Single headphones with a handle, also known as lollipop headphones, have been present on the scene since the late ’70s and early ’80s, used by the pioneers of America’s disco and deep house DJ scene. In other words, they came hand-in-hand with the birth of the DJing culture.
These one-ear DJ headphones were regular DJ gear at the time. They were not exactly designed for fast cueing but were meant to imitate an actual phone handset. There wasn’t a whole industry standing behind the one ear DJ headphone pioneers such as David Morales and the crew, so these guys actually took their household phones and used them as headphones!
Eventually, the single-ear cup headphones “lost” the battle to the regular over-ear headphones. That’s why younger people today who have missed the disco era have no idea what these funny-looking DJ headphones are.
In this article, we’re going to dig into the topic a bit to find out more about these one-ear headphones, their background, and why they’re a good choice for some DJs. I will also give you recommendations on the best cans devoted to one ear.
Single Headphone With A Handle: Overview
The lollipop headphone is a simple device comprising just a few elements. It’s not mass-produced so there are only a few models on the market. However, some brands offer high-quality lollipop DJ headphones.
One thing is for sure, mixing is harder when you’re using a single ear cup headphone than it is when you have a regular set of headphones. You will never be able to totally isolate yourself from the club where noise levels are high, and beatmatching in those circumstances takes some real skills!
That’s why these DJ headphones are mostly used by disk jockeys that spin disco music, hip hop, or funk. They are used for beatmatching and for the cueing of a track. They are not designed for fast cueing, which is something that hip hop or techno DJs desperately need.
As for its structure, the lollipop DJ headphone comprises:
- One ear cup construction (cup construction is designed for single-ear use);
- Mono audio (2 channels devoted to one ear);
- A handle;
- Sturdy XLR cable connection.
Some of these terms might not be familiar to you, but don’t worry. As you can see, these DJ headphones have a very simple build, and simple functions, too.
Obviously, since this member of the headphones family is devoted to one ear, it uses a single ear cup construction. There is no attachment or a way to turn them into regular headphones.
Since it is only devoted to one ear, it uses a mono audio system. This means that the audio from the two channels on your mixer, turntable, or software are all sent through one (mono) channel.
You can test this if you have over-ear headphones with the option of switching to mono. By doing this, you will notice that whatever you hear in your right ear, you will hear in your left ear as well.
The handle doesn’t need any special explanation since it’s mostly there so you can attach the ear pad to something. However, it’s also the biggest part of the headphone and can determine whether the device will be stylish or plain-looking.
The handles can be S-shaped (curved) or straight. They can come straight out of the factory or you can DIY. Some DJs design their own sticks at 45 degrees, so they can add more balance when holding them between their ear and shoulder.
Finally, it has a sturdy XLR cable connection which you can use for plugging it into your DJ equipment such as a DJ mixer, controller, or just your laptop. An XLR cable connection gives you a so-called balanced connection, meaning it’s good at keeping the sound quality of low-level signals like those coming from a microphone, for instance.
One Ear Monitoring
After mixing for a while, you reach a point where cueing of a track is not as important anymore as monitoring the track that’s playing through the master output.
Every DJ does it differently: some prefer to keep both ear pads on while monitoring, whereas others take off one ear cushion and press the pad to their shoulder. How hard you will press on your shoulder with your head will affect how loud or quiet you’ll hear the output.
If you like one-ear monitoring, then a one-ear DJ headphone might be for you. The ones that are produced these days are loud enough so you can cue and mix easily with them. However, there is a downside to the one-ear monitoring style, and that’s having no safety net.
When DJs find themselves in a pickle, they get out of it by isolating themselves from the high ambient noise levels. They do this by monitoring the cued or master track with both ear pads, which allows them to easily think of a song in the same key, same tempo, and so on.
Top 4 DJ Headphones With Handle
Now that I’ve given you some idea about what a lollipop DJ headphone is and who would use it, it’s time to give you some recommendations. As I mentioned earlier, these kinds of headphones are not being mass-produced, but those that exist are still pretty solid.
