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 690 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.
The best DJ headphones we've tested are the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless. These over-ears are the previous generation of the V-MODA Crossfade 3 Wireless, and while we haven't tested their successor yet, the second-gen model is still worth considering, especially as they're still available from the manufacturer. These headphones have a premium build quality, thanks to their reinforced headband, memory foam ear pads, and customizable (and swappable!) aluminum shields. They're wireless, which is great if you don't want to worry about a cable snagging something and pulling them off your head, and they last over 11 hours continuously. That said, you can also use them wired via the included audio cables.
These over-ears have a comfortable fit, which helps limit the feeling of fatigue during long sets. They have trouble blocking background noise, so it can be hard to hear your own audio well in noisy crowds. In terms of sound, they also lean more bass-heavy. While the extra thump, rumble, and boom don't bloat vocals and instruments, a dip in the mid-treble dulls sibilants like cymbals. Overall, their sound isn't as flat or neutral as other picks on this list but can still be a solid choice for genres like EDM and hip-hop.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best headphones for DJing in the upper mid-range we've tested. Although they don't offer nearly the same level of customization as the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless, these over-ears deliver a well-balanced and fairly neutral sound that outperforms their price point. While audio still has a bit of extra warmth, it doesn't overwhelm the rest of your track. Their all-black design isn't too eye-catching, so they shouldn't stand out much, even if you're playing at a more subdued venue. Their audio cable is also detachable, which is nice because you don't need to replace the headphones if it's damaged. They have a lightweight, well-padded design that should make them comfortable to wear for long periods. Their ear cups can also swivel, making it easier to keep tabs on the venue's mix.
Unfortunately, they have poor noise isolation performance, so they aren't ideal if you're looking for headphones to help isolate you from ambient noise. They're also not very portable and only come with a soft pouch to store them in, which doesn't protect them as much as a hard case. The AKG K371, which are similarly performing over-ears, can also be found at this price point. Their sound profile is even more flat and neutral than the Audio-Technica, but they're more prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery. You may especially notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses.
The Sony MDR-7506 are the best mid-range DJ headphones that we've tested. At this price point, you need to make some sacrifices to find more wallet-friendly headphones. While these over-ears are still decently comfortable and lightweight, they aren't as well-built or comfortable as the higher-end Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Their padding feels cheap their ear cups feel pretty plasticky. However, despite this trade-off, they still have a solid sound suitable for DJing. Their slight v-shaped sound profile adds extra thump, punch, and boom to your audio without drowning out instruments and lead vocals, which remain bright, present, and clear. They also have good frequency response consistency, so their sound doesn't depend too much on the headphones' fit and positioning on your head.
These over-ear headphones have a retro look and a long coiled cable that helps prevent tangles when you're moving around. The included 1/8" to 1/4" adapter lets you plug them into an amp or mixer. Unfortunately, they have a disappointing noise isolation performance, although their closed-back design helps them block out some mid-range noise like ambient chatter. They also don't have the most stable fit, so they could fall off your head if you make exaggerated movements.
The best budget-friendly headphones for DJs that we've tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x. Certain sacrifices have to be made at this price level. Unfortunately for these over-ears, their affordable price comes at the expense of their build quality and simple design. Unlike the Sony MDR-7506, they feel even less durable since the metal that reinforces the headband is thin and feels cheap. Also, the cable connecting the ear cups is exposed at points, making it easier to damage. They have a decently comfortable fit and don't clamp onto your head too tightly.
Their sound profile is reasonably well-balanced, with a very accurate mid-range response that ensures lead instruments and vocals sound present and clear. They also have a very neutral bass response, so your audio has punch and warmth, although they lack some low-bass. Their underemphasized treble response makes sibilant sounds, like cymbals, seem dull, though. While the 10-foot audio cable isn't detachable, it gives you plenty of room to move around.
Oct 05, 2022: We've restructured this article to better align it with user expectations. We've renamed the categories and made the V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless the 'Best DJ Headphones'. We've also cleared the Notable Mentions of any out-of-date picks.
May 05, 2022: Updated text and checked product picks for accuracy and availability.
Mar 09, 2022: Verified that the recommendations represent the best picks in their categories and that the products are available.
Feb 08, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.
Dec 20, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are available. There were no changes to the recommendations.
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.