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Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.6
Reviewed Mar 25, 2024 at 12:58 pm
Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless Picture
7.0
Neutral Sound
6.8
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.3
Wireless Gaming
6.9
Wired Gaming
6.5
Phone Calls

Pioneer DJ is an offshoot brand from the Pioneer Corporation, known in its heyday for LaserDiscs and high-end stereos. The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless are analog and Bluetooth headphones backed by a few decades of this major player's experience building DJ equipment. However, like the LaserDisc, Pioneer DJ is about to become a relic. The manufacturer announced that its future DJ gear will receive the AlphaTheta branding instead. Let's check out the brand's closer—the DJ HDJ-CUE1BT—to see what decades of partying wisdom grants these cans.

Our Verdict

7.0 Neutral Sound

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT are decent for neutral listening. Their tuning is bass-heavy, like most DJ headphones, which is good for beatmatching. The resulting sound doesn't totally represent your music with perfect accuracy like studio headphones, but that's not what their design is meant to do. Your music gets a significant bass boost, fairly neutral mids, and a dark top-end, and they have low distortion. However, on-ear closed-backs don't offer the most immersive and spacious experience.

Pros
  • Analog or Bluetooth connection available.
  • Good comfort for on-ear headphones.
Cons
  • Unimpressive noise isolation.
  • No app to change EQ.
6.8 Commute/Travel

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT are alright for commutes and traveling. Their long battery life easily lasts through several flights without needing a recharge. They fold down to a smaller size, although they don't include a case. Considering they are on-ear headphones, they feel comfortable but not luxurious. You can use them over Bluetooth or passively, which is convenient. On the other hand, they don't have any active noise cancellation, so you'll have to contend with the low drones of rumbling bus engines and ambient din in airplane cabins reaching your ears.

Pros
  • Analog or Bluetooth connection available.
  • Good comfort for on-ear headphones.
  • Long battery life.
Cons
  • Unimpressive noise isolation.
  • No carry case or pouch for taking them with you.
  • Rudimentary controls.
7.0 Sports/Fitness

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT are satisfactory for sports and fitness. However, they aren't designed for exercising and will likely slip off if you do anything more rigorous than dumbbell curls. They lack any IP rating against water or dust, which is normal for on-ears, but most fitness headphones have that added protection. Their size and folding design make them one of the more portable headphones to take with you, but they're still bigger than any set of true wireless headphones and don't include a case.

Pros
  • Analog or Bluetooth connection available.
  • Good comfort for on-ear headphones.
Cons
  • No carry case or pouch for taking them with you.
  • Not stable enough for most exercises.
7.0 Office

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT are satisfactory for office use. The biggest mark against them is that they don't have active noise cancelling, so you'll hear the HVAC. They isolate high-pitched noises from the communal kitchen decently enough, but you'll still hear your coworkers talking. If you take a lot of online meetings, their mic only works when you're connected over Bluetooth, and it doesn't sound exceptional; additionally, you don't get the ease of Bluetooth multi-pair for device switching. On-ear headphones like these don't feel the best over long sessions like a work shift. Their battery can last several workdays without needing a recharge, though, which is helpful.

Pros
  • Analog or Bluetooth connection available.
  • Long battery life.
Cons
  • Unimpressive noise isolation.
  • Mic only works over Bluetooth.
5.3 Wireless Gaming

You can't use the Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT for wireless gaming. You can't connect them to your consoles wirelessly.

6.9 Wired Gaming

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT are okay for wired gaming. They supply clean audio with a lot of rumble and fairly even mids, although they're bass-heavy, so voices lack detail. They're on-ear headphones with closed-backs and aren't immersive and spacious, so localization is harder than with open-backed headphones. As on-ear headphones go, they feel comfortable. However, if you plan to talk with friends, their mic won't work when they're connected via analog.

