The 10 Best DJ Headphones of 2018

When it comes to shopping for a decent DJ headphone, you need something which both sounds good and can handle being pushed to high SPL without experiencing any breakup or distortion. In this article, we take a look at the best DJ headphones of 2018.

For the first part of the article, we take a look at what DJ headphones are as well as an intro to some DJ lingo. Be sure to take a look at the end of this article for our in-depth buyer’s guide and FAQ section to better help you make that purchase decision.

How is a DJ Headphone Different?

If you are unfamiliar with what a DJ headphone is and why it’s different to regular headphones, here is a quick overview of the specifics.

Audio Quality

First and foremost is audio quality. Because DJs work in loud environments, it’s often difficult to hear properly so this is where audio quality is critical. You must be able to push the headphones louder than you would a normal pair of headphones without experiencing any distortion. You also want a somewhat flat frequency response in order to hear the entire frequency response clearly. It’s most important that DJ headphones have a good punchy bass sound as this is most often how DJs beatmix.

Clamping Pressure

Something you’ll find on most DJ headphones is that they have more clamping pressure than normal headphones which means that the fit against the ear is fairly tight. There are two reasons for this. One, because DJs are always shifting and moving the headphones around their head, you want the headphones to stay in the position you adjust them too. A good clamping pressure ensures your headphones stay put.

The second reason is a decent clamping pressure helps with passive noise isolation by closing the ear pads as close to the ears as possible. With so much noise around you, it’s often difficult to hear what’s going on in the headphones which is why you often see DJs pushing the headphones against their ear.

With this added pressure, you’ll often find DJ headphones are not as comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. They’re simply not designed to be placed on the ears and left for hours. The clamping pressure on DJ headphones works because even though DJs wear their headphones for extended periods of time, they are always moving and adjusting them and often don’t wear them for short periods between tracks. This means DJs don’t experience the same fatigue from playing as you would from putting a pair of headphones on and watching a movie for 2 hours.

Headphone Fit and Adjustment

DJ headphones offer more flexibility when it comes to fit and adjustment. The ear cups usually have the ability to swivel and rotate independently so you can wear them in any number of positions on the head or even on one ear for beatmatching. A DJ headphone is designed to be twisted and manipulated to fit how you want to wear them. If you do this with most “normal” headphones, you’ll probably find that they either break or slip off your head.

Durability

DJ headphones are some of the most durable headphones on the market. Not only do they have to survive being twisted and adjusted as mentioned above, but they also need to survive the stresses of the road which include drops, bumps and being thrown in a backpack. Some DJs also use the same headphones for traveling so they get used to an extreme. As you’ll see in this article, all the DJ headphones are designed and constructed to be more rugged than most headphones.

Learn The Lingo

If you’re new to DJ’ing and perhaps don’t understand some of the lingo or specs in the article, here is a quick guide to get you up to speed.

Ear Pad FitAlthough there are several headphones fits there are only two relevant to DJing. The over-ear and on-ear. These are also referred to as circumaural (over-ear) and supra-aural (on-ear) in the product specifications from the brands. We don’t use these technical terms in the article but if you come across them in the product specifications or description, you’ll at least know what they mean.
ImpedanceImpedance is the measurement of resistance determined by the headphone voice coil within the speaker driver. For the most part, DJ headphones are low impedance which means they can be driven efficiently by mobile devices and professional audio equipment. Any headphone over 100 ohms is considered high impedance and thus requires professional audio equipment or a sound card to drive them effectively.
SPLSPL is the abbreviation for sound pressure level. This specification simply tells you how loud a headphone can go. Generally, anything louder will result in distortion and possible damage to the speaker driver. DJ headphones are often capable of producing high SPL as they need to be turned up higher than usual to be heard over the loud environments DJs often play in.
Beatmixing Beatmixing is the process of matching the beat of the track that’s playing to the audience with the beat of the incoming track. Back in the days of vinyl, this was a really important part of a DJs job. Nowadays equipment has beat matching features built-in making it far easier to get two tracks playing together. This advance in technology has allowed DJs to become more creative as it frees them up to sample and manipulate tracks.

1. Sennheiser HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone

Sennheiser HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone

Ear Pad Fit:
On-Ear
Impedance:
70 ohms
Max SPL:
120dB
Speaker Driver:
Unspecified

Whenever someone asks me for a great DJ headphone, the first product which comes to mind is the Sennheiser HD 25. I’m a massive fan of the Sennheiser brand, they design and manufacture some of the best professional audio products on the market with exceptional after sales service and support.

