Three crucial things to consider when it comes to investing in a pair of headphones are its type, size and technology. However, to be able to make an informed and intelligent purchase, it’s important to have a good understanding of headphone terminology.
With that in mind, here’s a quick look at 7 features that frequently pop up in product descriptions and reviews – and that you’ll want to keep in mind before making your final decision:-
Even at its supreme best, the bass that’s produced by a set of cans can never really match the mind-blowing, head-shaking, feet-tapping experience you get from massive subwoofers or speakers.
Having said that, several companies (a classic example would be the Beats range of phones by Dr. Dre) place an emphasis on lower frequencies by custom tuning their signature sound, although it must be mentioned that this is usually at the cost of natural delivery and the separation of instruments.
Furthermore, while some headphones are known to be bass-heavy, others deliver a more balanced tone. Your choice of course, will depend on which style you prefer.
Comfort + Weight
Since you’ll most likely be wearing this gadget for several hours, it’s vital that it fits snugly and comfortably on your head. Also, make sure the earpads don’t apply too much pressure on your ears and the area surrounding them.
Another point worth remembering is that lightweight, headband-style models are a lot more comfortable than their pro-style counterparts, which can be rather bulky and provide quite a bit of discomfort after long hours of use. Plus, the former is much easier to carry around, which is important when you’re a traveling DJ.
Are Your Phones Loud Enough?
The vast majority of venues a DJ plays at are bound to be noisy places filled with screaming fans. So cans that sound great at home are simply not going to cut it at a club/music festival because you won’t be able to hear them properly.
That’s why you’ve got to ensure the headphones you’re planning on purchasing produce loud, crystal clear sound at high volumes. In fact, this is one of the first things you should look for when shopping around for a suitable model.
Open vs Sealed
The main advantage of open-backed headphones is that often times, they tend to produce less distortion. Now if you’re an audiophile that’s keen on listening to your favorite songs on a top notch headset in a quiet and peaceful environment, this would be a good option for you.
However, for deejays, a closed back model is highly recommended mainly because they do a good job of blocking out any background noise. This is especially important when performing at a gig, as in order to line up the next track, you’ll need to be able to hear it well in the din of the crowd.
Let’s Talk About Your Mixing Stance
As you may know, one of the most common methods of using a DJ headphone is with one ear on and the other ear off. This is a pretty basic technique for mixing – the ‘on’ ear monitors the channel, while the ‘off’ ear listens to the monitor speaker.
Many deejays possess the ability to keep one of the ear pieces out of the way while having them on; if you’re interested in snagging a unit like this, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to wear it when you’re busy mixing tunes, as it does take some skill to master this.
Let’s face it: a DJ’s headphones are usually subject to quite a bit of abuse – they’ll be yanked on, accidentally stomped on, jammed in a bag in a hurry, have all kinds of stuff piled onto them…in short, they lead a hard and bumpy life.
That’s why it’s important you choose a model that has a nice, solid build and structure. In addition to this, you want to make sure the rest of the components are in fine condition. For instance, are the earpads of a superior quality? Is the headband well made? If the phones fold up for storage purposes, are the hinges robust?
The bottom line – pick a set of cans that are sturdy and long-lasting and you may not need to go in for another pair anytime soon.
How Portable Is It?
Having phones that can be folded and carried around easily is an absolute must, especially if you’re a DJ that’s constantly on the move. Ideally, they should fit snugly in your kit bag along with your controller, laptop and any other essentials that you take with you on your gigs.
Now that we’ve covered what you want to look out for when shopping around for the best DJ cans, here’s a look at the Top 5 best selling models that money can buy.
Top Rated DJ Headphones
Sennheiser HD25-1 II Closed-Back Headphones
One of the most sought after gadgets on the market today, the Senn HD25-1 11 is the perfect device for DJing, thanks to its outstanding isolation and excellent quality of sound.
It also has a fantastic amount of subs and bass, which is crucial to hear when mixing live. And although its design won’t win any prizes, the structure and build quality of this set is top notch. The same could be said about the level of comfort it offers the wearer.
Simply put, this is a must-have headset if you’re serious about taking your DJ skills to the next level.
Pioneer HDJ-2000 Professional DJ Headphones
Yet another sought after choice amongst both disc jockeys and audiophiles, this particular unit passes the most vital test for DJ phones with flying colors: it doesn’t distort at high volumes.
Even with the volume turned to the max, and tracks with deep bass material like the ‘Silent Shout’ playing, the Pioneer HDJ-2000 shines by delivering clean, crystal clear audio.
How comfortable is it though?
Well, the underside of the headband as well as the ear pads are plush and luxurious, and you’re never going to feel uncomfortable, even after hours of listening to music.
Furthermore, these headphones are foldable and come with swinging joints positioned right above each cup, which makes it really easy to move aside one of the ear cups off of your ear.
For the money you pay for it, this device offers robust, accurate audio for DJs that like to hear every single section of the frequency range.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
If you’re looking for a pair of superior quality cans, this is the model you want to go for. For starters, it delivers extremely balanced, detailed sound with tight bass, and is built to last.
The ATH-M50x is also super comfortable and has soft, cushiony ear pads that swivel 180 degrees – this means it lays flat on your chest when you’ve got it around your neck and stays the same way when you take it off and place it on the table. What’s more, you can even flip an earpiece up if you want to switch to ‘single-listening’ mode.
In addition to the headphones, you’ll also receive a gold-plated ¼” adaptor that folds up for easy storage, a gorgeous carrying pouch and various coiled + straight cables of different lengths.
All in all, you’d be hard pressed to come across another set of phones for under $200 that can effortlessly handle audiophile listening as well as superb audio production.
V-Moda Crossfade LP Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Headphones
This unit is part of V-Moda’s prestigious ‘Live Play’ series that’s popular amongst elite deejays and pro musicians the world over. Its single driver produces the high-fidelity sound of powerful multiple drivers and the end result is a vibrant mid-range, a deep, rich bass and supremely clear volume clarity.
Another notable feature of this model is that its practically indestructible steel structure actually meets military-level durability guidelines. In fact, the company’s entire range of headphones are subject to real-life military tests, to ensure it satisfies the highest of standards.
Additionally, this gadget comes fully equipped with a stylish, exoskeleton storage case, 2 Kevlar-reinforced cables and an iPod/iPhone remote + inline mic.
All of this has made the V-Moda Crossfade LP the No.1 choice for DJs and dance music enthusiasts keen on owning the best quality headphones available for sale.
Beats Pro Over-Ear Headphones
There’s plenty to like about this product. For instance, the sound signature is fantastic – the bass is nice and deep and remains vibrant and punchy, even when the volume’s turned up high.
The bass also produces a good rumble with 50mm drivers, while maintaining precision and accuracy, making this device more than good enough for use in the studio. This is good news for DJs as they often utilize the bottom end for cueing and quick beatmatching. The highs and mids are also fairly loud with a well balanced EQ noticeable between all of the ranges.
Furthermore, the Beats Pro has a sturdy aluminum/steel frame and a swivel design for one-ear monitoring. It also delivers amazing noise isolation and can be folded easily for convenient storage.
All in all, this is a wonderful piece of equipment to have in the DJ booth and both amateurs and pros are sure to fall in love with it.
Choosing a pair of DJ headphones is not a decision that can be taken hastily – you’re going to be making a valuable investment that you’ll most likely be using for a while, so it’s important you pick the right model.
To that end, we hope you find this buying guide useful and informative, and use the tips we’ve shared with you to purchase a top notch unit that delivers a brilliant performance and provides excellent value for your money.