Every DJ has their unique blend of equipment - some prefer a classic, old-school analog setup, while others favor 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, but you'll want to look out for a couple of things in particular. The best DJ headphones have either swiveling ear cups or a flexible headband so you can 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 the more popular and iconic DJ headphones from brands like Pioneer and Cymatics, we've still tested over 580 headphones. Below, you'll find our top recommendations for the best DJ headphones that we've tested. Also, check out our recommendations for the best headphones for music, the best wired headphones, and the best audiophile headphones.
The best DJ headphones that we've tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They feature a relatively lightweight design that makes them comfortable to wear throughout longer sets, and their spacious and well-padded ear cups can swivel and allow you to keep tabs on the venue's mix. They're also quite well-built, with dense plastic construction and a trio of detachable audio cables.
They have a fairly well-balanced sound profile that makes them a good fit for a variety of genres, though their slightly overemphasized low-bass response emphasizes the thump and rumble to EDM and hip-hop tracks. Due to their conservative-looking design and monochrome color scheme, they also shouldn't stand out too much, even if you're playing at a fairly subdued venue. If you prefer a wireless design, this manufacturer makes a Bluetooth variant of these headphones called the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, which we've tested.
Unfortunately, they aren't especially portable, which can make them a bit of a hassle to carry around when not in use. Their poor noise isolation also means that you hear a lot of the sound around you, which isn't ideal if you're playing a noisy gig. Still, if you're looking for sturdy headphones with a versatile sound profile, these are a good option.
If you're looking for a pair of DJ headphones that you can customize to your liking, consider the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless. While their sound profile is more bass-heavy than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, the V-MODA have a unique design that allows you to mix and match or replace the ear plates, ear cups, and audio cable to your liking. These extra parts can all be purchased through the manufacturer, and you can even design your own custom ear cups. That said, they have a sturdy, well-built, and durable build quality that's comfortable enough for long sets. They also come with a hard case to help protect them when you're on the go, and they support Bluetooth, which some users may prefer. However, they have high wireless latency. While it shouldn't be too much of an issue if you're listening to music on your way to the venue, you may want to use their audio cable to help lower latency during your show.
Go for the Audio-Technica if you're looking for a pair of wired-only headphones with a more neutral sound and a slightly better noise isolation performance. However, if you're looking for headphones with customizable parts and Bluetooth support, try the V-MODA.
The Sony MDR-7506 are the best DJ headphones under $100 that we've tested. These compact over-ears can fold to help reduce their overall footprint, which makes it easier to fit them into a bag if you're traveling between sets. They also have an iconic retro look that some users may prefer.
They have a balanced, slightly v-shaped sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio content. The touch of extra bass adds thump and boom while vocals and lead instruments sound bright, ensuring they don't get lost in the mix. Thanks to their decently lightweight and comfortable fit, you shouldn't feel too much discomfort if you're wearing them during long sets.
Unfortunately, their build quality feels a little cheap, and their audio cable isn't detachable, so if this part is damaged, you need to replace the entire unit. They also struggle to block out background sound around you, which may less than ideal for crowded venues. Still, these classic headphones offer a lightweight design and balanced sound suitable for DJing.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are the best DJ headphones in the budget range that we've tested. They have a lightweight design and don't clamp your ears too tightly, so you shouldn't experience too much fatigue during a long set. They also have a simple, understated look that shouldn't draw too much attention, regardless of where you're playing.
These over-ears have a mostly well-balanced sound profile, with remarkably neutral mids and a mostly accurate bass range, resulting in full-bodied, present, and clear vocals and lead instruments. That said, they're lacking a bit of thump and rumble due to their slightly underemphasized low-bass response and have an uneven treble range, which results in a slight loss of brightness in some higher notes. While they don't block out too much noise, that may be helpful if you want to keep tabs on your set and the venue's mix at the same time.
They aren't the most well-built option on the market, with cheap-feeling plastic construction and exposed audio cables. They're also quite bulky and don't fold into a more compact form, which can be annoying if you're taking these headphones on the go. That said, they're a solid option if you're looking for a pair of budget-friendly over-ears with a somewhat well-balanced sound profile.
Apr 16, 2021: Removed the Beats EP, JBL CLUB ONE Wireless, Beats Studio3 Wireless, and Beats Solo Pro Wireless as they don't offer the best value to users. Added the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless as 'Most Customizable Alternative' and renamed 'Best Portable DJ Headphones' to 'Best DJ Headphones Under $100' to better align our picks with user expectations.
Feb 17, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and that they're the best fit for their category.
Dec 17, 2020: Slight changes to the text for accuracy and clarity; no change in product recommendations.
Jul 15, 2020: Moved Shure SRH 440 to Notable Mentions and added JBL CLUB ONE as 'Wireless Alternative with Active Noise Cancelling'.
Feb 21, 2020: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO and V-MODA Crossfade moved to Notable Mentions, Audio-Technica ATH-M20x added.
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.