The Sennheiser HD 25 is an on-ear headphone with some of the most advanced passive attenuation technology on the market. Originally, the HD 25 was designed for passengers traveling on the Concorde during the mid to late 1980s. Because the Concorde broke the sound barrier, travelers need a headphone with high attenuation and so the HD 25 was born.

The HD 25 is considered by many DJs to be the industry standard when it comes to DJ headphones. The sound quality is exceptional with the capability of handling high sound pressure levels without any breakup or distortion. This is especially important for DJ applications where you need to reference or beatmix in your headphones with a massive sound system playing around you.

The HD 25 is primarily a plastic construction which is why, at just 5oz, the headphone is so light. The circular ear pads are made of memory foam covered in pleather, which fit comfortably on the ears. If you’re not a fan of pleather, there are various ear-pad replacement options for the HD 25 available on Amazon.

The HD 25 is very flexible in design, giving the ear cups the ability to swivel and rotate independently so that they can be worn however you feel most comfortable while mixing. The headphones are very lightweight with the swivel mechanisms easy to move and manipulate. The clamping pressure or fit is firm without being tight, which allows you to adjust the headphone position easily – even with just one hand. The headband can also open up, allowing you to adjust the HD 25 to sit on your head at the perfect angle. In terms of fit, there are very few headphones on the market with as much versatility as the HD 25. The headphones fold up to be compact and even come with a leather pouch. Perfect for traveling.

The HD 25 comes with a 10ft, lightweight straight cable. This allows you to easily move around while wearing the HD 25 without having the cable tugging or weighing the headphones down. The cable comes with a fixed ⅛-inch connector threaded for the ¼-inch adapter. If you prefer a coiled cable, the Sennheiser HD 25 Plus comes with a 10ft coiled and 10ft straight cable.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Sennheiser HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone:

  • Sennheiser HD 25
  • ¼-inch adapter

For $50 more upgrade to the Sennheiser HD 25 Plus to get:

  • Leather carry pouch
  • 1 x additional soft ear pads
  • 10 ft straight cable
  • 10 ft coiled cable

Sennheiser HD 25 Professional DJ Headphone Conclusion

Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, the HD 25 is an excellent DJ headphone. The HD 25 is perfect in so many ways – it’s ability to handle high SPL with high attenuation (thanks Concorde!), exceptional sound quality, light weight and the ability to be manipulated to fit perfectly on your head and ears. The only reason you wouldn’t like the HD 25 is if you’re not a fan of the on-ear fit, however, even if this is the case – give the HD 25 a try before you discount them due to fit. At under $150, the HD 25 is priced right for both beginners and professionals.

2. Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO

Ear Pad Fit:
On-Ear
Impedance:
80 ohms
Max SPL:
129dB
Speaker Driver:
Unspecified

The Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO is another hugely popular on-ear headphone for DJs and sound engineers. The headphones offer a comfortable fit with excellent attenuation and isolating. The DT 1350 PRO is similar in design to the Sennheiser HD 25, however the construction includes more metal than plastic. This adds about 1.1oz of weight to the DT 1350 over the HD 25. The Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO is almost completely constructed of lightweight brushed metal, with only the ear cups being made of plastic. The headband and ear pads feature a soft memory foam covered with a premium pleather.

Like the Sennheiser HD 25, the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO headband splits to offer a secure fit with the flexibility to adjust the headphones to fit your head however you prefer to wear them. The clamping pressure is firm on the ears without being uncomfortable, perfect for moving around or even jumping up and down while mixing. No worry of the DT 1350 falling off. The ear cups independently swivel and rotate 90° to offer the best fit while mixing. This also allows you to easily mix with just one ear cup on your ear while still maintaining a secure fit.

The sound quality on the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO is exceptional. There is a bit of a dip in the treble, however, this does remove any harshness when listening at higher SPL which is often the case for DJs. The DT 1350 PRO firm on-ear fit offers good isolation with passive isolation to block out as much noise around you as possible.

