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The 4 Best DJ Headphones - Spring 2024 Reviews

Updated May 14, 2024 at 03:40 pm
Best DJ Headphones

Every DJ has a unique blend of equipmentโ —some prefer a classic, old-school analog setup, while others prefer a more modern, digital approach. Whether your setup revolves around a turntable or a tablet, you always need a good pair of headphones.

A solid pair of closed-back studio headphones will generally be a decent option, though the best DJ headphones frequently have elevated bass for beatmatching. You'll want to look out for a few things, like swiveling or pivoting ear cups and flexible headbands to monitor your set from one ear and the club's mix with the other. A long, coiled cable will help you move around freely on stage, and if it's replaceable, you can swap it on the spot if it breaks during a set. You'll also want headphones with good noise isolation so that you can focus on the crowd one moment and line up your mix the next.

While we've yet to test some of Cymatics' more popular and iconic DJ models, we've tested over 785 headphones. Below, you'll find our top headphone recommendations for DJs. Also, check out our recommendations for the best headphones for music, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.

  1. Best DJ Headphones

    The Sennheiser HD 25 are the best DJ headphones we've tested. These on-ear headphones are designed expressly with DJs in mind and have specific features that cater to the role, including high sensitivity so they can get loud to compete with the sound system in the room. These lightweight headphones deliver ample bass and low mid-range emphasis. While the added thump, boom, and exaggerated low-mids in these headphones don't make them analytical in the traditional sense of music production, for some genres like EDM, this tuning helps for rhythm matching when cueing up the next track for slick transitions.

    If you like to dance and headbang, their unique headband design splits, so you get two contact points to distribute their already extremely light weight and better keep them in place. Combined with their light clamping force and decent frequency response consistency, you can bet you won't get tired from wearing them and that what you hear between wears is pretty much the same each time. They also have the added benefit of replaceable cabling for each driver, rather than having the wiring between ear cups enclosed and inaccessible, so that they can last longer with wear and tear and are easier to fix. You can only flip the right ear cup forward or backward, and they don't swivel. If you wear glasses, flipping the ear cup forward can knock into the frame.

    If you're more concerned with monitoring your live mixes with a less bassy set of cans or prefer an over-ear fit, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (and their optional Bluetooth variant, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless) are dependable headphones. Unlike the Sennheisers, they have a more robust build and swiveling ear cups. They also come with three cables as opposed to just one. The downside is that they're bulkier and clamp tighter. While they supply a good amount of bass to kick drums and bass lines, they don't emphasize those frequencies as much.

    See our review

  2. Best Mid-Range DJ Headphones

    If you want a versatile pair of cans, the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless can accommodate the dual duties of wired DJ headphones and wireless Bluetooth headphones, unlike the wired-only Sennheiser HD 25. On the way to a gig, you can listen wirelessly from your phone, and once you arrive at the venue, you can simply plug in the coiled analog cable. Their sound is pretty bass-heavy, focusing on the low rumbles of sub-bass synths through to the boom of kick drums. While their mid-range and highs sound fairly neutral, removing the muddy sound, the boosted bass is more prominent, which is useful for beatmatching.

    They fold into a smaller footprint, and the ear cups swivel so you can hear the room. While they're not quite as stable as the Sennheiser HD 25's splitting headband, they have some added benefits like more ample cushioning. As a result, they feel pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones. They also isolate out high-pitched noises a bit better, although on-ears don't typically lead the way in noise isolation, so that's relative. Boasting the additional Bluetooth connectivity is a nice feature because you can get more out of your headphones; even if the connectivity is rudimentary, you still get playback controls and about 46 hours of battery life. However, if you have thick hair or glasses, it can alter how consistent the bass sounds, so take care when placing them on.

    If you want headphones that fit over ears, the Sony MDR-7506 are a wired-only alternative with a bit less bass-heavy tuning than the Pioneer DJ cans. They still supply an exaggerated thump and punch to kick drums. If you want to hear cymbals more prominently, their treble range is more excited. Their sound profile is more reliably accurate between wears if you have glasses or thick hair than the Pioneer DJ. Their downsides are that they're more utilitarian with less cushioning, and the ear cups don't swivel. Their cable is also not detachable, so you'll need a soldering iron, a handy friend, or new headphones if they get damaged.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget DJ Headphones

    If you're a DJ contending with a tighter budget, check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. These relatively inexpensive headphones aren't as versatile or portable as the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless, partly because their cable is hardwired, and they don't fold down smaller. The cable connecting the ear cups is exposed at points, which makes it easier to damage accidentally, and unlike the Sennheiser HD 25, you can't simply buy new cabling if that occurs. Still, they have a decently comfortable over-ear fit and don't put much pressure on your head.

