Over To You: Best DJ Headphones On A Tight Budget?

Sennheiser HD201

The Sennheiser HD201s are a revelation in price/performance .While they aren't pro, they're excellent nonetheless and ought to last you a long time too. A great budget or backup DJ headphone choice.

Digital DJ Tips reader Harry writes: "I have a gig coming up in around 30 days and quite frankly my headphones are awful and they won't do the job. I have around £80 but I don't really want to spend much at all but I still want headphones that will stay good and useful for a year at least. I want to only spend around £30. Can you help?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

When I started out as a DJ full time, I used to turn up at people's houses around dinner time in the hope they'd feed me - that's how poor I was! All I knew was that if I wanted to make a go of this, I needed 24/7 to put into it, come what may... great times, actually, and luckily my persistence paid off in the end! My point is that I totally understand that whether due to other commitments, to your stage in life, or just to the fact that you just broke your headphones (again) and have no money right now, this is a very common situation. The good news is that there are always solutions if you look hard enough.

While it's true that you get what you pay for, and unfortunately you're unlikely to find a payment plan on headphones (although you could look / ask!), help is at hand in the shape of the Sennheiser HD201, which you can get for exactly half your budget if you shop around. Although with this basic model you forgo a coiled DJ detachable cable, multi-adjustable earcups and the "DJ looks" of more expensive headphones, these are clear, loud, closed-back (they isolate well), comfortable... and they come in at around £15/US$20.

They are ridiculously good headphones for the price, and if this is one box you need to tick at a next-to-nothing price, I can totally recommend them.

What headphones do you use? Have you got a cheap but good headphones gem you'd like to share with us? Is it worth spending lots of money on DJ headphones when they're likely to get lost or broken whatever you pay for them? Please share your thoughts below.

Get access to all our free DJ training!

Join over 150,000 Digital DJ Tips members to get exclusive free DJ training videos, articles & resources plus twice-weekly emails with the best of our tutorials, reviews and DJ news. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!


  1. Benjamin says:

    I think audi technica ans hdj1500 best bang for the buck ...

    I got hdj2000, hdj1500, ultrasone dj1pro , technics rp dh 1200 likee m all .. All have pros and cons

  2. I threw my hd201 on the garbage. Sorry but I don't recommend that for budget dj headphone. Try jvc hard300 for $15

  3. Widenose says:

    I have those exact headphones and agree that they are an excellent pair of budget 'phones. I use this for practicing at home. I also have some Sennheiser HD215's which are great & you can pick them up for about £65 on Amazon.

  4. Bidders says:

    I use urbanz block headphones, got them brand new off eBay for around 20-30 and they are pretty awesome, lifetime warranty if you register them within a month of purchase. I did have a pair break after about a year or so and for the cost of me posting them to the manufacturer they sent me a brand new pair no questions asked. I got so pissed off with paying for expensive headphones that break after a year I just use these now, sound quality is pretty good too, nice over ear design and decent bass response.

  5. I'm in a similar boat, that is I've just started up (again). I didn't want to spend the price of a wedding gig on a pair, but I did want cordless as I was using a corded Shure sm58 mic.
    Anyway what I found was some Sony headphones in a supermarket, & to be honest I didn't expect much tor £50 (reduced from £139), however I've been using them for over 6 months now, and they are very robust. The only complaint? The power supply for the receiver is not brilliant, thin tangly wire. I will replace the supply with a better quality cable when the time comes. (I always have my old headfones with me... just in case!.

  6. Urbanears Zinken are the cheapest good dj headphones

    • +1 on Urbanears Zinken! I Bought a pair last year and they not only sound great but they're really robust and high quality! Best of all the turncable means you never have to carry an adapter. :-)

      • Respectfully, I gotta say that the sound quality on these is definitely not great. Great for the price? Maybe, but on an objective scale completely disregarding price ranges, these are definitely at a 4 to 4.5 out of 10 on sound quality. They get too muddy too easy and the bass is pretty lacking.

        Still - I would recommend them as DJ headphones on a budget.

        • Depends when you bought yours. I have 3 Zinken and will definitely buy more of them, because i like that the treble/sibilance is peaking-free and low fatigue, and at the same time they're not too badly rolled off. I haven't had this property on any other headphone. This property is a matter of preference, not of objective quality, but it makes me prefer them over other headphones.

