Headphones is one of the most important piece of equipment a DJ must own. From the first offset, they appeared insignificant and many thinks they can get away by buying cheaper pair. With the advance of digital DJing you could get away with cheaper pair since most of the software will do beat matching for you, making headphones become less important. Nonetheless, I still recommend people to get a good pair since they will last you for a long time and in the case where you start picking up music production, you can use it too.
So, how do you know which headphones to get? There are many important factors to help you decide what pair to get. In my opinion, one of the most important factor is its ohm impedance. Some of you might ask, what is ohm impedance?. I’m not gonna go deep into what ohm impedance is because its a pretty complicated thing. The general rule of thumb is the higher the ohm impedance of a headphone the better they are. Of course they are all within certain range.
Most consumer level headphones usually have roughly 30 – 32 ohm impedance. Your DJ headphones will have anything from 40 – 75 ohms, while your hi-fi phones will have as high as 600 ohms impedance.
Low impedance require less power to run it, making it perfect for portable player such as ipod. You can use them to DJ but its best to avoid them if possible. The reason is because the lower the impedance, the easier the headphone distort the sound. When you use it in a club environment where the sound is loud, you will need to raise your headphone volume. When you do this, the sound will get distorted and at the end you might as well not use headphone since you will not be able to hear anything that resembles music. Therefore, stay away from all those fancy looking cans such as Skullcandy, Aerial7, Beats and the likes (*these brands now have professional model for DJs, but they are expensive). They look good and could cost as much or even more than DJ headphones but, most aren’t designed to be used in a DJ booth. They are not bad headphones, in fact they are good for your portable digital music players.
On the other end of this equation we have Hi-Fi headphones with high impedance such as Sennheiser HD-25-13 with 600 ohms impedance. Most of the time, you use them in studio environment where your headphones can be played at normal level. The high impedance prevents audio distortion on these headphones. The drawback is they are not as loud. Since we’re looking for DJ Headphones, I recommend you to go with one that has at least 40 – 150 ohms impedance.
So here are few of my recommendations.
This one have 40 ohms impedance. Made by Pioneer, the people that makes DJ mixer that you will find at most clubs.
Pro: sounds good, very loud and you have to push them almost at max volume before they get distorted, foldable.
Con: hideous looking, and after couple years you’ll start to see cracks on their hinges.
62 ohms impedance.
Pro: sounds good and almost never get distorted, very light, good price, foldable making it compact and easy to carry.
Cons: little cable on the side can easily get caught on things
Audio Technica Pro5-MS
40 ohms impedance
Pro: Sounds pretty good and don’t easily get distorted, looks good, very good price
Cons: Not foldable making it big and bulky. built feels cheap.
75 ohms impedance
Pro: One of the best sounding headphones out there. very light, modular design therefore everything is replaceable, very comfortable
Cons: doesn’t look like a DJ headphones, expensive, short cable.
Those are the 4 headphones I recommend. I’ve used them all and I can say with full confidence that they all will do the job very well. There are many more good headphones out there so you should do your research well before purchasing a pair of head phone. Before I end this guide, I want to remind you that always check the ohm impedance when you’re looking for a headphones. Good luck and have fun with Djing.