Best DJ headphones 2024: reliable choices from budget to pro-level

Modern DJ setups come in all shapes and sizes, but a set of headphones is one element they all have in common. Whether you’re beat-matching on vinyl, rocking a controller or triggering loops in Ableton Live, you’ll need a quality set of cans to cue tracks and monitor your mixes.

In this guide, we’ll highlight some of the best DJ headphones on the market, with options for all styles and budgets to help you deliver killer sets, whether practising at home, playing out in the booth or streaming online.

From top-end models to more affordable options, we’ve collected a selection of top-quality headphones which will suit DJs at any level. 

If you’re not sure what you need from your headphones, we’ve added some useful buying advice at the bottom of the page. And if you want to get a quick overview of our top choices, scroll down for a quick list of our favourite. If you're ready to make a purchase, our price comparison widgets will display the best prices at trusted retailers.

Simon Truss author profile image
Si Truss

Si is Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. He's been messing around with music tech in various forms, from DJ gear to interfaces and monitors, for over two decades. He's also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. You can find him in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past his bedtime.

Quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out exactly which we think are the best DJ headphones on the market right now? Below, you’ll find a round-up of our top choices. You can jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

The best DJ headphones available today

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Below you'll find full and detailed write-ups for each of the best DJ headphones in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

Best overall

Best DJ Headphones: Sennheiser HD 25

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
The best DJ headphones overall

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 16Hz -22kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable
+
Designed specifically for DJ use 

Reasons to avoid

-
Genuinely not much 

While everyone will have their own personal preferences and tastes, the Sennheiser HD 25 is as close as you’ll find to a universally well-loved set of cans. The HD 25s are designed specifically for monitoring, providing high levels of attenuation over external noise and the ability to cope with extreme volumes with ease.

They feature a rotatable capsule for single-ear listening, and while the leatherette pads aren’t the most comfortable in the world, they certainly perform better than others in the same price bracket.

Read the full Sennheiser HD 25 review 

Best budget option

Best DJ Headphones: Pioneer HDJ CUE1

(Image credit: Pioneer)

2. Pioneer DJ HDJ Cue1

The best budget DJ headphones you’ll find

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 5Hz-30kHz
Connection: Wired (wireless model also available)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent frequency response for the price
+
Look considerably more ‘pro’ than the price 
+
Detachable cables and customisable ear pads 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quite as comfortable or clear-sounding as their more expensive counterparts 

Pioneer DJ’s budget headphones take many of the winning design choices from the brand’s more expensive HDJs – feature elsewhere in this guide – and bring them down to a price point to suit beginners and cash-strapped DJs. 

While the sonic specs, such as impedance and frequency response, don’t quite match Pioneer’s top-end cans, they’re still very impressive for a set of entry level DJ headphones. Sonically, these outstip many of the more expensive pairs on the market.

The thing we like most about the Cue1s though is their styling. Many budget sets of DJ headphones tend to look cheap and toy-like – HF125s we’re looking at you – but the Cue1s have a stylish and pro-feeling design, which can be customised by purchasing replacement coloured ear pads and cables. The sharp look is matched by some DJ-friendly design touches, such as the lightweight, foldable body and detachable cables.

If you want to go fully wireless, Pioneer also produces a Cue1 BT model offering Bluetooth functionality for around £30/$30 more.

Best lightweight option

Best DJ headphones: Pioneer DJ HDJ-CX

(Image credit: Pioneer DJ)

3. Pioneer DJ HDJ-CX

The best for classic design

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 5Hz – 30kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Robust design
+
Replaceable elements
+
Good sound for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Do they do enough to stand apart from the classic HD25s?

Given their look, it doesn’t take an expert to work out that the HDJ-CXs (£120) are Pioneer’s answer to Sennheiser’s industry-leading HD25s. Much like that widely-used set of DJ cans, the HDJ-CXs are designed to be lightweight but robust, making them ideal for DJs regularly shifting them on and off the ear.

They also feature easily replaceable cables and accessories, which should extend their lifespan, especially for regularly gigging DJs. That said, they’re not quite as ‘rebuildable’ as the HD25s.