          It appears they got better and more treble-friendly with year of manufacture, or maybe they don't age very gracefully in storage.

          Most of the midrange is pretty neutral and there is only a minor presence emphasis, which sets them apart from most headphones, DJ or Hifi, cheap or expensive. Yes, there are better expensive headphones (doubtlessly), and even perhaps better less expensive headphones (depending on personal preference), but they are definitely among the good ones. Not because they're perfect, but because there's so much terribad shit out there.

          I agree that the bass isn't perfect for DJ, it's a bit overemphasized in sub-bass and maybe under-emphasized in main bass. I guess i could change that characteristic myself if i cared. The volume of the cup would need to become smaller and some dampening would need to be introduced, so the back of the cup would need to be re-lined from the inside. Should be simple. But i think the characteristic as it is, is good enough with regard to the isolation, and makes for an enjoyment of a variety of genres in everyday use.

  7. I have 3 pairs of Stanton Dj pro 60 headphones. They can be picked up for under £30. They aren't the best build quality, had to glue one up a bit back. But they have still lasted well (years) plus at that price you can afford a spare pair to take to gigs with you! I never gig without spare headphones - it's handy, plus can make you look more professional in the event a pair fails (same reason you should have plenty of spare cables, and headphone jack adapters)

    I also believe you don't need fancy headphones to Dj with. If you're listening to music and producing with headphone the. Yes. But if all your doing is picking out where in a song you are and at what speed it's playing at, in a loud club, then how much "sound quality" do you actually need? I've seen djs mix fine with an old telephone head set! As long as they're loud enough to hear in a loud club environment they should be fine.

    That said, in theory the better they filter out ambient sound the less volume you need in the headphones. Which may help keep your hearing! But have had no issues with these Stanton's up to now, and have played clubs and bars with them.

  8. i own a pair of hd201 but hardly use it .....it's main disadvantage is its feeble bass...a good alternative would be sony mdr v55...

  9. I just picked up a pair of Numark Red Wave headphones, haven't used them a great deal yet, but like them so far... I got them for $60 USD... may be worth a look, I will likely add a pair of these cheap Sennheiser phones to my collection, as well as some HD280 Pro headphones($100), and a handful of others... I have a weird urge to have a collection of about 8-10 pairs for some reason...LOL Keep shining...

  10. If you can't afford Bose (and as a student I certainly can't) then the best headphones you can buy are the Sennheiser HD 205. Fully closed, noise cancelling with a rotating ear cup for DJing. They cost me £45 three years ago and you can now quite easily find for £25. You won't ever want to change. Extreme quality of sound and everything you need for DJing and/or simply enjoying your favourite music in perfect quality.

  11. Stanton Pro 2000: loud, loud bass, very well isolated and works forever..€ 70,-

  12. Hi,
    I am using panasonic rp-htx7.
    This headphone actually gives that warm senheiser sound.
    You can turn them quite loud also without losing too much soundquality.
    Only turndown for me is that the shell around the ears are torn easily. Due a lot on/off the head action.
    But in it's totallity i think it is a very good headphoneset.

    Henry (netherlands)

  13. I used DT770 Pro.....as I mostly do radio, but I do use for DJ stuff; bulky but solid sound for me.....

  14. try hdj205 it has all qualities of a good pro headphones. i have it and i feel its worth your budget.

  15. If you are on an extreme budget, I would recommend the Numark HF-125 Dual-Cup DJ Headphones! These will not give you the best audio experience but for rugged dad to day use for gigs doing beatmatching, mashups, remixes on the fly etc......you can use these for around 15 bucks!! I buy a few pair of these each year and I do tons of weddings, bar gigs and corporate event with no problems whatsoever. I do appreciate the sound quality of high end headphones but to take them out for a real gig with drunk people and logistics, give these a try.

  16. I concur you don't need expensive headphones for DJing. They should be able to represent the audio dynamic range fairly naturally and accurately but it's not necessary for them to be flat in frequency response. In fact for DJing an accentuated bass can be a good thing. Mostly you want them to be loud without distortion, especially if you DJ with earplugs. Comfort will also be be a factor.

