If you’re looking for Pioneer, you can’t or don’t want to stretch to the HDJ-2000s, but want something more pro than the HDJ-500s, then you’ve probably already got your eye on a pair of these. The HDJ-1500s don’t have the luxury of the HDJ-2000s, especially in the ear cups which are only so-so comfort wise, but these are nonetheless a DJ headphone that ticks just about every box.
First Impressions / Setting up
Coming with the standard soft drawstring bag and a detachable, lockable coiled cable (complete with obligatory 1/4″ to 1/8″ stereo converter), the HDJ-1500s spring no surprises on unboxing. And the first impression of the headphones themselves is good. They’re unmistakably “DJ” phones (solid in the hand, reasonable weight to them, the design is evolutionary rather than revolutionary).
But they have an attractive slimline appeal that’s modern and something new; the hinges in particular are clean and simple with an uncluttered look, and the earcups have lots of metal in them, incuding a nice brushed silver vertical stripe with a shiny embossed “Pioneer” logo vertically on each side, and a polished rim.
The earpads themselves are of course leather, and they’re quite wide with a relatively small hole in the middle. The leather is not the softest, and I imagine could get a little slippy when used in a hot and sweaty environment.
The headband seems to be the same as the HDJ-2000s, in a black rubberised material and with a small leather pad at the inside top, bearing a raised, grey “Pioneer” logo on the outside top. The detachable coiled cord connector is a mini TRS (ie one below 1/8″) and twists to lock in place.
Comfort in a pair of headphones is of course subjective, but I fond them to be a good fit for me personally. They’re easy enough to adjust, and the earcups feel snug without being too tight. The earcups twist 90 degrees forward, and 180 degrees up and down, giving all the required movements for single-ear monitoring or comfortable dangling round your neck with the earcups out of the way when in between mixes.
I guess due to the fact that the earcups are quite wide, they offer better than average isolation, which is great, especially when combined with the volume offered by the headphones. Thus the slimline design doesn’t compromise the sound quality of the headphones..
Yup, volume wise, they’re LOUD! These are an out and out DJ headphone, designed to give you decent monitoring in harsh situations, and I can report that they deliver 100% on that promise. They’ll be fine in the loudest DJ booth, and while for an afternoon’s classical music on the sofa they may be trumped by more refined and comfortable models, for slamming in the next mix tempo-perfect in a nightclub, the HDJ-1500s have got it nailed.
The two places headphones typically break are the hinges and the cable. The cable first: Being a detachable design, replacing this would be no issue if it were to break. In truth, coiled cables by their nature are pretty hard to mess up, because when yanked they expand naturally.
For many years, my headphones of choice were the Sony MDR-700s, whereas others I know preferred the Pioneer HDJ-1000s. Both broken with gay abandon at the hinges ridiculously frequently. (OK, so we weren’t exactly “model owners” of our products, but six months was about the longest I ever got out of a pair.)
There are several screws holding the hinge area in place suggesting parts can be replaced, but I didn’t want to start hacking a review sample. Suffice to say though, that these hinges look like a marked improvement on those on the HDJ-1000s, and I did give them a slightly violent yank just to see if I could hear any cracks or creaks. I couldn’t, and overall they seem very sturdy to me. As always with headphones, though, only time will tell on this one.
The HDJ-1500s don’t have the luxury of the HDJ-2000s, especially in the ear cups which are only so-so comfort wise, but these are nonetheless a DJ headphone that ticks just about every box. They look great, there’s plenty of metal and leather involved, they sound good, they isolate well, and all the part that matter are serviceable.
If you’re looking for Pioneer, you can’t or don’t want to stretch to the HDJ-2000s, but want something more pro than the HDJ-500s, then you’ve probably already got your eye on a pair of these. I can happily report that you needn’t worry whether they’re up to the job: They are.