Quality headphones are an essential piece of any DJ’s gear, whether you disk jockey major events or simply do it as a side gig. There are so many brands and models of headphones out there, though, that you might find the search for the perfect headphones quite challenging.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be extremely picky to find the best DJ headphones, although you do have some criteria you should consider as you shop.
We’ve put together a list of the 10 best DJ headphones on the market and some of the things to look at while shopping.
The Best DJ Headphones on the Market
If you’re having trouble deciding on the best DJ headphones for yourself, give each one of these a look. Chances are, there’s something that will suit you.
Sennheiser HD 25*
Sennheiser is one of the top names in DJing with headphones that consistently rank at the top of the market. Many DJs and artists use the HD 25s due to their overall quality, excellent sound and isolation properties, and how lightweight they are.
These particular headphones began their evolution in the 1980s as a way to drown out the sound of the Concorde’s engines during flight. Today, they’re renowned for their unusually good sound exclusion along with their high-quality sound and modular design.
These are on-ear headphones, meaning they sit on the outer edges of your ears instead of completely enveloping your ears. Many DJs have no problem with either one and what you choose depends on your preferences.
You don’t get a flat sound in these headphones, which would be bad in a mixing studio but is necessary while in your booth because you need those bass notes to keep your beat.
- Each part is detachable and replaceable
- On-ear design allows for reduced weight
- Split headband gives you tension relief across your head
- Clear treble despite strong, emphasized bass
- Modular wiring allows you to attach and detach the cable
- Compact but non-foldable, reducing portability
- No way to tell right from left
Pioneer is another well-known name in DJing and recording equipment, and their headphones carry their name proudly. Pioneer’s HDJ-X10-K headphones have a newly-developed 50-millimeter driver, giving it the round, robust sound you need in the booth.
You get clear bass and drum beats with dynamic clarity and treble that doesn’t pierce your eardrums. The mid-range frequencies are a little less clear, but since most DJs aren’t playing classic rock or other music where mid-range frequencies are a must, this isn’t that much of a problem.
These are over-ear headphones, and Pioneer makes a point of listening to the DJs that buy their products so they can design and refine the sound and comfort of each model as necessary. Furthermore, their moving parts are all metal, extending their durability and, thus, their usable life span.
- Textured grip makes swiveling the ear cans easier
- L-type mini-jack included preventing accidental disconnection
- May be used for mixing in addition to DJing
- Nano coating on-ear pads help resist cracking and peeling
- Earpads and cables are replaceable
- Difficult to wear with headband down around the chin
- Might have a slightly hollow sound at times
Audio Technica ATH-M50X*
Audio Technica isn’t as well-known in the audio world, but when their ATH-M50X headphones became popular, Audio Technica burst onto the audio scene as a true competitor to other manufacturers.
DJs who are on a budget but still need a high-quality pair of headphones should check these out. They’re made of plastic, which isn’t as durable as metal, but their construction puts them near the top of lightweight headphones. Their plush ear pads add to their comfort during long sessions in the booth.
Audio Technica gave these headphones an extended frequency range, enabling you to keep your beat and hear clear treble tones. The sound is a bit more neutral than more expensive DJ headphones, but they still work very well inside the booth.
- Over-ear for added comfort
- The 90-degree swivel allows you to wear them flat around your neck
- Comes in wired and wireless models
- Available in a few different colors for added style
- Extra-long cords included
- Can’t substitute cords made by other manufacturers
- Ear cups don’t have much ventilation
Moukey MMh1 DJ-Monitor Studio Headphones*
For a high-quality pair of headphones on a very tight budget, you can’t beat Moukey’s DJ Monitor Studio headphones. You get a special emphasis on the bass notes along with crisp trebles and vocals. The earpads are soft and spongy and shut out noise from the outside so you can concentrate on your music.
Furthermore, the earpads have a unique design: Thinner in the front and thicker in the back. The idea behind that is such a design makes them more comfortable wearing long sets of DJing or in the studio. These are over-ear headphones with an adjustable band to help with comfort on either side of your head.
In addition to working well in the booth, you can connect these to a keyboard, drums, or other musical equipment as well as mobile devices, making them one of the most versatile sets of headphones on the market.
- Detachable cable doesn’t fry headphones in case of a short
- Hard PVC construction is more durable than plastic
- Sharing feature allows you to share music with others via the headset
- Comfortable to wear with glasses
- Extra earpads included
- Screw-on plugs hamper versatility
- Mic cord works far better on the right side than left
Sony has long since made a name for itself in the electronics and audio industries, and these DJ headphones are no different. If you’re looking for the industry standard, look no further than Sony’s WH-XB900N noise-canceling headphones.
The noise-canceling feature and volume levels adapt to your surroundings to filter out the right amount of ambient noise and give you a clear, unmasked sound.
