Every DJ needs a good pair of headphones. Something that's durable and portable enough so that you can easily shove it in your bag without being too worried that they'll break. A headphone that's comfortable to wear for long sets, and that comes with hinges or rotating cups so that you can monitor the party for the right time to drop the bass. You most likely also want a headphone that sounds good, with a rich and deep bass, and a sufficiently neutral mid and treble range to reproduce instruments and vocals accurately. A wired design also helps, since you don't want any delay or latency when you mix.
While we have yet to review some of the more popular and iconic DJ headphones from brands like Pioneer and Cymantics, we've tested more than 174 over-ear and on-ears and below are our top recommendation for the best DJ headphones that we've reviewed so far. See also our recommendations for the best studio headphones, the best headphones for music and the best audiophile headphones.
The best headphones, suitable for DJs, that we've tested so far are the Audio Technica ATH-M50x. They are not your typical DJ headphones and geared more towards critical listening and studio use. However, the ear cups do swivel and fold, and they deliver on almost all the other aspects that make a great DJ headphone.
They have a sturdy and durable design that you can easily shove into your bag and you can expect the same great performance at every show. They're also comfortable enough for most sets and have a balanced sound that won't distort even at high volumes. They reproduce tracks accurately with a good amount of bass that keeps things exciting. They come with 3 detachable cables including a coiled 1/8" TRS audio cable that can stretch up to 10 ft, which should be more than enough range for most setups. They're also not too pricey so even if they do break they won't be a big issue to replace.
You can go for the Shure SRH-440 at a slightly cheaper price point, but their build quality is not as good which is quite important if you're going to be carrying your headphones in your bag from show to show.
If you want the best build quality and don't mind the lack of rotating ear cups, then consider the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro instead. The frame Beyerdynamic is stiff and does not have any swiveling hinges, so they won't be the most portable headphones to carry around in your bag, and you may have to wear them at an awkward angle to be able to keep one ear on the pulse of the party and still hear what you're mixing.
However, what they do lack in convenience for DJs, they more than make up for with their great sound quality, comfortable, well-padded ear cups and sturdy build that will last you years. They have a well balanced and neutral mid-range response, so instruments and vocals remain balanced throughout on any track you throw at them. They also have a good bass. It's not as pronounced as some of the other recommendations on this list but still sound exciting and great for mixing and remixing tracks. If a compact foldable design is not a big issue for you and you rather have a sturdy metal headphone that will last you a while and sounds great, then the DT 770 are the way to go.
If you want better-designed headphones that have a lot more flare and style than the other recommendations on this list, then get the V-Moda Crossfade M-100. They do not sound quite as balanced as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They're also not the most comfortable headphones to wear for long listening and mixing sessions. However, their build quality is great, they're portable and come with a good case, and their look and feel is a lot more premium and fashion-forward than the M50x or Beyerdynamic DT 770.
They have a great headband that's super flexible, sturdy and has a low profile on your head. They look great whether you're in front of an audience or just walking down the street. They also have customizable backplates for the ear cups that you can engrave with your logo to add a bit more personality to your headset or to further push your brand.
The V-Moda Crossfade have a decent sound, with a good bass. They have a simple wired design that looks cool, well-made and feels sturdy, and they're compact enough to easily carry around in your bag from set to set. This makes them a good option for the more fashion-oriented DJ and still deliver a performance suitable for casual and critical listening.
If you want a more comfortable and classy looking DJ headset, then consider the Sony MDR-1A instead. They may not have the foldable and compact design of the V-Moda Crossfade M-100. They're also considerably more expensive than some of the other DJ options on this list. However, the MDR 1A have a premium and high-end design that's very lightweight and comfortable.
They deliver a great sound that packs enough bass for your EDM, House and hip-hop playlist as well as sounding balanced enough for more vocal and instrumental heavy mixes. They have a cool, casual design that you can use outdoors, and they come with two cables, one with a mic that will work with your phone. Unfortunately, they do not have a coiled cable like the one included in the Audio Technica ATH-M50x box, and they also do not fold which makes them slightly harder to carry around in your bag.
Overall, if you want DJ headphones that look premium enough to stand out from the crowd, then the Sony MDR-1A are a great option.
If you prefer the fit of on-ear headphones compared to over-ears, then get the Beats EP. They have a similar style and design to the Beats Mixr which we didn't get a chance to review, but unfortunately, they do not have the same swiveling hinges which some DJs will prefer. In this case, the Mixr would be the better fit; however, if you typically just move the earcups to the side to hear the crowd when you mix then this won't be a big issue for you and may even be a more durable design since they have less moving parts.
The Beats EP are also one of the best sounding on-ears we've tested so far. They have a balanced frequency response with a nice extended bass range that reproduces the thump and rumble of more bass-heavy tracks accurately. They also do a good job with more instruments and vocal heavy tracks so you're covered no matter the type of genre you usually play at your sets. They also have a wired design so they have no latency when plugged into your mixing equipment.
Unfortunately, they may not be comfortable enough even if you like on-ears since they are a little tight on the head. Also, the lack of folding hinges does make them a bit less portable than other on-ear design. However, if that's your thing then the sturdy design and great sound of the EP will be worth it.
If you like full-sized over-ears like most DJ but want something a bit more portable and cheaper than the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, then consider the Sony MDR-7506. They do not feel as durable as the ATH M50x or the Beyerdynamic DT 770. They also do not have the stylish or premium design of the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 or the Sony MDR-1A. However, they're a great sounding and lightweight studio headphone with a long coiled cable suitable for your DJ needs.
The MDR-7506 have an exciting sound with a slight V-shaped profile that delivers on bass and also sounds detailed and clear with instruments and vocals. They're comfortable and fold to easily fit into your bag. Unfortunately, they do not come with a case or a detachable cable that you can swap for a shorter, more outdoor-friendly cable.
On the upside, they are not too expensive. Being under 100$ means that they won't be too painful to replace if they were to get damaged, and for their level of audio fidelity, lightweight build, and decently comfortable design, they are well worth the investment.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best DJ headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.