• Price: US$143
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Ultrasone DJ1 Pro Headphones Review

Phil Morse
Last updated 4 October, 2018

2380

The Lowdown

These are a classy headphone. In a sea of “me-too” branded-but-suspiciously-similar models from some of the top names, they stand out as a serious headphone from a boutique manufacturer. The technologies involved all sound well and good, but I can’t really judge how well, for instance, having offset drivers helps in reproducing music accurately. I can report though that they were the most accurate sounding pair of headphones I’ve tried in a long time. The Ultrasones are not as loud as some, so if you DJ from low-headphone-output gear you may want to look elsewhere. Overall, though, if you’re looking for hi-fi grade headphones that are comfortable for long-term listening, accurate in reproduction, and built to a very high standard, the Ultrasones should be on your list.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

These are a “serious” headphone. The company only makes headphones, and its top models cost thousands. Out of a large range, there are only actually two DJ models. It’s clear that their headphones aren’t an afterthought to a range of DJ gear, or a fashion must-have from the marketing department: This is what Ultrasone does.

Ultrasone DJ1 Pro in their case
Ultrasone DJ1 Pro in their case.

Their “serious” nature is also reinforced by the (rather bulky) hard case that’s provided for storing your ‘phones in, and there being two detachable cords provides (a long coiled one with a 1/4″ plug on it, and a short, straight one with an 1/8″ plug), and two spare leather pads for your ears in the box too. And if you’ weren’t yet convinced by how seriously the company takes all of this, there’s not only a booklet in the box explaining the proprietary technologies involved, but also a test CD full of classical “Ultrasone productions” for you to reassure yourself of the brilliance of your purchase.

(About that technology. The company claim electromagnetic screening to prevent any harm coming to you from pesky electromagnetic waves with prolonged use, and also “S-Logic” technology, which puts the drivers off-centre, whic h apparently gives better stereo imaging),

Yup, these are “serious” headphone, indeed: And we’ve not actually got to the headphones themselves yet! They are a “full sized” headphone, and while not amazingly light, they are lighter than some of this type. They’re black, but with white, slightly rubberised plastic earcups. They’re constructed in a pretty traditional way with horseshoe couplings between the headband and the earcups. Thanks to the distinctive colouring and the oversized earcups, they come across as functional and uncluttered. The headband is, again, finished in vaguely rubberised plastic, encasing a metal interior. The earcups themselves are rather large – probably the biggest I’ve reviewed – and shallow. The design is simple and uncluttered. Your choice of cable screws in to the left-hand earcup.

Overall, thanks to the distinctive colouring and the oversized earcups, they come across as functional and uncluttered. the kind of headphone model the discerning DJs wanting performance over fashion may prefer. Let’s see if they can indeed deliver that performance…

In Use

Because the earcups are so big, they fit easily right over your ears. This is good for isolation, but may take some getting used to; if you have a particularly small head, they may not feel too good to you, although I quite liked them. It certainly means the headband doesn’t need to apply as much pressure to your head to isolate properly, making for good (if sweaty) long-term use. I compared them to our reference headphones of the moment, the Allen & Heath XD2-53s – a model we like very much. I played Maceo Plex’s “Under The Sheets” from a 320kbps MP3 through a Rane Sixty-One mixer via Serato scratch Live. Alongside the Allen & Heaths, these headphones were a little quieter, a little more comfortable, and more refined overall. They had less “punch” than the Allen & Heaths, whose bass and highs were more accentuated. These has a more spacious, rounded sound. The lows and highs, while not as pronounced, felt more accurate. For longer term listening, the Ultrasones definitely have the truer reproduction, not delivering a coloured sound in a way DJ headphones tend to.

The earcups swivel 90 degrees backwards, but not vertically, so depending on how you like to one-ear monitor, this may or may not suit you. They also applied less pressure to the head than the Allen & Heaths.

Conclusion

These are a classy headphone. In a sea of “me-too” branded-but-suspiciously-similar models from some of the top names, they stand out as a serious headphone from a boutique manufacturer.

The technologies involved all sound well and good, but I can’t really judge how well, for instance, having offset drivers helps in reproducing music accurately. I can report though that they were the most accurate sounding pair of headphones I’ve tried in a long time.

Ultrasone DJ1 Pro
Ultrasone DJ1 Pro, folded and unfolded.

As they isolate well too, thanks to those jumbo pads, I don’t see any issue in using them in DJ booths, where traditional DJ headphones tend to emphasise mid-low bass punch and hi-hats, those being the elements DJs tend to want bringing to the fore for beatmixing.

The Ultrasones are not as loud as some, so if you DJ from low-headphone-output gear you may want to look elsewhere. Other things to consider are the fact that the 1/8″ to 1/4″ adaptor only works on the short, non-coiled lead, the longer coiled lead having a fixed 1/4″ adaptor. If you want to sit a long way from your music source and relax with them on but your music source has an 1/8″ output, you can’t.

Finally, while it’s nice to see a hard case (too many expensive headphones come with a cheap soft slip that affords little protection), the case is rather bulky when it needn’t have been.

Overall, though, if you’re looking for hi-fi grade headphones that are comfortable for long-term listening, accurate in reproduction, and built to a very high standard, the Ultrasones should be on your list.

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