DJ Headphones – What kind of DJ headphones should I get?

by Mixing Dj on July 5, 2009

in DJ Tutorials


One of the main pieces of equipment every DJ needs to have is a good pair of DJ headphones. So, you ask, what are the best DJ headphones? Well, the answer to this depends partially on what you’ll be using your DJ headphones for and partially on how much you want to spend on them. But in general, there are a few headphones that work well for most DJs and any of those would be a solid choice for any DJ. Let’s explore the options…

Which DJ Headphones Should I Get?

Which DJ Headphones Should I Get?


One thing you should look out for when looking for DJ headphones is that they are sound isolating. This is different from noise cancelling, which you probably won’t need. Sound isolating headphones are usually over the ear style headphones and they act just like how that sounds. Over the ear headphones fit snugly over your ears so that the sound coming out of them does not leak out to the outside world. This means that you hear the sounds clearly and accurately. Usually, the better the headphones are at sound isolation, the better they’ll sound to you because you’ll be able to hear all the tiny nuances of the music. These headphones also isolate your ears from the outside world, which means that you won’t get outside sound leaking in. However, most DJs want to be able to hear a little of the outside world because the helps for beatmatching. For example, it’ll be easier to match the beat of the track playing through your headphones if you can hear the beat on the track you’re playing on the club speakers. But this really depends on your style of beatmatching. Many DJs take off one cup of their headphones so that one ear could hear the outside sound while the other ear hears the track you’re cueing up in your headphones.

Another thing to consider when trying out different kinds of DJ headphones is how the different frequency ranges are coming through. Some DJ headphones are pretty heavy on the low end, so you hear the bass more prominently than the other frequencies. This can be good for hip-hop or house DJs, who often focus primarily on the beat of the track. In contrast, some DJ headphones come out stronger in the middle range of the frequency spectrum, so you hear the other instruments a little better and the bass may even be a bit downplayed. Make sure that the sound isn’t too tinny – that’s not something you want. You want a deep, natural sound.

In general, you can get a pretty good pair of DJ headphones in the $80-160 price range. There are definitely some really high end DJ headphones that can cost more than $300 but for the most part you will be happy with a $130 pair if you’re just starting out. In fact, they’ll probably sound better than any headphones you’ve ever heard before you became a DJ.

So what are some good ones?

Sony MDR-V700 DJ Headphones

Sony MDR-V700 DJ Headphones

Sony MDR-V700DJ DJ Headphones – These are one of the most popular DJ headphones, used by both amateur and professional DJs. I have a pair of these and I think they tend to be a bit heavier on the bass than other DJ headphones I have tried. One thing to keep in mind is that these headphones are known to break fairly easily when under heavy use, due to their plastic construction. However, most DJs who use these love them so much that they keep buying the same pair even after they break. These are currently (July, 2009) sold for around $90-120 in online and retail stores.

Technics RP-DH1200 DJ Headphones

Technics RP-DH1200 DJ Headphones

Technics RP-DJ1200 DJ Headphones – These are my favorite DJ headphones and the ones I choose to use most on gigs and while practicing. They are also used by many of the top DJs in the world. For example, I recently saw Armin Van Buuren (currently the world’s #1 DJ) wearing a pair of these headphones at a show in Chicago. And who wouldn’t want a pair of Armin Van Buuren headphones? The sound of these headphones is very clear and accurate. The bass is strong but not so strong that it muddies up the other instruments in higher frequency ranges. These headphones have a very sturdy construction and that is one of the reasons many DJs prefer them over the Sony model. They also have a detachable cord, so if the cord breaks you can just replace it instead of replacing the whole headphone. These can be found in the $85-140 price range.

Pioneer HDJ-1000 DJ Headphones

Pioneer HDJ-1000 DJ Headphones

Pioneer HDJ-1000 DJ Headphones – This is another very popular pair of headphones. It is a bit pricier than the other two headphones I’ve mentioned here but the sound they create is exceptionally good. I have not used these heavily yet to I can’t offer my own opinion, but I do know that they generally get pretty good reviews. However, I have seen people complain about these breaking occasionally as well. A pair of these DJ headphones will run you approximately $140-190.

Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones

Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones

Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones – If you are a DJ on a budget, these are the headphones to get. These were actually my first headphones back when I was just starting out and I have to say that for $20-30 this is probably the best pair of DJ headphones you can get. The price is very low for good headphones and the sound is good enough for a DJ to use. The one major complaint I have about these headphones is that they are not very good at sound isolation. There is a lot of sound leakage from the outside, so this makes it hard to hear the track in the headphones if the outside music is very loud. But other than that, it’s a decent pair of headphones especially for use while practicing at home.

There are many other factors to consider when choosing a pair of DJ headphones like their weight and ear fatigue. So if you need any more advice for choosing a pair of DJ headphones, just leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out. And feel free to post more suggestions or experiences you’ve had with different kinds of DJ headphones too!

-Mixing DJ

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake Edelman July 7, 2009 at 9:46 am

Great post, man! Well worded, educated, and filled with experienced opinion.

I would be great if you could do a post about more of the technical aspect of sound/acoustics in the DJ realm….dB, ohms, things like that.

Keep up the good work 🙂

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Mixing DJ July 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm

@Jake – Thanks for the suggestion. I think you’re right – I’ll try to make my next post about something a little more technical. My goal is really to cover all the different aspects of DJing, mixing music and being a DJ in general. So, one post at a time I cover a different topic.
I’m glad you like what you’ve been reading.

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derekpm July 12, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Rather interesting. Has few times re-read for this purpose to remember. Thanks for interesting article.

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DJ Sonic Producer July 18, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Excellent list of DJ headphones. If I may, I would like to add another one to the list. The Denon DNHP1000 Headphones. I have been using that for a couple of weeks. Freaking awesome!
.-= DJ Sonic Producer ´s last blog ..Wealthy Affiliate Platinum Malaysia =-.

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joanparker99@gmail.com July 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm

Thanks for posting about this, I would like to read more about this topic.

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Tecnica August 16, 2009 at 11:36 am

Selecting a good pair of headphones is a difficult job especially when you are new to djing. I myself can’t even figure what dj headphones should i get coz most of the top products are just great to be used and kinda have the same feature.
.-= Tecnica´s last blog ..What is a DJ? =-.

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Muxxex November 13, 2009 at 5:02 pm

I think I’m going to pick up a new pair of Pioneer HDJ2000’s.

I was recently looking at wholesale websites and noticed a dealer selling them. The only problem is that you have to buy 5 at a time, but I have a couple friends that would go in on them with me.

The best part? At 5, you can get em for $75 a piece! How crazy is that eh? I think me and 2 friends may keep a pair each and try to sell the other 2 on ebay.
.-= Muxxex´s last blog ..Ghreg on Earth – T3 =-.

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crimini94@yahoo.com November 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Great post, man, congratulations, keep doing it

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bermetsmith vali December 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Nice post!
I love good sound
thanks

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Muxxex December 15, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I’m a bit bummed, the dealer I was going to buy my HDJ2000’s tried to scam me with knock offs 🙁

On top of that, I blew out my HD555’s recently. I’m stuck with laptop speakers, blahhh.
.-= Muxxex´s last blog ..Where to Find and Buy Vinyl Records Locally =-.

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digital mixer reviews December 20, 2009 at 8:42 am

I think, out of the headphones I have had over the last 15 years or so, technics ones always seem to last the longest. I had an expensive pair of Sony ones that just fell to bits after a few gigs! Needless to say, I took them back to the shop where I got them from and swapped for Technics ones and never looked back since!

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Bar and Night Club Enthusiast December 21, 2009 at 3:27 am

So do they have headphones with an attachable torch… Ever since I saw Blade I’ve wondered if they have them but never been able to find them…

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admin January 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Thanks to everyone for your comments!