The headphones come with a 10ft coiled cable which is great for both the DJ booth and the studio. The cable comes fitted with a threaded ⅛-inch connector and a ¼-inch adapter allowing you to plug into any piece of equipment. Additionally, the DT 1350 PRO comes with an in-flight adapter for traveling. The headphones fold up to be nice and compact which adds to their ability to travel. At just 6.1oz you can easily pack these headphones into your carry on.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO:

  • Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • In-flight adapter
  • Carry pouch

Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO Conclusion

If you prefer a headphone with a mostly metal finish, then you’ll appreciate the Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO. The headphones follow the design of the popular Sennheiser HD 25 and offer stiff competition on just about every metric. Beyerdynamic is another trusted professional audio brand offering excellent after sales service and support. The DT 1350 PRO is an excellent choice for both DJs and audio professionals for live and studio environments.

3. V-MODA Crossfade M-100

V-MODA Crossfade M-100

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
32 ohms
Max SPL:
109dB
Speaker Driver:
50mm per ear

One of the biggest issues you find with DJ headphones is loss or damage while traveling. While there’s not much you can do about losing your headphones, you can purchase the ultra-durable V-MODA Crossfade M-100 to eliminate damage. V-MODA design and manufacture the most durable headphones on the market, with the Crossfade M-100 designed specifically for DJs and electronic artists on the go.

Except for the ear pads which are made of pleather, the Crossfade M-100 is constructed entirely of metal. Many of the parts, even down to the hinges, are constructed of metal parts custom made by V-MODA. This quality and attention to detail are how V-MODA makes the most durable headphones revered by DJs and general consumers.

The Crossfade M-100 is capable of being bent and twisted in all directions without showing any signs of breaking. Great for artists looking for a piece of equipment that can handle the stresses of being on the road.

The Crossfade M-100 offers excellent sound quality with dual 50mm drivers in each ear cup. One driver produces the bass while the second produces the midrange and treble. There is a slight bump in the bass response which is why V-MODA chose to split the bass from the mids and highs.

The result is a punchy, bottom heavy bass headphone which is perfectly suited for urban and dance music styles. The mids and highs are clean, without being muddied by the accentuated bass response. One thing to keep in mind is that the Crossfade M-100 is best for DJing. Due to the accentuated bass, the Crossfade M-100 would not be a good reference headphone for studio use.

The Crossfade M-100 comes with two cables, a 10ft straight cable and 3ft mobile cable with microphone and button. The 10ft straight cable is wrapped in Kevlar to offer the highest durability. The ⅛-inch adapter is set at 45° to allow the connector to swivel without putting too much pressure on the cable – adding to the durability. V-MODA take durability very seriously indeed!

The shorter mobile cable is great for traveling, with a built-in microphone for hands-free calling. The microphone and remote are separated, so the mic sits close to the mouth and the remote is further down the cable – making it easier to reach and operate. Perhaps not features which will help your DJing career but will certainly be appreciated when traveling between gigs.

One of the coolest features on V-MODA headphones is the ability to customize the ear cup shields. You can go to the V-MODA website and submit your custom design or logo and V-MODA print this onto the ear-pad shield for you. One tip here is to make sure your design is black and white as the graphic is burned on with a laser. Multiple colors won’t show but could possibly result in some weird shading.

The Crossfade M-100 comes with an exoskeleton hardshell case which protects the headphones when traveling. The headphones fold up to be ultra-compact making them easy to fit in your carry on or record bag.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the V-MODA Crossfade M-100:

  • V-MODA Crossfade M-100
  • 3ft 1-Button SpeakEasy Mic cable
  • 10ft SharePlay Audio Cable
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Exoskeleton hardshell case
  • Carabiner clip
  • V-MODA sticker

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Conclusion

If you’re prone to breaking your DJ headphones, then you may want to consider switching to the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. The Crossfade M-100 feature dual 50mm drivers separating the mids and highs from the bass. This allows V-MODA to produce an accentuated bass response without muddying the rest of the frequency ranges which is an issue prevalent in all bass heavy headphones. The Crossfade M-100 is versatile for DJs and travelers, with the option of two cables depending on your application. The Crossfade M-100 is slightly more expensive than most DJ headphones but then they are built to last a lot longer too.

4. Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K Professional DJ Headphone

Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K Professional DJ Headphone

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
32 ohms
Max SPL:
106dB
Speaker Driver:
50mm

The Pioneer brand has been associated with the DJ market for decades. Their range of CDJ turntables and DJM mixers have stood as the industry standard ever since CD mixing became a thing in the 90’s. Pioneer is less famous for their headphone range, however DJs like Carl Cox and Roger Sanchez (to name but a few) have been using and promoting Pioneer headphones for years.

