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Thread: Review of DJ headphones [I've owned and used over the years]

  1. #1
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    Post Review of DJ headphones [I've owned and used over the years]


    A DJ Forum community project.
    *Please add your headphones if they are not on the list.*
    *Your review can be as long or as short as you want.*


    ------------
    Use a similar format as shown below, feel free to add categories to personalize your review:
    Sound:
    Sound Isolation:
    Durability:
    Comfort:
    Size:
    Would I buy this again if it broke?
    Overall value:
    ------------

    Quick review of DJ headphones [I've owned and used over the years].
    I started my journey into the DJ world in 2003. The first set of headphones I bought, I still use today. So, I will mention that set first.

    Sony MDR-V700

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : 50mm
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz - 30,000Hz
    • Impedance : 24 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 107dB/mW

    Sound: 3/5, Not the best sounding headphones I've used, but they are suitable enough for DJ work. Plenty of low end.
    Sound Isolation: 3/5, Since the earcups are not over the ear, the isolation will not be as good as headphones that are over the ear.
    Durability: 4/5, I've gotten plenty of use since 2003. Some DJs have brought up the weakness of the swivel on the earcups, this weakness has led to cracks and the earcup eventually broke off. Mine do have small cracks in that same area, but I've filled them with a small layer of epoxy. I also don't fold my headphones, something that seems to contribute to the earcup swivel stress. *I did replace the phono connector because the original one was damaged in an accident a few months ago.
    Comfort: 2/5, I have a small head and these can be worn for short periods with no discomfort. But, since the earcups are not over the ear, wearing these on both ears for extended periods will cause discomfort due to the direct pressure on the earlobes. When I DJ, I only use one earcup so this doesn't really apply to me. But, if you tend to wear your headphones all the way, this may be an issue for you.
    Size: 4/5, The overall size is pretty small. When you wear them, they don't feel terribly large on your head. For DJs like me, I don't want to feel like I'm wearing a huge set of 1970s headphone monitors on my head.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? No. With the DJ headphone choices available in this price range, I would not buy this set again. Overall value: 3/5

    -------------------------------------

    Next up is a set I've owned and used since 2004: Sennheiser's HD280

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : not listed on Sennheiser's site
    • Frequency Response : 8 - 25,000 Hz
    • Impedance : 64 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 102dB/mW

    Sound:4/5, Close to flat(note I said close), but can be bright at times. Not a ton of low end. Still suitable for DJing. Works well for production, especially if you can't blast music at your residence - what I mainly use them for.
    Sound Isolation:5/5, Since these are over the ear headphones, sound isolation is excellent.
    Durability:4/5, The leather(pleather) on the earcups has not worn or shown tearing. The earcup foam has a break-in period and they will feel softer over time. The leather(pleather) on the headband padding ended up wearing out after a few years and started tearing off in little black bits. I put tape over it. Problem solved. The frame and earcup swivels are well manufactured and show no signs of cracking.
    Comfort:5/5, Feels like little pillows over my ears. I can wear these for hours and feel no discomfort.
    Size:3/5, Large because of larger earcups. They still don't feel terribly large on your head which is good.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? Yes. For the price, these are an excellent value. You get a solid package with good sound. Overall value: 4/5

    -------------------------------------

    Next, is a set I bought around late 2004/early 2005 as a basic backup headphone.

    Audio Technica Pro5MSA

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : 40mm
    • Frequency Response : 15 - 28,000 Hz
    • Impedance : 40 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 103dB/mW

    Sound:2/5, Feels a bit muddy. They do get loud. But, the sound quality is not great.
    Sound Isolation:2/5, these are not over the ear headphones. The foam+pleather earcups don't do a great job of blocking external noise.
    Durability:3/5, The pleather on the foam earcups cracked years ago, so I had to just clean those up. The physical design is similar to Sony's MDR V-6 headphones. The ear cups don't swivel out but, they do have a few degrees of movement. No cracks to speak of and it held up to being disassembed for repainting.
    Comfort:2/5, I must say, these are not a joy to be wearing for more than 20 minutes on both ears. One cup monitoring isn't really possible since the earcups do not swivel all the way out.
    Size:4/5, Really the only plus for these headphones, they are small in terms of feel.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? No. I don't recommend these for DJing. If I were to buy an Audio Technica headphone now, it would be the ATH-PRO700MK2. Overall value: 2/5

    -------------------------------------

    Next, is a combo review since I bought and sold the headphones in 2005.

