If you aspire to be a good DJ, you must have the proper knowledge and own the right gear including a pair of good DJ headphones. And, if you want to follow the footsteps of your favorite DJ, you might want to buy a pair of headphones that they use. However, before you make the final decision, let’s see what you should look for in a pair of headphones as a DJ.
Here are some points to keep in mind when selecting a pair of headphones as a DJ:
1. Design and Comfort – DJ headphones should be comfortable to wear even when they are worn for many hours and also provide a snug fit. The headbands and ear cushions should have memory foam, velour, or other types of padding to provide extra comfort. It should have a closed-back design to provide good noise isolation even in the noisiest environments. It should come with ¼” jack to be compatible with the inputs of the mixers and DJ controller and feature long single coiled cable to minimize accidents due to movement on stage.
2. Sound quality and looks – DJ headphones should be able to reproduce crisp highs and deep bass. Mainly, to listen to the kick drum, hi-hat cymbal, bass line, and snare drum. Thus, a bigger driver is always preferred although the standard is 40mm. The frequency range should be between 20Hz-20kHz at least and the impedance should be 25 ohms or greater. DJ headphones should look stylish and professional to attract attention.
3. Durability and portability – The build-quality of DJ headphones should be very good so that they can withstand rough use. Thus, it should be made with high-quality materials and also have strong joints and hinges. A foldable design and swiveling earcups are preferred as it increases portability and also allows single-ear usage. The weight of the headphones should also be minimum so that they are easier to carry around while traveling.
Now, let’s look at some of the most popular DJs today and the type of headphones they use. The list is in no particular order.
1. Martin Garrix (V-MODA Crossfade M-100)
Martin Garrix is a young Dutch DJ who is mostly known for producing the famous singles ‘Animals’, ‘In the Name of Love’, and ‘Scared to be Lonely’. He was born in Amstelveen, Netherlands. At the age of 20, Martin Garrix occupied the number one spot on the DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list for the year 2016 and for 2 consecutive years after that as well.
|Sensitivity||103 dB @ 1kHz 1mW|
Aside from Martin Garrix, The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is also used by other popular DJs like The Chainsmokers, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, and KSHMR. The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 not only looks stunning but also boasts high durability due to having a steel frame and tough plastic earcups.
The diamond-shaped metal earcups look great on their own but can be customized to your liking as well. The ear cups are foldable that saves space and allows you to carry the whole thing conveniently in the exoskeleton carry case that it comes with or in a plain bag. The plush memory foam cups provide a comfortable listening experience even when you listen to music for a long period.
The sound quality of V-MODA Crossfade M-100 does not disappoint either. The 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers deliver powerful bass and treble performance. The midrange is not the best but above average. The passive noise cancellation blocks out almost every external noise at the appropriate sound levels without producing any distortion. This is incredibly important when you have to mix in a crowded and noisy environment.
Overall, V-MODA Crossfade M-100 is a perfect mix of sound quality, comfort, durability, and looks. It is one of the best headphones that a DJ could buy and would serve you for a long time.
- Unique V-MODA dual-diaphragm design that separates the bass from the mids and highs
- Crafted skillfully from quality materials to result in military-grade durability
- Excellent sound quality and stylish look
- It can be uncomfortable to wear around the neck
- It can be expensive for some people
2. David Guetta (Beats by Dr. Dre Mixr)
David Guetta a.k.a the ‘grandfather of EDM’ is a French DJ, record producer, music programmer, and songwriter. He acquired the No. 1 spot in DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll list in 2011. David Guetta rose to fame with the release of his 2009 album ‘One Love’, which included the hit singles ‘Memories, ’When Love Takes Over’, ‘Sexy Bitch’, and ‘Gettin Over You’.
It is no surprise that David Guetta loves to use the Beats Mixr as it was created with his collaboration.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Mixr is no longer available and it is unknown whether it will be released again. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend any other Beats headphones for DJs as there are better options available at more affordable prices such as the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 and Sennheiser HD 25.
|Coiled Audio Cable||Yes|
|Hard Shell Case||Yes|
The Beats by Dr. Dre Mixr is regarded as a status symbol among fans. Just like any other Beats headphones, the sound signature is focused on the low end with its 40mm driver. So, almost everybody that loves bass-heavy sound would love these. However, the sound is not balanced and people who prefer balanced sound would not love this headphone.
