Review & Video: Allen & Heath Xone XD2-53 Headphones

Review Summary:

If you're in the market for a set of pro DJ headphones that will serve you well at gigs all the way up to the biggest, loudest and so most demanding of DJ booths - and especially if you have Allen & Heath equipment you want to pair them with - they're a good choice. They give everything a pro needs, without attracting the price tag of some of the most expensive DJ headphones.

Xone XD2-53 Headphones
  • Xone XD2-53 Headphones
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Allen & Heath
  • Price: $151
  • Reviewed by:
  • On April 16, 2012
  • Last modified:August 19, 2014
The XD2-53s now sport a screw-in detachable cable and a nifty new paint job.

The XD2-53s now sport a screw-in detachable cable and a nifty new paint job.

Review: Allen & Heath Xone XD2-53 Headphones

Allen & Heath has recently updated its well regarded top-end DJ headphones, the XD-53s, with the new (and not altogether originally named) XD2-53s. Apart from changing the colour (they’re now in a gun-metal finish), the company has also made the cable detachable, something most top DJ headphones tend to have nowadays. Let’s take a closer look and see how they perform.

First impressions

They are a big, blokey DJ headphone – chunky, with a bit of weight to them and “full sized” in every way. They’re not going to feel out of place in the biggest, baddest DJ booth. The styling is very traditional for DJ headphones; Sony’s MDR-700s have looked like this for many years and these don’t really break the mould too much; big, padded leather stitched headband, metal-inserted adjusters to fit your head size, chunky hinges, and closed earcups containing large (53mm) drivers, sporting leather ear padding. However, these have a deeper cup than the Sony model, which is better for isolation and comfort.

The drivers are covered with a thin stretched piece of nylon mesh, which again is usual, and they’re given splashes of branding, both subtly on the outside edge of the earcups (the “Xone” name is embedded there) and more obviously across the top of the headband, with the Allen & Heath name, the Xone symbol, and the “Xone” wording in white on black.

As is de rigeur with many such headphones, they come with a basic drawstring leather-effect bag to move them around in.

In use

These feel solidly pro, and if you’ve ever used any of the top brand DJ headphones, everything you’d expect is in place; good quality sound (the clarity was excellent, with deep bass but also perfectly clear mids and highs) and an excellent degree of sonic isolation.

Xone_XD2_53_Closeup

I like the way the earcups can fold flat to the surface; this also makes these ‘phones comfortable around your neck.

Other design elements that make them good to use in the DJ booth include a coiled cable that doesn’t get under your feet, a good, wide earcup so they close enough completely cover your ear, and of course lots of movement both vertically and horizontally in the earcups for easy monitoring, whether with one or both ears.

One thing I liked about the swivel design is that the earcups move a full 90 degrees forward, so when you whip them off of your head and put them down on the mixer or wherever, they lie flat naturally to the surface. This feature also means that although they’re a chunky headphone, when you wear them around your neck the earcups naturally swivel out of the way, so they don’t feel like you’re wearing a neck brace, as some models of bigger headphone can do.

While they have roughly the same type of hinges that the Sony MDR-700s have, there’s no reason to suspect that they’ll suffer from the same reliability problems of the Sonys, which are legendary for breaking at the hinges. Only time will tell – but then again, their predecessors, the XD-53s, don’t have that reputation, so I’d say you’re fine. These hinges don’t “stick out” like the Sonys, and seem sturdier.

Conclusion

So they have a new colour scheme, and now come with a detachable cable. They’re still a pro phone, like their predecessors; they have clarity and sensitivity (I used them with a Vestax VCI-300 – not known for its headphone volume – and they were plenty loud enough); they’re comfortable; and they are of a design that pro DJs know well, with the slight style change of a new colour scheme. That’s about it.

If you’re in the market for a set of pro DJ headphones that will serve you well at gigs all the way up to the biggest, loudest and so most demanding of DJ booths – and especially if you have Allen & Heath equipment you want to pair them with – they’re a good choice. They give everything a pro needs, without attracting the price tag of some of the most expensive DJ headphones.

The flimsy, cheap carry bag provided is the only slightly disappointing thing in a flagship headphone model.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

If you're in the market for a set of pro DJ headphones that will serve you well at gigs all the way up to the biggest, loudest and so most demanding of DJ booths - and especially if you have Allen & Heath equipment you want to pair them with - they're a good choice. They give everything a pro needs, without attracting the price tag of some of the most expensive DJ headphones.

Xone XD2-53 Headphones
  • Xone XD2-53 Headphones
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Allen & Heath
  • Price: $151
  • Reviewed by:
  • On April 16, 2012
  • Last modified:August 19, 2014

Video Review

Nice improvement on the XD-53s? Better than the Sonys? What would you go for – or what do you already use – in this price bracket? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. lordamercy says:

    look nice but just ordered my ultrasone DJ 1 pro’s :D

  2. yet another new pear of great looking headphones to come out within a week of me buying pioneer hdj-1000′s :( detachable cable is a nice touch

    • those tend to break… worse then the sony 700′s.

      • How can you be sure about that when they’re only just released?

      • Not in my experience; I had a pair of the original XD53s (2nd hand, used for 2 years before I bought them) and used them daily for 3 years. They took some punishment and I went through a pair of the black ear covers, replaced the jack at the end of the cable twice and pretty much wore out the leather of the headband. Eventually one of the drivers started playing up and I lost sound in the other ear. Never had any problems with the hinges though. If these are like the XD53s then they are pretty solid! (glad they added the removable cable though!!). I’m in need of a new pair of headphones and now I’ve seen these i reckon I’ll go back to Allen and Heath for a pair of XD2s!

  3. Phil any chance of reviewing the Gemini CDJ-700? It is a CDJ but it does have midi support and is fully mappable.

  4. @BartyKutz says:

    hey, whats that turntable doing there :)

    • We’ve got some digital vinyl reviews coming up :)

      • Jam-Master Jake says:

        Denon SC3900!!! (*drool*)

        And sorry to change the subject, but any idea on the availability of the new Vestax VCI-380?

      • Francisco says:

        Thx for posting this review.

        Great looking headphones. At last! a new product comes out just as I am ready to spend. I currently own the
        XD-53′s and they are the bomb, with this new version, the detachable cable makes it enticing to stick with A&H, plus I expect a little better sound than the prior model, even tho the XD53′s already sound great!.

        Regarding the turntables, I picked up a pair of pio900′s a month before the rumours started about the denons sc3900 (DOH!). I’d say for the hot cues (you can only get this with pio2000′s), the hybrid with serato/traktor, and the ability to use Engine in liue of a usb stick, go for it! (that is if you like the spinning platter….)

  5. Jam-Master Jake says:

    Nice-looking studio, Phil! I’m digging the new…digs. :)

    Man, I wish I’d known about these beforehand…I just bought a pair of Pioneer HDJ-1000′s as my backup cans to my HDJ-2000s. These look like they’d easily replace both models, especially the 2000s for my main gigs.

    Oh well, great review and definitely something I’m keeping my eyes on!

  6. These DO NOT break like sony. I am a user of these headphones but the mark ones. Loads of DJ mates. I have had pioneers and other brands. Non lasted a year. I have been pro many many years. Allen and Heath headphones are best. Build quality and sound. Four of my mates have bought my older xd53 model through using mine a couple of times. Non broke. I have had mine about three years. They look nearly new. I played twice a week until recently. The richness of the sound and isolations allows you to hear what you need to in the most aggressive DJ environment. Fantazia this year on the house arena. The biggest rig in the last ten years I have played on. No problems.

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