    Ultrasone DJ1 and DJ1 Pro

    Specs for DJ1:
    • Driver Unit : 50mm
    • Frequency Response : 10 - 22.000 Hz
    • Impedance : 32 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 104dB/mW

    Specs for DJ1 Pro:
    • Driver Unit : 50mm
    • Frequency Response : 10 - 22.000 Hz
    • Impedance : 64 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 102dB/mW

    Sound:5/5, Both headphones sound amazing. Sound is crystal clear with no noticeable distortion at higher volume. Low end isn't really beefy, but the quality makes up for it.
    Sound Isolation:5/5, Both are over the ear and use leather in the earcups. The pro does a slightly better job since the earcups are larger.
    Durability:5/5, From the few months I had them, I had no issues to report. For the price of each, the build quality is solid. The Pro model features a detachable cord.
    Comfort:5/5, Pillow for my ears. Both can easily be worn for hours. The leather earcups can get a bit uncomfortable if you sweat. By that time, you'll probably want to take them off and air out your ears.
    Size:4/5, The DJ1 feels similar in size to the Sennheiser HD280s. The Pro definitely feels large on your head. Neither feel heavy in weight. But, you can definitely tell you're wearing them.

    Would I buy these headphones again? Yes. Overall value: 5/5

    -------------------------------------

    Finally, headphones owned by other DJs that I have used:

    Pioneer hdj-1000

    • Driver Unit : 50mm
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz - 30,000Hz
    • Impedance : 40 ohms
    • Sensitivity (db) : 107dB/mW

    Sound:5/5, Awesome for DJing. Low end is very beefy and you will destroy your ears before you get these to distort.
    Sound Isolation:4/5, These are on the ear headphones. Isolation is pretty solid though.
    Durability:1/5, The pairs I've run into have all broken at the headband swivel area. DIY repairs were done
    Comfort:4/5, Easy to wear for extended periods.
    Size:5/5, Feels like nothing on your head.

    Would I buy this today? No. Overall value 3/5. Sound, fit and feel are great. But, the durability is questionable.

    Technics RP-DH1200
    • Driver Unit : 50mm
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz - 30kHz
    • Impedance : not listed
    • Sensitivity: listed as input power of 3500mW, which puts it well over 100dB

    Sound:5/5, Awesome for DJing. Low end is very beefy. Mids and highs are clear.
    Sound Isolation:5/5, These are over the ear headphones. Isolation is excellent.
    Durability:5/5, The set that I occasionally use is owned by my crewmate, John Gaskins. He's had these for a couple of years and they are just as solid as the day he bought them.
    Comfort:5/5, The earcups feel amazing. Easy to wear with both ears or for single ear monitoring.
    Size:4/5, Feels like you're wearing a set of solid headphones.

    Would I buy this today? Yes. Overall value 5/5. Great headphone for the price.

    *Images courtesy of Jason dela Cerna © 2012
    Last edited by Jason Cerna; 02-12-2012 at 01:18 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Cerna View Post
    Quick review of DJ headphones [I've owned and used over the years]
    Good idea. I'll just add mine. here, k? I'll move/delete if need be, but having them all here might be kinda cool.


    Mostapha's Headphones


    HDJ-1000

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : 50mm dome
    • Frequency Response : 5Hz to 30kHz
    • Impedance : 40 Ohm
    • Sensitivity (db) : 107 db/MW

    Sound: 2/5. I'm really not a fan of how these sound. I might have gotten a bad pair given how highly some people think of them, but they didn't seem broken. The sound was just muffled, no real detail anywhere. I could mix on them, but I never used them for pleasure listening, and they're the only headphones I've had that's true for.
    Sound Isolation: 3/5. They're good for headphones. I could mix on them in loud environments just fine.
    Durability: NA. I sold them pretty quickly at a 50% loss.
    Comfort: 2/5. I don't have a particularly small head. They were fine for the one-ear-off method for DJing, but I didn't like actually wearing them.
    Size: 4/5. Big enough to feel solid, small enough to pack.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? I sold them at a loss, so no.
    Overall value: 2/5.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MDR-7506

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : 40mm
    • Frequency Response : 10Hz - 10kHz
    • Impedance : 63 Ohm
    • Sensitivity (db) : 106dB/mW

    Sound: 4/5. They're really flat, and a standard in recording studios for artist monitors. I though they sounded detailed and clean. For DJ use, they're lacking bass just a bit, but I could definitely mix on them in loud environments. I also used them for pleasure listening and will be buying another pair for studio/production work soon.
    Sound Isolation: 4/5. It's good enough to mix on, but it doesn't seem like it is when you're not actually doing it. They fit over your ears, so part of that probably depends heavily on how big your head is and how tight they fit.
    Durability: 3/5. Mine broke, but it was an extreme case. The exposed wires leading to each earcup are a weak point, but they're also reparable if you know how to solder.
    Comfort: 5/5. Over the ear design and not too tight for my head. Loved them. I would use them as general listening and movie watching phones for hours on end. I didn't forget they were there, but mostly because of the cord.
    Size: 4/5. Bigger than the Pios and v700s, but flatter and lighter. No problems.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? I haven't yet, but I'm going to.
    Overall value: 5/5.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    HD-25