Pros
  • Good comfort for on-ear headphones.
Cons
  • Mic only works over Bluetooth.
6.5 Phone Calls

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT are fair for phone calls. You can only use their mic when they're connected over Bluetooth. The mic sounds intelligible, but it lacks detail. Its noise handling struggles with sudden environmental noises, which can obscure your speech. Because the headphones don't block a lot of low-pitched and ambient noise, it can make it harder to hear the person on the line. In a quiet room, it works okay. Their controls for calls are very basic as well.

Pros
  • Long battery life.
Cons
  • Mic only works over Bluetooth.
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 6.8 Commute/Travel
  • 7.0 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.3 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.9 Wired Gaming
  • 6.5 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Mar 25, 2024: Review published.
  2. Updated Mar 18, 2024: Early access published.
  3. Updated Mar 11, 2024: Our testers have started testing this product.
  4. Updated Feb 19, 2024: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  5. Updated Feb 15, 2024: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT come in three colors: 'Black,' 'White,' and 'Red.' Our unit is 'Red.' Each color has a designation in the name, like Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT K, with the 'K' indicating that their color is black, 'W' for white, and 'R' for red, but these are the same headphones. The manufacturer used to sell custom-colored versions through its website. These days, you can still purchase different colored accessory packs. If you know of other variants, please let us know in the forums.

Compared To Other Headphones

One of the appeals of the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT is that you can go over your set while listening from your phone on the way to the gig. When you get to the venue, you just plug your headphones in for the set. You can do this with other headphones like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless, which have a more neutral tuning and an over-ear fit, but if you really prefer more bass, the Pioneer DJ cans are better. The V-MODA Crossfade 3 Wireless are also bass-heavy headphones with optional Bluetooth and analog connectivity and are considerably better built, although their sound is muddier with darker treble when used passively.

Look at the best DJ headphones for an idea of your other options. If you're all about the low-end punch, check out the best bass headphones. On the other hand, if you produce music, then consider the best studio headphones.

Sennheiser HD 25

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless and Sennheiser HD 25 are on-ear headphones with prominent bass emphasis. You can use the Pioneer DJ over Bluetooth or via analog. Their build is plastic with hinges to collapse them down smaller. Because they house batteries, they weigh more, although they aren't heavy. The Sennheiser are passive-only headphones, which are lighter but don't collapse down smaller. While the Pioneer DJ headphones have rotating ear cups, the Sennheiser's right ear cup can pivot forward or backward instead. They use a unique split headband design to help with overall stability, but neither pair will stay put if you headbang.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless and Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 Wireless are Bluetooth and analog-capable headphones that collapse smaller with rotating ear cups. The Pioneer DJ are more bassy sounding and fit on-ears. Their Bluetooth connectivity is more rudimentary, and their battery life is great but shorter. The Audio-Technica fit over the ear instead. They have a more analytical tuning, although you can use the companion app to alter the EQ when they're used wirelessly. Their Bluetooth implementation and controls are more comprehensive, as well.

V-MODA Crossfade 3 Wireless

The V-MODA Crossfade 3 Wireless and Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT Wireless have bass-heavy tunings by default. You can collapse both down into smaller footprints, although the V-MODA come with a case and a more durable build. They can be tricky to fit correctly for over-ear headphones, and some people need to buy larger ear pads. Their tuning is also different depending on whether you listen to them passively or wirelessly, although they have an app with EQ. The Pioneer DJ are more plasticky in build and fold down smaller, but they lack a case. They fit on-ears with a lighter clamping force and weight. You can't alter their sound, but they sound the same plugged in and over Bluetooth.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style
Type On-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT are closed-back, on-ear headphones designed for DJs. They're made mostly of plastic with swiveling earcups and hinges to fold. The Bluetooth or analog headphones' look is a mixture of angular and exaggerated lines, like the prominent—almost overbuilt-looking—plastic housing surrounding the connection port for the audio cable. The result appears very reminiscent of designs from the 2000s inspired by vintage equipment, complete with a coiled cable. You have your pick of three colors: 'Black,' 'Red,' and 'White.' You can also purchase a separate set of accessories ('HC-CP08-M') for colorful ear pads and audio cable if you want to customize your pair's look.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.62 lbs
Clamping Force
0.8 lbs