Overall Best: IMG Stage Line 22.1090
IMG Stage Line 22.1090 is a one-ear DJ headphone that is my top pick as it offers great value for the money. The headphone is very affordable and the lightest option on the list! It’s made of high-quality materials and run by a solid dynamic neodymium driver.
The neodymium magnet is always a good choice on the part of the manufacturer because it’s strong yet light enough. This kind of solution is known to be used in serious engineering projects, so it’s amazing that this one-ear headphone has it at this price.
Neodymium is so strong thanks to its high resistance to coercivity, which leads to demagnetization.
The ear cup design is wrapped in artificial leather, which is pretty comfortable for your ear. However, the ear pad doesn’t seem to be water-resistant, and that’s something you want to look out for in one-ear cans.
It has a rotating pad which can be very useful for cueing songs. Not only is it functional, but it will certainly add comfort to your work. At the same time, it has an ergonomically padded handle with designated spots for your fingers.
Another great touch by the maker is the transport bag that’s included in the package. It’s a very thoughtful way of liberating you from thinking of a place to store your headphone along with the XLR cables and stereo plug, which are also included in the purchase.
- Great price;
- Neodymium magnet driver;
- Ear pad made of artificial leather for comfort;
- You get a transport bag;
- Rotating ear pad for increased ease-of-use.
- The brand didn’t bother to point out whether the device is water-resistant;
- The sponge on the handle looks cheap.
Runner-Up: Reloop RHP 10 Mono
Reloop RHP 10 Mono is a one-ear DJ headphone and is perhaps the best DJ single headphone with handle of this sort. It’s run by a dynamic driver made of a neodymium magnet, which is one of the most common headphone drivers used in the niche.
A dynamic headphone driver (like the one in the Reloop RHP 10 Mono) needs a magnet, a voice coil, and a diaphragm to create sound. Without getting too technical, having a neodymium driver means that the magnet used to drive the engine is made of neodymium.
The good thing about these drivers is that they are very firm compared to their light weight. The quality also means they are more expensive than other options. However, the RHP 10 is a little bit chubbier than other members of this headphone family, weighing 15oz.
Reloop RHP 10 Mono has an ergonomically designed padded handle that will feel great on your hand, ear, and neck. It has a swivel-mounted single ear cup construction which means that you can easily rotate the cup left or right, based on your needs.
At the same time, Reloop RHP 10 Mono has a water-resistant ear pad made of artificial leather, which is much more durable than real leather and also cruelty-free. Plus, artificial leather feels super comfortable on the skin.
There’s a lot to love about these headphones. The RHP 10 Mono comes in a stylish black design, feels very light and compact, and provides decent sound quality. Of course, Reloop RHP 10 Mono features a sturdy XLR cable connection for you to plug into your DJing device.
Surprisingly, I’ve run into reviewers complaining about poor quality and claiming that the device didn’t work or that the cords broke shortly after the purchase. Also, I think this headphone would be much cooler if it had a curved stick.
- Durable thanks to the neodymium driver;
- Ear cups are padded with artificial leather for comfort (and kindness to animals);
- Good performance under high ambient noise levels;
- Great value-for-money;
- User-friendly rotating ear pad.
- A bit heavy;
- Questionable durability;
- Might have some issues with the cable quality.
Best for the Experienced DJ: Zomo HD-120
Here is another member of the one-ear DJ headphone family – Zomo HD-120. I liked the Zomo the moment I saw it due to its compactness, light weight, and the fact that it comes in various colors. It’s also reasonably priced, nothing shockingly low or high, just fair.
Zomo is a German company that has held a monopoly over the lollipop headphone market until recently. They’re basically responsible for bringing one ear DJ headphone sets back in fashion, so thanks, Zomo!
Zomo HD-120 has a swiveling ear cup design which means that you can easily rotate the cup while one-ear monitoring. It also has an ergonomically designed padded handle which gives you a nice grip when monitoring the single ear.
The company claims to provide study XLR cables but I’ve stumbled upon some reviews that criticized this particular part. Although the cable may be questionable, the plug is pretty solid.
The one-ear DJ headphone is great at detecting mid and high frequencies, as this member of the Zomo headphones family offers a pretty wide frequency response – from 30 Hz to 30,000 Hz.