Where Pioneer believes its cans have the edge over the competition is in the sound, as well as the level of comfort over long periods of use. Whether that’s enough to topple the champs in this sector remains to be seen!

Best for durability

Best DJ Headphones: Technics RPDJ1210 DJ headphones

(Image credit: Technics)

4. Technics RPDJ1210

Best for on the road durability

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 5Hz -30kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Tough as they come
+
Sweat proof!
+
Coiled cable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Look a bit dated 

While they might look like something from the last century, the Technics RPDJ1210 favour robust design and strong build quality over fancy aesthetic touches. And it’s in the trenches where they excel, with a number of features designed specifically for professional DJ use, as you’d expect from one of the biggest brands in the DJ world.

We like the coiled cable, which means you have more room to roam around the booth, while making them resistant to perspiration – or, sweat proof – means they’re ideal for work in hot, busy venues.

Best for customisation

Best DJ Headphones: AIAIAI TMA-2

(Image credit: AIAIAI)

5. AIAIAI TMA-2 DJ

Best for customisation

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 10Hz-40kHz
Connection: Wired (can be customised for wireless use)

Reasons to buy

+
Fully customisable design 
+
Reinforced headband
+
Slick look  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the cheapest option

Danish brand AIAIAI delivers a bit of Scandi design flair with its TMA-2 range. The real hook with this range comes in your ability to design your own dream setup. From the types of drivers employed to the headband and cable – everything is up for customising here, depending on your requirements.

There are, however, a selection of models available as ‘presets’ if you’re not interested in the process of choosing your own. One such design is this DJ-centric setup, which is spec’d for powerful, bass-heavy sound and includes a robust, reinforced headband.

Higher up the price range, AIAIAI has also recently released the new TMA-2 Studio Wireless+ headphones, which are created in collaboration with Richie Hawtin. These boast ‘ultra-low latency lossless’ Bluetooth audio, although come in at nearly twice the price of the standard DJ configuration – and we’re not convinced it’s worth shelling out on wireless functionality in the DJ booth.

Best for live use

Best DJ Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-M50x

(Image credit: Audio Technica)
Best mid-range cans for live use

Specifications

Type: Over-ear
Frequency response: 15Hz – 28kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Swappable cables
+
Decent isolation 

Reasons to avoid

-
There are better sounding headphones out there 

Audio-Technica is well-respected in the DJ world, and the ATH-M50x’s do a great job of showing why. They’re well-built headphones, for a start, which look like they could survive years of service before they give out. We also liked the over-ear design which, when combined with the closed back, means isolation from external noise is great.

There are a couple of DJ-specific tricks too, like swivelling earcups and interchangeable cables, making for a solid mid-range choice all round.

Read the full Audio Technica ATH-MX50 review

Best for balance

Best DJ Headphones: Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10 DJ Headphones

(Image credit: Pioneer)

7. Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10

Best closed-back DJ cans with wide frequency response

Specifications

Type: Over-ear
Frequency response: 5Hz – 40kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Wide sound
+
Solid construction  

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a great deal wrong with these! 

Another big brand in the DJ world, Pioneer has as much heritage as anyone so you’d assume its upper-mid range headphones would be good. You’d be right too! The Pioneer DJ HDJ-X10 are over-ear closed back headphones with what Pioneer claims is the widest frequency range in any DJ-specific headphones. Quite a claim, but we can attest to the great listening experience we had from them. The highs were high, the lows were low, and everything was a balanced and clear as you’d hope.

Pioneer also says the HDJ-X10 were subjected to ‘military grade’ testing while they were being developed, so you’d imagine they’d stand up to small to medium sized venue use pretty well.