The HDJ-X10-K is the new Pioneer DJ flagship headphone and it’s seriously impressive! The headphone is made almost entirely of metal, making it somewhat chunky without being too heavy at just 11.5oz. The large over-ear design clamps firmly over the head with a decent amount of weight to keep the headphones sitting snug to your head, even when dancing or jumping around. The large ear-pads feature a soft memory foam with a premium pleather cover that sits comfortably over the ear. Wearing fatigue is minimal, even when worn for extended periods of time.

The HDJ-X10-K sound incredible. These headphones were designed (sonically) to be used in live and studio applications, so the frequency response is virtually flat and very true sound. The HDJ-X10-K reveal excellent detail and separation which is important when mixing in loud environments.

After looking at and listening to many headphones over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a pair which has been subjected to US Military Testing. The Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K underwent the military shock treatment, MIL-STD-810G, which basically means they were abused by the US Military and survived. It seems Pioneer are playing V-MODA at their own game (and winning!)

The HDJ-X10-K also features a waterproof nano-coating which prevents against splashes and, most importantly, sweat. Sweat and grime is often a killer to DJ headphones so this is an excellent feature to prolong the life of your HDJ-X10-K. Especially since they cost around $350! Pioneer do however put a solid 2-year warranty on the HDJ-X10-K to show they are fully behind the reliability of this headphone.

The HDJ-X10-K come with a 5.2ft straight cable and 10ft coiled cable. The detachable cables feature a sturdy 4-pin audio connector which not only locks in place to secure the cable but also offers superior audio transfer between the mixer and headphones. The best part of the extras is the Pioneer DJ carry case. This is one of the most sturdy cases sold as standard with any DJ headphones. The hard shell case has a pouch for your cables and ¼-inch adapter as well as sleeves to keep your SD and USB drives.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K Professional DJ Headphone:

  • Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K
  • 5.2ft straight cable
  • 10ft coiled cable
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Hard shell carry case

Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K Professional DJ Headphone Conclusion

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K Professional DJ Headphone is a must for those who are serious about their craft, want exceptional sound quality, and aren’t afraid to spend a little more for the extra quality. The $350 price tag is truly justified as the HDJ-X10-K really deliver on every level. If DJs like Carl Cox and Roger Sanchez are saying these are the best DJ headphones, then how can you argue with that!

5. Sennheiser HD 8 DJ Headphones

Sennheiser HD 8 DJ Headphones

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
95 ohms
Max SPL:
115dB
Speaker Driver:
Unspecified

If you like the Sennheiser HD25 but perhaps aren’t so keen on an on-ear style headphone, then perhaps consider the Sennheiser HD 8 DJ Headphones. The large over-ear design means the ear pads fit comfortably over the ears, offering ultimate comfort and exceptional noise isolation.

The Sennheiser HD 8 is constructed almost entirely of a lightweight metal, giving the headphones a feeling of robust quality in the hands. Only the ear cups are constructed of a plastic but even that has a premium feel and finish. The ear pads feature a soft memory foam, covered in premium pleather material. The headband is made of a soft rubber which allows you to twist, bend and manipulate the headphones in any direction without having to worry about breaking or damaging your HD 8. In short, the construction is durable with a stylish finish. Exactly what you want from a pair of premium DJ headphones.

The first thing you’ll notice when you pick up and wear the HD 8, is the headphone’s unique design. The headband connects to the ear cups in a dogleg style which allows the headband to rest forward on the head. Each ear cup can independently rotate a little more than 90° forwards and backward, with a decent amount of swivel to fit your head no matter how you choose to wear them. This design works particularly well for wearing the HD 8 on one ear while beatmixing or referencing. With the headband sitting forward on the head, there is less pressure on the crown, making the HD 8 a comfortable headphone to wear for extended periods of time.

