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Best Headphones for Students Learning Music Production

student listening to music through headphones

A music producer without headphones is like a race car driver without a steering wheel.

Headphones provide a crucial link to the mix, allowing music producers and DJs to make strategic track selections and tiny changes to the audio. They are an essential tool for seamlessly mixing tracks together and producing music with software.

DJing and music production is a multi-sensory skill. It involves hand-eye coordination, intelligent tune selection, mixing skills, motor skills and listening skills. 

You can’t underestimate how important it is to be able to hear the mix clearly, regardless of whether you’re in your bedroom or a loud venue.  A proper pair of headphones will keep your concentration on track for nailing the mix!

Here, we’ll be reviewing five of the best pairs of headphones for students who are learning how to produce music at college or home:

  1. Sennheiser HD25
  3. Pioneer HDJ-X10
  4. Technics EAH-DJ1200
  5. Reloop SHP8

1. Sennheiser HD25

Sennheiser HD25 music headphones

Sennheiser’s legacy is formidable and these awesome pro monitor headphones weigh in at an attractive price. They are primarily designed for monitoring but have become a prime choice for DJs and music producers around the world. 

  • On-ear headphones
  • Drivers: 41mm
  • SPL: 120dB
  • Frequency Range: 16 – 22000 Hz
  • Flat frequency response with minimal low-end and high-end boosts

The HD25s have an exceptionally high SPL of 120dB, articulate frequency response with some bass and high-end boosting (great for DJs) and a comfortable, traditional design with soft foam earpads. They’re famed for their smooth and detailed audio quality.

There are 3 varieties of the Sennheiser HD25s, the Light version, standard version and Plus version. The differences between them include their accessories, e.g. spare earpads, cables and carry bags, and also that the Light version doesn’t have swivel earpads – they’re fixed instead (but still adjustable). 

They’re super-light-weight and comfortable to wear for long periods, which is very important. 


  • Lightweight 
  • Excellent frequency response
  • High max volume
  • Comfortable earpads


  • Light version doesn’t swivel 


AIAIAI music production headphones set

AIAIAI’s strapline is that their products are built by DJs for DJs, so you have little to worry about here if you’re looking for headphones specifically for DJing and music production.

These ultra-cool headphones are reasonably priced despite their boutique image and minimalist branding. They have awesome baseline specs but are easily expanded too with customisable parts. 

  • On-ear headphones
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • SPL: 117dB
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20000 Hz
  • Flat frequency response with considerable low-end boost and high-end boost

At their core, these are powerful headphones with some added innovations built for DJs. One is the cable lock, which locks your headphone cable into the port to prevent it from coming out mid-performance. The synthetic vegan leather cushions are super-soft and possess excellent sound-isolation properties. The driver itself is great; 40mm with a titanium coating to reduce distortion.

You might be surprised that these headphones don’t swivel or flip, but in reality, it’s much easier to just push the headphone off your ear if you want to free one up for listening to your monitors. 

Something else worth mentioning is that these AIAIAI TMA headphones do boost bass and high-end a fair bit. 

This really helps DJs hear the main components of a track – the bassline and high-end percussion and hi-hats, even when surrounded by loud ambient noise. 


  • Modular customisable setup 
  • Super-soft sound-isolating vegan leather cups
  • High max volume
  • Lockable cable


  • Lack of swivel cups might bother some DJs

3. Pioneer HDJ-X10

Pioneer’s obsession with setting ‘the professional standard’ has been incredibly successful over the years. These headphones, like many other Pioneer products, have become somewhat of a benchmark for other brands to aim at. 

They pack some serious innovation into their rather industrial, meaty hide. 

  • Over-ear headphones
  • Drivers: 50mm 
  • SPL: 106dB
  • Frequency Range: 5 Hz to 40 kHz
  • Flat frequency response with low-end and high-end boost

Pioneer have packed 50mm drivers into these over-ear headphones. They’re big and serious looking and have serious specs to match. The over-ear pads fully enclose the ears, useful for music producers that need comprehensive sound isolation. 

Pioneer has also attained an extra-wide frequency response that extends way beyond what humans can physically even hear. This reduces distortion across the audible spectrum virtually to nil, even at max volume. 

They have swivel earphones too and are tested using US Mil-Spec drop tests so are supposed to be ultra-durable. The earphones themselves have a special coating that makes them extremely resilient to decay and deterioration, which is awesome. 


  • Large over-ear design
  • 50mm drivers with extra-wide frequency response 
  • Extremely durable
  • Smooth bass and high-end boost 


  • Fairly large – not everyone’s cup of tea

4. Technics EAH-DJ1200

These modernised successors to the famous long-standing RP-DJ1200 headphones combine the class of Technics products with some much-needed updates. 

Technics are perhaps most famous for the creation of the SL-1200 and SL-1210 turntables that captured the hearts and minds of millions of DJs and musicians worldwide. These headphones certainly don’t let their reputation down. 

  • On-ear headphones
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • SPL: 106dB
  • Frequency Range: 8 Hz – 30000 Hz
  • Flat frequency response with slight low and high-end boost

These old-school come new-school style headphones are simple but effective for DJs. They have multi-angled swivelling earphones with soft on-ear pads for quality sound isolation. The headphone cable locks into the headphones to prevent it from coming loose mid-performance. 

