Last Updated on September 19, 2020 by Ryan Harrell
You obviously need headphones to DJ. Whether it’s monitoring the mix or just listening to your own tracks during production, a good set of headphones is an absolute necessity. We’ll help you pick the best DJ headphones for your budget in this detailed buying guide.
- Value for money
- Chunky, thick sound
- Lightweight and comfy
Ultrasone PRO 900
- Stunning sound
- Top notch construction
- Comfortable for hours
Audio Technica ATH M50x
- All-around performer
- Classic, reliable sound
- Top-shelf internals
I’ve always been a proponent of the “minimal” studio – buy less gear, spending money only on the most essential of equipment, and spend more time – and attention – on producing.
But there are a few things you can’t really do without. For every expensive (and unnecessary) vintage synth, there are headphones, monitors, and keyboards that are absolutely essential to producing, recording and mixing music.
As a DJ, headphones fall into that category. Sure, you can mix your tracks using nothing but the cheapest earphones you can find, but you’re not really going to get much mileage out of that approach. You need headphones designed specifically for producing and mixing music.
That’s where DJ headphones come into the picture. Good DJ headphones have three qualities that separate them from consumer headphones:
- Balanced (flat) sound profile that helps you hear the mix more accurately
- Highly durable build quality to withstand the grind of live shows
- Comfort-oriented features such as lower weight, thicker earpads, and swiveling earcups
Based on these qualities, I did a deep dive of the best DJ headphones you can buy right now. As always, I’ve divided my top choices into different categories based on their price and use case.
The Best DJ Headphones
Based on their price and real-world performance, these are the best DJ headphones to buy right now:
There are only few brands on the market right now that can compete with Sennheiser in terms of popularity in the headphone industry. The company has consistently made some of the best headphones I have used. The Sennheiser HD 25 is a budget level pair of headphones that are loved by audiophiles all over the world. It comes with features that I will discuss now that makes it the absolute best choice you can find below 100 dollars.
The design of the headphones is quite simple. At first glance, there is nothing outstanding about these headphones. They come with a very functional design. As with Sennheiser products, they are focused, not on appearance, but on performance. While it doesn’t look ‘sexy’, the build quality is undeniable. It is an absolute workhorse that can be used in a wide variety of situations without sustaining any damage. It serves for a long time, and you will use it for so long that you might have to pass them down since they simply refuse to break.
It feels so comfortable to wear and comes with a solid headband that can be adjusted to fit your head size. As for the earcups, they are hard wearing and come with a textured finish. The finish is scratch-resistant. While it isn’t made from real leather, the faux leather can be replaced when it wears out.
Isolation is great. While it isn’t a dedicated noise-cancelling pair of headphones, it does help to reduce unwanted sounds from your ear.
Sound quality is the best you will find at this price range. There is a reason many audiophiles and musicians love using these headphones. The sound is balanced and flat. Hence you do not get any coloring as you listen. Sounds are warm and are highly accurate.
Simply put, you will not find better-sounding headphones for less than 100 dollars than this unit.
What I don’t like:
It is a budget-level model. Hence you should not expect it to have the same sound performance of more expensive Sennheiser models. It has a rather mellow soundstage. Another issue I have with the unit is that it isn’t foldable; hence you need to make space for it in your bag if you are often on the go.
Most Comfortable DJ Headphones: Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S
- 1.6m cable
- Rotatable housing
- 2.94 pounds of weight
- Over-Ear design
You knew before you opened this link that you’d find at least one Pioneer offering on this list.
While Pioneer is best known for its industry-leading DJ controllers, their headphones are also extremely competent, at least for DJing.
A good sound, plenty of accessories and durability are but some of the reasons why these headphones are hands down some of the best pair of headphones you can invest in.
The headphones come in a stiff box that protects it until it reaches your hands and is unboxed. Therefore, if unboxing gets you excited, you will have a swell time with these headphones’ package.
The package contains a sturdy carrying case that protects the headphones, a pair of detachable cables, and your 1/8” to ¼” adapter. The carry case comes really handy as it comes with a band for keeping your headphones and a pocket to keep the cable and adapter.
The product comes in 3 different colors that you can choose from. Overall, the company gets so many things right in terms of design. It is simple yet elegant. It is also very well constructed. It features a compact, foldable design.