In terms of comfort, Sony designed its over-ear cups with an oval shape to match the natural shape of your ears. The padding over the headband helps to cushion and reduce pressure at the same time.
Casual listeners and audiophiles alike appreciate the sound they get from these headphones, but the bass emphasis makes these a good set of headphones for DJs, too.
- Touch sensor gives you control over the tracks you play
- Quick attention mode allows you to talk to people without removing headphones
- 10 minutes of charge gives you 60 minutes of use
- The equalizer in the Sony-Headphones Connect app allows you to control sound balance.
- Heavy bass doesn’t noticeably affect mid-range frequencies
- Battery-powered means limited use
- Batteries are nearly impossible to access
OneOdio Studio Pro 10*
OneOdio’s Studio Pro 10 headphones are for serious DJs who are on a budget. Let’s face it, you can’t always afford high-end, expensive headphones, but you also can’t afford to sacrifice quality. If this is you, then you’re in luck.
These are over-ear, closed-back headphones that give you the same quality of pounding bass you get from far more expensive sets of headphones. They don’t drown the treble and mid-range frequencies to the point where they’re muddied up.
You get a whopping 180 degrees of swivel on the ear cups, so they’re ideal for wearing flat on your neck or for one-ear use. A 10-foot detachable cord gives you plenty of room to move around with little danger of pulling the cord loose, and it works with all devices as well.
- Designed for single-side monitoring in addition to dual monitoring
- Can fold nearly flat for easy transport and storage
- Memory foam ear cups mold themselves to your head for additional comfort
- Closed-back designs mean you can use them in quiet environments
- Cord doesn’t require an adapter
- Ear cups are a little small for over-ear headphones
- Jacks aren’t as tight-fitting as they could be
If you’re looking for a great pair of headphones with a classic fit, check out Shure’s SRH750DJ professional headphones. Like all the best DJ headphones, these have cans that swivel and fold for easy transport and storage.
The bass is a bit dry, meaning you won’t get a chest-thumping sound, but you can still hear it clearly. You also get good mid-range and high-range tones, although they’re a bit muffled. The bass is more important.
You can adjust the fit across the padded headband so your headphones fit only you even during those overnight sets you might play. You also get enhanced impedance and higher power with these headphones. Furthermore, Pioneer designed them to carry with other equipment, but they might show some wear early on.
- Enhanced frequency response for stronger bass
- Very long-lasting ear cup padding
- Good, clear sound with plenty of bass right out of the box before burn-in
- Allows you to hear quiet music as well as loud music
- Durable enough to last for years, even with heavy use
- May crack along the extension arms
- They can be creaky
For anyone who’s looking for a modular set of headphones, you pretty much can’t beat AIAIAI’s TMA-2. AIAIAI includes five ear pads that use different materials to help you customize your headphones in ways that others don’t.
AIAIAI works to reduce distortion with a titanium-coated driver, along with a vent that allows mid-bass tones to shine through. You also get a microphone meant for talking on the phone, but as a DJ, it will let you talk to your audience without removing your headphones.
Other ways you can customize your headphones include three headbands and four different speakers, so you get excellent versatility with these headphones. You can also play around with different setups and find out which one works best.
Finally, AIAIAI has a website that can help you build your perfect headphones in case you’re having trouble knowing what to do. You might have to do some configuring and reconfiguring, but once that’s done, you’re ready to go.
- Visual online instructions help you put these headphones together
- Internal vent helps enhance the bass
- Three-year manufacturer warranty included
- Has a sleek, minimalist look
- Website is easy to use, so you’ll have your own personal teacher on putting these together
- Can muddy the upper frequencies
- Cord jack is problematic
V-Moda Crossfade M100*
DJs from all over the place like these headphones because it brings out the bass you need without sacrificing higher frequencies. They have engraved metal ear cups and shields, which are completely replaceable so you have less to worry about should the ear cups fail somehow.
These are so durable they can survive drops from a sixth-floor window and will keep coming back for more. You truly get your money’s worth out of these headphones. They’re also ergonomically designed to prevent discomfort no matter how long you wear them.
While they do use leather, it’s vegan leather rather than cowhide and quite soft. They also use this material on the headband, although the padding puts some pressure on top of your head.
For anyone worried about the cables’ durability, they needn’t be; they’re reinforced with Kevlar. These cables have a level of strength not generally seen with other headphones.
- Excellent sweat resistance
- You can personalize the covers with your logo or that of your band
- Reinforced plugs help extend cable life
- Made of metal instead of plastic
- Lightweight despite construction materials
- Moderate pressure detracts from comfort
- Ear cups might be too small for some people
Numark Red Wave Carbon Pro*
Numark has chosen to use carbon fiber in some of its construction rather than metal or plastic, which gives them long-lasting endurance without the weight of metal on your head. Even so, you get a fantastic sound that ensures you have excellent sets at the club, a festival or concert, or anywhere else.
