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A pair of DJ headphones is perhaps one of the most important pieces of DJ gear. Sure, all the attention is put on mixers, turntables, and controllers, but none of that would work if you don’t have a headset that will allow you to connect all the sounds and throw them into a mix.
Shopping for the best DJ headphones is perhaps the most satisfying part of purchasing DJ gear. I always save it for last as I find cans to be extra personal. Indeed, the headphones make the connection between you, the tracks, and the crowd, so they better be good!
Why You Need Headphones
I already said that headphones are vital for a DJ, but how vital are we talking? Well, a DJ’s job mainly consists of beatmatching two tracks, i.e. matching their tempo (speed).
Then, DJs have to do some beat counting to make sure that the drum kicks from both tracks fall on the same beat. After mixing the tracks, they slowly fade away one song and dig into their library to cue the next song. The process repeats itself for the entirety of the gig.
If you want to do this properly, you’ll need a solid pair of headphones that will be comfortable and will isolate you from the crowd so you can hear your beats the right way.
In this article, I’ll give you the best budget DJ headphones, or at least the ones I consider best. This text also has an educational character, so I’ll try to explain all the terms you might’ve read somewhere but meant nothing to you, like frequency response, for example.
Terms To Get Familiar With
Frequency Response VS Frequency Range
This is the part of the product description that has confused so many people into buying speakers and headphones that they didn’t really want. These two terms are similar and sound very similar, but are definitely not to be confused.
You see, frequency range describes the actual span that the speakers in your headphones can produce. However, not all of those frequencies reach your ears. There is a lot of resistance going on, such as amplitude, which narrows down the frequency range.
Try thinking of it this way. The frequency range is your gross salary. Then comes amplitude, or the share you’re giving to the state in the forms of tax. What’s left is your net salary, and that would be a frequency response.
I guess what I’m trying to say is not to opt for a pair of headphones based on their frequency range, as it’s not the actual range of frequencies that they will produce.
Everyone wants to know how loud their headphones will really be. To know this, you need to be aware of their sensitivity level, which will show you how much volume (audio output) a speaker can produce, using a certain amount of electricity.
Understanding sensitivity is not rocket science. There is an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter, a device that allows you to measure the sensitivity by placing it exactly 3.2 feet away from the speaker, which you would feed 1 watt.
The result is the speaker’s sensitivity, and it’s measured in dB, decibel. You should never get anything below 84 dB, ever. I think that a 96 dB sensitivity is just enough, but you could go higher. On the other hand, everything above 106 dB doesn’t make sense.
Top 10 Best Budget DJ Headphones
Overall Best: Behringer HPX2000
If the V-Moda DJ headphones are too expensive, the Behringer HPX2000 are being sold for less than $20. The price point is one of the company’s most important selling points, so it’s good that we made that clear in the beginning.
They feel good on the head, I must say. They’re not the most comfortable DJ headphones I’ve tried on, but you could certainly wear them for hours without feeling any discomfort. The ear cups are soft, and so is the headband.
The Behringer HPX2000 DJ headphones are great for mixing as they’re closed-back and over-ear cans. They are pretty good at keeping ambient noise outside of your ears so you could focus on your beatmatching and keeping the party lit.
I only find the holes in the ear pads to be a bit small to fit in the whole ear. I advise that you consider some good additional over-ear cushioned ear pads for some $10, and you’re good to go.
Overall, what you have here is a nice pair of headphones – comfortable and with good sound quality.
My favorite feature here in terms of sound is the powerful bass. I own a pair of these cans and it’s more than good for the price. Sure, I also own a pair of Pioneer HDJ, and that one has a slightly better bassline, but is that difference worth $80? That’s for you to decide.
At the end of the day, I wouldn’t mind having a pair of Behringer HPX2000, at least as a backup in my drawer. They’re a great piece of DJ gear for $20!
- Very cheap;
- Pretty comfortable;
- Good bass;
- Solid build quality.
- Earpads are kinda small, might need an additional pair of pads for the best experience.