The cable is also detachable and comes in a three-headed 3.5mm connection design.
However, comfort is the main thing that draws users to them.
The comfort of these headphones is quite unrivalled. It feels like having a blanket over your ears. The headphones are lighter than regular headphones and come with a slim profile. Hence, they feel great on the head. While they aren’t the most expensive on the market, they come with premium construction. Durability is quite impressive. The ear cups swivel and feature metal hinges. Therefore, they do not break easily and will definitely last for long periods.
It wraps around your head naturally, following the contour of the head. I found myself using it for long periods with very minor discomfort.
Performance is quite good. It delivers a refined bass response, with sound clear and refined.
The Pioneer HDJ-2000MK2-S comes with improved noise isolation. Therefore as a DJ playing in a noisy club, you will be better able to hear your music.
Overall, these are exciting headphones that will last for a very long time. Whether you are just beginning on your DJ career or you are a professional, the performance and comfort of these headphones is sure to make them your headphones of choice.
What I don’t like
It is too simple. While this doesn’t detract from the performance, it lacks extra features that some might like. The response is also somewhat dull when compared with others in the same price range.
Best DJ Headphones for Professionals: Ultrasone PRO 900
- 2 detachable cables
- 3m cable with 6.5mm connector
- Hard carrying case
- Straight 3.5mm connecting cable
The next on this roundup is this impressive product from Ultrasone. The Ultrasone Pro 900i headphones come with several interesting features and specifications that make it a top pick.
The unit features a thick headband. While you might be put off by thick headbands, I believe that you will enjoy using that found on these headphones. The thickness is cushioned and made to sit on your head quite comfortably. While the thick plastic make might make it seem to be a fragile unit, testing has revealed that it is anything but fragile. It lasts for a long time and will not break except if it is poorly used.
Additionally, the weight is even distributed across the headphones. Thus, it feels super comfortable. The earcups are well made and large. Thus, they sit over the ear snugly, and keeping with the design of the headband, they are lightweight and padded. I found them easy to slip on and wear. They come with hinges that let them swivel freely. Hinges are usually a source of concern for users, but thankfully, those found on these are well constructed and durable. The earcups might fit over the ear, but the earpads are what usually causes the most irritation for wearers. I was really impressed by the comfort delivered by these earpads. With a simple flick of the wrist, you can pull and remove them.
Durability extends to the cables of this unit. There are two cables; straight and coiled. Both of them are easy to manage and feel durable.
Sound performance is key in any headphones, and these are no exception. The first thing that I observed as I placed these over my ears was the isolation. Although it doesn’t completely eliminate outside sounds, it does a good job in isolating the sound from the headphones.
I love the frequencies from the unit: especially the low frequencies. They are spacious, something that isn’t commonly found in this price range. The mids as well are quite large, and there is no interference between them. The highs are appealing too. All the highs are accented, making these headphones give you a smooth yet punchy sound simultaneously.
Depth is impressive, and soundstage is pleasant. All these features combined to give a pair of headphones that give some of the best sounds at a mid-range price.
What I don’t like
While the tonal quality is good, some folks might not like it. There is a softening effect on the highs which not everyone would appreciate.
Best Bass Headphones: V-MODA Crossfade M-100
- Wired connectivity
- 50mm Dual Diaphragm Drivers
- Over-Ear design
The V-Moda headphones are high quality headphones that deliver the best bass performance for any pair of headphones under $100. The company gives you the opportunity of customizing everything about this unit. Regardless of the customization option, you can rest assured of top quality build.
The packaging comes in a white and orange box made to withstand bumps and drops during shipping. Thus, it is rare to find damaged products in the case.
The headband is foldable and can bend in any direction without breaking. Using it is quite comfortable as well since it spreads pressure all around the head. Aside from the headphone, other parts are also made with top-notch parts. Take the cable for example. It is made from aramid-reinforced cable. Therefore, you can rest assured that it will not fray or break. The cable comes with a pair of 3.5mm inputs. What does this mean? Well, it allows you to mix two sounds at the same time. It also means that you can share with a friend.
