a company fast building a reputation for quality.
Being a DJ with the excellent sound coming through the phones is only part of the requirement.
How comfortable are they?
They have a tough, sturdy build with the now recognizable hexagonal-shaped ear cups, but whilst being strong they are also lightweight, weighing just ten ounces. The frame is made from steel, which gives it the stability and strength you need for a set of phones that will be working hard.
They are well padded both in the headband and ear cups with simulated leather with memory foam inserts and a 3D mesh interior that create a perfect fit. You can wear these for hours at a time and not feel discomfort or fatigue.
Priced well, they make a very sound case for being considered as the best DJ headphones.
- 50mm drivers provide a big sound.
- Well constructed with strong materials.
- The stereo split might be too much.
6 Pioneer Pro Dj Black, Standard
Pioneer might be better known for the quality of their stereo systems for home and the car, but they can also produce high-quality headphones. The X10 are over-ear headphones manufactured to a professional level and specially made for DJ’s
They will give you quality sound in frequencies from 5Hz to 40kHz and with 50mm dome drivers in a diaphragm shape, they pack a punch. They have an outstanding channel separation between left and right and a bass reflex chamber that will give you a depth to the sound.
The bass is powerful and accented, but the highs are clear and concise. The mids can be a bit overwhelmed though if you get a bit over-excited with the bottom end and the richness of its tones,
They are built to last, and all the parts that move or are under any form of usable stress are made of metal giving you a sturdy construction. The headband is well padded as are the ear cups and are made from very soft imitation leather.
An interesting feature in the design of these phones is that given they are for the working DJ, there is going to be an element of moisture and sweat. The padded areas on the headband and ear cups have been given a Nano-coating to protect them so sweat and dirt easily just wipe away.
Not sure we have seen that on headphones before, but it’s a good idea. The headband and ear cups are all fully adjustable to get the perfect fit that isn’t too tight.
What’s in the box?
They come with a straight and a coiled cable a ¼” adapter and a carrying case.
They are not the cheapest for what they offer, but they have some good additional features.
- Very tough construction that has been fully tested.
- Comfortable fit with very good sound performance.
- Not the cheapest.
7 Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO Monitoring Headphone
With over 90 years of experience in the audio world, you expect Beyer to produce a quality product. And whilst this is not intended to be a high-end set of headphones they are great value for money.
They are very well designed and manufactured with an aluminum headband and yokes extending to the ear cups, making them sturdy and very durable. At the price, it is not often you get headphones with aluminum as its core material. The headband itself is well padded and is fully adjustable.
Built to last…
Ear cups are made to be worn for long periods in a working environment and have a leatherette cover with padded foam interior. The look and the feel of them extend beyond their price range. They are extremely well-built, but still lightweight at just eleven ounces. The over-ear design gives very good sound isolation and removes much of the background noise, and they, therefore, have minimal leakage of sound.
Sound-wise they are also impressive. They have a very strong bottom end in the frequency range, but it is not overdone and therefore doesn’t interfere with other frequencies. The drivers produce a nice clear top end as well that is crisp and clear. The mids, where most of the sound actually is yet often ignored, are very clean and concise and suffer from no overlap from the bass frequencies.
A good set of headphones at a very good price. We don’t suppose they will win too many awards, but they are very well-built with good materials, comfortable to wear and they boast a pretty good sound.
Whether they are good for DJ’s is for you to decide, but we think they might be a bit underpowered. German design and made in China.
- Well-built and sturdy and comfortable.
- Well balanced sound reproduction.
- They are a budget headphone so will not perform at the highest level.
8 Audio-Technica Ath-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica builds headphones that have a good reputation and are usually competitively priced. The ATH-M range of phones are particularly well-respected, and the ATH-M50X is the successor to the ATH-40X which are still popular.
They are made of plastic, but they are quite sturdy and durable. They look like they are heavyweights but only weigh eight ounces, so they are quite light. The tough build gives the impression they are heavier. They are an interesting design that includes unusual rotations of the earcups and joints, but they are quite secure and are not going to come apart in your hands.
Fits like a glove…
DJ’s do require a high comfort level. Long hours with headphones on would not be an enjoyable experience if they did not fit nicely, and these are very well made for comfort. The ear cups have plenty of padding as does the headband, and whilst the material is quite strong, it is also soft. Rotating earcups have been included to allow one-ear use and to facilitate a good fit.
They are over-ear phones, and so the external noise limitation is quite good whilst also keeping the sounds you want to hear clear, with no external interruptions.
They have 45mm drivers giving you good frequency response and the sound is good. And are a closed-back in design and so there is minimal sound bleed and good isolation. A useful feature is that after use, you can just fold them away.
Priced competitively they are very good headphones for the outlay and could be a contender for best DJ headphones.
- Good materials in construction
- Sturdy and strong yet very comfortable.
- They look heavy and a bit clumsy.
