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Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ Headphones Review [2022]

I always say that shopping for headphones gives you great pleasure because it feels like relaxing after a tough day. You’ve installed your giant turntables or CDJs, mixer, or controller, and the time has come to pick up your pair of headphones and place them around your neck.

If you’re serious about getting a good set of headphones, you may have already considered the Pioneer HDJ-500R. I went through tons of reviews on the Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ headphones and I’ve also owned a pair of them, so I have a clear idea of what this piece of equipment is all about. Although I personally love the Pioneer HDJ 500 headphones, there are things that might be a deal-breaker for some people. 

I hope that by the end of this read, you’ll have learned everything you need to know in order to decide whether the Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ headphones are right for you.

Why You Need Good Headphones

Headphones, or cans if you prefer, play a crucial role in every DJ setup. The biggest mistake a DJ could make is to underestimate the importance of headphones, and end up with a pair that’s poor quality. Headphones, in fact, are the link between you and the music. 

Everything you mix will first go through the headphones. Every drum and every bassline you want to throw in the mix you’ll first hear over headphones, before sharing it with the crowd. Plus, you will wear the headphones for an entire night – so I’m sure you want them to be comfortable.

Pioneer HDJ-500R: Overview

Pioneer HDJ-500R is a solid pair of headphones, packing all the features that a DJ would find necessary. For the record, the R in 500R refers to the color of the headphones – R for red. You also have the HDJ-500W, which is the white model.

These headphones are in the $100-price range, which is the minimum you should spend on headphones especially if you’re a DJ. Everything below that will not give you all the features you need for DJing. 

I can easily say the HDJ-500s are a steal for the price thanks to their sturdiness and sound quality.

Pioneer’s products are pretty expensive in general, but the quality is always guaranteed. The HDJ-500s maintain the Pioneer quality but they come at a lower cost.

They did the same thing with 500’s cousin, Pioneer HDJ-1000. The HDJ-1000s have some more advanced specs than the 500s, but they also cost about $30-40 more. 

The Pioneer HDJ-500s come with two cables, which is quite useful. The first cable is shorter and you can plug it into your iPhone or iPad, while the longer (spiral) one can serve for DJing purposes. Even though the longer cable is very stretchy, it’s kind of thin. A thicker cable would be much more reliable and durable. 

The plug on the HDJ-500R headphones is a 3.5 stereo gold plated mini-jack, which will prevent wear and tear from breaking the sound in the headphones. It comes with an adapter, meaning that you can make it a ¼ inch jack.

The Pioneer HDJ-500s are quite comfortable thanks to their ergonomic padding. They’re designed to be worn for hours on end. The headband is light and pillow-coated, whereas the ear cushions have memory foam, making them soft enough for you to wear for a whole night without any discomfort.  

The HDJ-500s feel very light in your hand as if you were holding a takeaway cup of coffee – 6.8 oz. 

The design is quite sleek and ergonomic. It features a few Pioneer logos, one on the headband and two on the ear cushions. They’re easy to use, as you can tilt the headphones whichever way you like! You can free one ear by tilting the ear cup to the right or left, instead of pulling it to the back part of your head.

Pioneer HDJ-500s come in a nice half-plastic and half-cardboard box, so you can see half of the product from outside the box. This intriguing packaging style would make a great gift for your loved ones. 

Pioneer HDJ-500R Headphones: The Likes 

The Pioneer HDJ-500R headphones have excellent specifications. They’re fully closed headphones, meaning they don’t allow air to pass through the cups to the speaker section. They have splendid isolation, great bass, solid mids, and a sleek design. Overall, they’re a cool set of headphones! 

Sound Quality  

I’ve tried the HDJ-500s and they offer great sound quality for the price. I’d even go so far as to say that they could compete with much higher-priced headphone sets. I love the bass response, especially how punctually it hits the ear and the vibrations it provides. 

