We all know that DJs need headphones and we can guess that they probably need to be more selective about the exact pair of headphones that they choose. But what exactly are they looking for? What kind of headphones make good DJ headphones?
In this article, we’ll go through some of the key considerations that you need to make if you are looking for the best DJ headphones.
What Should Professional DJ Headphones Do
There are a few key priorities that a DJ needs to have when shopping for DJ headphones. Let’s go over a few of the absolute top priorities:
- Comfort - This is an extremely important aspect of DJ headphones that cannot be overlooked. If your headphones do not feel comfortable, this is going to affect your performance as a DJ. You need something that you can wear for the entire course of a show without becoming uncomfortable.
- Sound isolation - This term refers to the ability of the headphones to block out outside noise. As you’ll see below, this is different than noise cancellation. You’ll need both for maximum isolation. Sound isolation helps make sure that the loud environment you are in is not leaking into your headphones and interfering with your ability to hear the music you are playing. You want to isolate yourself from outside noise as much as possible so that you can focus on the music and hear it as crisply and clearly as you need to.
- Noise cancellation - Sound isolation is extremely important but it is not really enough for a DJ. The outside noise is going to be substantial and you need to be absolutely alone with your music so that you are free from interference and hear nothing but the pure sound of your tunes. That requires actual noise cancellation technology which takes sound isolation to the next level by actually cancelling out outside noise by playing an inverted version of the sound. When shopping, you need to look for headphones that specifically advertise noise cancellation technology.
- Sound sensitivity - As a DJ, you are probably not sticking to one single genre of music. You’re going to be playing a range. In order to hear that full range as clearly and crisply as you need to, you need a pair of headphones with a pretty wide frequency range. Typically, it’s recommended to check for headphones with a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. There are headphones that offer wider ranges but you only need them if you know for sure that you will often be going outside of this recommended range.
- Durable and flexible frame - As a DJ, you’re going to be jerking your headphones into different positions throughout the show—on your head, around your neck, twisting one side up on your ear while the other hangs. You need headphones with a sturdy but flexible frame that can endure this kind of forceful usage.
The Role of Headphone Cushions in Top DJ Headphones
Quality headphone cushions are absolutely essential for DJs. Whether or not a pair of headphones is comfortable enough for extended use during a show will ultimately come down to the headphone cushions.
Moreover, whether or not a pair of headphones can deliver on sound isolation will largely (although not entirely) come down to the headphone cushions. No matter how perfect every other part of the headphone is, bad headphone cushions will make them useless as DJ headphones.
Let’s take a look at some of the things you need to look for specifically in the headphone cushions:
- Protein leather coating - First of all, you definitely need some kind of coating on your headphones. Foam alone will not do enough for sound isolation and the cushions will be less durable. While there are velour coated headphone cushions out there (and they are definitely super comfortable), they do not isolate sound as well as leather. The protein leather creates a sort of seal between the cushion and your skin to isolate sound.
- Memory foam - There are lots of fillers that can be used to provide padding for your headphone cushions and they all have their merits. But we have found memory foam to offer the most lasting comfort. It provides the best balance between firm grip and soft cushioning. Rather than pinching down on your ears, it will more mold around them to provide fantastic grip AND fantastic comfort.
Luckily, it is possible to get replacement headphone cushions for many headphone models. So if you find a pair of headphones that is perfect in every other way but the headphone cushions look cheap and flimsy, you are not completely out of luck.
You can shop around for a high quality pair of replacement headphone cushions to help modify your headphones into an excellent pair of DJ headphones!
When you are shopping for headphones DJ, you cannot afford to scrimp on quality. Even if you find a cheap pair that seem to do what a DJ needs them to do, they probably will not last as long. If you are (or plan to be) a professional DJ, you need to have the assurance that your headphones are going to last.
Dealing with cheap, poorly made headphones while you’re in the middle of a show is not an option. Invest in quality in your headphones so that you can deliver quality as a DJ!