Runner-Up: Sennheiser HD 206
The Sennheiser HD 206 is living proof that you don’t need to spend a fortune on a pair of DJ headphones to have high sound quality. These headphones offer great features and a splendid quality build for some $50.
Sennheisers are famous for their durability. I know people that have literally been using them for years without any damages. (Not to mention how many times they have fallen off their necks.)
Besides that, their rugged design has impressed many. They feature a classic look in that they’re quite massive. It just feels right when you put them on you.
The Sennheisers rely a lot on comfort. The ear cups are coated with leather ear cushions. Wearing them for hours will not cause any pain in your ears.
As closed-back and over-ear DJ headphones, the Sennheiser HD 206 will isolate you from outside noises and let you peacefully get on with your mixing. They produce crisp sound quality, especially on lower frequencies which is great if you mostly spin electronic dance music.
Another cool thing about this package is that it arrives with a gold-plated ¼” jack adapter. Also, you’ll get a 2-year warranty which shows character by the brand and reliability of the product. Offering a 2-year warranty at that price point sure shows they believe in their headphones.
The cable is 10 feet long, which I find to be a bit too long. It’s great that it will give you the comfort of movement, but it can also get in your way sometimes. Also, it’s not detachable, which can cause a myriad of potential unwanted scenarios including tripping over the cable. I mean, it could happen.
The Sennheiser HD 206 DJ headphones are also quite loud. They measure an SPL of 108 dB, which is a level of loudness I wouldn’t recommend, as it could really damage your ears. But if you use them responsibly, you’ll listen to clear audio signals and a nice bass.
- Rugged design;
- High SPL (108 dB);
- Leather ear cushions;
- Good sound isolation;
- Gold-plated jack adapter;
- 2-year warranty.
- Cable is too long and non-detachable.
Best with Built-In Mic: Sony MDR-ZX110
The Sony MDR-ZX110 closed-back headphones feature a cool, minimalistic design, a decent-quality build, and an affordable price of around $25. This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, since this is an article about budget DJ headphones, but these cans offer a lot for the money.
The thing that separates them from other headphones is the built-in inline remote and microphone. This isn’t really the DJ’s dream or anything, as its function is to let you connect it with a smart device and then take calls and give commands without having to remove the headphones, but it’s just a feature that comes in handy.
However, it’s a pretty cool feature to have since you’re probably not DJing at a club 24/7. So, believe me, not having to take off the headset while chilling at home is something you want to have.
The Sony MDR-ZX110 is a pretty comfortable pair of headphones, with cushioned ear cups that won’t cause pain to your ears after a few hours. The headphones also have swiveling ear cups so you can free up one ear when you want to monitor your cued track.
Sony has put neodymium driver units inside the capsules, which I salute. It’s a material that’s very firm yet light. That’s why engineers all around the world use it in their projects. So, another plus for Sony MDR-ZX110 on that one.
These are closed-back headphones, which should provide you with good isolation. But these are on-ear headphones and not over-ear ones. That means that the earpads don’t completely wrap up your ear, but rather use the ear shell as a platform to land on.
Regarding frequency response, it has a leg up on the competition. The frequency response ranges from 12 Hz to 22 kHz, which is way wider than what a lot of well-known headphone models offer. You’ll be able to hear every frequency, from highest to lowest.
- Good price;
- Wide frequency response;
- Built-in inline remote and mic;
- Neodymium driver.
- Closed-back but over-ear headphones;
- Cables don’t look sturdy enough;
- Smaller-sized driver units.
Best For Professionals: Audio-Technica ATH-M20X
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20X DJ headphones are yet another model from the company’s M-series, that offers extra features and sound quality and is sold at right under $50. A more famous member of the M family is the Audio Technica ATH-M50X, but they’d cost you six times more.
When you see these cans, you just know that this is one serious piece of DJ gear. They’re closed-back, and most importantly, over-ear headphones that provide complete ambient noise cancellation.
