Top 3 DJ Headphones of 2020

This post is about the top three DJ headphones for DJing, which can help people with choosing headphones to buy. These DJ headphones are for DJing, and therefore it doesn’t mean that these headphones are also the top for other uses, such as producing (making) music.

There are many great DJ headphones, and it is hard to choose only three of them. Therefore, some great DJ headphones are not on this list. Also, I don’t have used all the DJ headphones available since there are way too many.

Some people believe that the more people use a headphone, the better the headphone is, which is not true. For example, good marketing can make a product popular. Also, if something popular makes something better than the Toyota Corolla is the best car ever made.

Some people believe that when top DJs use something, it must be good, which is also not true. First of all, there there is no real measurement of how good a DJ is at DJing.

Things like the DJMag top 100 base its list on how many votes DJs get. If a DJ gets many votes, then a possible reason for that is that he/she is popular.

I (Markus Kreukniet) have based the following top DJ headphones list on my opinion and the opinion of critics. I have tested these headphones pretty effectively, which gave me the confidence to make this list.

The Characteristics of Good DJ Headphones

This section explains some characteristics of headphones that can make them good DJ headphones.

Noise-isolating and On-ear or Over-ear

First of all, noise-isolating is not the same as noise-canceling. Noise-isolating is a physical barrier that blocks noise and noise-canceling use inverse sound waves to block noise. Noise-canceling is not perfect (and will probably never be perfect) and therefore, noise-isolating sounds more natural, but can be less effective at blocking sound.

Noise-canceling will probably never be perfect for at least two reasons:

  • Sounds travel fast. In air the speed of sound is around 1,125 ft/s; 1,235 km/h; 767 mph.
  • Sounds are complex. When we listen to a song on an active moment, then it is common that the song fills almost the whole human hearing frequency spectrum with frequencies.

Natural true sounds are way more important for DJs than blocking noise. Therefore, the best DJ headphones are noise-isolating headphones. Also, the headphones in the list below are all noise-isolating.

Almost always, over-ear headphones block noise better than on-ear headphones, since the physical barrier is bigger than the on-ear ones. The Sennheiser HD 25 is the only one in the list below that is on-ear, and the other two headphones are over-ear.

Comfort

The longer someone is performing as a DJ, the longer he/she could have headphones on his/her head. Therefore, comfort is an important factor.

There are not many rules/guidelines for choosing comfortable headphones. Some people prefer heavy headphones, and others prefer light headphones. Also, some prefer over-ear over on-ear headphones for comfort, and others the other way around.

All the headphones in the list below are all comfortable. At least I have never heard/read that one or more of these headphones are uncomfortable.

For the people that don’t know that DJ mix sets can be extremely long, on this website, there is a post about the longest DJ mix ever.

Frequency Range and an Emphasized Low End

The hearing frequency range of humans is around 20 Hz to 20000 Hz. Songs can have the same frequency range, and therefore DJ headphones should have at least the same frequency range. All the headphones in the list below have a frequency range that is bigger than the human hearing frequency range.

When a DJ mixes a song with another song, he/she wants to be sure that at least the low end of the songs matches correctly, or else it sounds bad. This mixing becomes harder when the noise around the DJ is loud, for example, a loud audience. Also, this becomes harder when the ears of the DJ fatigued (tired).

To make mixing with a loud audience and fatigued ears easier, good DJ headphones have an emphasized (boosted) low end. All of the headphones in the list below have an emphasized low end.

Durability and Build Quality

Most DJs perform on multiple places in their DJ careers. While traveling or performing with headphones, they can get some misuse, like dropping on the ground. Such misuses are not always on purpose.

Some misuse of headphones happens probably always during the lifetime of headphones. Therefore, the durability and build quality of DJ headphones is important. All the headphones in the list below have good durability and build quality, and the Pioneer HDJ-X10 probably the best.

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (Winner)

An exceptional great price for its quality is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones. Without a doubt, I can recommend these headphones to people who want to start with DJing, but also to already professional DJs. Therefore, these headphones are the best, in my opinion, and also in the opinion of some critics.

We can use the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones also effectively for other uses than DJing, such as producing and mixing music. Therefore, these headphones are a good choice for people who want to use one pair of headphones for more than only for DJing. Yet, we can see DJing as the best use of these headphones.

Headphones Features and Price

A specific headphone feature of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones is that we can turn both earcups on these headphones for 90°. This turning of the earcups can make it easier to monitor the sound on one ear.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are over-ear headphones.

At the moment of writing, these headphones cost around: $132

Reasons to Choose These Headphones

Choosing the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones above the other headphones in the list makes sense when:

  • You want to use one pair of headphones for more than only for DJing.
  • You want to save a bit of money.

2. Sennheiser HD 25

Many people see the Sennheiser HD 25 as the classic DJ headphones. Many well-known DJs over the last 30 years use these headphones with success and are happy with it.

As already mentioned in the introduction, popularity does not tell much about how good a product is. However, these headphones are popular for more than 30 years, and that is probably not for nothing. Even today, these headphones are the most popular among the DJMag top DJs.

Since people use it already for more than 30 years, and it is a popular and a good product, it probably stays for at least some years a popular and a good product. Therefore, these headphones are probably the most future proof. Such future proof is especially a good choice for the people that want to stay in fashion.

Headphones Features and Price

A specific headphone feature of the Sennheiser HD 25, is that one of the ear capsules is rotatable in a corner. Such rotating is useful when we only want one instead of two capsules on our ears.

The Sennheiser HD 25 are on-ear headphones.

At the moment of writing, these headphones cost around: $150

Reasons to Choose These Headphones

Choosing the Sennheiser HD 25 headphones above the other headphones in the list makes sense when:

  • You want to be as future proof as possible.
  • Field-tested headphones are important to you.

3. Pioneer HDJ-X10

The audio quality of the Pioneer HDJ-X10 headphones are the best many critics, and I have ever heard. The headphones have an extremely well-balanced frequency response throughout the spectrum from 5 Hz to 40000 Hz. However, as already mentioned above, this spectrum is way too broad since humans can hear frequencies from around 20 Hz to 20000 Hz.

The Pioneer HDJ-X10 headphones have the best audio quality of all the headphones on this list, which is probably one of the reasons they cost more than the other headphones. However, I don’t need such an extreme fine audio quality, which could also be the case for many other people.

Headphones Features and Price

Two specific headphone features of the Pioneer HDJ-X10 headphones are:

  • They have faux leather earpads and a headband cushion of the same material, and they call this faux leather nano-coating. The purpose of this faux leather is that we can wipe dirt and sweat easily off it. Therefore, the lifespan of these earpads and the headband cushion increases.
  • The people who made these headphones used a durable metal for some of the moving parts in the headphones. With this metal, the construction of the headphone becomes stronger and even to the point that it cleared the US Military Standard Shock test. Some people call this test also MIL-STD-810G.

The Pioneer HDJ-X10 are over-ear headphones.

At the moment of writing, these headphones cost around: $349

Reasons to Choose These Headphones

Choosing the Pioneer HDJ-X10 headphones above the other headphones in the list makes sense when:

  • You find audio quality important.
  • You find a strong construction important.

Closing Words

Hopefully, you find this list of top 3 DJ headphones helpful. Furthermore, everyone that chooses headphones from this list will always choose great ones.

If you like this post, then you may want to look at some posts in the Disc Jockey (DJ) part, since this post is also part of it.

When you know someone who likes to know a top 3 DJ Headphones of 2020, then feel free to share this post. Additionally, do you know headphones that should have been part of this top 3, but are now not?

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