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10 Best: DJ Headphones

We look at ten of the best sets of DJ headphones to suit all budgets, with perennial classics and fresh examples of design all making the grade.

Whether you’re a staunch vinyl advocate, a dab hand with a pair of CDJs, or one of the ever-growing number of digital DJs, a decent pair of DJ headphones is vital to ensure your mixes are cued up on time and at the right volume. However, with a bewildering number of brands and models, making the right decision for your particular DJ needs can be a tricky process. In this round-up, Juno Plus has picked out what we consider to be the best sets of DJ headphones money can buy in ascending order of value; from the flashy to the understated, each model offers the best sound quality and functionality for their price points.

AKG K81

For headphones that exude quality at an affordable price, the K81 model from AKG fits the bill. They share some design features with their more expensive sibling – the K267 – in the form of a three axis swivelling closed cup for added comfort. The main draw with these smart cans from AKG is the impressive sound quality that features clearly defined bass with smooth mid-range. The closed back design helps in isolating the listener from any ambient background noise whilst providing enough power through the dynamic driver to allow monitoring at more informal events and parties.

The K81 headphones come with a soft carry sack and a 6.35mm adapter jack for the two and a half metre, straight, double sided cable that ends in a gold plated 3.5mm plug type. The indented headband is adjustable and with the unique swivel design of the cups, it’s possible to monitor with one cup on and one cup off the ear. Although it’s unrealistic to expect a budget pair of headphones to compete with a more expensive offering, the K81 model offers a solid, durable solution with surprisingly good sound quality.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  150
 Frequency range (hz)  16-24000
 Driver type  Dynamic
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  115
 Impedance (Ohm)  32
 Max Input (mW)  2000
 Cable type  Straight, double sided
 Cable length  2.5m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Sennheiser HD205II

Often overshadowed by its better known and more expensive stablemate, the HD205II headphones offer Sennheiser quality at an affordable price, with a closed cup design allowing you to rotate one cup away from your ear so you can hear the headphones and the booth monitor simultaneously. They’re particularly popular for use with compact systems such as portable players, as well as with DJs who find that the balanced sound quality featuring a wide frequency range between 14-20000Hz is more than adequate for their needs. With defined bass and clear top and mid ranges, few would find fault with the Sennheiser attention to quality audio.

The sound is delivered through Neodymium drivers that fit on the ears with a substantial three metre cable ending in a 3.5mm plug type. The folding design can be placed in a protective pouch that ships with the cans along with a 6.35mm adapter jack. Some have pointed out the tight headband takes a little while to get used to but on balance these headphones have the ability to give more expensive models a run for their money.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  220
 Frequency range (hz)  14-20000
 Driver type  Neodymium
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  112
 Impedance (Ohm)  32
 Max Input (mW)  -
 Cable type  Straight
 Cable length  3m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Sony MDRV55

Being robust, portable and having the ability to isolate the listener from outside noise are the three main necessities asked of a set of DJ headphones, and on all three counts Sony have delivered in the shape of the MDRV55, which are easily folded down into the a corner of your DJ bag. The dynamic 40mm driver provides a broad frequency range up to 25,000Hz all the way down to 5Hz , allowing the listener to experience rich bass and tight mid-range needed to perform their mixes. The pads are designed to fit on the ears rather than over them and the swivelling cups help with a variety of monitoring positions.

There have been a few grumbles about the position of the padding on the top of the headband, but most users get used to them quite quickly. The 1.2 metre straight cable is flat, the purpose of which is to ease tangling, with an L shaped jack ending, meaning that there is less chance of the cable being ripped away from the 3.5mm sized jack. To all intents and purposes Sony have produced a sleek and robust pair of headphones that are leaders in this price range.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  220
 Frequency range (hz)  5-25000
 Driver type  70mm Dynamic Neodymium
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  105
 Impedance (Ohm)  40
 Max Input (mW)  1000
 Cable type  Straight/flat
 Cable length  1.2m
 Jack size  3.5mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  None

Pioneer HDJ500

Pioneer have put a lot of the features of their top end HDJ2000 headphones into the more affordable HDJ500 model, featuring a smoothly rotating right ea piece for one on/one off monitoring. The 40mm dome type driver delivers a frequency range that equals the low end of the top model and ceases just short of the impressive ceiling set by the HDJ2000 of 30000Hz. Most DJs prefer strong lows and mids in their headphones for mixing purposes, and to this end the Pioneer HDJ500’s perform the task admirably. It has been suggested that these headphones are the closest thing to a club soundsystem in headphone form due to the high output volume that seems to tip out of the ear pieces.

