There are a million brands of DJ headphones on the market these days. Most popular headphones are marketed very well with international budgets, while others focus on niche industry users. So how do you know which brands make the best DJ headphones?
Most experienced DJ’s will use many types and brands of DJ headphones over the span of their career. If you’re looking to buy your very first set or you’re simply looking for a change, the process isn’t as complicated as you may think. Let me start by saying there is no right or wrong set of DJ headphones, but there is a set of DJ headphones that are right for you.
It’s all about personal preference. Here are some pointers to help you know what to look for.
Many DJ’s will argue that one particular brand might have the best sound over other headphones. The truth is that a lot of DJ’s look for different performance in sound quality. Some DJ headphones are very ‘bassy’ and that often gets confused with ‘sounding great’ as who doesn’t love bass? What I’m looking for is clarity.
I prefer DJ headphones that have a healthy balance of high end so I can hear the kick, hi-hats and claps a lot clearer in a club environment. When you’re mixing you need to hear the separate elements in your tracks clearly. Your judgement is going to be clouded by what’s going on around you in the club. Clarity in a headphone will help you concentrate and hear your mixes perfectly.
The last thing you want to do is fork out the big bucks on a set of headphones that are going to let you down. Once you have a good idea of the headphones that you’re thinking of buying, do the research and see if there are any common problems that might let you down. A retailer may sell you on the fact that there are warranties to cover you in case anything goes wrong but that won’t help you if you’re mid-set and your only set of headphones start playing up.
TIP: Don’t throw out or sell your last pair of headphones. There’s nothing worse than being stuck at a show without a set of working headphones and it happens to the best of us. Always carry a spare set if possible.
Get the most comfortable set of headphones that you can find without compromising on the other essential qualities you need in a headphone. The last thing you want to be worried about when DJing is discomfort. If you have a few pairs in mind, get down to a retailer and try them all on.
Shopping for headphones online is fine but make sure that you have tried them on for yourself. Keep in mind that you’ll be spending a lot of time in them so ask the retailer as many questions as you can think of and look to the internet for reviews.
A great set of DJ headphones will in a way become an extension of your brand image. DJing is all about confidence and looking great on stage is feeling great on stage. There are plenty of quality headphone manufacturers that pay a lot of attention to detail when it comes to style.
Don’t confuse style with wearing a set of headphones just because they are popular in the public eye. If they’re not right for you for any of the reasons listed in this article, then give them a miss. You’ll be able to find great looking headphones that tick all the right boxes.
Cost is of course definitely a factor. Buy the best DJ headphones you can possibly afford. DJ headphones are going to be the one tool that you use the most. It’s just like buying your own personal sound system. You want to be able to hear everything perfectly, just as you like it, so invest in your sound and get the best that your money can buy.
High-end headphones are going to set you back between $200 and $500 USD. We use Beats Mixr (RRP $250) or Beats Studio (RRP $300). Beats Mixr are great as they aren’t too heavy and we jump around a lot during our sets. We’ve used a lot of other headphones in the past and have really enjoyed brands like Sennheiser and Pioneer although Beats have become our personal preference over the last couple of years.
One final thought – look after your ears! Wear earplugs when you’re in loud environments (especially clubs) and don’t practice with the headphone volume turned all the way up. Damage your ears and your DJ career is over. So make sure that you add a set of recommended earplugs to your shopping list.