  17. ForcedHand says:

    I mean this with all sincerity: Look for the best deal you can find on headphones you like and get them (but use the list below to ensure they'll work for you). You said you don't really care about the subtle nuances of quality headphones when you said "tight budget." I've been where you are and I can honestly tell you, there isn't much difference between the El-Cheapo headphones and top quality headphones for performance.

    Here's what to look for:

    1) Does the headphone ear cup cover your ear and muffle outside sound? Comfort is one of the things you pay extra for and you need a reference as to why you want comfortable headphones.

    2) Do the headphones fit and stay on your head when you violently shake it? If the headphones can't stay on your head when you're into the music, what good are they? This is really hard to fix too.

    3) Do the headphones produce enough volume to hear what's played over loud background noise? If they don't, don't buy them.

    4) Do the headphone cables stay firmly attached (even when jerked on)? You can sometimes fix this with gaffer's tape, but not always.

    You don't have to have one ear cup lift up, or cables that unscrew, or headphones that fold up into a compact package, those are amenities you'll pay for later when you have more money and you buy better quality headphones.

    I've had my expensive headphones *NOT WORK* on me when I got to a gig and you know what? My In-ear ear-buds worked just fine for me for that show. I've also picked up a set of radio shack cheap-o headphones when I forgot mine at home once.

    Yes, headphones can make the difference between an OK and AWESOME experience at home, but when you're in the booth, you're just listening for how you're going to cue the next track. I always recommend bringing a 1/8" to 1/4" and a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter (depending on the mixer and the type of connector your headphones have) just in case you need to use some headphones that don't have the standard jack size.

  18. DaMelloOne says:

    I agree 100% on the Sennheiser HD201. Had a pair and used them for 2+ years before my son got to em. Other they'll still be going strong.

  19. DJ alt.rock says:

    Koss has a lifetime replacement was rented (at least here in the US) and their Pro 4AA model looks cool as heck. They're built like tanks and sound great. I love my pair.

  20. DJ alt.rock says:

    Warrantee, doh!

  21. Classics Technics RP-DJ 1200 Black with purple logo... Best for me 😀

  22. Reloop offers the RHP 5 in a large array of colors and its quite sturdy, volume is loud enough to DJ in a club but they lack bass.

    Audio-Technica has a low priced ATH M20 wich look more expensive then they actually are and got plenty of low and mid range.

  23. HankBizzle says:

    Sony V55's I picked up a pair as my old MDR-V750's are starting to crack at the hinges (after over 10 years of daily use I might add) and for only £59.99 in PC World! I think you'd be very hard pushed to find a better set of headphones in for that money.

  24. azboarder23@yahoo.com says:

    i say the Skull Candy Hesh 2. Around $50 here in the USA. Flexible, good sound quality, and keeps enough of the club out to make sure your next song is in sync.

  25. One advice, do not get pioneer headphones. I own the hdj 1500 and it's been over a year now and the plug in jack on the headphone already started playing up. My next purchase will either be senheiser HD 25 or Technics RP 1200. Although none of them will suit your budget, I've worked with some great DJs who all recommended them and I have to agree. Sharp, great balance between the high, mid and bass, comfy and great at reducing outside noise.

  26. Monkeyjam says:

    Pioneer hdj500. I you can find them for between 60-80 pounds. They are excellent quality and they have and movable right ear piece which makes on/off monitoring comfortable as you like, rather then feeling strangled. They come in different colours to 😀

  27. For $99 you have a B-stock AIAIAI TMA-1, which is way better than what has been posted in the comment sections (specially those HDJ... sigh).

  28. Tyler Wilson says:

    Audio technica Ath-M50's are around 100 bucks. Quality headphones worth every penny for those looking for quality sound.

  29. Not sure if I need a new pair or not, but just starting out, I'm using my gaming headphones. currently running with the Steelseries Siberia Neckband. I also have a pair of Tritton Trigger gaming headset, the mic quit, but they didn't seem too bad when I was just listening to them with my Ipod.

  30. Richard Swenson says:

    I have used the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphone. I saw a review on recommended headphones for djs and it recommends the Sennheiser HD25-1 II Headphones and I would like to get a pair, but only if it is worth the cost. What are your guys' opinions on them?

    Review : http://gamingpchardware.hubpages.com/hub/top-dj-headphones

Have Your Say