MMMMAVEN instructors share their recommendations.
Looking for affordable DJ or production headphones that won’t break the bank?
Last year, ultra-music producer, Quincy Jones, revealed that he was hopping on-board with the likes of Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and DJ Khaled to enter an ever-so-expected world that seems to attracts some of the most polarizing faces in music: the headphone industry. The retail price on Mr. Jones’ luxurious set of phones? $1500. Now if you’re the average consumer who isn’t even willing to pay more than $20 on a first date to Olive Garden, what would possess someone to spend that much on a pair of headphones? Whatever happened to those nostalgic 2004 iPod commercials that made the idea of jumping around with white ear buds seem so satisfying? In 2016, listeners want more; correction, need more. With all of the intricate detailing and heart-throbbing bass frequencies that lie behind today’s production, people rightfully should be able to hear them without having to sacrifice next month’s rent.
When it comes to musicians, producers or anyone that deals with the manipulation of audio, headphones become a necessity. Whether it is mixing down an 80 layer instrumental or transitioning from the club banger to a world-famous dancing anthem, headphones will always be a necessity. The question then becomes: Which are the best? How much are you willing to pay? What are the main differences between them? We asked Mmmmaven’s DJ and Ableton Live instructors these questions. Here is how they responded:
Favorite Headphones: Technics RPDJ 1200 and Sony MDR7506
Price: Both are within $100-150 range
“They are both frequency flat-response headphones. I can hear the bass, treble and the mid section without it hurting my ears at all. The only thing is that they don’t really make the technics anymore, but the Sonys are really good too. If you’re doing production, you need a model where everything is sound. The Technics are for DJing, the Sonys are for more of a studio aspect.”
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD280
Price: $100.00/ “Worth every dollar and more”
”To me, headphones are temporary and will break eventually if you use them enough (2-4 years). So I’ll never spend a ton of money on a pair of headphones, especially if they are my everyday studio/listening headphones. But for $100 you get great sound quality, build quality, and they offer a fair amount of noise cancellation, which I love for when I travel. So for me, they stand out in the crowd for their superior quality-to-price ratio. So when I inevitably break the pair I have now, I wont be stressing over another $100 for a great pair of headphones.”
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD 25s
Price: $199 for the “Plus” model
“There is a reason this platform of headphone is so universally loved and used not only in DJing, but in any professional audio application where isolation is needed, such as sports commentary, or field referencing. You’ll notice these headphones, with a microphone added on, worn by many sports presenters, as they need to isolate audio from the loud crowds around them. And equally, look at photos from DJs from the last 10 years, and a very significant portion will be wearing these headphones.
Not only do they sound amazing, but their design is such that any piece can be changed out, making them easily repairable. A snapped headband or broken ear cup on a pair of AIAIAI TMA’s for example, means tossing away the whole set and buying a new pair. By comparison, any broken piece of a pair of Sennheiser HD 25s can easily be found online and replaced easily, due to their ubiquitous use.
There is no other alternative in my mind. I have been using my pair, flawlessly, for 6 years. I hope to use them for another 6.”
After having gathered all of the info, I noticed that the most popular headphones with the most expensive marketing campaigns barely made it into our instructors’ rotation. Around the year 2008, you couldn’t walk down the street without seeing a sporty hipster rocking a pair of Beats By Dr. Dre headphones. Dr. Dre’s own note to consumers stated, “With Beats, people are going to hear what the artists hear..” yet today’s professionals seem to find other headphones to get their musical needs fulfilled.
Main Takeaway: You don’t need to spend a lot to hear a lot.
By: Lawrence Greenidge
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