Audio-Technica has actually designed the ear cups to perfectly seal your ears and provide even better sound isolation. At the same time, the ear cups have soft cushions that make them very comfortable to wear.
The housing has a black rugged design, comprising bigger driver units that measure 40 mm in diameter. Having bigger drivers doesn’t necessarily mean better sound quality, but it does mean better bass, and the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X is all about that bass.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20X are pretty loud, as well. With a sensitivity of 96 dB (decibel), you’ll be set. That’s exactly how loud a motorcycle engine is, while the pain threshold is also not very far, as it’s at 130 dB.
The ATH comes with swiveling earcups – but they only swivel by 15 degrees. They could have at least gone for 45 degrees, for my preference.
The headphones in general are very durable and feature a good quality build. I guess the swivel is where they made the cut because it doesn’t really help much for monitoring.
The package includes a ¼” jack adapter, which is always a plus.
- Fair price;
- Over-ear headphones, so good sound isolation;
- Great transmission of low frequencies;
- Ear cups swivel poorly;
- Non-detachable cable, although single-sided.
Best For Music Producers: Status CB-1
The Status CB-1 headphones were primarily made to be used in the studio. They became famous as an Audio-Technica ATH-M50X alternative, which is at least how I first heard of them. That’s when DJs started using them as well, mostly thanks to the comfort they offer.
The CB-1 has perhaps the coolest aesthetics on the list. They feature a minimalist approach, with a great mixture of black and white to spice up the already serious look of these headphones. Once you’re done using them, you can fold them and carry them around town.
This pair of headphones are closed-back and they cover your whole ear shell. They are perfect for sound cancellation and provide crisp audio. They have enough power and can provide a 97 dB (decibel) output, making them pretty loud.
One thing is for sure: the Status CB-1 headphones were designed for professionals, and most likely by professionals as well. The earpads are soft and the headband feels super nice on your head. You can wear them for hours and not feel them at all!
The headphones come with a pair of cables, one coiled and one straight. The best thing about them is that they’re detachable from the housing. I find this important because you could easily trip over it or pull it by accident. Basically, you would otherwise run the risk of damaging the whole headphone set.
The drivers they have are huge – 50 mm in diameter. So far, these are the biggest ones on the list. The CB-1 headphones offer amazing sound on all frequencies, but the bass is something different.
- Nice aesthetics;
- Good noise isolation;
- Very comfortable;
- 50 mm driver units;
- Foldable design.
- More suitable for a studio environment.
Best With Cobalt Capsules: Behringer HPX4000
The Behringer HPX4000 is a great pair of headphones – they offer solid features, a satisfactory build, and a very affordable price of $30. They are also pretty durable as I’ve seen people wear them for years without any problem.
The Behringer HPX4000 DJ headphones comprise cobalt capsules, which are your guarantee for a crisp sound. Cobalt is used worldwide in many industries, such as building aircraft engines, for example, and it has its use in the aircraft industry. In the world of audio, it helps create crisp sound by manipulating the standard wave types through ring modulation, oscillator sync, wave folding, and so on.
This pair of DJ headphones have swiveling earcups which will make your monitoring a lot easier.
When on, these headphones provide great isolation. They are closed-back and designed in a way that wraps up your ear, cutting you out from the sounds of the outside world.
The unit drivers inside are the standard size – 40 mm in diameter. Usually, we say that the bigger the driver units are, the better the bass response is. That’s generally true unless we get into the technicalities. Only one size is bigger than this and that’s the 50 mm drivers.
These DJ headphones have a good frequency response coverage that ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. That basically means they’ve covered the span of frequencies that a healthy young human would be able to hear.
A downside to these headphones might be the comfort. Even though the earpads look soft, I’ve stumbled upon many reviews where people complain about them not being too comfortable. This is something the manufacturer should work on improving.
- Good price;
- Cobalt capsules;
- Solid isolation;
- Good frequency response.
- Not comfortable for everyone;
- Non-detachable cable (although it is single-sided, which is nice).