    They have a well-balanced sound profile with a neutral mid-range response, so voices and lead instruments are present, detailed, and clear. Their mostly accurate bass response ensures your audio has punch and warmth, but they lack a little low bass, so your music will sound light on thump and rumble. Sibilant sounds, like cymbals, also seem dull. Even though the 10-foot audio cable isn't detachable or coiled, it gives you plenty of room to move around. With that said, if you want to hear the room, their ear cups don't swivel or pivot.

    See our review

  4. Best Bass DJ Headphones

    If our top pick isn't bassy enough for you, the AIAIAI TMA-2 DJ may be just the right solution. These headphones strongly de-emphasize treble frequencies, and for most music fans, they sound quite rumbly and cluttered with fairly muffled treble. However, if you're a DJ who favors genres like dubstep, this is exactly kind of the tuning you might prefer. While their bass sounds prominent, it's also quite accurate within the bass range, so the bass you hear is fairly true to the source material's mix.

    If you take the plunge and their sound profile doesn't quite work for your tastes, these headphones are unique because you can buy new components from the manufacturer. This means you can change their sound by swapping out different drivers (or other parts, for that matter) for an alternate sound and fit. Although doing so results in an added cost, this modular design expands the usefulness of the headphones so you don't get stuck with one frequency response. As is, these on-ear headphones have a sleek and modern look with a detachable, coiled cable. However, their headband isn't very comfortable and can catch on your hair. Unlike our top pick, the Sennheiser HD 25, and the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless, you can't pivot or swivel the ear cups, which means you'll need to remove them completely or pull one side off of your ear to hear the room and music simultaneously.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • AKG K371: The AKG K371 are a good option if you prefer to DJ using a more neutral frequency response in the same style as the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x or the less expensive Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. They're comfortable and have ear cups that can flip forward like the Sennheiser HD 25, but their isolation is worse, and their build isn't as tough. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are an upgraded alternative to the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. They have a comfortable fit with swiveling ear cups, a warm, bassier sound profile, and two cables to choose from. However, they're often double the price of the budget pick. See our review
  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016: The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 model are chunky over-ears that supply a more warm and neutral sound profile than the on-ear Sennheiser HD 25 headphones. For folks who want a bit more bass but not an intense amount, these might do the trick. Although you can swivel the ear cups and fold them down smaller, unfortunately, they're not very stable headphones, and you can't detach their coiled cable. See our review
  • Shure SRH 440: The Shure SRH 440 have a fairly neutral sound profile and a detachable, coiled audio cable. However, they lack the boom and thumpy low bass of the Sennheiser HD 25 and are also highly prone to inconsistent bass and treble delivery. See our review
  • Pioneer DJ DJ CUE1: The Pioneer DJ DJ CUE1 are the wired-only version of the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless. We haven't tested them, so we can't comment on their performance, but you can make an educated guess that they aren't too different from their Bluetooth-capable sibling. Because they often sell for nearly the same price as the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless, you might as well get Bluetooth as an additional feature. However, sometimes they go on sale and are worth a try. Untested - Join the discussion

Recent Updates

  1. May 14, 2024: This review has been revamped to move the Sennheiser HD 25 to the top pick, and the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless and AIAIAI TMA-2 DJ have been added to the article's pick. We've updated the Notable Mentions to include the AKG K371, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016, and the Pioneer DJ DJ CUE1. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and Sony MDR-7506 are also mentioned in the article.

  2. Mar 14, 2024: This list has been updated to move the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x to the 'Best DJ Headphones' pick. The Sennheiser HD 25 have been added as the 'Best On-Ear Headphones' pick, and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 were added as the 'Best Wireless Headphones' pick. Otherwise, small adjustments to the text have been made.

  3. Jan 18, 2024: We've made minor revisions to the text to improve accuracy, but our picks have stayed the same.

  4. Nov 20, 2023: Made minor updates to the text and checked that the products are in stock.

  5. Sep 22, 2023: We've added a comparison between the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless and the Sennheiser HD 25. Even though we haven't tested the Sennheiser yet, they're a popular option in the DJ community.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for DJs 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.