DJ Headphones Buying Guide
Are you a DJ and looking for an excellent pair of headphones? When you search the market, you will find many headphones, all for different uses. So, how can you decide which one is right for you and suits your needs as a DJ? Here’s a proper guide for buying headphones. Read this guide to know what to avoid and what to choose.
There are two main types of headphones: open-cup and closed-cup headphones. As the name suggests, with the open-cup design, you can also hear the ambient sound. The closed-cup headphones, on the other hand, do not allow the surrounding noise to enter your ears. Therefore, if you are in a noisy environment, you should use close-cupped headphones.
Another thing to consider is the length and type of lead. There are straight leads and coiled leads. Like all other DJs, you might have a preference, but it is recommended to go with coiled leads. Since the straight leads get tangled quickly, if you wish to avoid this fuss, go with coiled leads. Plus, the tangles in the leads can damage the cans. We recommend using a headphone with a single-side cable attachment. The cables that are attached to the headphone on both sides can strangle you when they get tangled.
Almost all headphones have a 3.5mm jack, which is also called a mini-jack. These jacks are used to connect the headphones with portable devices such as iPods and smartphones. However, as a DJ, you will have to handle 6.25mm jacks. You can easily recognize these jacks as this size is mostly found on electric guitars. Hence, as a DJ, you will need headphones with a 6.25mm (1/4″) adapter.
The work of a DJ is not easy, and you should know that. You have to monitor the playlist and at the same time, control the booth mix by listening to it so that you can match the music with the playlist. It is not possible to do this without swiveling one of the ear cups away. When you take away one of the ear cups, you can listen to the booth music while listening to the playlist from the other ear cup. For this reason, you should buy headphones with swiveling cups. You should purchase those headphones that make it easy for you to switch between different positions. A good headphone is designed to make the DJ comfortable.
Another important thing to consider while buying headphones DJ is the range of frequencies provided by them. As a DJ, you will find yourself in a situation where there is a delay in the sound coming from the booth monitor and the dance floor. In this situation, you will have to match the headphone’s beat. You may have to turn off the cue and the booth sound to match the beat in the headphones. For a DJ, this is a common occurrence. Therefore, it is wise to buy a headphone which allows you to listen to a wide range of frequencies.
The headphones’ leads are prone to wear and tear. They are twisted and curled and put in and out of the DJ’s bag frequently. Therefore, it is important that you find a headphone which has replaceable parts. The leads are more prone to wear and tear at the jack ends, which is why many headphones are present in the market whose jacks can be easily bent at 90 degrees. It prevents tearing and prolongs the life of the lead. Many headphones also have replacement ear pads.
Another thing to consider when buying the headphones is the comfort level. You will wear them for a long time, so your ear will hurt if the headphone does not have soft ear cups. The support comes with ease of wear and the design of the headphones. Seek a comfortable design i.e. the headphones that have ear cups which fit the ear instead of riding on them. You will get uncomfortable soon if the ear cups do not fit. As a rule of thumb, you should purchase headphones with a driver diameter of 35mm to 53mm. You can also buy headphones that have a versatile design. Purchase the one which you can easily fold and pack into your DJ bag.
At last, you need to consider your budget. You should buy headphones according to the budget. You need to focus on getting quality and affordable headphones with a versatile design if you plan on using them a lot. Always buy one based on the environment. Headphones are essential tools for every DJ. Therefore, it is important to choose the best and most comfortable one.
Cable Length (m)
The standard length of headphone cables is between 1 and 4 meters. The increase in the length of the lead means the headphones will be more unmanageable.
Cable Type (Coiled/Straight Cable)
For a DJ, it is important to handle the cable quickly. Coiled cable is a better option as it allows ease of use. Sometimes, the DJ pulls out the cables suddenly, where the spring-like structure of the coiled cables prevents any damage.
Closed Back Design
The closed back or closed cup design is better than the open cup design. It will isolate the background noise and let you concentrate mixing the sound in a loud environment.
A detachable cable is a better option as it allows you to switch between coiled and straight cables.
Driver Diameter (mm)
The driver diameter should be large as it allows accurate sound monitoring.
Almost all DJ headphones use dynamic drivers. They have a mini speaker which gives extra clarity. DJs can get extra bass and high SPL with dynamic drivers without additional amplification.
Frequency Range (Hz)
Humans can hear the sound with frequencies between 20 Hz (low, sub frequencies) and 20 kHz (bright, high frequencies). The ability to listen to sounds with low frequencies lessens with age or constant exposure to high volumes. You cannot hear frequencies outside this range, so the headphones which provide higher frequencies are just a marketing stunt and do not offer a superior sound quality.
Jack Size and Type
All headphones have a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) jack. It is the standard for all electronic devices. However, for professional DJs, the jacks have a diameter of 1/4 inch. The best headphones are the ones which have an extra adapter to switch between the two jacks.
Max Input (mW)
There will be more distortion if you listen to a high sound with less input power. Therefore, it is important that headphones have the capability to handle input power of around 3000mW. The price will be high, but the sound quality will be excellent.
The headphones with high sensitivity produce a high volume, but prolonged exposure to high volumes can damage hearing. Consider purchasing specialist earplugs which attenuate the harmful frequencies. The price of these headphones is higher than the standard headphones.
Swiveling Ear Cups
Swiveling ear cups are better and comfortable for cuing. These ear cups allow a DJ to operate the equipment quickly.
Lighter headphones are better than heavier ones. Although heavier headphones are much durable, they will have extra cable length, which is not easy to manage. A good headphone always has a durable design and is lightweight.