When it comes to sound, the Sennheiser HD 8 is on another level. The HD 8 produces near “audiophile” audio quality with exceptional balance across the frequency range. The bottom end is deep and punchy without any bass boost to overpower the rest of the frequency range. The mids and highs are crystal clear, allowing you to hear precise detail – which is especially important when mixing in loud environments. With such excellent audio quality, the HD 8 can be used in both live and studio environments. I truly versatile headphone for DJs and audio professionals alike.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Sennheiser HD 8 DJ Headphones:

  • Sennheiser HD 8
  • 10ft coiled cable
  • 10ft straight cable
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • 1 x additional velour ear pads
  • Premium carry case

Sennheiser HD 8 DJ Headphones Conclusion

The Sennheiser HD 8 is one of those headphones which is so often overlooked and very underrated as a DJ headphone. The robust design and exceptional audio quality make the HD 8 the perfect DJ headphone, able to handle high SPL and anything the road can throw at them. At $250, the Sennheiser HD 8 is a little more expensive than many DJ headphones but certainly well worth the investment.

6. Beats Mixr

Beats Mixr

Ear Pad Fit:
On-Ear
Impedance:
Unspecified
Max SPL:
Unspecified
Speaker Driver:
40mm

Beats by Dr. Dre headphones often get a bad rap from DJs and audio professionals. The most common complaint is that the headphones have too much bass which muddies the overall sound quality. David Guetta appealed to Beats to create a world-class headphone. The result – the Beats Mixr. A headphone made to primarily to cater to the needs of DJs and electronic artists.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Beats Mixr is made almost entirely of a lightweight metal. This lightweight, durable headphone is well-suited for life on the road with a traveling DJ. The headband is coated in a premium rubberized material which can be bent and twisted. Inside the headband is a thin layer of memory foam which sits comfortably against the head.

The ear cups are able to rotate about 270° forward and backward making the Mixr easy to wear in any position and even on a single ear for beatmixing. The ear pads feature a soft memory foam covered in pleather which sits comfortably on the ear. There is a fair amount of clamping pressure on the headphones which allows for passive noise-canceling and keeps the Mixr in place, no matter how you choose to wear them.

The Beats Mixr comes with two cables. One is a 5.2ft straight cable for DJing and the other features an inline remote and microphone for use with mobile devices and traveling. Keep in mind that Beats is now owned by Apple which means the remote on the shorter cable is fully compatible with Apple devices but might not have the same functionality on non-Apple devices. The Mixr allows you to plug the headphone cable into either the left or right ear cup which is convenient based on which side your equipment or device is on. Beats also include an in-flight adapter so you can use the Mixr for traveling too.

While the sound on the Beats Mixr is by no means flat or audiophile quality, it is great for DJs. As to be expected, the Mixr is bass heavy but with a significant amount of punch and definition, as opposed to a wooly bass response. The midrange and treble are clear with a surprising amount of detail – more so than any other Beats headphone I have heard. For urban and dance music, the Beats Mixr will make a great DJ headphone. For rock and other genres, you might get a little more bass than you would like.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Beats Mixr:

  • Beats Mixr DJ Headphones
  • 5.2ft audio cable
  • 5.2ft In-line control & mic cable
  • ¼” adapter cable
  • In-flight adapter
  • Carrying case
  • Beats cleaning cloth

Beats Mixr Conclusion

The Beats Mixr was designed to be more than just a DJ headphone. It’s a headphone that looks good, sounds good, is durable, and is suited for both DJing and traveling. Often people prefer to go with Beats because of the design and status you get from wearing a pair of these headphones. A lot of the time you have to choose this style over sound quality. In the case of the Beats Mixr, I feel you get a good balance of style and audio quality. If you are not into a big bass sound, then the Beats Mixr won’t be for you. If you do like bass, then you’ll love the Beats Mixr for sure.

7. Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Professional Headphones

Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Professional Headphones

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
63 ohms
Max SPL:
106dB
Speaker Driver:
40mm

The Sony MDR-7506 is possibly one of the oldest and widely used headphones on the market. The MDR-7506 has been around for a few decades and is regularly used for DJing and in the studio. The reason the MDR-7506 is so popular is becayse they deliver excellent sound quality, sit nicely over the ears for comfort and passive attenuation and, most importantly, the headphones are affordable.

The MDR-7506 was first released in 1985 as the MDR-V6. The 7506 was released in 1991 but the 1985 design stayed the same. This means the MDR-7506 still has a classic headphone design, nothing like the more stylish and contemporary headphones on the market today. Having said that, the 7506 is lightweight and sits comfortably on the head and ears. The headband consists of a metal inner for strength which is covered in leather. There is very little padding over the headband but the headphones still sit comfortably, without any fatigue. The ear pads have not changed much since 1985 which means that the foam is soft but not a quality memory foam and the pleather cover is not too great either. This isn’t a major issue since there is an extensive range of ear pad replacements available on Amazon.