40mm drivers provide crystal-clear audio with smooth bass response and some high-end boost to accentuate percussion and leads. However, they are flatter than other headphones and have a more traditional stereo image, which some prefer. 


  • Flexible swivel design
  • Lockable headphone lead
  • High-quality 40mm drivers 
  • Flat and unbiased frequency response 


  • Some might prefer more bass 

5. Reloop SHP8

Reloop is a veteran audio-tech and DJ hardware manufacturer that has produced some real gems over the years. The SHP8s represent an excellent stab at innovating headphones specifically for DJs, namely with the implementation of optional bass boosts that can be applied individually to each earphone. 

  • Over-ear headphones
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • SPL: 96dB
  • Frequency Range: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Flat frequency response with optional 3dB/6dB bass boost for each earphone

These are an awesome pair of headphones that have a little trick up their sleeve. Each earcup can be adjusted individually to accentuate bass by either 3dB or 6dB. This is very useful when trying to mix tunes with low bass levels or when the bassline doesn’t have superb definition (or just if you simply want more bass). 

Other than that, the SHP8s have good 40mm drivers and an over-ear design for enhanced sound isolation. The earcups can be rotated freely too and the casing itself is aluminium, not plastic. The earcups themselves are made from high-tech synthetic coated leather that is wear-and-tear resistant. 


  • Innovative bass boost function 
  • Comfortable over-ear design 
  • Swivel earcups 
  • Aluminium casing 


  • Over-ear doesn’t suit everyone


The Pioneer HDJ-X10s are formidable and hard to beat. They should last anyone years, even with heavy usage. Dependable and high-tech in every regard, they’re probably some of the best DJ headphones around right now. 

With their custom, minimalist design, the AIAIAI TMA-2-DJ headphones sound and look awesome. Their modular customisable parts are very cool and have proven an instant hit with DJs worldwide. 

From veterans Technics, the Technics EAH-DJ1200 are straightforward, high-quality DJ headphones with superb, rich but flat frequency response. 

No headphone list is complete without a pair of Sennheisers and the Sennheiser HD25s are amongst their best offerings for DJs. They’re reliable and well-loved by many studio producers and DJs alike. 

Finally, with a habit of innovation, Reloop’s SHP8s have an awesome bass-boost feature that works really well. 

Student Headphones: What to Look Out For

Headphones come in a variety of shapes and sizes ranging from small on-ear headphones to larger open and closed over-ear headphones. 

Format and Shape

Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that most DJs use over-ear or on-ear closed-back headphones with large, soft earpads. 

Open-back headphones are more optimised for studio use and hi-fi listening – they’re generally ruled out for DJ use (with some exceptions), but both types are great for music production listening.

Larger foam earpads ensure good noise isolation, which is pivotal when playing in loud environments. Softer, sound-insulated pads will muffle external sounds and allow you to concentrate on the mix. 

Large pads are more effective here and thus, most DJ earphones are closed large on-ear or over-ear headphones – all headphones in this list are either on-ear or over-ear closed-back headphones. 

On-Ear vs Over-Ear

On-ear headphones sit across the ears without fully enclosing them. Soft foam pads ensure that noise isolation is still solid with on-ear headphones but they are a bit freer and allow you to hear some of what is going on around you. 

Over-ear headphones are the more comprehensive option for sound isolation and will shield you from external noise by covering the whole ear. 

Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference. DJs will often have to keep one ear on the monitor speakers anyway, so fully enclosed over-ear headphones are not always necessary. 

But, you might prefer to be able to totally escape the ambient noise to hear the mix isolated from the front-of-house speakers and monitors. 

Besides, when you drop the beat, you can always take the headphones off!

Technical Specifications

The technical specifications of quality headphones (including those on this list) do not tend to vary hugely and most pro-level headphones are tightly matched in the core specs.

Headphones have many technical specifications but the most relevant 3 are:


SPL stands for sound pressure level and is a measure of speaker sensitivity. The higher the SPL, the more sensitive the headphones are and the louder they will go. 

The maximum SPL of most headphones is 120dB, equivalent to a nearby thunderclap or pneumatic drill. If you listen at that volume for long then you will damage your hearing. 

Anything above 95dB is acceptable. 

Frequency Response and Range

Frequency response refers to how well the headphones produce sounds at different frequencies. 

Most DJ headphones are built like monitor headphones, and thus, they have quite a flat frequency response to avoid biasing different frequencies. That said, many DJ headphones are tuned to give the bass a boost whilst also lifting the higher frequencies for enhanced clarity. 

Frequency range refers to the range of frequencies that speakers can produce. The human ear can hear frequencies between 20Hz and 20kHz. 

However, you might see frequency responses listed as way beyond this, e.g. the Pioneer HDJ-X10s tout a frequency response of 5 Hz to 40 kHz – way beyond what we can actually hear. 

The benefit of this is that it vastly reduces the distortion of what we can hear. 

Driver Size

The driver is the speaker itself encased within the headphones. Larger drivers generally emit greater bass with greater loudness. 

Most DJ headphone drivers are at least 30mm in size, though the majority are 40mm and some extend to 50mm. 

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