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How to choose good DJ headphones?

A good choice of headphones will not only protect you from the noise coming from the outside, but will also serve you with top quality sound.

However, the purchase itself isn’t so simple and obvious, seeing as we have a lot of different products on the market, with different parameters and designs. A suitable product will not only make your listening experience better, but should also be comfortable to wear, what is also important for every DJ.

What should we look into?
Our headphones should primarily fit tight with our ears, mostly so we couldn’t hear any noise from our surroundings. Because DJs usually work in very loud conditions, it is really crucial! That’s why we should be mostly interested in closed headphones.

One of the more interesting models on the market, which is at the same time quite cheap and worth mentioning, is AKG K518. The producer offers some good sound quality contrasted with its low price. It doesn’t come with no flaws though, albeit it’s fine to consider it just due the accessibility.

A lot of people look for headphones with good sound quality in mind, which is probably a good step! Seeing as we’re going to use those headphone pretty often, we should take care for the sound to be top notch, what furthers us to not need for it be used at loud levels. The sound needs to be adjusted precisely to what we like.

Howsoever, besides the sound quality value there are also other aspects, which are nearly as important. The headband needs to be neither too small, nor too big, and should be easily regulated. Next thing is obviously the ability to wear them comfortably for a longer period of time, it shouldn’t bother us to have them on our head at all. If they’re too tight we can grow tired of wearing them really fast, and on the other hand, if they’re too loose they won’t fit to the ear correctly, so we need to find a good balance.

Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ
Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ, źródło: Music Square

Before the purchase it’s worth taking to the internet for at least a slight research on a chosen model. Next thing that’s essential, is mechanical durability. As it was mentioned, if you’re a DJ your headphones should be able to handle some rough conditions and so on, especially in case if you use them more frequently. Even multiple repetition of placing them on your head and taking them off again and again might be vastly damaging for the equipment.

Pay attention to the headband, which is a part that is exposed to damages the most, seeing as whenever we adjust the headphones we need to band it or treat it roughly in some way or another. The next thing are earpads, which very often crack after a moment. If we buy a more expensive model, we probably need to check everything for the availability of replacing a broken piece of the set, which is always a good thing. The cable is also important. It needs to be thick and solid, and of proper length as well. If it’s too long we can easily get it through some physical damage ourselves, for example by tripping over it etc. It should be flexible, and the best choice is to have at least a piece of it in a form of a spiral chord. It enhances whenever we need to step away a bit further, but when we’re close it wouldn’t be too long.

Preferred brands that we should be taking into consideration are AKG, Allen & Healt, Denon, Pioneer, Numark, Stanton, Sennheiser, Sony, Technics, Shure, and others. We couldn’t really assign any leaders between those brands, and our only indication is probably our budget.

We should be searching for some classical types of headphones, seeing as any experiments might be found useless or uncomfortable. Although the world has noticed a slight growth in popularity of some other types, which are less common.

They’re mobile and small, as well as pretty durable and discrete. However, they lack a good low end, which obviously goes in pair with their size. If you’re fan of this type of headphones, it’s also good to compare a few different models. In comparison to more traditional types of headphones with a regular headband, earbuds are harder to be taken off or put back on quickly, which surely is a drawback for some users. One of the preferred models would be XD-20 by Allen & Healt.

Earbuds, źródło: Shure

Headphones parameters
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter as much, but while we’re at it it’s worth to at least take a look. What we’re interested in is impedance, bandwidth, type of its plug, sensitivity, and weight. But if it’s just numbers and figures for us, then what’s the point. I’ll try to give a few of those elements some short descriptions.

Impedance – the higher it is, the more power we need to send in to get the right volume and sound. The smaller it is, the less noise resistant it gets. A proper range should reach between 32-65 Ohm.

Bandwidth – its range should be as big as possible, thus we could hear better within a broad variety of frequencies. Taking our own human ears’ abilities into account, the best parameters would get us from 20Hz to 20kHz.

Plug – with headphones for DJs for sure the most popular type of plug would be Jack 6,3”, commonly referred to as big jack. It’s very common some producers also support us with different sorts of adapters, but it’s not always like that.

Sensitivity – SPL (Sound Pressure Level) refers to the loudness of our headphones. If we work in noisy conditions we should be able to tweak our equipment up to 100dB, which is at the same time dangerous for our hearing in a long-term.

Weight – it depends on your own preferences, but it’s probably good to consider some light equipment, all in all, it should be comfortable.

To sum it up
I’ve tried to describe what’s important when you want to choose some well-fit headphones. The tone quality is a huge factor of course, but it’s not everything. If you’ve got through the article carefully enough, you’ll find no trouble in getting what you need, and the equipment you’ll decide upon should serve you perfectly for long hours of work.


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