There is a detachable straight cable that is 1 metre in length making it ideal for listening to music on portable devices and a 3 metre coiled cable for the rigours of the DJ booth. Both cords end with a 3.5mm jack, but a 6.35mm adapter is also included, whilst being made from a magnesium alloy core wrapped in plastic, the HDJ500 headphones are extremely light weight. They could be improved by having the ability to fold completely for storage during travelling, but for a professional set of headphones, there’s nothing else to fault this design from Pioneer.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  195
 Frequency range (hz)  5-28000
 Driver type  40mm dome
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  105
 Impedance (Ohm)  45
 Max Input (mW)  2000
 Cable type  Coiled/straight
 Cable length  1.2/1m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  No
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Shure SRH750

Shure provide their signature high end sound in the form of their affordable SRH750 headphones. Shure are best known for their game changing microphones, but in recent years they have been making waves in the world of headphones with both closed cup DJ headphones and very high end open-cupped studio mixing headphones; the SRH750’s fall into the DJ category with their swivelling cups for flexible monitoring, replaceable parts and one-sided coiled cable attachment. The well designed cable jacks have a bayonet style lock that allows you to detach the cables safely with no chance of them becoming detached by accident.

The 50mm drivers deliver solid sound at low volumes that really comes alive once the volume has been increased, with sharp bass and well-focussed tops; they also keep good isolation from the outside world. The SRH750 headphones fold down into a compact size, and they can be fitted into the travel pouch provided along with a 6.35mm adapter. This over the ear design from Shure continues their mark of quality and puts DJs in a safe pair of headphones.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  227
 Frequency range (hz)  5-30000
 Driver type  50mm Dynamic Neodymium
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  106
 Impedance (Ohm)  32
 Max Input (mW)  3000
 Cable type  Coiled/single sided
 Cable length  3m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Allen & Heath XD2-53

The original XD-53 model from Allen & Heath had been described by DJ headphone aficionados as near perfect. However, Allen & Heath have decided to upgrade this model in the shape of the XD2-53 which features a whopping 53mm Neodymium driver that covers the ears for improved sound isolation, which is desirable in noisy DJ booths. As you would expect from Allen & Heath, the sound quality is of a very high standard and the extra-large 53mm driver certainly helps extend the bass frequency making for an impressive frequency range that bottoms out at 5Hz and climbs inexorably to 35000Hz.

The build quality reflects the heavy touring purpose of these headphones – which have a strong metal reinforced headband and gunmetal finish – while the closed cups rotate so you can monitor in multiple positions depending on your own preferred style. The detachable 1.2 metre coiled cable comes as a new feature that adds a further level of durability and flexibility to users, as does the 6.35mm adapter. Also included are a smart carrying pouch and a. Along with the detachable coiled cable, the XD2-53 comes in a new gun metal finish. Allen & Heath’s upgraded headphones partner wide frequency response with comfort and durability to complement their range of mixers.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  350
 Frequency range (hz)  5-33000
 Driver type  53mm Neodymium
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  105
 Impedance (Ohm)  36
 Max Input (mW)  3500
 Cable type  Coiled
 Cable length  1.2m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Sennheiser HD25 CII

The lifespan of this design by Sennheiser knows no boundaries, as the HD25 CII model must surely take the prize as the most used pair of headphones by professional DJs ever; as such they are are standard issue for aspiring professionals or anyone touring regularly. There is almost no part of theses headphones that can’t be replaced, making the possibility of one set of headphones lasting a lifetime a real possibility. On paper the frequency response might seem to be less impressive than other headphones in a similar class, but the lightweight dynamic drivers deliver a level of defined bass, tight mid and sparkly top end that provides a comfortable listening experience for prolonged periods.