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : Unknown (probably 40mm)
    • Frequency Response : 16Hz - 22kHz
    • Impedance : 70 Ohm
    • Sensitivity (db) : Unknown (probably ~ like the others)

    Sound: 4/5. They're pretty flat, just a bit of very solid bass emphasis that's more apparent during general listening, very detailed and clear all the way up.
    Sound Isolation: 4/5. For fitting on top of your ear, they're very good. No trouble mixing in loud areas.
    Durability: 5/5, without question. Every part is user replaceable and relatively affordable. Mine survived a car wreck that destroyed my Macbook and my iPod, which were in the same bag as my headphones. All they needed was a new headband, which was $16 at the time.
    Comfort: 4/5. After a while, you realize they're squishing your ear. It takes a long time and would never show up while DJing.
    Size: 3/5. They pack up pretty small, but they don't fold. The benefit is that the part that breaks on all DJ headphones just doesn't exist on them.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? Without hesitation.
    Overall value: 5/5. I've used them longer than any other headphone and generally love them. I'd get the velour earpads with them, as they're a lot more comfortable and hold up longer. I expect to have these for a long time yet.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Etymotic ER-6

    Specs:
    • Driver Unit : In-Ear (single armature, I think)
    • Frequency Response : Don't remember.
    • Impedance : Don't remember
    • Sensitivity (db) : LOUD

    Sound: 5/5. Detailed and clear all the way up, surprising bass response. In a word, gorgeous.
    Sound Isolation: 5/5. Better than any set of headphones, even without custom molds (if one of the provided ones fits your ears well enough).
    Durability: 1/5. They will break eventually, right where the cord attaches to the body of the IEM. So will all earbuds/IEMs that don't have removable cords.
    Comfort: 3/5. Your ears sweat while they're in. Custom molds would extenuate that. It's worth it. You just have to take them out and let your ears breathe every now and then.
    Size: 5/5. They fit in the 5th pocket of your jeans.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? No, because they're not made anymore. I got mine for $70 off amazon and definitely got my $70 worth out of them (compared to everything other than my HD-25s). I would buy Etymotic again, but only if they have removable cords, which none of their current line does.
    Overall value: 4/5. Despite not buying them again, they were probably the best sounding headphones/earbuds I've used. When listening, I heard everything. When DJing, I heard everything I needed to at lower volumes than actual headphones and could run booth monitors very low, mostly for other people who were there and not me. But, it requires a mixer with either split cue (if you like it…I don't) or a cue/master blend for the headphones…which is common but not ubiquitous.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If I were buying today: I'd buy a pair of either HD-25s or MDR-7506s, depending mostly on looks and whether you wanted to use them as studio monitors as well…and a set of IEMs with removable cords. I'm not sure what I'd get, but I'm probably going to start with the cheapest Shure SE series that comes with the removable cord and have custom molds made. The big headphones would just be as a backup in case the mixer I was playing on didn't have a cue/master blend control. But I just really like mixing with IEMs. People assume you can't hear them, so most people don't bug you. You can still hear enough, but they block out so much that you can definitely mix…and your monitoring setup is quieter and more consistent between venues. The only downside is not being able to hear requests/comments shouted at you from the floor (sometimes you can), but when was the last time you wanted to hear that?

  3. #3
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    Good idea. I'll just add mine. here, k? I'll move/delete if need be, but having them all here might be kinda cool.
    This is a good idea, that way we can have a larger pool of headphones for people to look at.

    If anyone owns headphones and wants to put in their opinion of them, please do. Following the review format would be optimal, but if you have to add more information it wouldn't hurt.
    Last edited by Jason Cerna; 02-12-2012 at 12:31 PM.
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  4. #4
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    I will continue to update the published review with the new reviews posted here. This way, the review will only have headphone information in it and not our forum replies and whatnot.

    each review will be separated by a line to follow the format below

    ----------------------------
    This person's headphone review

    [review]

    ----------------------------
    Next person's review

    and so on.
    Last edited by Jason Cerna; 02-12-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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  5. #5
    Member Estacy's Avatar
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    Technics RP-DJ 1210

    Specs
    Driver units: 41mm (1 5/8in.) diameter
    Frequency response: 5Hz - 30kHz
    Dimensions (H x W x D) 10.2" x 11.0" x 22.4"
    Weight 4.5 lbs

