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 183 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 DJ headphones that we've tested so far are the Audio Technica ATH-M50x. They are not your typical DJ headphones and are 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 of the 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 sounds exciting and is great for mixing and remixing tracks. If a compact foldable design is not a big issue for you and you'd 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 flair 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, while they still deliver a performance suitable for casual and critical listening.
If you’re looking for premium DJ headphones with a high-end feel and very good sound, then get the Sony MDR-1A. They are very sturdy wired headphones in a sleek and polished design that is very classy. They look like they would be quite heavy, but they are rather lightweight and stay comfortable during long mixing sessions.
The Sony MDR-1A are very good-sounding headphones that are well-balanced enough for a versatile DJ’s needs. They pack enough bass to be suitable for hip-hop, rap, EDM, house, or other bass-heavy playlists all while delivering an impressively neutral mid-range and good treble response to make even pop or rock tracks sound nice and bright. They are very comfortable and well-suited for long, diverse sets.
Unfortunately, unlike many of the other models in the MDR series, they don’t fold up, and they don’t come with a coiled cable. Their included cable will detach if it gets snagged on anything though, reducing the possibility of damaging these headphones during a wild set. All things considered, the MDR-1A are slick-looking premium DJ headphones that delivery a good bass-heavy sound that should be perfect for most DJs.
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’re drawn to the iconic look of the Sony MDR line and want a more portable option than the MDR-1A, then get the Sony MDR-7506. These headphones feature a foldable design with swiveling earcups like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x but are much lighter. They do feel a little cheap, and they aren’t as comfortable as the M50X, but they’re a great lower-cost pick for DJs looking for a simple, timeless design.
The Sony MDR-7506 have an interesting sound signature that slightly emphasizes both the bass and the 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 ATH-M50X and the Beyerdynamic DT 770, they are good headphones for a dynamic set that features a mix of bass-heavy music with more vocal-centric songs.
Although the MDR-7506 come with a nice long coiled cable, the cable isn’t detachable, which increases the risk of damage to these headphones. Their build quality is about average, but nothing to write home about. Fortunately, they’re not super expensive, so replacing them if they do get worn down won’t hurt as much as replacing the MDR-1A. They’re a good choice for DJs looking for lightweight, portable headphones that deliver versatile sound.
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.