@Muxxex – Wow, that would have been a great price. I would love to give those headphones a try! Too bad it fell through. I once got a pair of fake Sony V700 and you could really tell the difference between them and the real ones. One of the main giveaways was that there just wasn’t enough flex in the headband. They were pretty uncomfortable and the sound wasn’t as good either. The real thing is always best. Let me know if you end up getting a good deal on the HDJ2000’s, maybe I’ll get a pair too =]
@dj mixer reviews – Yeah the most common complaint with the Sony headphones is that they fall apart after a while. The Technics are solid though, and more comfortable too!
@BaNCE – lol I can’t say I’ve ever seen that in real life

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ayurlip1 January 25, 2010 at 3:57 am

Choosing the right headphone for DJ is very important, there are many things to notice while selecting the DJ headphones.The right headphones can ensure that you hear every note, folding swing-arms allow for one-sided monitoring

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admin January 25, 2010 at 9:52 pm

@ayurlip1, you’re right about that. There are lots of different pro DJ headphones but they all have their different features and nuances, each with different sound profiles.

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Beth Charette February 12, 2010 at 4:14 am

Well if both you and van Buuren use the Technics, that’s good enough for me.

I am just beginning my career as a DJ in Sacramento, CA.

I know you are dealing here with mixing tips and equipment and such.

However, I would also be interested in an expanded view of your experience in the DJ business FROM the business perspective if that is something you feel comfortable speaking about. Deciding the kind of DJ to be is one part of it. Then there is the part about getting gigs, etc. Everything and anything you wish to share, your loyal audience is at your beck and call.

Thanks for the tips regarding the headphones. I’ll definitely follow through with the purchase.

Beth

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a2zreviews March 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

Great post! I think I’m going to pick up some of the Technics… they’ve always been one of my favorite headphones.

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Dave March 28, 2010 at 5:29 am

I’ve been playing with some Sony MDR NC500’s recently and they’re pretty astonishingly good – I’ve also used the Behringer’s in your list and I totally agree -for the price, pretty decent headphones.
.-= Dave´s last blog ..Bose Around-Ear Headphones =-.

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Chemistry Band April 3, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I think I’ll be looking for a cheaper pair. $29.99 reduced to $19.99 on Amazon at the moment, for a pair of headphones which work for a DJ? Barg’in!
.-= Chemistry Band´s last blog ..Why are there not more women guitarists in bands? =-.

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chris @ Karaoke DJ Equipment April 24, 2010 at 10:07 am

This is valuable post! (See the exclamation point? That’s because there’s so much junk to wade through on the ‘Net lately. That makes a post like this very exciting.) I’m going to add your top three recommendations to my e-store right away. You are a gem!

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Nisheth@Headphone Reviews May 13, 2010 at 10:57 am

Development of new and more efficient technology is becoming inevitable these days and so as with these hi-tech headphones. Anyway, if I were to pick one of those selections above, I would choose the Sony MDR-V700. Why? As what you’ve mentioned, I like headphones that are heavier on the bass. By the way, if you’re interested for some new headphones and its reviews, please check it out on my link. Thanks!

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Girly Tattoos June 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Hey this article is great ad I’ve found it right in time. Few years ago I was a DJ in one of the local clubs, Most of a time I was mixing UK Garage/2step and I have a big case with the vinyl’s from that period. Lately I was thinking about getting back in to business and the only thing I have to do to buy some good Headphones. Last time I was using “Technics RP DJ 1210” which was really great and I was 100% satisfied with them. Now I was thinking about buying those “Pioneer HDJ-1000” or about “Sennheiser HD25C-II” but I can really decide. I would be really grateful if someone would be nice and give me some advice about which one of them to buy. Never the less I love tour blog and I’m waiting for other great articles. Cheers:)
.-= Girly Tattoos´s last blog ..Cherry Blossom Tattoo =-.

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Spanish Lessons July 6, 2010 at 9:52 am

I have the Sony MDR-V700DJ and let me tell you they are very very good. I’m not a DJ, I just use it to monitor some home recordings and to listen to music.They are totally recommended.The price is also good. =)

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Chris Lee July 7, 2010 at 9:53 am

Good point about sound isolating. I think that’s real important if you don’t want your ear to go deaf after 30. I like to wear my Sony Sony MDR-V700 when I work on my logo contests and listing to the latest tract.
.-= Chris Lee´s last blog ..Outsource your logo design to 48hourslogo =-.

