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Headphone Group Test 2010
Reviewer: Gizmo • Date: May 2010

Summing up

I've never been that fussy about headphones. My false logic was that I went through far too many pairs to spend big money on them, so I consider this test to be as unbiased and non-comparative as possible. I have no axe to grind with one brand over another and have simply judged each as I find, and importantly come away with a balanced opinion of them all.

Here's what I learned - there's a core set of headphones that are all very similar in quality, design and price. And while I think these headphones are all of a high standard overall, they generally fall behind the ones that dare to be different.

I'd also say that despite the wide range of prices and styles, ALL of them can be used to successfully rock a party. It then comes down to exactly what you're looking for from a set of headphones. Hopefully I've gone into just enough detail for you to pull out what you need. But it's really hard to pick out one favourite from all of these, so I'll tell what stands out in my humble opinion.

The Good

• Ultrasone DJ1 Pro - A lavish package with spare ear pads and cables all wrapped up in a hard case. And they're incredibly comfortable and sound amazing.

• Sennheiser HD25-1 II - Rapidly becoming a standard and for good reason. Rugged as hell, super light and isolate better than anything.

• Pioneer HDJ-2000 - We're in over the top luxury territory here. They're head sex.

• VMODA Crossfades - as a package, it's an amazing mixture of looks, specification and value for money.

• Beyerdynamic DT1350 - Utterly amazing in everyway, but you have to dig deep.

• Generous ear pieces - They tend to isolate better, keep the driver from touching your ear and feel way more comfortable.

• Mono switches - Thumbs up to those cans that have this feature.

• Replaceable cables - While they're largely proprietary, being able to change a broken cable save your headphones from the bin.

• Right angled plugs - When you use headphone that have them, it makes you wonder why all cans don't have them.

The Bad

• Shure SRHDJ750 - For being just so damned small.

• Stanton DJ1 Pro 2000 - For not sounding as good as it could.

• Sony MDR-V700 - quite uncomfortable and a proven weak hinge.

• Most hinge/swivel mechanisms - Pretty much guaranteed to break. It's time for a rethink here.

• Phono plugs - In a time where phones and mp3 players are a permanent fixture, having to use a clumsy adaptor adds stress to the headphone ports on these devices. They're in the minority, they should be swapped for the minijack/screw adaptor arrangement.

The Ugly

• Ortofon O2 - Not so much ugly, just really bland on the eye.

• Ultrasone DJ 1 Pro - the big pearly cups really detract from the overall excellence of the package.

The Bottom Line

As I've previously stated, I think all the headphones in this group can be happily used by any DJs. It really does come down to your personal needs. So if you were expecting me say Headphone X is the best then you're wrong. I can state that the Beyerdynamic DT1350, Ultrasone DJ1 Pro, Pioneer HDJ-2000 and Sennheiser HD25-1 IIs are my favourite. And if pressed to pick a pair to become my day to day cans, then I'd probably go for the Sennheiser HD25s. But they have to go back. Bugger.

UPDATE: I actually bought a pair of limited edition Adidas HD25s. Yes that's how much I like them.


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