The Beats by Dr. Dre Mixr is designed to be eye-catchy. While it achieves that purpose, it sacrifices comfort. Due to the head pressure that you feel while wearing it, it can get pretty uncomfortable to wear them for an extended period. The build quality is good due to the sturdy aluminum frame. So, it can withstand some drops from a reasonable height.
Overall, Beats by Dr. Dre Mixr are not that great for the price as there are better options available in the market nowadays. However, if you are a fan of the brand, these may be a good choice.
- Looks good
- Better sound quality than the Solo range
- Above-average build quality
- Not that comfortable to wear
- Bass is unbalanced
3. Armin van Buuren (Technics RP-DH1200)
Armin van Buuren is a Dutch DJ, remixer, and record producer from South Holland who currently holds the record for most entries on the Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart, with a total of 21 entries. His stardom can be attributed due to him being the host of the popular weekly radio show, ‘A State of Trance’, that he hosted since 2001.
Armin van Buuren has been ranked the No. 1 DJ by DJ Mag record a total of 5 times. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2014 for his single ‘This Is What Feels Like’ that features Trevor Guthrie.
The design of the Technics RP-DH1200 is not that great if you judge it by its looks. But, it is not that bad if you count the practicality. The ear cups can be folded to make them easier to carry in a pouch and allows one-eared use as they can turn by 90 degrees. The frame is not made of metal but built rather well.
The generous synthetic leather padding on the earpads and around the headband makes it comfortable to wear as long as you don’t wear them for long hours at a stretch. The headphone provides a firm grip and provides good noise-isolation as the cans envelop your ears.
Coming to the sound quality, the Technics RP-DH1200 provides a powerful bass-heavy sound without sounding muddy. Although the sound is not accurate, it is suitable for DJs due to the decent bass depth and the lack of a boomy effect. The top-end can sound softer as there is a bit of treble roll-off. Overall, these headphones are suited for listening to dance music and good for people who prefer powerful sound instead of focusing on sound accuracy.
- Above-average sonic balance
- Swivel ear cups and removable cables
- Exciting bass
- The low-end can be a bit much
4. Hardwell (Sennheiser HD 25)
Hardwell is a Dutch DJ, remixer, and record producer from Breda, North Brabant. In 2013 and 2014, he acquired the No. 1 spot on DJ Mag. Initially, he gained recognition for his bootleg of “Show Me Love vs. Be” in 2009. Now, he is widely known for performing in music festivals such as Tomorrowland, Ultra Music Festival, and Sunburn. Since September 7th, 2018, he went on an indefinite hiatus from touring as he wanted to be more involved in his personal life.
The Sennheiser HD 25 is known as the ‘industry standard’ for DJ headphones and it will always have a spot on the list of best DJ headphones. Aside from Hardwell, these headphones are used by many popular DJs around the world including Afrojack and Calvin Harris.
These headphones offer excellent sound quality while being comfortable to wear, lightweight, and durable enough to withstand regular live use. The best part, being the affordable price tag that it features.
The HD-25 offers a punchy bass with immersive mids and highs. The sound signature is powerful but not overbearing, allowing you to notice all the subtleties in the songs. Compared to other Sennheiser headphones, these don’t sound as ‘veiled’ and is more fun to listen to in loud environments.
Many people don’t like the on-ear design but it is effective at blocking ambient noises quite well. The headphones can be adjusted to achieve a comfortable fit but if you listen to it for more than 2 hours, it will start to produce some discomfort.
The design of the HD-25 is functional and on point. It is made of plastic but provides good durability due to the great build quality. They are also easy to travel with due to being very light. Overall, these headphones are great for mixing tracks as a DJ in loud environments such as clubs or parties.
- It has an interesting look
- Good sound quality even at high volume
- Lightweight and durable
- It can be uncomfortable to wear for a long time at a stretch
- The on-ear design can be off-putting for some people
5. Steve Aoki (SOL REPUBLIC Tracks)
Steve Aoki is an American DJ, musician, music executive, and record producer. He has collaborated with many popular artists and bands such as Linkin Park, Afrojack, Backstreet Boys, Iggy Azalea, etc. Among the many Billboard-charting studio albums he has released in his career, ‘Wonderland’ is regarded as one of the best dance or electronic album.