    Sound: 4/5, They sound great, more than enough power and volume, despite the 1500mW power handling which is less than similar priced headphones (even though 1500mW is also a lot). They are bass heavy, great for mixing. Sound is good for all kinds of music. They need a good amp though, I find that with high-end mixers the sound becomes a lot better. When I tested them in the shop, they were plugged into a DJM 800 with the volume halfway, I though somebody turned on some speakers, but it was the headphone. just a testimony to how loud these things can go.
    Sound Isolation 4/5, they are on the ear, but they isolate very well. Not as good as lets say an in-ear, but the isolation is more than adequate for club use
    Durability 5/5, the special hinges are a lot more solid than normal swivel style hinges (I'm looking at you MDR 700) and the headband is very sturdy. the headphone creaks a lot, but it doesn't seem to matter. I've had it for 3 years, and its like new. You need to wet the earpads and headband every now and again to keep it from cracking, but thats all. I've heard stories of these headphones surviving 8 years of abuse, which puts it in a category above even HD-25s
    Comfort 3/5, If you wear glasses, this thing is a no-no. its very tight, and when using it like a normal headphone for more than an hour or so you start feeling your ears. the tightness adds to the isolation factor though. For DJ use you wont have any problems with comfort, since you won't have it on all the time. the swivel system is a bit weird at first but after half an hour or so you start noticing how much better it is than normal swivel hinges. It's really, really good, and it makes using them in a DJ situation very comfortable. Between the shoulder and ear style monitoring is possible, despite what some people say. You just have to have the other (not used) cup a bit farther backwards.
    size 5/5, with the supra-aural cups they are very compact. they fold up very small. Size is perfect.
    nifty things 4/5, the 6.5mm Jack screws on, so you'll never lose it when you pull it out of a mixer. great for club use. the hinges like said are great. It comes with a neat real leather bag. only downside is that the cable isn't detachable. It is curled (straight on the RP-DJ1200) so you can walk around in the booth.

    would I buy it again hell yeah, for the price (seen it as low as 109 euros) this is the best DJ headphone money can buy. I don't feel the need to buy something more expensive, because for DJ use this thing is perfect. sound is good, more than enough volume and very durable. what more is there to want?
    Last edited by Estacy; 02-12-2012 at 01:07 PM.
    'George Clinton meeting Kraftwerk in an elevator'

  6. #6
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    updated and rep given to you both. thank you.
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  7. #7
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    ------------
    Use a similar format as shown below, feel free to add categories to personalize your review:
    Sound:
    Sound Isolation:
    Durability:
    Comfort:
    Size:
    Would I buy this again if it broke?
    Overall value:
    ------------
    jasoncerna.com | boogieburg | twitter @jasoncerna | instagram @jasoncerna

  8. #8
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    Technics RP-DH1200


    You Are Who You Are Before You Got Here by mr.smashy, on Flickr

    Specs
    Driver units: 50mm diameter
    Frequency response: 5Hz - 30kHz

    Sound: 4/5. After using Sony MDR-V700DJs, I found these headphones to have cleaner and more extended bass. High end was also clearer, but the mids were warm. These tend to color sound toward a warm, full bass sound, which works well for DJ use, but not great for much of anything else. I'd like a better pair of headphones that are flatter, but these do work well.

    Sound Isolation: 4/5. These isolate great. It's hard to have a conversation with a person wearing them without music going. They easily beat out my old Sonys and are great for DJ use.

    Durability: 4/5. These are swiveling headphones and will break at the swivel if abused. I had a pair crack because my wife stepped on them because she had already broke her headphones and thought it was OK to borrow mine, and storing them on the floor was OK too. This was some extreme abuse, but they have a flaw like most swiveling plastic headphones, so treat them with care.

    Comfort: 3/5. These have circle shaped cups and rather strong clamping force, so after a couple hours they tend to become uncomfortable. The headband is fine, but you will get some discomfort on your ears. Oval shaped headphones tend to feel better longer for me, and my next set will not have circle shaped cups.

    Size: 3/5. These are large, heavy headphones. I don't mind them now, but I felt like an air traffic controller when I first got them. They fold up for travel but don't stow very well due to the large size, even when folded up.

    Would I buy this again if it broke? I would and I did.

    Overall value: 4/5. These are heavy duty, high quality headphones and can be had for a decent price if you shop around. They have good sound for DJ headphones and a detachable/replaceable cable that is just now becoming standard on other headphones. They get dinged for comfort and size, and ultimately I'd prefer a flatter sound, but overall I've been happy enough with these headphones to buy them twice.

  9. #9
    On Sabbatical Jason Cerna's Avatar
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    updated & rep

    thank you.
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  10. #10
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    I wonder how long it'll be 'till we have repeats. There certainly is a big pool of DJ headphones.

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