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT feel good to wear. Their ear pads are amply padded and comfy. The entire headband is covered with padding, unlike the thin, unpadded headband of the AIAIAI TMA-2 DJ. The headband also fits various head sizes, particularly if you've got a larger head. They're fairly lightweight. The clamping pressure isn't very high, but on-ears tend to cause fatigue after a while. If you have big and wavy hair, you might find it getting caught in the headphones' various hinges and joints, although they're not the worst example of that issue. There's also some difficulty seating these in the right spot; more on that in Frequency Response Consistency.

6.6
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Good
Feedback Decent
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The controls for the Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT are adequate. You get three intuitive buttons on the left earcup. These control Bluetooth pairing, power, calls, and audio playback. They emit audio cues for each stage of the pairing process, powering off, and they chime when the volume is maxed out or set to minimum. The buttons feel a bit mushy and aren't very clicky. Their volume is controlled by a strip of dedicated volume up and down buttons, which have a singular function. You can't remap the controls because there's no companion app. They work as follows:

Multi-function button:

  • Press and hold: Power on/off.
  • Press and hold from powered off: Turn on and initiate Bluetooth pairing.
  • One press: Pause/play, Answer call/end call/cancel outgoing call.
  • Two presses:Skip to next track.
  • Three presses:Skip to previous track.

Volume buttons:

  • One press:Raises or lowers volume once.
  • Press-and-hold:Raises or lowers volume continuously.

6.0
Design
Portability
L 4.5" (11.5 cm)
W 7.2" (18.2 cm)
H 3.2" (8.1 cm)
Volume 103.46 in³ (1,695.33 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

Their portability isn't bad. The headphones have hinges to help make their frame smaller, and the ear cups can turn to fit in your bag as needed. You can also lay them flat, depending on how you prefer to store them and if you choose to buy a case. Spoiler alert: there's no case.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

Their build quality is good. They're plasticky but feel pretty solid overall, with good padding along the headband and cushy faux leather ear pads. Over time, the already slightly loose notched headband for sizing, along with the hinges, may loosen more because of their plastic build.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT are decently stable. Due to their on-ear design, they rely on clamping force to stay put. They don't move when tilting your head in any direction, like bending over a controller while DJing, but they can need adjustments if you nod along to your tunes. Because of their relatively light clamping force, there's also a good chance they'll slide off if you start headbanging.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT headphones
  • Coiled 1/8" to 1/16" TRRS cable
  • USB-A to micro-USB charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
4.09 dB
Treble Amount
-2.96 dB

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT have a bass-heavy and warm tuning. They exaggerate the entire bass region significantly, leading to a lot of rumbles from the deepest sub-bass synth lines and boom from kick drums. Their midrange reproduces lead instruments well and fairly evenly. However, the bass range can make it harder to hear those parts with perfect intelligibility, depending on how busy the song's instrumentation is. Meanwhile, trebly parts like vocal and cymbal harmonics sound darker due to their lower amplitude than the bass. You won't catch all of the details in the highs or airiness of a track with these.

Because these headphones are aimed at DJs, our unit was tested over an analog connection, but their Bluetooth frequency response is virtually the same. You can check out their tuning comparison over Bluetooth and via analog connection. If you're a fan of bass-heavy tunings like those found on earlier Beats headphones (for example, the Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless), these sound a bit similar. However, the Pioneer DJ sound less muddy with a darker top end.

5.8
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.01 dB

Their frequency response consistency is sub-par. Two factors derail their consistency between wears and wearers, and one of them is if you have a lot of thick hair, this significantly impacts how well they can deliver bass frequencies to your ears. The other issue is that they have a lot of padding around the drivers, and as a result, there's a narrow margin of error in getting the positioning right for optimal bass and treble delivery.

