Difference between DJ headphones and Studio Headphones

Throughout my music career, I have always been fascinated by the differences between headphones and their use. If you are a DJ or running a music production, you need a set of perfect headphones that will make a massive difference in performance. To further manage your requirements, you might want to know the difference between DJ headphones and Studio Headphones.

Tidbit: Headphones were created in 1910 by the US. Early headphones were simple and used as an earpiece device without electronics. These are mainly designed in contrast to loudspeakers that produce a sound that anyone in the area can hear.

Headphones are a pair of small speakers for listening to the sound from a computer, music player, or another electronic device. It originally consisted of one speaker for each ear, connected by a band over the head. You will be able to learn the differences between these two types of headphones in this guide so that you can buy the one that suits you best.

What Are DJ Headphones?

DJ headphones are designed with DJs in mind. They have a unique mechanism that allows them to be worn on both ears or just one ear. It is an essential feature for DJs, as it lets them interact with the crowd without losing track of what they are playing. I have been using Pioneer DJ headphones, which connect deeply with the music.

DJ headphones have a unique technology that allows them to play two different tracks in each ear. It makes it easier to cue up a track while listening to the current one. So, DJ headphones are specially designed for DJs. They have a lot of features that make mixing and playing as easy as can be.

What type of headphones do DJs use?

There are three main types of DJ headphones: closed-back, open-back, and semi-open, so always choose the best DJ headphones for your concerts. 

  • Closed-back headphones have a solid back panel that helps seal the sound and prevent it from leaking. It is ideal for DJs who must monitor their mixes in loud environments. It helps contain the sound without the sound of the music spilling out and affecting those around them.
  • Open-back headphones have open backs that allow some sound to escape, which is beneficial for DJs who want to hear their environment as they mix. This type also gives a more natural-sounding audio reproduction.
  • Semi-open headphones combine closed-back and open-back headphones, with a solid back panel and open ear cups. It is ideal for DJs who want the isolation of a closed-back headphone with the sound quality reproduction of an open-back headphone.

What Are Studio Headphones?

Studio headphones are made for recording studios and general use. A lot of brands now use the term “studio” in the place of their everyday headphones.

Unlike DJ headphones, studio headphones don’t have a load of technical features or a unique mechanism. Instead, they play audio precisely as you’d expect, through both ears.

Main types of studio headphones

Regarding studio headphone design, there are three options: Closed-back on-ear, open-back on-ear, and in-ear.

  • Closed-back headphones are best for recording applications as they fully enclose the ears, and the padding around the ear helps to avoid spill, which is unwanted traces of the backing track leaking out and ending up on your recording.
  • Open-back cans tend to be lighter and, therefore, more comfortable to wear for extended periods, but they’re generally not as expected. They present a higher risk of audio spill, so they are more suitable for programming and mixing duties rather than straight recording. 
  • In-ear headphones, also known as in-ear monitors, are small headphones with similar portability to earbuds inserted in the ear canal. IEMs are higher-quality in-ear headphones used by audio engineers, musicians, and audiophiles.

Studio Headphones vs DJ Headphones

DJ and studio headphones are designed for different purposes. DJ headphones allow you to tailor your music experience completely – they are there to assist with the mixing process rather than provide an enjoyable listening experience.

On the other hand, studio headphones are designed to provide flat frequency response. This makes the listening experience completely authentic, allowing producers and studio members to spot flaws in a track before giving it the green light.

Here are some points which create the difference between DJ and Studio headphones:


Studio headphones have a higher power handling ability. As a result, they can produce much greater volumes and flat frequency responses, while the DJ headphones do not have a high power handling ability.

Build, Construction and Comfort

Firstly, because of the soft cushioning, which lines the ear cups in the case of DJ headphones. DJs perform for many hours and have more extended sets, and there are high chances of the headphones heating up, especially around the ears. These headphones not only provide comfortable ear padding but also minimizes heat dissipation. There are DJ headphones with Mic that you can use to communicate while jamming. 

So, for this reason, DJ headphones are comparatively much more comfortable to wear. If you’ve ever tried DJing while wearing studio headphones, chances are you will begin complaining about a headache after a particular time. Secondly, mixing with DJ headphones would give you a smooth and pain-free experience rather than the studio headphones.


Constructed with better quality materials and designed to have a compact nature is not an easy task. DJ headphones are costlier in comparison to studio headphones. It can be said that depending on the brand of DJ headphones, they will nearly always be more expensive than studio headphones.

Noise Isolation

Studio headphones provide the user with less noise isolation compared to DJ headphones. They are constructed to deliver a flat frequency response, meaning that a track will sound precisely the same as the way it is created.

DJs perform in front of huge crowds; sometimes, these crowds may be in small-spaced areas. In such cases, it becomes crucial to be able to hear your music and tracks distinctly. 

A DJ’s headphones block out external ambient noise, allowing them to give undivided attention to their music. Also, DJ headphones prevent noise from leaking out as well. 

Durability and Strength

DJ headphones have been designed and created with top-quality materials and can bear a fall much better than regular headphones. However, being careful and gentle with your pair is still just as important. 

On the other hand, studio headphones are a little more delicate and much less sturdy. These headphones usually aren’t foldable, unlike most travel-friendly DJ ones, so they can’t be squeezed into a compact arrangement and popped into your backpack.

Noise Cancellation

Noise cancellation is an essential feature for many headphone wearers. It cancels out any external noises, allowing us to focus on the music and nothing else truly.

The isolation works better on DJ headphones rather than studio headphones. DJs need to hear clearly what they are doing when playing in front of large crowds. Mixing tracks and delivering the best performance without noise cancellation will be hard.

Studio headphones can also provide noise cancellation, just not as effective. Most studio headphones have an open-back design, which allows air to pass through to the speaker. 

Conclusion | Can you use studio headphones to DJ?

While both types of headphones are pretty similar in manufacturing, they are intended for different purposes and are distinct. So, studio headphones are not used in place of DJ headphones, nor are DJ headphones in the studio’s place. Studio headphones are mainly used to create music. They come in handy for musicians when they need to hear the backing track while recording, allowing them to differentiate between instruments and vocals. Also, DJ headphones are beneficial if we are planning on performing live. So, choose according to your needs.

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