When it comes to sound quality, the Sony MDR-7506 really shine. One big critic of the MDR-7506 is that the headphone is perhaps a little too flat. The bass response isn’t as punchy as the Sennheiser HD 8 or HD25, however, the detail and clarity you get on the MDR-7506 are exceptional. The midrange and treble are present without being harsh to deliver brilliant clarity and good separation. When it comes to looks, the MDR-7506 ain’t much, but sound – on another level!

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Sony MDR-7506 (MDR7506) Stereo Professional Headphones:

  • Sony MDR-7506
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Soft carry pouch

For only $129 on Amazon, you can get the MDR-7506 with a premium Gator carry case.

Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Professional Headphones Conclusion

If you’re looking for the DJ headphone for both live gigs and studio use, then the Sony MDR-7506 is going to be your best bet. While they might look a little 80’s (they’re actually from the 80’s) the MDR-7506 is one of the best sounding DJ headphones on the market. For under $100, the Sony MDR-7506 is the best DJ headphone by far. In fact, the MDR-7506 competes in terms of audio quality with headphones twice or even three times the price.

The only major to the downside MDR-7506 is that the wishbone which connects the headband to the ear cup is plastic and prone to breaking. You can purchase replacements from Sony or on Amazon and they are easy to replace yourself. So nothing that can’t be fixed, but important to take note of.

8. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
38 ohms
Max SPL:
99dB
Speaker Driver:
45mm

Another hugely popular headphone that has stood the test of time is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. The M50x is a follow-on from the M50 which was widely used by DJs and audio professionals for many years. Improvements in the ATH-M50x include the ability to remove the cable with three cable options and some adjustments in audio which make the M50x warmer, with slightly more clarity, than its predecessor.

The ATH-M50x is made entirely of plastic, however, the headphone is well-made and capable of withstanding the demands of touring. The large headband is covered in a soft memory foam with premium pleather cover. Identical materials line the ear pads, making the ATH-M50x a really comfortable headphone to wear – even for extended periods of time.

Rather than rotate back and forwards, the ATH-M50x swivel 90° forwards and backward. Rather than rotate backward, you can push the ear cup up for single-ear monitoring. This leaves you with one ear cup on and the other sitting on top of the head which is just as comfortable as pushing the ear cup backward. When you take the headphones off, both ear cups are able to fold up – resulting in a compact footprint to put inside the provided bag for easy transportation.

The ATH-M50x is a great sounding headphone. While it’s not audiophile quality, it is an excellent sounding headphone – certainly good enough for DJing. The bass is punchy without any sort of boost. The midrange and treble are present, without being harsh or overpowering. The result is a pleasant sounding headphone which will be great for both live and studio work.

To make the ATH-M50x a versatile headphone, Audio-Technica has included 3 detachable cables. Unfortunately, you can only plug the cable into one ear cup rather than having the choice of both. The ⅛-inch adapter fits nice and deep inside the ear cup, with a twist-lock mechanism to ensure that the cable stays in place and won’t pull out.

There is a 10ft coiled and 10ft straight cable which can both be used for professional audio and DJ applications. Each has a threaded connector to allow for the supplied ¼-inch adapter to be fitted without pulling out. The third cable is a 4ft straight cable with is great for mobile devices and traveling. Unfortunately, there isn’t any microphone or remote on the smaller cable.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones:

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
  • 10ft straight cable
  • 10ft coiled cable
  • 4ft straight cable for mobile devices and traveling
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Soft carry pouch

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones Conclusion

If you’re looking for an affordable over-ear DJ headphone, then the ATH-M50x is definitely one to consider. The large ear pads fit comfortably over the ear, offering comfort and a decent amount of isolation. Sound quality is good but not as detailed and exciting as the Sennheiser (but then the latter do cost $100 more). The ATH-M50x is closely matched to the Sony MDR-7506, with the Audio-Technica having a more contemporary design. If you’re a fan of Audio-Technica, then you definitely won’t be disappointed with the ATH-M50x.

8. Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones

Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
40 ohms
Max SPL:
96dB
Speaker Driver:
45mm

Presonus design and manufacture quality affordable studio and professional audio equipment. The HD9 is the Presonus flagship headphone and was recently named ‘Editors Choice’ by Music Inc Magazine from products that were featured at NAMM 2018 (which is the biggest professional audio expo in the world).

