Choosing DJ headphones isn't easy. There's a lot to consider: Are they comfortable for a long set? Can you swivel the ear cups so you can hear in-booth monitors? What's the bass response like? Will they survive being taken from venue to venue? That's just a few of the difficult issues to deal with. Thankfully, we've rounded up the best options, from the high end to the lower, less budget end of the spectrum. Below we run through the best cans for DJing, with models from the likes of Sennheiser, AIAIAI, Pioneer DJ, Audio-Technica and more.
There's a reason why Sennheiser's HD-25 headphones are considered to be the industry standard. They're extremely lightweight at just 140 grams, exactly what's needed when bopping around a DJ booth, and feature a rotatable capsule for one-ear listening, an essential for DJing. These features obviously come in handy when recording a DJ mix in the studio, too, and they're not too pricey at £129. The fact they can withstand high sound levels makes them ideal headphones for a nightclub or your home soundsystem.
Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10
Pioneer DJ have plenty to shout about with their HDJ-X10s, but it's their ability to reproduce frequencies from 5 Hz up to 40 kHz they're most proud of. This ensures you'll hear tunes in the highest of resolution, just how we like it. If you cherish crisp, punchy bass then you'll love these as they come equipped with a Bass Reflex Chamber. Developed with the feedback of pro DJs, the HDJ-X10s are built to take the expected knocks, bending and whatever else that come with being a DJ. This durability is made capable by a hardy metal construction and US Military Standard MIL-STD-810G Shock testing. Water repellent nano-coating on the ear pads and headband also means that sweat and dirt can easily be wiped off. Of course, all of thise means they come with higher end pricing. £269
AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ
Seen on the heads of the likes of Benji B, Mall Grab, Charlotte De Witte and Richie Hawtin, AIAIAI's TMA-2 Modular DJ headphones, are clearly highly rated by some of the best to get in a DJ booth. Coming in at under £200, they work stunningly with electronic music - notably tunes ramped up with bass - thanks to the titanium-coated S02 speaker unit, which comes with an internal vent. Such is the durability of the H02 nylon headband, that you can literally try to snap it and it just won't happen. Your ears will be nice and cosy in memory foam-cushioned ear pad in vegan leather covers, too. £180
V-Moda Crossfade M-100
In the premium price range at £219, the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 are equipped with 50mm dual‑diaphragm drivers - ensuring high-quality sound - and a flexible metal‑core headband and reinforced cables to ticket the boxes for strength, longevity and durability, three key components for DJ cans. Sound isolation scores high as a result of Ergosoft Foam ear pad cushions. These are also a sound choice for duos due to the SharePlay™ Cable, which makes mixing easier for a pair. The extendable CoilPro Cable (with TwistLock technology) that also comes with the M-100 makes it ideal for time in a bigger DJ booths or when you're having to turn around and dig for records. Their sleek, industrial-style design is also a plus if you want the way you look - as well as your tunes - to stand out. £219
Audio Technica's M-series headphones range is lauded, but the cream of the crop is the ATH-M50X. DJs love them for the closed-back design and sound isolating, contoured ear cups which block out surrounding noise. The ear cups also swivel up to 90 degrees, making one-ear monitoring in the booth so much easier. The cans are loaded with 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminium wire voice coils, ensuring top sound clarity, while delivering a crisp and precise bass response. You also get a frequency range of 15hz to 28kHz. £134.99
If you're looking for some DJ headphones purely for mixing at home, then Shure's SRH440 are safe bet and won't set you back too much. At £75, they're a quality lower budget option that deliver decent sound good enough for when recording a mix. Coming in a bold, black finish, the cable's detachable and you'll also get a slick-looking carry bag to store them in. £75
When you're in the DJ booth for a long session, your headphones need to be able to withstand high volume. That's what makes Denon DJ's HP1100s - equipped with 53mm drivers - a tidy investment seeing as they can take in 3500mW of power. Another key feature is the 180-degree dual-pivot and swivel ear cup design, making these a suitable pairing for in-booth monitors. Dual 1/8” and 1/4” connectors also mean these headphones can be used with all equipment, taking away any worry that they won't be compatible when you turn up for your set. £114
One of the best options if you've got a low budget, Reloop's RH-2500 will only set you back £32, allowing you to plough your money towards other DJ or production gear. The closed-back design results in clean bass response and the cans brilliantly deliver mid and high frequencies. An upgrade of Reloop's RH-2400 series, this model is much comfier than its predecessor, likely down to a redesigned headband and a lower weight of 307 grams. They're also a sleek, modest design in all black and with the Reloop logo on the outside of the ear cups. £32
Dave Turner is Mixmag's Commercial Content Editor, follow him on Twitter