Whether you’re a new or experienced DJ, one of the most important pieces of equipment in your arsenal is a pair of high-quality DJ headphones. After all, you’ve got to be able to hear every tiny little detail while beat matching your tracks so you can’t really afford to skimp on quality. With that being said, you don’t have to take out a loan or break the bank to get a good pair of cans. It’s not really a matter of how much you spend, it’s about what you get for your money.
Here are some ways to choose the best DJ headphones that fit your needs and budget:
1. Sound Quality
By far the most important thing to consider is how good the sound quality is. A good pair of DJ headphones should offer a range of between 20Hz – 20Khz so you can hear all the sounds of your mix. If you can’t hear every little detail, you’re not going to mix the tracks properly and your production is going to suffer. Even if you’re on a budget, do not sacrifice sound quality for a cheaper price, it’s not worth it in the end.
When you’re in a club or party setting there’s a lot of noise. People are talking, laughing and the music is blasting. You know how it is. As the DJ, you can’t be distracted by all that ambient noise, you have to be able to hear what you’re doing above everything else. Look for closed-back over-the-ear headphones, referred to as circumaural in the specs. Make sure you get a nice tight fit around the ear, but not so tight that it causes you pain.
When you’re putting on a show, you’re going to be wearing your headphones for several hours at a time and you want to be comfortable. Obviously, a lighter pair are going to feel better for longer, but they’ve got to be durable as well. If they press on your head and ears too much, you’ll be uncomfortable and it’ll show in your performance.
4. The Cord
Chances are you’re not just going to stand in one place all night, you’re going to be moving around and you don’t want your movement to be restricted. Which is why you’re probably going to want to avoid headphones that come with a coiled cable. These might not work out so well for you.
The good thing is you can usually find a longer, straighter cord to replace it with. Another thing to note is that DJ equipment requires a ¼-inch audio jack, whereas non-professional equipment uses a ⅛-inch jack. If you use one that’s too small, you will have to use an adapter which can cause interference and deteriorate the sound quality.
Let’s face it, being a DJ isn’t a delicate profession by any means. Your equipment has to be able to handle the roughest treatment you can dish out. It’s very likely that at some point your going to drop, throw or even kick your headphones out of frustration. You don’t want a pair that’s going to fall apart at the slightest bump. Of course, it’s up to you to take care of them, but stuff happens, so the more rugged they are, the better.
You’re probably not going to wear your headphones over both ears, straight on top of your head all the time. As a DJ, you’re going to want to use them in multiple ways so they have to be flexible enough to twist and turn to suit your needs. Swivel or rotating cups, a shoulder pad and lightweight, but strong materials are the way to go. A stiff, inflexible design just isn’t going to cut it and you’ll just end up breaking them.
This has nothing to do with how well the headphones will perform, the sound quality or the comfort, but it’s incredibly important. You are a performer, and as such, it’s important to look your best in the booth. The crowd is going to notice if you’ve got a pair of cheap, ugly looking headphones on and it’ll affect the way they view you. Do yourself a favor and pick a pair that you look good in, that fits your style and makes you feel confident.
Even though this might be one of your first considerations, we’re listing it last for one important reason – you get what you pay for. If you’re able to spend the big bucks on a high-end pair of headphones, go for it. On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, look for a pair that satisfies as many of the above criteria as possible within your price range. You can always upgrade in the future when you start to make bank with your DJ gigs.
Now that you know how to choose the best DJ studio headphones for you, get out there and do some comparison shopping. You can find a myriad of sites that rank them according to price, features, functionality and performance.
Read reviews, ask questions on forums, talk to your DJ friends and other people in the industry and get their recommendations. But, at the end of the day, pick the ones that you feel are going to work the best for you. After all, you’re the one that’s going to have them clamped to your head all night and your opinion is really the only one that matters.
You will never be disappointed with your choice if you accept this fact. You are free to shell out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a pair of headphones, but remember one thing, you also have a budget to maintain. Just choose the best pair of headphones for your requirements, and you won’t be sorry tomorrow.