The Presonus HD9 is an over-ear headphone with 45mm drivers. The headphones are constructed entirely of plastic but are built robust enough to handle the stresses of touring. The headband is lined with a generous amount of soft memory foam covered in pleather. The ear pads feature a similar soft memory foam with the same pleather lining. The result is a comfortable fitting headphone that can be worn for extended periods without experiencing too much wear fatigue.
The HD9 is designed to swivel 90° forwards and backward with the ability to push the ear cup up on top of the ear for single ear referencing.

For a headphone under $100, the Presonus HD9 is really impressive. The sound is warm with a decent bottom end punch. Mids and highs are clear but not as detailed as some of the other models we feature in this article. Overall, the HD9 has a relatively flat sound which is great for DJing and monitoring. With the ear pads fitting firmly over the ear, you get good isolation for mixing or referencing.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones:

  • Presonus HD9
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Soft carry pouch

Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones Conclusion

For a beginner or someone on a tight budget, the Presonus HD9 is an excellent choice delivering professional audio quality at an affordable price. The sound is well balanced, although not as detailed as some of the more premium DJ headphones.

If you’re looking for a headphone under $50, then the Presonus HD7 is something you might want to consider. The HD7 is an open-back headphone with good audio quality and decent bass response.

9. BEHRINGER HPX6000 Professional DJ Headphones

BEHRINGER HPX6000 Professional DJ Headphones

Ear Pad Fit:
Over-Ear
Impedance:
Unspecified
Max SPL:
Unspecified
Speaker Driver:
50mm

When I see over-ear headphones at under $50, I usually cringe just thinking what they might sound like. With the BEHRINGER HPX6000, there is no need to cringe. This is a great sounding budget headphone with excellent build quality from a reputable brand like BEHRINGER.

The first thing you’ll notice with the HPX6000 is they’re quite nice and chunky in the hand. The large ear cups fit nicely in the palm (which is good for DJing as you’re constantly moving the headphones around your head). The HPX6000 is finished in a smooth matte black rubberized coating which makes them feel more premium than budget. Where the headband rests on the top of the head, there is a generous amount of padding with the same rubberized cover. The ear pads are covered in a memory foam with pleather lining. The ear pads are also really thin, which means the 50mm driver sits right on your ear – giving you a good reference.

The HPX6000 is surprisingly warm sounding, with a decent punch from the bottom end. The mids and highs are clean while not as detailed as you might find in more premium headphones. Having said that, the audio quality is good with the ability to produce a high SPL for mixing in loud environments.

The HPX6000 comes with a detachable 10ft coiled cable with ⅛-inch connector and separate ¼-inch adapter.

What’s in the Box?

Included with the BEHRINGER HPX6000 Professional DJ Headphones:

  • BEHRINGER HPX6000
  • Detachable 10ft coiled cable
  • ¼-inch adapter
  • Soft carry pouch

BEHRINGER HPX6000 Professional DJ Headphones Conclusion

If you’re looking for a budget or entry-level DJ headphone, then I highly recommend the BEHRINGER HPX6000. At under $50, you won’t find a better pair of over-ear headphones. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend choosing anything other than the BEHRINGER HPX6000 or Presonus HD7. These are the only two quality brand names in this price range and the only two I would choose if I only had $50 to spend. At under $50, the BEHRINGER HPX6000 delivers excellent sound quality at an affordable price.

DJ Headphones Buyer’s Guide for 2018

Still having trouble deciding which is the right DJ headphone for you? Not to worry, we’ve put together this quick buyer’s guide to help you make the right choice based on your requirements.

The Cheapest DJ Headphones

If you’re after a cheap set of headphones, I don’t recommend that you go cheaper than the BEHRINGER HPX6000 (which are listed at $49.99). You have to keep in mind that you need a headphone which is capable of producing high SPL with good sound quality. Most headphones under $50, or even under $100 just don’t do a good job of this.