Solid Bass Response: Tascam TH-02
The Tascam TH-02 is a truly solid pair of DJ headphones that falls in the low-price range category, costing only $30. Regardless, they offer sound quality worth three times as much. They have a unique and foldable design, so they’re both lightweight and easy to carry around.
The headphones are great for mixing or DJing in general. They’re a closed-back model, as well as over-ear, meaning that you’ll be safe from the surrounding noise when you beatmatch two tracks and finally mix them together.
These budget DJ headphones provide a clean sound, especially in lower frequencies. However, as I was reading some reviews online, I noticed a few people complaining about sound leakage in the mids and highs.
This makes sense because of the huge driver units it comprises, stretching for 50 mm in diameter. As I already mentioned, the rule goes: “the bigger the driver, the stronger the bass,” and there is no size larger than this one.
The Tascam TH-02 offers a great frequency response, ranging from 18 Hz to 22 kHz, which basically covers all frequencies you could possibly hear. Usually, brands make them from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, so it’s always nice when someone does the extra mile.
I can’t say I’m a big fan of the cable as it doesn’t really seem durable to me. Also, it can’t be detached from the housing. However, that’s kind of normal for headphones within their price range.
- Solid bass response;
- Good price;
- Nice noise isolation;
- 50 mm driver units;
- Wide frequency response.
- Cable quality questionable; non-detachable;
- Not great in transmitting mid and high frequencies.
Clearest Sound: Sony MDR-7506
The Sony MDR-7506 is a nice pair of headphones. They’re durable, offer quality features, and come with a smart folding design. They may not be as cheap as the other recommendations, but they still cost under $100.
These DJ headphones have firm build quality as the manufacturer has ensured to pack some high-quality materials in them. The comfortable over-ear pads feature nice, bass-heavy neodymium driver units with a 40 mm diameter length.
The over-ear pads make sure that only high-quality sound reaches your ears. Neodymium is a material mostly used by high-end brands. When it comes to headphones, neodymium magnets are far a better choice than ferrite, for example, especially when it comes to the resulting clarity of sound.
At the same time, the Sony MDR-7506 DJ headphones have some of the widest frequency response on the list, ranging from 10 Hz to 20 kHz, far more than you’ll ever need. They’re also pretty loud with a sensitivity of 106 dB (decibel).
The cable is perhaps the only feature of these DJ headphones that you could be unhappy with. It’s not detachable and too long, which can be annoying if you walk too much with these.
However, the cable is half straight and half coiled, which means it can extend even more. While that is good news, the last thing you want is the chance to trip over it. A product in this price range should have a detachable cable.
A good thing about the Sony 7506 is the golden ¼” plug adapter, as golden adapters transmit sound impulses much faster than the non-golden ones.
- Splendid bass and frequency response;
- Very comfortable;
- Good noise isolation;
- Clear sound;
- Neodymium magnets;
- A bit pricey;
- Non-detachable cable.
Best High-Resolution Audio: Philips SHP6000
The Philips SHP6000 DJ headphones are perhaps the most comfortable pair of headphones in this price range. For some $25, you get a headset that looks cool, is comfortable, and works well.
The foam ear cushions adjust perfectly to your ear and keep the ambient noise out of earshot.
Not only are they comfortable, but sound delivery is also at a pretty high level. These headphones produce great bass, I couldn’t find any flaws in the response. This is probably due to the High-Resolution-Audio (HRA) digital audio system that’s built-in.
In case you’re not familiar, HRA is any digital audio file (song) standardized over 44.1 kHz, which is the CD sampling frequency. I won’t get too much into details, but let’s put it like this: The higher the sampling frequency, the higher the quality of the audio.
Philips relies on good bass production with these headphones, and they’re right to do so. This pair of headphones has the second-best frequency response from the options on this list, stretching from 8 Hz – 40 kHz. That and the 40 mm neodymium speaker drivers will surely give you good bass.
As usual, I can’t say that I’m happy with the cable. It’s non-detachable from the housing and doesn’t really feel well-made. On the other hand, at least it’s one-sided, so you won’t have the cables wrapped around you while mixing.
