We’ve covered two lists of essential DJ equipment on this blog before. However, observant readers might notice one essential component of every DJ setup was left off. Headphones are a crucial part of every DJ’s equipment list. So crucial, that we decided to cover DJ headphones in more detail in this post.
The options for DJ headphones are vast, and there are many price points and features to choose from. But what is the difference between DJ headphones, studio headphones, and headphones for casual listening? What should a DJ look for when purchasing DJ headphones? And how much should a new DJ spend on headphones? Read on to learn more about DJ headphones, and how to choose the best pair for you.
DJ Headphones vs. Other Headphones
DJ headphones are different than other types of headphones in several ways. DJs use their headphones for many things, including previewing the next part of a set and monitoring the current song. DJ headphones are more sophisticated than regular headphones for a variety of reasons, and they include features exclusive to DJ software and hardware.
The biggest factor that differentiates DJ headphones from other types of headphones is their design. DJ headphones have closed, swivel ear cups, which allow DJs to listen to the next track with one ear while simultaneously matching it to the track that’s already playing through the speakers. Some DJ headphones also have a feature where the DJ can listen to two different tracks in each ear cup. This is known as split cueing. With the press of a button, the DJ can switch back and forth between tracks seamlessly for the best match. Not all DJ headphones have the split cue feature, but it’s a useful one to utilize.
DJ headphones should also have top-notch sound quality, with a focus on bass definition. This is a differentiator between DJ headphones and studio headphones. Studio headphones are designed to provide flat frequency response. This means the headphones don’t provide any kind of enhancement to parts of the track, which allows producers in a studio to fine-tune different parts of a track in post-production. DJ headphones, on the other hand, are designed to isolate sounds, such as bass, so that the DJ can more easily match one track to another for a seamless mix.
Qualities to Look for in DJ Headphones
If you’re looking to get a new pair of DJ headphones, there are a lot of options out there. However, there are several factors you should consider when researching DJ headphones to buy:
You’re going to be wearing your DJ headphones for long periods of time. So, first and foremost, your headphones should be comfortable to wear. Make sure the headband has adequate padding, and the ear cups sit comfortably on your ears. If you like to wear your headphones around your neck, they shouldn’t chafe or get caught on your clothes or hair.
Ear Cup Design
Most DJ headphones have an over-ear design, instead of on-ear. This creates a seal around the ear and isolates outside noise, allowing the DJ to hear their mix more clearly. However, some headphones marketed for DJs are more of an on-ear design, so be sure to look closely at product descriptions and photos.
As we mentioned in the previous section, DJ headphones have different sound profiles and specs than other types of headphones. Specs such as driver diameter, maximum input, sensitivity, and frequency range are all factors that should be considered when determining the kind of sound your headphones will put out. In general, look for something that has a higher input rating (less distortion) and a larger driver diameter better bass) for the best sound for your mix.
Wired or wireless? Spiral or straight cord? The answers to these questions will largely depend on the types of headphones available, and your usual setup. Wired headphones can be more powerful, but Bluetooth wireless headphones are becoming more common and can be easier to move around in crowded venues. Bluetooth has its downsides, though, such as the headphones needing to be recharged. If you play long sets, wireless headphones may not be your best option. Coiled cords can easily get tangled in equipment, so if you’re going with wired headphones, a long, straight cord with plenty of slack would be your best bet.
Your headphones will take quite a beating if you play a lot of gigs. Wearing them for several hours at a time, carting them to and from venues, and being subjected to sweat, bumps, and falls will all contribute to wear and tear. A good pair of headphones will be able to handle whatever you can throw at them. Look for sturdy construction, thicker headbands, and solid earcups.
Segueing from the last point, even the most durable headphones might need parts replaced every now and then. Being able to replace your cord, ear cups, or other parts will extend the life of your headphones and make your life easier. Purchase a backup set of replacement parts and keep them in your DJ bag for emergencies.
The final point to consider when purchasing DJ headphones is the cost and your budget. There are headphones available at multiple price points, but there are pros and cons to each one. In general, more expensive headphones will give you better quality and better specs, but if you’re a new DJ, you may not want to shell out the cash for a nice pair of headphones. Consider how often you’ll be using them, your experience, and your budget to determine which price range is best for your situation.
There are many brands of DJ headphones out there, and each DJ will have their own personal preferences when it comes to style, price, and specs. We hope that this guide has helped you learn more about the types of DJ headphones, and what to look for when you do your own research.
Whatever headphones you choose, we’re sure your set is going to be absolutely killer. And don’t forget about your other DJ essential—DJ Drops! A custom DJ Drop with your DJ name will get the crowd screaming so loud you’ll be able to hear them through your noise-isolating headphones. Get in touch with NYE Countdown to order today!