9 V-Moda Crossfade Lp2 Vocal Limited Edition Metal Headphone
You can spot a V-Moda set of headphones from a distance with their unique shaped ear cups. But this is just part of a design and build that is high quality. They are proud of the toughness of their phones and rightly so.
There is a fair amount of plastic and rubber in their construction, but somehow it doesn’t feel cheap in the hand, and the metal shields on the ear cups and Kevlar braided cable just add to the feeling that these will survive most things.
Tough on the outside…
Despite their tough exterior, they have a soft center with a high comfort level. The headband has two layers of padding that allows it to breathe a little and the ear cups have a leather-look filled with foam that is attractive, but also very soft to wear. The fit is good, and the headband will actually bend in or out to give you the most comfortable fit.
The build quality is good, the comfort level for most people is high, but it’s in the sound performance where they really score some points. 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers and inner and outer sound rings deliver a powerful sound. These phones, while producing good quality, do not overlap frequency ranges.
The bass end is strong and definitely there but it doesn’t crowd out the mids. Likewise, the high frequencies are clear and crisp, but there is no significant overlap down the frequency range.
Concentrate on the music…
They are ‘noise-isolating’ and will control the incursion of external noise and keep the sounds you want inside. Possibly moving the ear cups for one-ear use might be a slight problem.
They are a good quality headphone and well-priced.
- Tough, strong build.
- Well balanced, powerful sound reproduction.
- Could be a problem for one-ear use.
10 Sony Mdr7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
When many people are thinking of buying some headphones, they don’t automatically think of Sony. Better and more widely known in other areas, the Sony name covers a wide range of products, but not necessarily at the high-end performance-wise in headphones.
Yet when you discuss headphones with people who work in the industry, you come to realize that one set of headphones stands out amongst many of the others. They have become an industry standard, and if you visit professional recording studios, you will likely find a pair, or many pairs in most cases, often still in use.
And when we tell you they are twenty-five years old and still one of the best on the market, you get an idea of how good these things are.
An exceptional design…
Everything about the design and manufacture was and still is exceptional. They have a closed-back design. Great for constant listening stability and giving you good sound isolation. Everything you want to hear stays heard, and the external stuff you don’t want is excluded. Leakage is limited, so they are not going to spill over into microphones.
The ear cups and headband are well-padded and have a rotation facility that allows you to listen with one ear. Comfort is then assured for the long session.
But, what about the sound?
Sound quality is vital, and they use gold plated fittings to avoid corrosion and ensure the connections are good and copper cord that is oxygen-free. The sound itself is excellent. No exaggerated frequencies for effect, they produce under-stated quality across the full frequency range.
The build quality is high as has been proven by the number of years these phones have been and still are in operation. They come with a soft case and fold away neatly when not in use.
Even after all this time, these phones are still a big contender for best DJ headphones.
- Outstanding quality in manufacture.
- Great sound reproduction with good practical features.
- Some may want a more dynamic sound.
Best DJ Headphones Buyers Guide
If you ask someone what are the best headphones, it is an impossible question to answer. It will essentially depend on what you are going to use them for. Are you an experienced DJ playing to packed clubs every night? If so then you are going to need to spend some money to buy something from the top end of the scale. You need the quality and the features they possess.
Or maybe you are a starter or someone who does parties or smaller functions. If so, again the requirements will be different, and you probably won’t have to spend a fortune unless you want to.
Where Will You Use Them?
So following on, night club or a family wedding? If it’s a nightclub, then you are going to need some quality. Features that allow you to comfortably rotate the ear cups to use one-ear, good external noise limitation. You might have them on for hours, so they will need to be comfortable and not get too hot.They will also have to be tough and able to stand being taken off repeatedly and may be dropped or knocked over by accident. The build quality has to be good and strong, and the sounds must be very good.
If you are just starting out or doing it for fun at small functions, the requirements are less demanding. Good build quality is still important, and it is nice to have a decent sound, but they don’t have to be as good as those required by the Pros.
For both areas though comfort is an issue and they need to fit and feel good while you use them. Again that really comes down to build quality. In our reviews, some headphones suit both requirement levels.
Setting A Budget
This is a difficult one because it depends on where you are going to use them, but it may also have an impact if you feel you may want to upgrade them in the future. They are an expensive item, and so you don’t want too many changes. It could start to get expensive.
What is it you want them for, and what sort of quality you require will determine to a certain extent how much you spend. In our reviews, there were some very good budget models, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good set of headphones that will do the job.
So, which of these Best DJ Headphones should you Buy?
We all know that the future is going to be wireless. It’s just a matter of getting the technology to catch up. Well, it has, and for that reason, the title of the best Headphones for DJs goes to the…
Everything about these headphones is forward-looking, from the modular design to the effortless transmission of high-fidelity audio without any latency.
They look great, and they sound superb, but what makes them extra special is that they allow for so much more freedom due to being wireless. Plus, thanks to that transmitter, you no longer have to compromise on quality when going wireless.