Your Questions: Does Headphone Impedance Matter In Digital DJing?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
headphones impedance matching
Last updated 27 November, 2017

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How much should DJs worry about 'impedance' when choosing headphones?
How much should DJs worry about ‘impedance’ when choosing headphones?

Digital DJ Tips reader Adi Twism writes: “Hi there! I’m a big fan of your site. I am finally going to get a laptop, a DJ console, an audio interface and headphones. The only thing is: first I wanted a standard set-up with CDs, and I heard that my headphones should have an impedance close to the one found on my DJ gear. But I’ve also heard that controllers and audio interfaces can have different impedance to CD/mixer set-ups. What if I’m using a Numark DJ IO or Native Instruments Audio 2 DJ interface? What if I’m using the internal controller sound card. Does headphone impedance matter then?”

“I can buy headphones from a couple of dozen ohms up to several hundred ohms impedance. For instance, what do you think of Pioneer HDJ-2000 headphones? I’m guessing because they are designed for DJ CD players and mixers, they may not be great for digital gear. Please can you help?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Headphone impedance should in theory match the impedance of the mixer / controller / sound interface you’re using, or be as close as possible. This basically ensures that the headphones will be as loud as possible.

However, in practice, if you buy a decent set of DJ headphones, like the Pioneers you mention, any decent DJ sound device will be able to drive them loud enough for you to DJ properly with them, so you really needn’t worry about this. Sound-wise, what’s more important is to get headphones that are well isolated, ie that have acoustic shielding so they effectively block out the outside world when you’ve got them on. This will allow you to mix effectively in loud DJ boxes without turning everything up so loud that it starts to hit danger levels for your ears.

Check out our article on choosing DJ headphones for more info.

Have you had issues with headphones volume? Have you had to try different types of headphones to get things loud enough? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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