When you’re buying headphones for DJing or music production, you need to look for different things compared to normal headphones. Depending on what you’ll use them for, they may need to have a completely flat frequency response, they may need to be open back for a better soundstage, or isolate the sound very well so that you can hear through them even in very loud environments such as a club!
The following information outlines everything you need to know in order to make the correct choice depending on your needs, furthermore, we’ve attached links to the headphones we consider to be the best for DJing, studio use or both!
The most important things to look out for when buying DJ headphones are:
- Sound Isolation:So you can hear the music from your headphones when it’s also playing through speakers.
- Comfort and ease of use: So you can move them around as you’re wearing them and can handle wearing them all night.
- Durability and ease of finding replaceable parts: As they can break quite easily while DJing in a busy club.
- They should be closed-back headphones, as they are best for recording and working in noisy environments!
Most important things to look out for when buying studio referencing headphones are:
- Flat frequency response
- Low distortion.
- Natural Soundstage (open back or semi-open back headphones are recommended for this).
Now that you know what to look out for in headphones depending on if you will be using them for DJing or studio referencing purposes such as production music, here are the differences between the three types of headphones you can buy.
“Best for producing, mixing and mastering!”
Open-back headphones are the best for producing, mixing and mastering music because they offer the most natural sound stage and flattest frequency response. They achieve that because they have a hole between the ear cup and and speaker cone which allows sound to pass through and thus reduces distortion. The disadvantage is that they also allow sound back in, so if you plan on DJing with them, or use them for recording sessions, closed-back headphones or semi-open back headphones may be a better choice for you.
“Best for recording and working in noisy environments!”
Closed-back headphones offer great sound isolation so they are perfect for recording or using them for DJ purposes in noisy environments, as they prevent outside sound from leaking into your ears, thus allowing you to focus purely on the mix. The disadvantage is that they are known to be slightly worse for mixing and mastering compared to the other choices listed here. While that is true, the closed-back headphones listed here are still fantastic studio referencing headphones, all boasting flat frequency responses, high pressure levels and minimal distortion. Additionally, most good DJ headphones are closed-back, so a good pair of DJ headphones can quite easily be used for recording.
“One pair of headphones that can do both!”
Semi-open-back headphones offer a middle point between open-back and closed-back headphones. They tend to sound a bit more natural and accurate compared to closed-back (but not quite as much as open-back) and they have average sound isolation (but not as much as closed-back).
In an ideal world, you would have open-back headphones for producing, mixing and mastering, and closed-back headphones for recording or DJing. But that can be quite expensive, and if you’re only looking for one pair that can do both, then semi-open-back is probably the best choice for you.
Our Top Picks
Finally, on to the actual recommended headphone list! We spent many days researching and trying out tons of different headphones, so we could narrow down the very best currently available. The higher the price the better they are, but we’ve picked the best ones for their respective price ranges.
Best DJ Headphones
Pioneer HDJ-500 Black – £110
Behringer HPX2000 DJ Headphones – £17.99
Sennheiser HD 25 – £120
Best Open Back Studio Referencing Headphones
These will give you the most natural soundstage and flattest frequency response, but remember, make sure you produce and mix music in a quiet room otherwise those benefits mean nought if background noise is making a mess of what your hearing!
AKG 702 Open Back Headphones – £115
AKG 712 Open Back Headphones – £212
Hybrid DJ / Production Headphones
These headphones are closed back headphones which can be used for both DJing and studio referencing purposes. They boast extremely flat frequency response making them suitable for music production, but also isolate the sound really well making them great for DJing in a club! If you can only afford one pair of headphones and your interested in using them for both purposes, then one of these are exactly what you should get. Also, even if you only plan on using them for production purposes but mainly work in noisy environments, these are far better choices than open-back headphones!
Sennheiser HD-380 Pro – £102
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro – 80 Ohm – £103.99
Shure SRH1540 Professional – £459
Price Disclaimer: Please double check the price before buying as they frequency change, and this blog post may not list the most up to date prices!
About Soundflow Music Academy
We offer one to one audio engineering, music production & DJ courses. Taught by experienced and accredited tutors in studios utilising only top of the range equipment such as Pioneer CDJ 2000nxs2 and DJM900nxs2. Our goal is to provide the best possible music production and DJ tuition, as well as incredible real world opportunities for our students such as club gigs, label releases, industry meet ups and more.
If you want to learn how to DJ from scratch or simply hone your skills, you can enrol on the Intro to DJ or Complete DJ course. If you want to learn how to produce music at the highest standard, you can enrol on our Intro to Music Production, Music Production & Sound Engineering or the Mixing & Mastering courses!
A Soundflow Music Academy publication,
Written by Nikos Argalias
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