Pioneer did a good job on these DJ headphones, really working on the sound quality overall. But the most important thing I’ve noticed is the amazing work done on the frequency response. 

Frequency Response

As a DJ, you will want to have a well-balanced sound, where the low, mid, and high frequencies will be easily recognized. This will give you an advantage in figuring out which frequencies you want to keep or lose in a track. 

In fact, the company relies the most on the drums, i.e. transmission of low frequencies. Pioneer says that the HDJ-500s have the best kick and snare drums. They’re specifically designed to help beginner DJs to beatmatch and start recognizing the beats of two songs quickly. 

I encountered only one reviewer saying that he wasn’t satisfied with the low frequency (bass). However, even he said that what’s lacking in the bass response is made up in the mids and highs.

More precisely, the HDJ-500R headphones have a frequency response from 5 to 28,000 Hz. For comparison, the lowest frequency that the human ear can hear is at 20 Hz, and the highest at some 20,000 Hz. Keep in mind that 1 kHz equals 1,000 Hz

As the Pioneer 500s can play at a very low frequency, you will be able to hear every drum kick perfectly. You also don’t have to worry about the mids and highs, because the HDJ-500s have you covered with a really broad range of frequency response.

At the same time, the HDJ-500s have an output sound level of 105 dB (decibels). This is incredibly loud for a headphone set. Even a speaker going over 85 dB is considered to be very loud, so imagine what 105 dB means for a pair of headphones. 

Locking Mechanism 

As I already mentioned, the HDJ-500s come with two cables and an adapter. A cool and useful feature about the cables is that they have a locking mechanism on one side of the set, where you can plug in and lock your cord! 

It works in a way that you plug in the cord behind one ear and twist it to the right to lock it. This is quite a smart and long-needed innovation. The locking mechanism leaves no room for accidents, like your cord falling off the plug while you’re DJing. 

Swiveling Ear Cushions 

Pioneer HDJ-500 is a model designed to sit comfortably on your head. Not only can you lock the jack behind your ear, but you can also rotate one ear cup by 60 degrees to the left or right without needing to pull the whole headband back. 

This really comes in handy when you’re mixing at the club and you want to compare two tracks. DJs would normally take the headphones and just place one cup behind the ear, or simply take them into their hands and bring the set closer to the ear.

Now, I’m not saying that the rotating cushion is the most revolutionary specification in the industry, but it will make beatmatching a lot easier and more comfortable. Plus, there is no risk that your headphones will fall off as you work them – and that happens a lot for some reason! 

Interchangeable Cords

Pioneer surprised us with this one because I’m definitely not used to receiving a headphone set with a pair of cables in it. 

The two cables are different in length, with the longer one reaching 10 feet. It’s coiled (spiral) and very flexible. It’s great for DJs, especially those working with more devices at once, so they need more space to perform. 

The shorter cable is just over 3 feet and is straight. It’s mostly designed for your everyday needs, like plugging it into a device and chilling at home or going for a jog in the park. 

I think the dual cords are also a great feature because they can save you the money and trouble of purchasing additional ones.

Build Quality 

The build quality of Pioneer HDJ-500s is solid, to say the least. The headband and cushion of these DJ headphones are reinforced with the lightest of metal alloys – magnesium. This metal is the first choice of engineers when weight is important in a product, and God knows weight’s a big deal when it comes to headgear.

The ear cups are filled with memory foam and coated in real leather. This adds much-needed comfort to the ears, which is crucial when you have to wear them for over 8 hours. 

The HDJ-500 DJ headphones also look quite stylish. They feature a sleek, early 2000’s design with the logo on the headband and the sides. 

What Could Be Better

After going through all the research, comparing different models and reviews, and my personal experience, I feel like the Pioneer HDJ-500s are an excellent set of DJ headphones. However, they could use a few adjustments which would take them to the next level. 