Overall, I’d say it’s a good pair of headphones. These could be great for a beginner DJ, a gift for someone you care about, or your own backup DJ headphones.
- Good price;
- Very comfortable;
- Wide frequency response;
- Neodymium drivers;
- Good bass reproduction;
- High-Resolution Audio.
- Cables are kind of weak.
Best Splurge: V-Moda Crossfade LP2
You might wonder how the V-Moda Crossfade LP2 DJ headphones made their way to my list of the best budget DJ headphones, but it just didn’t feel right to complete it without them. As you probably know, these are very popular within the DJ community, and there is a good reason for that.
These DJ headphones cost $150, but they’re here because of the features and build quality that they offer at their price point. If you were to look for a pair of this quality elsewhere, you’d find that other brands charge way more.
The sound quality of the V-Moda Crossfade LP2 is outstanding. With the 50 mm speaker drivers, you can be sure to get clear notes without missing a single tone. The sensitivity goes up to 105 dB (decibel), making them more than loud enough.
Frequency response is jaw-dropping, ranging from as low as 5 Hz up to 30 kHz. The human ear can detect frequencies from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, usually. This makes the frequency response range greater than that of any other headphones that I’ve reviewed.
The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 DJ are the perfect headphones for DJing. They are extremely comfortable thanks to the ergonomic ear pads coated with foam cushions. You could wear them for hours on your head and avoid any sort of pain or discomfort.
They are very durable – they’re made to last, as the company would say. For instance, a true testament to that is that they come with a ¼” gold-plated jack adapter.
This pair features a foldable design, so you can pack it up and travel all around town with it.
The V-Moda Crossfade LP2 includes two cables, one of which includes a microphone. The other one is for audio-only, as they can both be detached from the housing. V-Moda offers a 2-year guarantee on this product, so you can feel comfortable knowing you get true durability for that higher price.
- Ergonomic, foldable design;
- Very comfortable;
- 50 mm driver units;
- Two cables, both detachable;
- Fantastic frequency response.
- High-end price range.
Shopping for the best DJ headphones on a budget is always an adventure because you’re looking for something that’ll give you the best value you can get for the money. If all goes well, you could get a pair that will make your DJing even more enjoyable and exciting.
Regardless of whether you’ve been tight on cash lately, or just want some backup headphones for a small amount of money, your task is to find that hidden gem out of all the competitors on the market. So what you need is some help picking out the right model for you!
Set Your Budget
This might sound kind of funny, but you really do have to balance your budget to find the best headphones on a budget. Purchasing budget headphones doesn’t mean grabbing the cheapest thing and being done with it in 10 minutes.
Instead, think of the things you want and more importantly, need. Get yourself the best DJ headphone you can afford without skimping too much. That way, you’ll end up with exactly what you need, and you won’t spend a fortune on headphones.
If you were to, say, spend $50 on headphones, they should have:
- Comfortable ear pads;
- Decent sound quality;
- Wide frequency response and frequency range;
- A good cable – hopefully around 10 feet – it’s neither too long nor too short. A detachable cable is a plus.
On the whole, there are many headphones you can get at a reasonable price point that offer great performance. There are those that cost as low as $20, like the Behringer HPX2000, and those exceeding $100, like the V-Moda Crossfade LP2.
What we’ve learned is that this price difference doesn’t always mean a big difference in performance – if you know where to look.
Best Headphones On Budget: FAQ
Are Cheap Headphones Worth It?
Sure they are. Most of the time, they offer greater value-for-money than some higher-end headphones. Nowadays, most headphones deliver a decent sound and build. Plus, you don’t have to be as worried about losing or breaking them.
What Are The Best Affordable Wireless Headphones?
There are plenty of high-quality wireless DJ headphones. Some of them are Sennheiser HD 4.50 for some $100, or the Sony WH-CH510 for half that price. Of course, I should also add the Philips PH802 – an excellent piece of gear for $40.