Best all-rounder

Best DJ headphones: V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless

(Image credit: V-Moda)

8. V-Moda Crossfade 3 Wireless

Best for DJing and home listening

Specifications

Type: Over-ear
Frequency response: 5Hz – 40kHz
Connection: Wired or wireless

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile
+
Great sound

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly expensive
-
Perhaps more lifestyle than specialist 

The Crossfade headphones, from Milan-based brand V-Moda, provide a ‘best of both worlds’ approach to headphone monitoring. On one hand, the Crossfades can be wired to provide zero latency feedback, and a wide frequency range, meaning they have the reliability needed for tight beat mixing or music production. On the other hand, they boast Bluetooth so can double up as ‘regular’ headphones for the walk to and from the studio. Ideal.

The Crossfade range has recently hit its third iteration. Changes include a variety of new colour options and a slightly punchier sound. The headline feature of Crossfade 3, however, is the improved wireless battery life, quoted as up-to 30 hours from a single charge.

There are specialist headphones on this list which, for a similar price, offer a purer DJ experience, and - as stated in our buying advice below - we’d question how useful Bluetooth connectivity is for purely DJ purposes. However, for the price, Crossfade 3s give you a stylish and high-quality set of cans that can handle duties both in and out of the booth.

Best in-ears

Best DJ headphones: Westone AM Pro X 10

(Image credit: Westone)
Best cheap in-ear monitors for DJs

Specifications

Frequency response: 20 Hz - 16 kHz
Connection: 3.5mm jack
Type: In-ear

Reasons to buy

+
Snug fit
+
Ambient sound is helpful on-stage
+
Carry case included

Reasons to avoid

-
Short cable

Typically, in-ear monitors (IEMs) excel at completely blocking you off from the outside world. They are traditionally used by musicians, so they can hear what their fellow performers are playing and ensure they stay in time, tune and sync with each other. And, while the Westone Audio AM Pro X 10 IEMs perform this task admirably, they also warrant inclusion on the list thanks to their passive ambience functionality. Essentially, thanks to some clever filtering, the AM Pro X 10s do let in some noise, so you get the best of both worlds. A clear feed of what you’re playing, and then an idea of how the crowd is hearing it too. 

We loved the included carry case, and the different ear-tips, which meant we could find the perfect fit for our ears. The cable is fairly short, so you might need to factor in an extension, but otherwise, there’s a lot to like here - especially if you’re yearning for an end to spending your evenings with bulky over-ear cans on. 

Read the full Westone AM Pro X review

Best noise-cancelling

Best DJ Headphones: Korg NC-Q1

(Image credit: Korg)

9. Korg NC-Q1

Best with noise cancelling

Specifications

Price: $350/£280/€350
Type: Over ear
Frequency response: 10Hz-25kHz
Connection: Wireless

Reasons to buy

+
Genuinely unique monitoring features
+
Effective noise cancelling  

Reasons to avoid

-
Require charging to use smart features
-
Arguably too complicated for DJ use 

Korg’s first entry into the DJ headphone market, the NC-Q1s boast some unique smart features that set them apart from the competition. These are active noise cancelling headphones, and their over-ear cups do an excellent job of blocking out background noise even in a loud environment. 

That’s only half the story though; of particular interest is the Smart Monitoring feature, which allows users to de-activate noise cancelling for one or both ears with a quick tap of a button. The idea is to allow DJs to monitor without the need to constantly take off/put on their headphones.

These features work well and the NC-Q1s sound good too. However, they’re inherently more complex in-use than the straightforward passive pairs in this round-up. You could argue that, when you already have a multi-channel mixer and at-least two players to deal with, you probably don’t want to be thinking about your headphones’ noise cancelling too.

The NC-Q1s also require charging to use their active features. While battery life is decent – and they can be used in wired, passive mode when depleted – this does add an extra thing to worry about, particularly for marathon multi-hour sets.

Best for beginners

Best DJ headphones: Numark HF175

(Image credit: Numark)

10. Numark HF175

Best DJ headphones for beginners

Specifications

Type: On-ear
Frequency response: 15Hz-22kHz
Connection: Wired

Reasons to buy

+
Great value
+
Punchy sound with plenty of bass

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound isn’t particularly balanced
-
Look is a little garish 

Numark’s cheap-as-chips HF125 headphones have been a classic choice for beginner DJs for decades now, and the recently-released HF175s act as an update of sorts. These cans are a step in the range, boasting improved sound and a more comfortable on-ear design, albeit at a price point that still makes them thoroughly affordable for complete newbies.

