Every DJ needs a good pair of headphones; something portable yet durable enough to quickly stash in a bag without having to worry that they'll break. You most likely also want a headphone that sounds good, with rich, deep bass and a sufficiently neutral mid and treble range to reproduce instruments and vocals accurately. The best DJ headphones are comfortable to wear for long sets and have rotating cups for you to easily monitor the party for the right time to drop the bass. A wired design also helps, since you don't want any delay or latency while mixing.
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 230 over-ear and on-ear headphones, and below are our top recommendations 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, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.
The best DJ headphones that we’ve tested so far are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They’re well-built headphones with a durable, sturdy design that’s ready to handle multiple gigs in a row. They’re comfortable enough to wear during long sets and feature cups that swivel in both directions, which make it easy to keep one ear on the pulse of the party while still monitoring your performance.
These over-ear headphones sound impressive and are the best closed-back audiophile headphones that we’ve reviewed to date. They have a great, neutral frequency response that packs outstanding bass while still sounding neutral enough to hear the finer details in your mix. They come with three different cable options, one of which is coiled for a greater reach around the stage, and a 1/4" audio adapter for compatibility with various set-ups.
Although they do fold into a slightly more compact format, they are still quite bulky. They come with a decent soft carrying pouch that will help protect them on-the-go, but they take up quite a bit of space in your bag, especially with their coiled cable. That said, they still provide excellent value for their price and are very easy to recommend for new DJs and old pros alike.
If you want similar performance to the Audio Technica ATH-M50x but want something that feels more durable, go with the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. Their ear cups don't swivel, and they don't fold into a more compact form like the Audio-Technica, but they feel a bit more durable and have less moving parts that could potentially break. They have great sound reproduction with excellent bass and mid-range, though some may find them a bit bright sounding. They do tend to leak sound at high volumes which should be fine during a show, but if you use them to mix at home it may be bothersome to those around you.
Get the ATH-M50x if you want the best DJ headphones we've tested so far and want ear cups that can swivel, but if you're concerned about durability and want something a little more sturdy feeling, go with the DT 770 PRO.
If you’re drawn to the iconic look of the Sony MDR line and want the most portable over-ear headphones that perform well for DJs, then get the Sony MDR-7506. They have a foldable design with swiveling ear cups like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but are much lighter. They do feel a little cheap, and they aren’t as comfortable as the Audio-Technica, but they’re a great lower-cost pick for DJs looking for a simple, timeless design.
These headphones slightly emphasize both the bass and treble ranges: the result is an exciting sound that may feel overhyped to some, but just right to others. Though they have a less neutral sound profile than the Audio-Technica or the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, they’re good headphones for a dynamic set that features a mix of bass-heavy music with more vocal-centric songs.
Unfortunately, these headphones don’t feel as well-built as some of the other recommendations on this list. Although they come with a nice long coiled cable, the cable isn’t detachable, which increases the risk of damage to these headphones. Fortunately, they’re not super expensive, so replacing them if they do get worn down shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Overall, they’re a good choice for DJs looking for lightweight, portable headphones that deliver versatile sound.
If you want a portable pair of headphones but need something more comfortable for longer gigs, get the Shure SRH 440. They're a bit heavier and bulkier than the Sony MDR-7506, but are more comfortable with large ear cups and a nice lightweight overall design. While their sound reproduction is impressive, they have poor consistency in the bass range with certain types of glasses or long hair causing a break in the seal of the headphones, which could cause a significant drop in bass for some people. While this is probably fine if you're the only one using the headphones, it's worth noting if you'll be sharing them with other DJs at a show. On the upside, they have a detachable cable and a nice carrying case, which is great for bringing them around to shows with you.
If you want a good overall pair of portable DJ headphones, get the Sonys, but if you play longer sets and want a much more comfortable pair of headphones for extended use, get the Shure.
If you want better-designed headphones that have a lot more flair and style than the other recommendations on this list, then get the V-MODA Crossfade M-100. They don’t sound quite as balanced as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but they look and feel a lot more high-end, premium, and fashion-forward than the Audio-Technica or the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. They have a flexible, sturdy headband and look great whether you're in front of an audience or just walking down the street.
These headphones have a simple wired design that looks cool, feels well-made, and stands out in a crowd. They’re sturdy yet compact headphones. They come with a great hard carrying case, which makes them easy to carry around from set to set. They sound decent overall and have good bass. 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.
Unfortunately, they’re not the most comfortable headphones to wear, especially over longer periods. Their ear cups are a bit shallow and their headband tends to feel rather tight. They’re well-padded in general, so this may not be an issue for shorter sets, but they may cause some discomfort if you’re planning a longer performance. That said, they’re a good option for the more fashion-oriented DJ interested in creating a memorable visual identity.
If you’re not a fan of the bulkier design of over-ear headphones and prefer more compact on-ears, then get the Beats EP; they’re the best on-ear DJ headphones we’ve tested so far. They have a simple, lightweight design that’s more breathable than the over-ear options on this list, and their audio cable also features an in-line microphone, which is great if you need to call clients in-between sets.
They have surprisingly great audio reproduction, especially at this price-point. They have deep bass with good thump and punch which makes them great for those who prefer heavy bass, though they're still well-balanced enough to be suitable for most genres. While they're well-built headphones that use high-end materials, they unfortunately aren't the most comfortable due to their tight fit, and may not be the best option for longer sets. On the upside, their more casual design makes them great for people who want headphones that can be used in everyday life outside of DJing as well.
Unfortunately, they don’t feel as well-built as other on-ear headphones we’ve reviewed, like the Marshall MID ANC. They also don’t have a detachable cable, and theirs is a bit on the short side. You may need to purchase an audio cable extension if you want to use these headphones comfortably while performing. That said, they are still a decent option for DJs who prefer on-ears, thanks to their good sound quality and straightforward design.
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 (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones 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 closed-back 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.
10/23/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.