We believe it is essential for DJs across the spectrum to have a set of top DJ headphones that are reliable, robust, produce high-quality, precise sound, have excellent noise isolation and are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Why invest in a good set of DJ headphones? Well, primarily you are helping to protect one of your most important assets as a DJ, your ears.
We have generated a guide of our best selling DJ headphones providing detailed information on their features for comparison. The headphones we have selected cover a range of price points so you should be able to find one that suits your budget.
Headphone information guide
Numerous features and ‘technical’ talk are used to describe professional headphones that could confuse the average consumer, especially if you are a novice. The likes of SPL, impedance and the use of drivers may not mean a lot at present (if it does, please scroll down to see what we recommend) so here is a quick overview of the main features that are used when comparing headphones.
SPL stands for Sound Pressure Level which is how the sensitivity of the headphones is measured (in milliwatts).
Headphone Construction is another main feature especially important to DJs. You can get:
On-ear – where the earpads (cups) sit over your outer ear
Over-ear – where the earpads (cups) cover the whole of your ear
Closed – where the back of the headphones are ‘closed’ to stop ambient noise from entering along with stopping any sound from escaping.
Open – where the back of the headphones are ‘open’ allowing you to see the grilled mesh and internal components. These do allow you to hear external noises and your sound can escape quite freely.
The driver that is embedded into your headphones is made up of magnets, voice coils, and a cone-shaped diaphragm which turns the electrical signal into sound pressure.
You will come across a figure measured in ohms which is known as the impedance. This is the measurement of electrical resistance. The higher the impedance is, the more resistance there is which means you need more power to drive the headphones.
One of the main features of professional headphones that you would be particularly interested in is what the maximum and minimum frequency your headphones would be capable of producing. On headphone listings, you would see this more commonly displayed as the frequency response, the indication of the headphones audio frequency range.
You may find some listings document the THD (Total Harmonic Distortion). This measures the level of distortion the headphones may produce while using them at high volume.
Well, that’s enough of the headphone ‘jargon’ covered, let's provide you with the DJ headphones we think are worthy of making our top five list.
2024’s Best DJ Headphones
Below is a list of the top five DJ headphones we feel are top-quality, good value for money (budget dependent) and rank as our best selling DJ headphones.
- Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10 DJ Headphones
- Sennheiser HD25 DJ Headphones
- Numark Red Wave Carbon DJ Headphones
- Pioneer DJ HDJ-CX DJ Headphones
- AiAiAi TMA-2 DJ Preset Modular Headphones
Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10 DJ Headphones
We are going to start our top 5 list with the Pioneer DJ HDJ-X Series of headphones. The X10 is the daddy of the range, and we think has the most to offer. It is an over-ear, closed-back design which can be collapsed. They are fitted with a 50mm dome type driver, have a bass reflex chamber for a more powerful base, a frequency response of 5Hz to 40kHz, 3500mW maximum power input, SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is at 106dB, and has an impedance of 32 ohms.
The HDJ-X10 headphones are the successor to the renowned HDJ-2000MK2 headphones. They are incredibly robust, are shock resistant (have been tested to US Military Standard MIL-STD-810G Shock test), have a flexible headband, rotatable earpiece and feature an industry-first nano-coating. The headphones come with removable cables in the form of one coiled (1.2m to 3m) and one straight (1.6m). The types of audio connectors are a 3.5mm TRS jack or a 6.3mm TRS jack. The H10s come in a little more substantial than other headphones at 328g, not a huge difference but enough to withstand the durable quality aspect mentioned. A carry case to protect the headphones while on the move is also included in the box.
Dependent upon budgets, Pioneer DJ also has the HDJ-X7 (£179) and HDJ-X5 (£89) within their range. The X7 headphones come in a little lighter at 312g, have an impedance of 36 ohms, SPL is 102dB, and the frequency response is 5Hz to 30kHz. The X5 headphones are even lighter still at 269g. They feature a 40mm dome type driver, have an impedance of 32 ohms, SPL is 102dB, same frequency response as the X7s, the maximum power input of 2000mW and only comes with a short coiled cable (1.2m to 1.8m). Both of these headphones come with a carry pouch to protect the headphones when not in use.
Sennheiser HD25 DJ Headphones
Sennheiser is a well respected, popular, and well-known brand used within clubs and amongst DJs. We have selected one of their more popular products the HD25s. The HD25 headphones are an on-ear, closed-back style headphone. They are not collapsible like the Pioneer ones above nor do they feature a rotatable earpiece however they are durable and a reasonable weight at 300g. They have a frequency response of 16Hz to 22kHz, maximum SPL of 120dB, an impedance of 70 ohms and in this instance a reported THD of <0.3%. The Sennheiser headphones come with a 1.5m cable and have a jack 3.5mm TRS and jack 6.3 TRS connection.