I would really be happier with some better cables! The leisure cable is fine, and at the end of the day, it’s not as important for DJing. But the longer cable, the one that should be my rock, is actually pretty fragile. So, I end up worrying about damaging it instead of focusing on my mixes. This could be a dealbreaker for others, as well.

Other than that, there’s no real issue. Everything else that could be better, would probably be more expensive. 

However, headphones in the middle price range should have good cords, and this is something the HDJ-500s don’t fully deliver.

Pioneer HDJ 500 DJ Headphones Review: Buyer’s Guide

Before deciding whether these headphones are right for you, there are several factors you need to consider. Let me give you some pointers on what you should keep in mind when mulling over whether the Pioneer HDJ-500s are a good fit for you.

Do Your Research

With tons of products flooding the market, there is always a chance that you’ll be endlessly browsing the internet without a clear idea of what you’re looking for. You can always ask a friend who knows their stuff to help you out like you’d do if you were purchasing a car. 

To be sure that you’re buying the right headphones, don’t be lazy and dig into the reviews. Read everything there is to know about the product. These are headphones, so you can easily find out what their pros and cons are.

Most importantly, don’t rely on the reviews with 5 stars. Don’t trust 1-star reviews too much, either. Check what 3 and 4-star reviewers have to say, as they’re usually the least biased and the most helpful. 

Money-wise, you should get the following for $100:

  • Good frequency response (low, mid, high);
  • Lightweight design;
  • Long cable;
  • Comfortable cushions and headband.

The Pioneer HDJ-500s have this list covered, although the long cable has raised some questions. Of course, the market offers other options as well. You can check out our favorite headphones to see if you can find another good fit for you. 

Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ Headphones Review: Conclusion 

All things considered, the Pioneer HDJ-500R headphones are a solid piece of DJing gear. They meet all the requirements a DJ would need for an affordable price They offer comfort, good sound quality, and affordability – the holy trinity of headphones! 

The manufacturer has used magnesium to reinforce the headband, which is the lightest metal alloy, so it’s usually used by engineers when weight is important.

As for the sound, I’d say it rocks. Well, technically it might not be the most suitable thing for rockers or those hunting high frequencies, but it’s definitely pretty awesome.

DJs playing electronic dance music will not have an issue with the sound. The manufacturer has put a lot of effort into the crisp sound drum kicks, which makes them great for beginner DJs that are still learning how to beatmatch and cue songs. 

Finally, maybe one of the biggest pros here is the price. Although there are cheaper options, I doubt you’ll find anything better than the Pioneer HDJ-500s for $100 or less. Also, I don’t think you should spend less than $100 on headphones, especially if you’re playing in a loud environment. 

Pioneer HDJ-500R DJ Headphones Review: FAQ 

Are DJ Headphones Different?

Based on the type of DJ headphones, they can differ a lot more than a regular headphone set. While regular headphones can be as comfortable on the head as DJ headphones (and sometimes more comfortable), they will provide a rather flat sound.

On the other hand, DJ headphones are designed to transmit a wider range of frequencies, meaning that the bassline, just like all the other instruments in a song, will be more stressed. 

Are Noise-Cancelling Headphones Good For DJing?

Yes. Perhaps the most important thing you should look for when purchasing DJ headphones is that they have good noise cancellation. 

Part of a DJ’s job is to cue songs using their headset and prepare them for mixing, i.e beatmatching. In order to execute this properly, you’ll need to isolate yourself from the surrounding sounds, so as to hear your cued track through the headset. 

What Is A Good Frequency Response For Headphones?

The human ear can hear frequencies from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, so as long as you have that covered, you’re fine. Usually, the packages are labeled 20 Hz to 20 kHz, where 1 kHz equals 1,000 Hz. As a DJ, you should focus more on the lower end. 

What Metal Is Used In Headphones?

The most common metal used in headphone production is neodymium. This has to do both with the weight and sound quality. Before, brands would use iron for the metal sound of the speaker, resulting in poor sound quality. 

Neodymium also contains iron and some other elements in its structure.