When shopping for DJ headphones, sound quality is the most important thing to look for, but not the only thing. Noise-cancelling is also a big advantage, since you’ll be using them in a crowded dance hall. Comfort is another factor, since you’ll be wearing them for hours on end. Something that comes with a carrying case would be good as well, to keep them safe between one club and the next.
Some DJ headphones only have one single speaker, with the other side simply bearing a pad to hold the headphones to the listener’s head with tension, so you can listen to the audio feed with one ear and keep the other ear on the house audio that the audience is hearing.
You also want to know what to avoid when buying a pair of DJ headphones. Don’t go for a pair that prides itself on portability, since you’ll be spending your entire set at a booth and the “portable” headphones usually sacrifice sound quality for it. You also want to focus on “over-ear” headphones, since those are the most comfortable, the best at noise-cancelling, and usually have the most powerful hardware in each ear cup. The other options are “on-ear“, which uses a padded speaker that is pressed up against the ear, and “in-ear“, which uses tiny speakers that are inserted into the crook of the ear’s cartilage. These models are usually aimed at casual listeners instead of professionals.
You may also encounter “stick headphones“, which are composed of a single speaker and ear cup attached to a handle. These, like single-ear headphones, are intended to let you listen to audio cues with one ear and the house audio with the other. The difference is that they are not worn, but held up to your ear with one hand. You may find that you prefer this style, or that you need two hands on your board too often for a handheld headphone to be of use. This is a question of personal preference.
I did not include any stick headphones in my rankings, not because I believe them to be inferior but because stick headphones must be judged on their sound quality and durability just like wearable headphones. None of the stick headphones I was able to find impressed me enough by their other merits to earn a spot on my top 6, but if you often find yourself holding your headphones to your ear with one hand while leaving the other ear naked to monitor house audio, then you may find the stick headphone setup to be an improvement.
Best DJ Headphones Under 100 Bucks Reviews
The Gemini DJ model is a very solid choice due to its simplicity and elegance. The headband and cups are both padded, and the headband strap is adjustable for the DJ’s comfort on the job.
The sound quality is excellent, getting a wide range of sound, and yet the headphones are surprisingly lightweight. The headphones are also durable, and can be folded up when it’s time to pack up the equipment and head out.
The headphones are also quite stylish in basic black with a classic ear cup design. This may not seem important, but as a DJ, your appearance at the booth is more important than you may realize. A professional DJ recognizes the value of good publicity and building a reputation in the industry, and having a few good photos of yourself on the job, with your headphones on, will make a great addition to a web page or the events page of the venues you’ve performed at.
The Sony MDR-V55 are another choice pair of headphones. Their sound range goes from 5hZ to an impressive 25 khZ, with a maximum decibel output of 105, and are expertly engineered using neodymium magnets. The commitment to better sound through master craftsmanship extends to the tip of the cord, which is gold plated for superior conductivity. The headband doesn’t fold up, but it does adjust and it is padded.
The Sony MDR-V55 is available in two colors: black with a bright orange cord for contrast, and stark white. This gives the style-conscious DJ more options with this model.
I honestly had a hard time deciding between this and the Gemini DJ for the #1 title, but I gave it to the Gemini ultimately because of price. The Sony MDR-V55 may be the better pair of headphones in a vacuum, but they also are more expensive, and I just wasn’t convinced that the extra price was justified.
Numark claims that its Red Wave model is “designed by DJs for DJs” and looking at its features, I believe it. The headband and ear cups are thickly padded, the speakers are designed for quality bass without distortion, and the cups are on swivels to allow the DJ to easily reposition them on his or head.
The most innovative feature about the Red Wave model is the cord. Not only can it be adapted to 1/8-inch or 1/4-inch audio output jacks, but it is also detachable from the main headset to prevent tangles and make storage easier.
As for style, the headphones themselves are black with orange trim and the ear cups feature a silver image of a snap-in spindle size adapter, a familiar image to anyone who has experience with vinyl records, as many DJs do. With the recent resurgence of vinyl records, this seems an excellent way to catch the eye and mark one’s self as having refined audio tastes and experience. Once again, the price point is the only reason the Red Wave doesn’t earn a higher spot on the rankings.