The Pioneer DJ HDJ-X5BT is an update to the HDJ-X5 entry-level headphones, this time with Bluetooth connectivity onboard for casual use. They’re not the best-sounding pair of cans out there in its price range, but for new DJs who want something they can spin with at gigs and be able to chill with some tunes or podcasts when they’re not DJing, they’re quite decent and they look good.
First Impressions / Setting up
The HDJ-X5BT is Pioneer DJ’s latest model in its HDJ-X line of DJ headphones. It’s an update to the entry-level HDJ-X5 model, and it adds Bluetooth connectivity. It comes in three colours: black, white and red. It packs 40mm speaker drivers, has swivel ear cups and cushy ear pads. It comes with a coiled 1/8” cable with a 1/4” screw-on adapter and a USB cable for charging the built-in battery.
Sound and isolation
The HDJ-X5BT is meant for both DJing and casual listening. Like other headphones in the HDJ-X line, it plays back sufficient bass, though when compared to the flagship HDJ-X10 the lows aren’t as deep. The HDJ-X5BT can handle high volumes, but it distorts at levels that the HDJ-X10 can easily handle, which is fair considering that the HDJ-X10 has larger 50mm speaker drivers onboard.
The soundstage, or the width between the left and right channels, isn’t as wide compared to the HDJ-X10 as well, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – in fact, it sounds more “realistic” compared to the pronounced left-and-right separation of the HDJ-X10.
Where I found the HDJ-X5BT to excel was in its noise isolation – the ear pads do a good job of enveloping your ears, helping minimise ambient noise from getting in. This is absolutely essential in a noisy venue or crowded DJ booth, and also good for your hearing health in the long run because you don’t have to turn up your headphone volume as much just to hear yourself (try spinning at a club with a cheap pair of headphones or even ear buds to know what I mean).
This also makes the HDJ-X5BT excellent for drowning out noise when doing some leisure listening during commutes, working in a public space like a coffee shop, or for train and plane rides.
The HDJ-X5BT has a light, plastic build all-around. It doesn’t feel premium at all, but that’s to be expected in a pair of budget headphones. If you’re worried that the HDJ-X5BT looks “cheap” compared to other Pioneer DJ cans, all the HDJ-X headphones kinda share the same aesthetic so they do maintain that “pro” gigging DJ look.
I have two favourite method to test headphone wearability: first is at gigs, second is during trips abroad. The gigs part is obvious – the HDJ-X5BT felt great on my head and ears even during longer DJ sets, and I didn’t feel like they were weighing me down althroughout.
The second method involves wearing them on long haul flights. Flying out to Europe or the US takes over 12 hours (if I’m lucky and I don’t have any stopovers that is) and I wear my headphones for a huge chunk of it, especially when I’m asleep so I don’t get woken up by crying children, chatty neighbours or the dude snoring beside me.
The HDJ-X5BT felt comfortable for extended use – at one point I had them on for five hours straight before I noticed a bit of pain on the upper parts of my ears where the arms of my glasses pinch against my ears. The soft ear pads make them great for long listening sessions, and the headband is comfortable too.
Finally, let’s talk about Bluetooth which is the main feature that sets this apart from its predecessor the HDJ-X5. Onboard Bluetooth connectivity means you can listen to audio wirelessly from your smartphone (eg iPhone 6 and up), tablet or laptop. Pioneer DJ says you can get up to 20 hours of play time from a single three-hour charge, and in our extensive use of it we got pretty close to that in terms of battery life.
There’s a slight lag between what’s coming out of your playback device and what you’re hearing in the HDJ-X5BT because of Bluetooth’s latency, so you still won’t be able to DJ with Bluetooth – that’s what the wired connection is for, anyway.
Despite some of its sonic shortcomings, the HDJ-X5BT sound decent, at least decent enough for new DJs who are looking for a “professional” looking over-the-ear pair of headphones. The Bluetooth connectivity means you can use it in more listening situations apart from just DJing, plus that means you don’t have to carry around any pesky dongles should your phone or tablet not have a headphone jack. They’re well-priced, at least as far as Pioneer DJ gear go, and they do look the business. A good choice for beginners and hobbyists who want a versatile pair of cans.