In all our headphone review days, there’s one category we just can’t get enough of. Low-cost, high-powered headphones aimed at the true musician or live music professional. Yep, we’re talking about not expensive headphones that work well for deejaying. We can name about five different sets of budget in-ear headphones at a low price range, but ask us to name even one set in our beloved category, and watch us fumble.
Actually, we do have one suggestion: The Shure SRH550DJ headphones, under $200 gem in the rough if we’ve ever seen one. For our full thoughts on this killer on-ear headphones, check below beyond the break!
Design and Comfort
From the ground up, Shure has worked to make these headphones ideal for the working deejay. For starters, these babies are on-ear, which though not as good for noise-cancellation, is perfect for a loud gig in which you must hear the mix as it is in the room. With that in mind, the ear cups also flip up at a whim’s notice, allowing the user to get an accurate feel of the current beat in one ear, while listening to the room with the other.
Best of all, the ear pads can be replaced or take out, though they won’t slide off during the middle of a gig. Aside from these features, the SRH550DJ headphones are somewhat lackluster in chic. They’re rugged and barebones, offering no additional frills, but a killer tight fit on the noggin. All in all, they won’t turn heads at the club, but if you’re turning records, we have a feeling you won’t care quite as much.
Performance and Sound Quality
We should mention right off the bat that these are a set of cans designed for DJs and other live musicians, even those holed up in the studio. Using these headphones with your iPhone or some MP3 player simply won’t produce the level of volume possible with an headphone amplifier. That being said, they still get adequately loud for all but the deafest of listeners, and in the studio, they really sine.
Perhaps one of the SRH550DJ’s biggest boons is its lack of distortion at volume. We had to work hard to get the highs to crack, and only managed to do so with some pretty high-voltage equipment. Likewise, the flatter, unemphasized high and low-end make for a better mixing performance with ambient noise around. That being said, the flatter tone may not appeal to the casual listener.
If you’re a DJ or live musician looking for an incredible set of headphones, something under $200 is a very small price to pay for the SRH550DJs. They’re rock-solid, designed for gig use, and will provide a superior sound to most other headphones in the price-range. For the average listener, the lackluster design and performance oriented sound quality may be a deterrent, but no matter how you slice it, these headphones offer exceptional quality for the buck.