However, if you’re going to mix tracks where the low frequencies maintain the beat, you might need something with a better bass response. The human ear can detect the lowest frequency at 20 Hz, and a lot of tracks have a bassline below 30 Hz.
Finally, this option comes with some useful extras. The package arrives with a carrying case and an extra ear pad.
- Fair price;
- Swiveling ear cup for better user experience;
- Comes in orange, blue, white, black, and gold;
- Comes with an extra pad and carrying case.
- Complaints about poor cables;
- Not great for hearing low frequencies.
Most Comfortable: Numark Redphone
Numark Redphone is yet another member of the lollipop family that deserves a place on my list. It comes at a mid-range price and offers some pretty good characteristics in exchange.
The headphone packs a neodymium magnet driver for free and reliable performance while monitoring. Neodymium is used by many brands for all sorts of headsets because it’s one of the main materials to use for isolation.
The Numark feels quite comfortable to use. The ergonomically designed handle is made of a soft material, and it’s built to fit a human hand perfectly. The ear cups are covered in artificial leather which is very important to fans of one-ear monitoring. As you’ll be pushing hard against the pad in order to hear every sound you need, the leather cushions will be there to support your ear.
However, the Numark is quite a heavy device, I’d say. It’s lighter than Reloop RHP 10 Mono but is twice as heavy as the IMG Stage Line model.
Numark Redphone comes with a carrying case (always a plus), and a ⅛” detachable cable. It also includes an adapter in case you want to plug in a ¼” jack. At the end of the day, this one-ear headphone comes at a good price and features high-quality parts.
- Fair price;
- Neodymium magnet driver;
- Ergonomic handle;
- Earpads with artificial leather for comfort;
- Comes with a carrying case.
- Complaints about poor cables;
- Could be lighter.
Acousticks is a UK-based company that specializes in the production of lollipop cans. They ship worldwide and offer a whole palette of products on their website. They also offer products from other brands, either custom-made or in their original form. Check them out!
Best DJ Single Headphone With Handle: Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve met the best lollipop cans, let’s see what you should consider when purchasing such a headphone.
As you’ve probably noticed, the lollipop headphone market is not as saturated. The ones I’ve listed above are dominating the market, so your job would be to figure out which one you want and why you want it.
You’re only getting one headphone, so you shouldn’t spend a fortune on it! All jokes aside, a piece of gear such as this one should not exceed $150. The first option on the list is incredibly affordable, but if you can afford to spend more than $100, maybe you should consider the Reloop RHP 10.
Anyway, whatever you do, make sure your DJ headphone has:
- Good frequency response;
- Ergonomic handle;
- Pad made of artificial leather;
- XLR cables;
- Jack adapter is a plus.
Even if you’ve already warmed up to the idea of getting yourself a one-ear headphone, think whether you’re comfortable mixing with just one headphone. Take into consideration that this type of cans demand real precision and experience.
If you’re spinning disco or old-school house music, I would recommend that you try a lollipop headphone. It will blend with your music and be a great addition to your DJ appearance. If you’re new to the style, make sure you get a lot of practice in before performing.
Best DJ Headphone With Handle: Conclusion
Of course, you shouldn’t rush into purchasing something just because some DJs used them. However, I must say that this piece of DJ gear holds some sentiment to it, and retro is always in style.
As discussed throughout the article, cueing and monitoring on a one-ear headphone can get pretty tough. If you opt for one, I encourage you to get into it and master the heck out of it! DJing can get pretty fun when you have this classy old-school DJ gear.
Best DJ Single Headphone With Handle: FAQ
Why Do DJs Hold Their Headphones?
In short, a DJ’s job is to mix two tracks. They constantly look for new tracks which they will mix with the song that’s already playing. They have to briefly put their headphones on in order to cue or beatmatch an incoming track.
Can You DJ With Earbuds?
Musicians sometimes use earbuds because of the In-Ear Monitoring System (IEM) that they rely on. If you’ve seen a singer that holds their ear in order to hear something, it’s because they are receiving audio from the monitors placed in front of them.
Some DJs use the IEM, but you wouldn’t be able to totally rely on earbuds while cueing or mixing tracks.