The breathable protein leather reduces sweating, so you’re comfortable for longer regardless of whether you’re DJing or listening to music on your mobile device. You get an adapter to let you plug into a variety of devices.
The 50-millimeter drivers enhance the bass, and swivel cups enable you to customize the way these fit. Few other headphones on the market have that kind of adaptability.
- Three-meter-long cable lets you move around.
- You can wear these for several hours before you feel any discomfort
- Comes with a custom carrying pouch
- High fidelity full-range sound
- Earcup design lets you hear every nuance in every song you play
- Heavier than other headphones
- May not have sufficient volume
What to Consider When Shopping for Headphones
While you don’t have to be as picky with DJ headphones as you do with studio headphones, you do have a few things to consider that will ensure your DJing is top-notch.
Regardless of where you are, chances are you’ll be working in a loud environment such as a party, a club, or something like a festival. The ability to hear your music and maintain your groove is essential to DJing, and emphasized bass gives you a beat you can both hear and feel.
Also, headphones that emphasize bass frequencies help you line up each song properly. Without the ability to match beats from song to song, you lose your entire groove and audience. There is equipment that can do that for you, but as a DJ, you would probably rather do it yourself.
Loud environments can overwhelm and mask the sound from your headphones, so sound isolation is critical. When it comes to DJing, you can’t effectively DJ if you can’t hear your music.
Open or Closed?
That’s where open or closed-backed headphones come in. Open-backed headphones have their place, especially in a recording and mixing studio. However, you want closed-backed headphones when you’re DJing so you can block out noise from the house and hear your music.
Build Quality and Durability
You’re going from place to place and lugging your equipment with you, so your headphones will take a lot of abuse just from that. The last thing you need is a pair you have to treat like a porcelain doll.
DJ headphones usually have swiveling ears, folding cups, and other moving parts that can easily break if you have a sub-quality pair. Worse, even if you’re sticking to a tight budget, the cost of having to replace them adds up.
You need a pair that’s going to withstand everything you can throw at it to save you time, effort, and money.
Over-Ear vs. On-Ear
Over-ear headphones have cups that encase your ears while on-ear headphones rest on your ears. However, whether you want over-ear or on-ear headphones is a matter of personal preference.
If you want a good seal against outside sound, over-ear headphones are probably your best bet. However, they put a lot of pressure on your head and can give you a headache if you’re sensitive to that. On-ear headphones reduce that problem but don’t shut outside sound out quite as well.
What you decide on depends on what’s most important to you.
Comfort and Weight
The more you DJ, the more varied the lengths of your sets will be. Some sets will only last an hour or so, while others might go all night or for an entire day. The weight and overall comfort of your headphones will become clear with more extended sets.
You should look for a pair that’s lightweight and flexible so they don’t weigh down your head and neck and make you feel like they’re slowly boring holes into your skull. Those long sets require you to be as great at the end as at the beginning, and comfortable headphones will reduce the risks of nasty headaches and sore ears.
Plus, if you know you’re going to suffer through your sets, are you going to want to keep DJing? Probably not. That, too, makes comfortable headphones necessary.
How do I Choose Between One Brand and Another?
That depends entirely on you. Most of the best brands and models have the same basic qualities. However, one pair might be more comfortable than another, or it may isolate you from outside sound better than another.
If this is your first time buying DJ headphones, ask other DJs which brand of headphones they prefer and go from there.
What Headphones do Some of the Most Famous DJs Use?
Headphone manufacturers tend to update their headphones or release new models once roughly every two years, so what famous DJs use might change periodically. However, some famous DJs have used the following headphones before:
- Calvin Harris: Sennheiser HD 25
- Oliver Heldens: V-Moda Crossfade M100
- Don Diablo: Audio Technica ATH-M50
- Hardwell: Sennheiser HD 25
- Martin Garrix: V-Moda Crossfade M100
How Often Should I Replace My Headphones?
The old axiom “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies both to you and manufacturers. When you’ve got a great pair that gives you the sound you need, blocks outside noise to your satisfaction, and is comfortable, why would you want to buy new ones? Keep using the headphones you’ve got until you need to replace them.
By the same token, manufacturers continue to produce their popular headphones until they’re no longer popular. At the same time, they’re busy innovating new models. When you do find yourself needing a new pair, there’s a good chance you’ll find a new pair of what you already had or a new model that’s better suited to DJing than what you had.
Whether you’re working with a large audience at a major event or a smaller audience at a club, you need an outstanding pair of headphones to do it well. Emphasized bass, overall comfort, isolation, and build quality should all be criteria and figure into your decision for new headphones. If you take all that into account, you’ll end up with a pair that works very well for you.