Every DJ has a 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 590 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 well-padded ear cups can swivel and allow you to keep tabs on the venue's mix. They're also 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 many 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, making 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 DJ headphones with a more customizable look, consider the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless. Unlike the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they're more prone to inconsistencies in their bass delivery, and you may experience a drop in bass if you have thick hair or glasses. However, they a unique design that allows you to switch out the ear plates, ear cups, and audio cable to suit your preferences. You can purchase these extra parts through the manufacturer, and you can even design custom ear plates with engravings or color prints. They have a great build quality with a flexible metal frame, dense ear cups, and a comfortable fit. While their sound isn't as neutral as the Audio-Technica, they have a thumpy, bass-heavy sound that may still please some users. They also support Bluetooth, which is nice for more casual listening, although their latency is quite high, so you may want to stick with using their analog connection during a show.
Check out the Audio-Technica if you're looking for wired-only headphones with a more neutral sound profile and consistent audio delivery. However, if you want to customize your headphones' style to your preferences and Bluetooth support, go for the V-MODA.
The best DJ headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Sony MDR-7506. These sleek and retro-looking headphones have a decently comfortable fit with large ear cups and a lightweight design. They also fold up to reduce their overall footprint, so they can comfortably fit into a bag if you're on the go between sets.
They have a slightly v-shaped sound profile that adds a touch of extra thump and rumble while vocals and lead instruments are bright. That said, they're still well-suited for a variety of audio content. They come with a non-detachable coiled audio cable, which offers over four feet of range, as well as a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.
Unfortunately, their build feels a little cheap and plasticky, despite having a thin metal frame to help reinforce them. These headphones also have a poor noise isolation performance, so they may not be ideal when you're playing crowded venues. That said, these classic headphones offer a balanced sound and comfortable fit that should please most users.
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.
Jun 15, 2021: Checked the text for accuracy and product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
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'.
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.