These headphones are some of the most durable options at this price range. It is built to survive extreme temperature, UV exposure, salt and high humidity. Therefore, you can take them with you wherever you are headed to.
Comfort and isolation are good. As with several other headphones, these require some breaking in. Therefore, the first couple of time you wear them might not be so comfortable on the ears. Hopefully, it will feel more comfortable over time. If you are in doubt, you can always get bigger pads to help with comfort. In terms of isolation, these do a good job at eliminating low-level noise. However, loud noises are not exactly filtered out.
Sound performance is where the product reigns supreme, especially in terms of bass. From my testing, it offers the best bass performance at this price. Mids are mellow in comparison to the bass. However, considering that bass is well above normal levels, the Mids performance is still better than that of other options.
Depths and sound staging is good and better than average.
What I don’t like
The sound isn’t exciting. It is best for those looking for a punchy pair of headphones. If you are looking for something more rounded, you will have to look away from this product.
Best for Mixed Use: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- 3 m straight cable
- 1.2m straight cable
- 3m coiled cable
The M50x is a legendary piece of hardware and regularly ranks at the top of most “best headphones” lists (including ours!). They’re extremely versatile with an exceptionally flat, rounded sound. While they’re not designed specifically for DJs, the M50x excel in nearly any role, from producing to mixing to DJing.
These headphones are well constructed and look like they are bound to last for a long period. It features thick, padded earcups that swivel, foldable design that lets you carry them around with ease, and thick cords that will stand the test of time.
These headphones are the perfect blend of headphones that you can use in the studio and those that you can use with your phone. Design-wise, they aren’t as impressive as some other options on the market, but they have their own silent aesthetic quality. It comes with a rather large headband that might put off some potential buyers. Nevertheless, you will likely like the shallow cups and the headband that sticks to the heads’ contours snugly.
While that might drive some away, it will attract anyone looking for a pair of durable headphones. The design means that you can handle them roughly without fearing damage. The thick headband serves to insulate the headphones from drops and impacts. The swivel design of the cups means that you can use one ear to monitor sounds; great for DJs.
Padding all around the headphones is thick and quite comfortable. If you live in temperate regions, though, you might find the padding too thick for comfort. After a while, it starts to heat up your ears and feel uncomfortable.
The cables on this unit come in three types. There is one designed to be with you on the go while the other two are designed for home application. One downside of these headphones is that you can’t just use any type of cable. You have to use those from the manufacturer.
Performance is wonderful. Listening to music is quite the experience with these headphones as it delivers rich, vivid sounds. While it has been tuned by the manufacturer to impress, it thankfully delivers plenty of sound texture regardless of whether you are in the lows, mids, or high ranges.
What I don’t like
The M50x are big and bulky; they’re not the most comfortable for long hours in a hot, sweaty club.
Best for Mixed Use (Budget): Sony MDR7506
- Coiled 9.8 ft cable
- Non-removable cable
At first glance, these are old-fashioned headphones that look more at home in the ’90s than the 21st century. Sony has stuck with this design right from the time the first models came out and have refused to change it. Personally, I don’t mind; they still look great. With most of fashion geared toward “anti-fashion”, the vintage appearance of these headphones might just strike a chord with those who want to look “un-cool” but still look kind of cool.
These headphones are designed for studio monitoring, and that is visible in the overall build and design of this unit. The build quality is quite good, although these headphones might seem fragile. However, despite appearances, they are quite hardy and with proper handling, will last for a long, long time.
These Sony headphones are quite comfortable. Weighing just 230 grams, you can wear them for so long without any stress.
Sony has got sound quality right with these headphones. They work so well and can even be your main studio headphones. They deliver excellent sound across a wide variety of genres.
What I don’t like
The hinges of these budget-level headphones are an issue. Unlike several others on this roundup, they are made from plastic. This makes them less durable than I’d have liked. Furthermore, I don’t like that the cable cannot be detached from the headphones. If anything happens to the cable, you will have to replace the whole unit.
Over to You
It’s not always easy to zero-in on the best DJ headphones for your needs. Hopefully, this guide will help you zero-in on the right option.
For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.
- Our list of the best studio headphones for every budget and need
- On a budget? Check out our favorite headphones under $100
- Drumming? See our top picks for headphones for drumming