Here is the full list of the 10 headphones from cheapest to most expensive:

Under $50BEHRINGER HPX6000
Under $100Presonus HD9
Sony MDR-7506

Under $200Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Sennheiser HD 25
Under $250Beats Mixr
Beyerdynamic DT 1350 PRO
Sennheiser HD 8
V-MODA Crossfade M-100
Under $350Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K

Best DJ Headphones For Beginners

If you’re just starting out and need a good headphone to get started, then the Sony MDR-7506 is a great headphone to get your feet wet. The MDR-7506 is an excellent sounding headphone and costs a little under $80 on Amazon. When starting out, you want a headphone that sounds really good so that you’re able to clearly hear what’s going on. If you want to go for something cheaper, then the BEHRINGER HPX6000 is also a good place to start. If you’re able to spend $150, go for the Sennheiser HD 25. You’ll find this to be an exceptional sounding headphone, which will not only be great starting out but I’m sure you’ll find many professional DJs have used the HD 25 their entire career.

Best Bass DJ Headphone

If the bass is what you’re after, then the Beats Mixr is going to be your best DJ headphone. The Mixr is far better sounding than any of the other Beats models with the signature bass boost which Beats is famous for. The Mixr is also very versatile, making it good for DJing, travel, as well as general use.

Loudest DJ Headphones

If power is what you’re after, then the Sennheiser HD 25 is one of the loudest DJ headphones on the market. Originally designed to block out the sonic boom of the Concorde, the HD 25 offer excellent passive noise cancellation and the ability to go to 120dB without any distortion or break up. At 120dB you will experience some serious ear damage, so this is more than you should need. If that’s not loud enough for you, then you need to visit a doctor and get your ears tested – fast!

Most Durable DJ Headphones

The popular choice when it comes to the most durable DJ headphone would be the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. However, the Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K is also just as hardy. The price difference between these headphones is about $100, with the HDJ-X10-K being the more expensive of the two. The HDJ-X10-K is slightly better sounding than the M-100, even though both headphones deliver premium quality audio.

Most Comfortable DJ Headphone

Comfort can be a little subjective as some like an on-ear fit while others prefer an over-ear fit. I have to say that all of the headphones we feature in this article are pretty comfortable, however, there are a couple which stands out.

For an on-ear fit, the Sennheiser HD 25 is really comfortable. Remember that these were designed for Concorde passengers who were typically high-income folks with high demands. So the HD 25 definitely has a high level of comfort. You also have the choice of purchasing replacement ear pads which means you can choose different types of foam softness and even what the foam is covered in.

If you prefer an over-ear fit, then the Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10-K wins hands down. Pioneer put a lot into making these a great pair of DJ headphones and if Carl Cox (who has a bigger than usual head size) finds the HDJ-X10-K comfortable, then anyone else will too.

Best Multi-Purpose DJ Headphone

If you’re looking for a DJ headphone to use for multiple uses including travel, general use etc, then the Beats Mixr or V-MODA Crossfade M-100 would be your best two options. The Mixr comes with an in-flight adapter which makes them best suited for flying. Both of these choices come with a special mobile/travel cable with built-in microphone and remote control.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Can I Use Wireless Headphones for DJ’ing?

Wireless headphones are not suitable for DJ’ing for a couple of reasons. The first being audio quality. While headphone audio quality is not as important to DJs as it is to a studio engineer, for example, you still need the best sounding headphone available in order to hear every detail of a track.
The second reason you don’t want wireless headphones for DJ’ing is latency. With wireless headphones, you get a small amount of latency or delay. This is because the audio has to be converted to a digital signal in order to be transferred wirelessly to your headphones. This is a very small delay and you probably wouldn’t pick it up in normal circumstances, however, for a DJ, any delay means your beat mixing will be out which is not good.

– Do I Need a Case for my Headphones?

This might seem obvious but so many people assume you can just through your headphones in a backpack and they’ll be fine. Either that or you become complacent with time and stop putting your headphones away properly. If your headphones don’t come with headphone case, search for one on Amazon when you buy your headphones. They’re relatively inexpensive and can add many more years to the life of your headphones.

– What’s the Difference Between a Coiled and Straight Cable?

This is mostly a matter of preference however, I do prefer a coiled cable as there is no slack to get in the way but you can still move around freely with most coiled cables able to extend around 10ft. Some people don’t like coiled cables because the coil adds weight to the headphones and thus prefer a straight cable which weighs almost nothing. I personally don’t find this to be an issue.

 

Matt Hallowes

Matt Hallowes

Matt has worked as a sound engineer and tour manager since 2003. His work as a sound engineer includes both live production and venue installations. With a passion for the industry, Matt shares his knowledge and expertise with us.

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