Because the ear cups rotate, you don't need to completely take them off to hear the room when DJing, which reduces inconsistencies in audio delivery. You still have to hold the ear cup, unlike the articulating arm of the Sennheiser HD 25 that pivots forward or backward, letting you go hands-free.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.8
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.17 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
10 Hz
Low-Bass
5.82 dB
Mid-Bass
6.41 dB
High-Bass
4.38 dB

Their bass accuracy is okay. The bass is fairly consistently elevated throughout the range, except where it dips and transitions to the mids. This means that in songs like Penny Girl by Cola Boyy, the kick and grooving bassline sound pretty balanced relative to each other. Still, they're thumpy and significantly more dominant in the overall mix than other lead instruments. Depending on your taste, that works for beatmatching, but this amount of bass also sounds very punchy.

9.1
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.19 dB
Low-Mid
0.73 dB
Mid-Mid
0.13 dB
High-Mid
-0.72 dB

Their mid accuracy is superb. They reproduce lead instruments like keys and guitar well, with only a slight underemphasis in the high-mid, which can weaken vocals a tiny bit. With real content, the intelligibility of the mids is negatively impacted by the exaggerated bass, which overwhelms the range.

7.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.88 dB
Low-Treble
-1.37 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.54 dB
High-Treble
-9.18 dB

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT's treble accuracy is decent. Through the low treble, they sound even, which gives a good amount of presence to vocals, although the dip that follows dulls their clarity. A peak in the mid-treble adds a little brightness to cymbal harmonics in an otherwise darker treble range.

7.2
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.91 dB
Dips
1.08 dB

Their peaks and dips performance is satisfactory. The response doesn't exhibit many significant dips and a few peaks, but they control their own sound profile decently well. Their bass range is mostly one big peak. However, the dip in the transition from high bass into the mids carves out some muddiness. The bass itself is overwhelming, which makes lead instruments less forward-sounding. The prominent peaks in the treble add a bit of presence and piercing shrillness to sibilants (S and T sounds). Meanwhile, the dip in the treble dulls the clarity of vocals and cymbals, keeping the overall tuning bassy and warm.

8.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
7.87
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.42
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.97

Their imaging is overall great. Our unit has tight bass and transparent treble, with group delay well below the audibility threshold. There's a minor phase mismatch with our unit, shifting the stereo center and volume more to the right side in the mids. However, it's not noticeable when you listen to music and is only truly noticeable during frequency response sweeps. These have good ergonomics, and this is the first pair we've tested by the manufacturer, so it's an encouraging sign of their quality control. Of course, imaging varies between units, so these results are only valid with our unit.

2.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
3.65 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
0.69 dB
PRTF Distance
3.96 dB
Openness
4.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
0

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT have a terrible passive soundstage. This isn't unusual for closed-back and on-ear headphones, which don't interact with your environment. The effect sounds like your audio comes from inside your head rather than feeling immersive and spaced out within a room.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
8.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.280
WHD @ 100
0.096

The weighted harmonic distortion is great. They don't add a lot of unwanted distortion to your music at all. Your music sounds mostly clean. While at lower volumes, they elevate distortion somewhat in the highs and low bass; overall, it isn't too bad.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when used in this configuration.

Isolation
5.0
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.68 dB
Noise Cancelling No
Bass
0.24 dB
Mid
-11.72 dB
Treble
-33.58 dB

Their isolation performance is disappointing. Like most passive isolating headphones, these leave low-pitched noises like the rumble of bus engines unaffected, so you'll hear those. They block a bit of mid-range noise, like the ambient din of traffic outside or chatter, but not terribly much. However, they significantly reduce high-pitched noises like clinking glasses and shrill brakes on a subway.

10
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
19.54 dB

These have exceptional leakage control. What little escapes in the lows and mids sounds basically imperceptible to passersby. So, you can listen to your guilty pleasure songs without anyone knowing.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
Mic Yes

The microphone system in the ear cups only works when you connect the headphones over Bluetooth. You can't use the mic when you use the headphones passively.

