Are you a (budding/professional) DJ looking for your next awesome headphone for gigs? Today the market is flooded with so many headphones, even the expert spin masters are getting confused on the best one to buy. So how do you choose the best DJ headphone from this mountain of choices?
The Answer: To solve this confusion and to help you choose wisely, we have prepared this post to help you. You can use this list and check things off as you look at new headphones. So what are you waiting for, let’s go!
The most important part of any headphone, including the ones for DJs. Unlike Audiophiles who need a high-quality balanced sound, DJ headphones need instruments like the kick drums, snares, hi-hats and cymbals to be crisp and clear. This basically means a loud bass and powerful treble.
In terms of the frequency range, the human ear can hear sounds ranging from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. So, a headphone which plays this range should do. About driver size? Well, all we can say is bigger the better (40mm is the standard though).
If you are a travelling DJ, you need a headset that can withstand all sorts of rough use. Headphones that are foldable or those that come with a carry case, take up lesser space than those that cannot fold. Apart from this, even the best DJ headphones have to endure being smashed by other equipment, dropped or rough use.
While mixing, you’ll probably not have the headphone on your head constantly. Many DJs use one-sided listening to judge the outside ambience and play tracks accordingly. Swivel earcups or flexible headbands are useful in such a situation.
Oh, and ensure that whichever headphone you choose is closed-back. Open-back headphones will result is a lot of sound leakage and no isolation.
Be it for an hour or for a day, your headphone has to be comfortable to keep mixing without feeling any fatigue. Be sure to check the type of ear cushions and headpads used (velour, memory foam, etc.) as well as the thickness.
The headphone has to be light enough to not put any pressure on your ears/head. At the same time, it should also be firm enough (but not have a clamping feel) so that it doesn’t fall off even during those head-bobbing moments.
While mixing, you’d probably want to move about a little. At such a time, a coiled cable is what you should use. A straight cable may get pulled out of the mixer with some movement. Also, if both earcups have to be connected via cables, it is a strict no. Headphones with two-sided cables tend to restrict movement and the cables can also get tangled. (You really don’t want to sit just before a gig untangling cables, right?)
When it comes to connectors, well, most headphones either come with a fixed 6.3mm (¼”) plug or screw-on adapter of the same size. This is so that they connect to most controllers.
After using your headphone so roughly, chances are it is going to break or wear out sometime or the other. If it has warranty, find out the warranty period and what is covered under the same.
Some brands offer replaceable parts. Such parts are not only made to reduce the wear and tear of the headphone, they can even be used to customise it. Don’t forget to check the prices of these. (We don’t think shelling out more money on the replacements than the headphone is a good idea.)
While checking for replacements, you may also want to consider the cable, jack, headpad and earpads as these tend to wear off easily.
So here we go. Keep these tips in mind before you go shopping for the best DJ headphones. If you are unsure where to start, you could check out our article on the Professional DJ Headphones.
Have you come across any cool tips that should join this list? Share it with us in the comments.