With a frequency range of 15Hz-22kHz, you can expect more bass response here than with the HF125s. The response is far from what we’d call natural or balanced - over-egging the low/low-mids somewhat - meaning that, while the HF175s are plenty good enough for DJing, they’re not up to studio monitoring duties. That would be asking a lot for entry-level headphones like these though.

At this price, our only real criticism is the design; the red-and-black styling looks a little naff to our eyes, but this is entirely subjective. That aside, for a super-cheap set of DJ cans, these are hard to knock. 

Best DJ headphones: Buying advice

Hands on a DJ controller

(Image credit: Future)

What to look for in the best DJ headphones 

You might think that a ‘good’ pair of headphones is a universal concept, but the qualities we look for in a set for DJing aren’t necessarily the same as those of a top pair for home-listening, gaming or studio use. For example, when it comes to studio headphones, the key quality we’d look for is honesty – the ability to accurately translate your mixes as they’ll sound on a top-quality sound system. For music listening, by contrast, it can be desirable for your headphones to ‘flatter’ your favourite music a little, perhaps by boosting the bass and dulling any harsh high frequencies.

When it comes to DJing, honesty is less important – you’re less likely to be making small adjustments to EQ or compression settings – but power and durability come to the forefront. If you’re DJing in a club or bar, you’ll need a pair of ‘phones that can compete against crowd noise and the backdrop of another track playing over a powerful PA speaker system. When it comes to the sound itself, quality is still important, but the main thing you’ll need when mixing is the ability to pick out key track elements like bassy kicks and snares, claps and hi-hats in the upper-mids.

Design and durability

More so than in the studio, you’re likely to move around while DJing and – depending on your style of mixing – move your headphones on and off your ears as you mix. This is where durability and flexibility comes in. Comfort is important too though; no one needs an awkward set of headphones uncomfortably squeezing their head several hours into a marathon DJ set. 

As with most technology, there’s a big difference in price and quality. You’ll know yourself the budget you have to work with but what we would say is that a quality set of headphones is an important investment. You can get away with cheap models to a point, but nobody who invested in a decent set ever regrets it in the long term.

Do I need wired or wireless DJ headphones?

Headphones in general are increasingly going wireless, relying on, or at least incorporating, Bluetooth technology over traditional wired connections. But is this an asset in a set of headphones for DJing? We’d argue that, on the whole, it’s best to avoid wireless headphones for mixing. While latency is becoming less of an issue with modern Bluetooth technology, it does still exist, and timing is incredibly important when beatmatching. What’s more, your DJ setup is likely to require you to stay within arms reach of a mixer, turntables, CDJs or controller anyway. Unless you’re desperate to dance, thrust or climb your way around the stage during your sets, is it really worth the extra cost - and potentially of dead batteries scuppering your set - of going cable-free?

How we test DJ headphones

Our guide to the best headphones for DJs is based on the experiences of our team of writers and reviewers. What we look for in a set of headphones for DJ use isn’t exactly the same as the way we’d test a set of headphones for studio or home use. Of course, it comes down to sound quality in part; we’ll use each set of headphones to play tracks we know well so we can hear the nuances and differences. In the case of DJ headphones we’ll focus particularly on electronic, pop and dance music.

As much as the sound though, the criteria for testing a set of DJ headphones comes down to how they feel in use. A good pair of cans for mixing need to feel comfortable but reliable. How heavy are they when worn around the neck for long periods? How easy is it to get them on and off your ears when beatmatching? Do they feel sturdy enough to stand up to regular gigging and if anything breaks, how easy are parts to replace?

Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.

Chris Corfield

Chris Corfield is a journalist with over 12 years of experience writing for some of the music world's biggest brands including Orange Amplification, MusicRadar, Guitar World, Total Guitar and Dawsons Music. Chris loves getting nerdy about everything from guitar and bass gear, to synths, microphones, DJ gear and music production hardware.

With contributions from