Having a single cable attached to one side of the headphones makes the whole experience of DJing much more comfortable, as dual sided cans often have the habit of getting tangled up. To ease the pain of marathon DJ sets, these headphones ship with a spare set of soft velour ear pads, while the coiled cable has just the right amount of length (3m) and ends in a straight 3.5mm jack with a 6.3mm adapter. This is the industry standard headphone design and with its tough but flexible construction it might be a while before it’s improved upon.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  140
 Frequency range (hz)  16-22000
 Driver type  Dynamic
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  120
 Impedance (Ohm)  70
 Max Input (mW)  -
 Cable type  Coiled, single sided
 Cable length  3m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

AIAIAI TMA-1

For those looking to move away from more standard issue fare, whilst retaining a large slice of practical usability, relative newcomers AIAIAI have created a real winner in the form of their TMA-1 headphones. These cans have been designed for busy DJs as the frequency response has been sculpted to prevent hearing damage at prolonged high volumes. AIAIAI managed to strip away any of the unwanted features from their simple, no nonsense headphones to distil the entire design into its necessary parts including a single, flexible, nylon headband that has enough give in it to allow for one ear monitor mixing without the need for swivelling cups whilst retaining durability.

The TMA-1 headphones come shipped with two detachable cables, one of which features a handy microphone with in line buttons for use with MP3 players or smart phones; both cables end in a 3.5mm plug and ship with a 6.35mm adapter along with a high end protective carrying pouch. The TMA-1’s from AIAIAI have all the hallmarks of a product that can give the professional touring DJ the tools to do the job whilst providing flexibility and quality in a simple design.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  190
 Frequency range (hz)  20-20000
 Driver type  40mm Dynamic
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  110
 Impedance (Ohm)  32
 Max Input (mW)  -
 Cable type  Coiled
 Cable length  1.5m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

Beyerdynamic DT1350

Beyerdynamic have broken with their usual design tradition to create the more exotic looking DT1350. The split headband is designed for flexibility and a secure, comfortable fit, whilst its metal construction gives a solid feel of tough durability. The closed cups are designed to rest on rather than over the ears, but they still manage a remarkable amount of separation from any unwanted environmental background noise. The ear cups also rotate up to help the DJ monitor the cue and booth at the same time. As with all headphones, the bass response is important and in this case there is a flat and true bass reproduction that goes all the way down to an inaudible 5Hz.

The headphones ships with a fairly substantial and tough looking carry case with the obligatory 6.35mm jack adapter. The 1.5 metre, straight cable attaches to one side of the unit , something that certainly helps stop the cord from twisting up under your chin. If you’re looking for a set of lightweight headphones that are uncompromising on frequency response then the DT1350 from Beyerdynamic offer a solid solution.
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Specifications:

 Weight (g)  174
 Frequency range (hz)  5-30000
 Driver type  -
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  109
 Impedance (Ohm)  80
 Max Input (mW)  100
 Cable type  Straight, single sided
 Cable length  1.5m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

AKG K267

As the flagship headphones in the Tiesto range by AKG, this clever design should appeal to DJs, producers and studio engineers alike. Its closed cup design features large 50mm drivers with a wide, 5-30000Hz, frequency range that fit over the ears to assist in cancelling any unwanted environmental ambience, whilst the headband and fittings are made from anodized aluminium and feature a three axis directional folding mechanism that ensures durability. One of the most interesting features of the K267 is the user adjustable bass response that allows you to boost sub frequencies as and when you need them.

The cabling is of the mini XLR type and the design is such that you can plug it into either the left or right side ear cup ending in a gold plated 3.5mm jack. The cable itself boasts 99.99% reduced oxygen, making sure that the signal gets to where it needs to be in the most efficient manner possible. The unit itself ships with a luxuriant carry pouch and a 6.35mm adapter along with a coiled 1.2metre and a straight 3 metre cord. AKG have raised the bar in design with this model, continuing their reputation for high quality.
Buy from Juno
Specifications:

 Weight (g)  330
 Frequency range (hz)  5-30000
 Driver type  50mm Dynamic
 Sensitivity (db/mW)  112
 Impedance (Ohm)  32
 Max Input (mW)  3500
 Cable type  Coiled
 Cable length  1.2m
 Jack size  3.5mm/6.35mm
 Foldable  Yes
 Peripheral  Adapter & Bag

 

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