Within the HD25 range, you can also obtain a Light and PLUS version. The Sennheiser HD25 Light headphones have a lower frequency response at 30Hz to 16kHz, a lower impedance at 60 ohms, has a maximum SPL of 114dB and a THD of <0.4%. The Sennheiser HD25 PLUS headphones mirror the standard HD25s except for additional accessories, an extra pair of soft velour earpads, a pouch and a coil (1m to 3m) steel cable.
Numark Red Wave Carbon DJ Headphones
If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the Pioneer or Sennheiser range or you are looking for something to tide you over then look no further than the Numark Red Wave Carbon headphones, which are fantastic value for money and do not compromise on quality.
The Red Waves are an over-ear closed-back style headphone with tiltable earpieces, are highly durable, collapsible, and they look the part too. They have a frequency response of 15Hz to 20kHz, impedance of 24 ohms, the maximum power input of 350mW, and SPL of 120dB and weigh in at only 280g. Within the Red Wave Carbons are 50mm neodymium powered driver units for optimal bass reproduction. The coiled (1m to 3m) cable is removable and comes with a 3.5mm jack TRS and 6.3mm jack TRS audio connection, and a carry bag.
Pioneer DJ HDJ-CX DJ Headphones
The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CX are professional DJ headphones that are durable, lightweight and flexible. They feature high-quality sound isolation, clear audio reproduction, a wide dynamic range and long-lasting comfort.
The HDJ-CX headphones have a frequency response of 5Hz to 30kHz, 35mm drivers, an SPL of 103dB, an impedance of 32 ohms and a maximum power input of 2000mW. The Pioneer DJ headphones come complete with a 1/4" stereo plug adapter (threaded type), spare ear pads (1 pair), a 1/4" plug adapter holder, detachable 1.2 m coiled cable (extended length 3.0 m) and a 1.6 m straight cable.
AiAiAi TMA-2 DJ Preset Modular Headphones
The AiAiAi TMA-2 DJ preset modular headphones are strong, robust and great for DJing or for use in small Studio setups. The headphones have a new strengthened injection-moulded headband constructed of the highest engineering nylon grade available. A long-lasting compression-molded silicone headpad improves grip, and the robust headband is simple to clean after a night at the club. The cable locks keep the cord in place while the gold-plated plugs ensure excellent connection to your speaker units. Soft on-ear foam cushion with PU leather covering.
The cushion's thickness and the materials utilised produce a confined and powerful sound representation. Strong bass and low-end dynamics are produced. The TMA-2 DJ headphones provide high isolation with centred sound stage. The 1.5m black coiled thermoplastic cable with pleasant touch surface may be extended to 3.2m and it includes a 1/4" to 1/8" screw-on adaptor.
One of the most important reasons to invest in quality headphones ultimately is to ensure you are protecting your ears. It has been reported that headphone misuse and user ignorance, especially listening to loud music over long periods of time or using ‘cheap’ headphones, has caused hearing loss or tinnitus. This is the last thing you would want if you are an aspiring DJ or already a pro within the industry.
Investing in a pair of good quality headphones is one of the more sensible things you can do as a DJ. The top five headphones we have selected above are of high-quality and cover a range of budgets, so you don’t need to spend a fortune to help protect those ears.
Another reason to invest in a pair of good-quality DJ headphones is they have been designed and manufactured with comfort in mind. Manufacturers are only too aware that they will be worn for extended periods of time, so any discomfort is not only distracting but can be painful also. Again, with that in mind, the headphones have been equipped with soft, flexible headbands, aimed at reducing pressure on the ears and head, along with soft ear pads.
So, protecting your headphones against sweat, what every DJ has endured at some point. The new Pioneer HDJ-X10 has brought this issue to light where they claim that the headphones are protected from dirt and sweat through the use of a nano-coating, which is water-resistant. They are the first brand to tackle this issue at the source, yet we expect as time evolves we will see this as a ‘standard’ feature amongst all DJ headphones, especially as it will improve the longevity of headphone use. This has long been an issue, and the usual answer is to replace or change the ear pads.
Finally, one last feature DJ headphones incorporate is a one-sided cord. When DJing, the last thing you want is the cord to get in the way of your performance, so having it placed to one side ensures you do not get in a tangled mess. Note that having one cord does not result in losing any audio quality!
We hope you have found this article to be of use. If you take away one thing, it is to not to forget to protect those ears. Investing in a decent pair of DJ headphones is a good start, and it is worth remembering that the use of earplugs is important too. You can replace hardware but not your hearing.
2024’s Best DJ Headphones
- 1) Pioneer HDJ-X10 DJ Headphones
- 2) Sennheiser HD25 DJ Headphones
- 3) Numark Red Wave Carbon DJ Headphones
- 4) Denon HP1100 DJ Headphones
- 5) AiAiAi TMA-2 DJ Preset Modular Headphones