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Barbie July 7, 2010 at 5:38 pm

I love the Behringer. Affordable yet very convenient, trendy and comfy for me. A good choice for the starters/beginners like me.
.-= Barbie DressUp´s last blog ..Lovely Pony Bella =-.

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Groovyz July 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Awesome article and very detailed and informative review! 🙂

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car storage birmingham August 19, 2010 at 5:21 am

Good piece of work, has a lot of detail in it. I always say that people should do as much research on these kinds of products before they buy as possible and this would save a lot of people the work! When I was looking for DJ headphones for my boyfriend I had no idea where to start.

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Music Facts August 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I think, the best price to get the best value

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wedding photographers san diego August 23, 2010 at 6:08 am

These are so freakin great headphones. But expensive though…

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george September 9, 2010 at 4:21 am

The Pioneer HDJ-1000 DJ Headphones are very good quality, good sound, nice long lead, ideal for watching films on the tv or pc, and listening to music! Good value for money

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Brandon B. Hart October 2, 2010 at 12:02 am

Very informative! Headphones are really important to have a great music experience and you have shared in here valuable points. I have to agree with Music Facts that price is another thing to be considered when making a choice. Thanks.

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Fingaz November 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm

nice post i once posted same thing like that on DJ GROUP ONLINE called the post the headphone challenge but because the site was still new no one had the changes to see it hope you can check its a one of a kind post but this one is top…. me just loving this site but if any one still wanna see da post her is a link to it… http://www.djgrouponline.com/equirement/the-headphone-challenge ….

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deejay firstbonne November 18, 2010 at 3:45 am

As a starting dj what equipments are you supposed to be with and why? and how much does it cost to have your own sound or full dj equipments and lastly if i may have money how much does it cost to buy headphone,rane mixer and pioneer cd players my phone number 0715784909

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deejay firstbonne November 18, 2010 at 3:51 am

once again how i wish you send me deejay notes so that i can go through them related to this HOW ONE CAN START HIS OWN SOUND,FACTORS TO CONSIDER WEN BUYING DJ EQUIPMENTS,PROBLEMS FACED WITH DJ MORE STARTING DJ i think that is all i will be happy if you help me end pliz send me your number so that we can talk more send this through my email owakamartin@gmail.com

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electric guitar packages February 4, 2011 at 6:35 am

i had no idea there was so much to DJ headphones! the ones you’ve featured here are pretty cool, with rotatable earpieces and what not. good stuff!

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jazziejay March 4, 2011 at 10:29 am

Hi…
used pretty much every headphone available on the market for dj’s since 86…now am using pioneer Hdj1000’s as most mixers here in Malaysia are basically pioneers..they complement each other..just ordered today a V- Moda Crossfade L customised..seems impressive in reviews and on youtube…Will keep you posted…do check them out online…

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MyDJBlog! March 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Cool DJ Blog and great headphone review! I also included all but the Behringers in my DJ headphone list plus the latest models like the Pioneer HDJ 2000 & HDJ 500. Yes, I own HDJ 1000’s and they have broken twice, but I just super glued them and am very happy with the sound. Now I want the 2000’s. Would be nice to link back to your site. Please feel free to leave a link in the comments at http://mydjblog.com/
cheers

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Sean Usher April 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Hi Guys, I think headphones are down to personnel choice, Do you like the feel of them and the sound of them?

I have used the HDJ-1000’s for a few years now and I absolutely love them.

Definitely try out a few at a show room!

Sean.

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The Mixing DJ July 3, 2011 at 12:49 am

affiliate hosting says
Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

[WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘742605632 which is not a hashcash value.

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Crazy Taxi September 8, 2011 at 12:12 am

Pioneer is best for me so far .. i am using Pioneer from last 1 year. The sounds quality of headphones is outstanding.

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