According to Pollstar, Steve Aoki became the highest-grossing dance artist in North America in 2012. He is also the founder of the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund.
The SOL REPUBLIC Tracks have been discontinued but an improved version of the same product known as Sol Republic Tracks HD2 On-Ear Headphones is available. Steve Aoki has also been known to use the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks Air.
|Controls||Mic+ music control|
The Sol Republic Tracks HD2 features good sound quality and respectable build quality. The Flextech headband is durable for daily use but the driver units are not unbreakable. So, it is still necessary to use these responsibly. The noise isolation is average and nothing spectacular.
It is comfortable to wear for a short period of time and cannot be recommended for prolonged use. Although it does not have the best design, it is modern and suited for the youths of this generation. The sound quality is good at the low and mid-end but the treble can suffer a bit.
- Modern look
- Good build
- Lightweight and durable
- The high-end performance is not so good
6. Skrillex (SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks)
Skrillex is an American DJ, record producer, singer, songwriter, and musician. He won the “Best Dance Recording”, “Best Dance/Electronic Album”, and “Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical” 54th Grammy Awards on November 30th, 2011. Skrillex has been active as a lead singer since 2004 on a post-hardcore band known as ‘From First to Last’.
He is known for producing Post-Hardcore, Brostep, EDM, Electro House, Trap, and Moombahton music.
|Control||Mic + 3 button music and SIRI|
The SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks are designed well with the removable cable and headband. It is also very comfortable to wear due to having lightweight and plush ear pads. However, they can get a bit hot after you use them for some time. The build quality of these headphones is good but you should be careful while handling them as the drivers are not immune to rough use.
The sonic is clearly focused on the low range. Thus, it is a great choice for people who love to listen to bass-heavy music. However, the mids and highs lack definition and character. Overall, these don’t sound bad and only suffer a little bit on the highs.
- Replaceable cables and ear cups
- It has inline controls and microphone
- Capable of providing distortion-free sound in the low range
- Earpads can get hot after prolonged use
- Sound signature focused on the low end
7. Marshmello (PowerBeats by Dr. Dre)
Marshmellow is an American DJ and electronic music producer who gained international fame after releasing remixes of songs by Russian-German DJ Zedd and American DJ duo Jack Ü. His most popular songs include ‘Happier’, ‘Silence’, ‘Friends’, and ‘Wolves’. According to Forbes, in the year 2017, he ranked 8th in the annual ranking list of the World’s highest-paid DJs after earning $21 million.
Unlike many other popular DJs who like to use headphones, Marshmellow likes to use earphones. PowerBeats by Dr. Dre is not available anymore as it has been replaced by an improved version known as the PowerBeats Pro.
|Listening time||Up to 9 hours|
|Protection||Water and sweat-resistant|
|Connectivity||Apple H1 Chip|
The PowerBeats Pro is not a cheap earphone and there are better DJ headphones available at this price range. However, if you want something in a small form factor that sounds nice and focuses on comfort as well as portability, these can be a good choice. The design of these earphones is excellent for doing workouts. As a DJ, if you like to move around the stage a lot, the PowerBeats Pro would serve you well.
The PowerBeats Pro fit well in the ear and are comfortable to wear even for extended use as there is no pressure. These devices are a great pair for iOS devices due to having the Apple H1 Chip. The battery life is good too, proving up to 9 hours of listening time at full charge and 1.5 hours of listening time when charged for 5 minutes. Although these claims are not completely accurate, it is close.
The sound signature has an energetic vibe just like other Beats products but it has been toned down a little bit to produce a more gentle v-shaped sound signature. The mids may sound a bit recessed but it is not a problem in most situations. The noise isolation is average at best and you have to turn the volume all the way up to uncomfortable listening levels to dilute the distracting sound in a crowded environment.
- Excellent fit
- Awesome battery life
- consistent connection
- Lacks bass depth
- Lacks good dynamic range
8. Don Diablo (Audio-Technica ATH-M50)
Don Diablo is a Dutch DJ, musician, record producer, and songwriter from Coevorden, Netherlands. He loves to vocalize in most of his electronic style music production and is regarded as one of the pioneers of the future house genre of music. 1001 Tracklists regarded him as the No. 1 ‘Producer of the Year’.
Don Diablo ranked as the No. 1 Future House Artist of the Year on Beatport in 2016. In 2019, he took 6th place on the Top 100 DJs list.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 has been discontinued and replaced with a newer and improved version called Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
|Voice Coil||CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire)|
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x delivers a lively and vivid sound with an added weight to the bass. The mids are powerful as well which makes the whole sound signature more impactful. Thus, these are not great if you prefer a balanced sound but fit for DJs. In fact, when you take the sound quality and noise isolation capability of these headphones and match it with the price tag, it becomes the ideal starter DJ headphones.
These headphones are not the most comfortable to wear with synthetic or plastic leather padding that can heat up with prolonged use if you live in a hot climate. Luckily, the ear cups can be swiveled which makes it easier to wear them on the neck or use it with one hand.
Due to having a plastic build, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x suffers in the durability department. If you subject it to rough use or it drops accidentally from a high table, the plastic hinges can break or crack. The design of the headphones is not eye-catchy but not that bad either.
The detachable cable system is an improvement over the original model. You get 2 straight cables of 3ft and 9 ft and a coiled cable that can be stretched and ideal for DJs. Compared to the more premium DJ headphones such as the V-MODA, the build quality can look bad but there is no reason to complain when you consider the affordable price. Overall, these are a nice pair of headphones for DJs.
- Affordable price-tag
- Tuned for EDM
- Proprietary audio cable
- Build quality not as good as premium headphones
9. Zedd (Double Zero)
Zedd is a Russian-German DJ, songwriter and record producer. He is known for producing electro house music which has been inspired by dubstep, progressive house, and classical music. At the 56th Grammy Awards, Zedd won the Grammy for Best Dance Recording for his song ‘Clarity’ in 2012. This propelled him to success and made him more popular.
In partnership with Japanese tech company ‘Double Zero’, Zedd created his own line of headphones in 2017.
“I wanted to create headphones that don’t only look and feel incredible but also sound REAL.”– Zedd
If you read this interview, you can clearly understand how much work went into designing and creating this product. According to Zedd, these headphones have been tweaked for over a year. Everything from the cable quality to the shape of the headphones has been carefully designed to make it modern and timeless.
The incredibly wide frequency range of the Double Zero allows it to flawlessly play sounds even at the extreme range. The design of these headphones is simple yet elegant.
- Wide frequency range
- Simple and stylish look
- Not enough reviews to compare with other headphones
10. Tiesto (AKG K267)
Tiesto is a Dutch DJ and record producer who is considered the ‘Godfather of EDM’. He was voted the ‘Best DJ of the last 20 years’ by DJ Mag in 2013 and named the ‘Greatest DJ of All Time’ in a fan poll conducted by Mix magazine. From 2002 to 2004, he was ranked as the No. 1 DJ in DJ Magazine’s annual Top 100 DJs list.
He became famous when many of the songs of his first solo album that was released in 2001 became major hits. Tiesto was the first DJ to perform live at an Olympics.
The AKG K267 has been discontinued a long time ago. A good alternative for these pair of headphones is the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 or the Sennheiser HD 25.
The AKG K267 has been tuned by Tiesto to be the perfect headphones for all professional DJs. However, these are also good for studio work as well. Unlike the lower end AKG Tiesto headphone models, the AKG K267 can be tuned into 3 modes – Stage, Club, and Studio. All the 3 settings produce accurate sound.
The build quality of the product is great and exudes a sense of luxury. It is also comfortable to wear and portable as it can be folded into a compact bundle.
- Excellent build quality
- Replaceable ear pads
- Three tuning modes
- The product is no longer available
If you aspire to be a DJ and want to follow in the footsteps of your favorite DJ, learning everything about your idol, including the type of headphones and musical instruments they use, can be beneficial. However, you should not follow blindly and invest in equipment that fulfills your needs and resonate with your music style preferences. It is also important to thoroughly research the product that you want to buy so that you don’t regret your decision later.
You should also note that DJs don’t use a single headphone throughout their life. You can see many popular DJs using different headphones at different events.