7.2
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
236.29 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.67 dB
HFE
2,957.7 Hz
Weighted THD
0.082
Gain
32.78 dB

The microphone performs decently. You can only use it when you connect the headphones over Bluetooth. Speech is intelligible, although the audio quality is mediocre. Your voice lacks a bit of detail, with a somewhat sibilant tone emphasizing S and T sounds.

6.1
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
9.64 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
6.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
5.5
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The microphone's noise handling is unremarkable. Continuous background noise remains alongside your speech, which loses clarity even though your voice stays louder. So, you can use these headphones in a location with a constant din, which isn't ideal, but they perform okay.

The mic struggles more with handling loud and sudden environmental noises and can filter out your voice altogether. If other people are in the space, they will be audible for the person on the call with you, which is distracting.

Active Features
7.9
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
46.75 hrs
Additional Charges
0.0
Total Battery Life
46.75 hrs
Charge Time
2.25 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Yes
Charging Port micro-USB

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT have a very good battery performance. They advertise 30 hours of battery life, and in our testing, they reach just shy of 47 hours of continuous playback. Battery life varies based on use, but that ought to last many commutes, workdays, and walks. When the battery drains, you can use them passively and expect the same sound, which is handy if you have a device with a headphone jack. You don't get any power-saving measures like a timer to keep them charged if you set them down and forget to turn them off, though. Annoyingly, they use the older micro-USB standard for charging, which isn't bad, but that's possibly an extra cable for you to keep tabs on.

0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No
Connectivity
9.9
Connectivity
Wired Connection
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable
Yes
Length
4.10 ft (1.25 m)
Connector
1/16" TRRS
Latency - Analog
0.2 ms
Latency - USB
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Connection Analog

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT have superb wired connectivity. That's important, given that most DJs prefer the low latency of analog connections, and some gear only has analog outputs. The detachable coiled cable means you can replace it if it breaks without buying another set of headphones. The coiled cable prevents some tangling and stretches up to 5.9 feet (1.8m). It uses a more unusual 1/16" TRRS connection to the ear cup that locks into the housing with a turn, and the other end terminates as a standard 1/8" headphone jack. You'll need to supply your own adapter for 1/4" outputs.

7.4
Connectivity
Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth Version
5.010
Multi-Device Pairing
No
Quick Pair (Android)
No
Quick Pair (iOS)
No
Line Of Sight Range
318.24 ft (97.00 m)
Latency - SBC
259 ms
Latency - aptX
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (High Quality)
N/A
Latency - aptX Adaptive (Low Latency)
N/A
Latency - LDAC
N/A
Recorded Latency
Recorded Latency Codec SBC
AAC Support
Yes

Their Bluetooth connectivity is decent. The implementation is basic, without multi-device pairing or quick pairing, and only AAC and SBC codec support. Their latency is high enough that you'll notice sync issues with audio and video, but if you only listen to music, that's not a problem. Because the headphones don't have a companion app, you can't enable any 'low latency' or 'gaming' modes to reduce lagging audio with video. Latency depends on many factors, so your experience may vary. Since these are meant as DJ headphones, their Bluetooth compatibility is more of an extra feature than the primary reason to pick them up.

0
Connectivity
Wireless Connection (Dongle)
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Latency - Dongle
N/A
Recorded Latency
N/A
Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio Only
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

You can use the Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT wired or wirelessly over Bluetooth with your computer. The microphone only works when you connect using Bluetooth. If you plug in the audio cable, you can only receive audio.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio Only
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio Only
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

Their PlayStation compatibility is limited to audio only. You'll plug the cable into the controller to listen, but the microphone won't work. That works fine for solo games, but you'll need a different set of cans for your friends to hear you or a standalone mic.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio Only
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio Only
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

With an Xbox, you can only receive audio. The headphones' mic doesn't work in passive mode, so your friends won't hear you. If you mainly enjoy single-player games, this won't pose an issue.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock