3 Main Reasons Why DJs Wear Headphones [Updated 2020]

Almost every DJ you see at music festivals, clubs, or even house parties are wearing headphones.

If you are new to the craft, or just interested in knowing, you are probably wondering why.

They are not used for blocking the crowd noise or protecting their ears from blasting speakers either, and there are way more essential purposes to why DJs use them.

Why do DJs use headphones?

Well, headphones are not just some kind of DJ fashion trend.

Headphones are essential if you want to mix two different tracks accurately when doing live shows.

Headphones are necessary if a DJ wants to create smooth transitions and keep the people in sync.

Some professional DJs who have their sets locked down might not need them, but beginners and club DJs that often change their playlists every night will find headphones much useful for mixing music live.

It does not have to be big studio headphones. As the trend is changing, some modern DJs are even using Apple Airpods.

3 Main Reasons Why DJs Use Headphones

Alright, let’s find out the reason behind every DJ wearing headphones as if their lives depend on it.

Cueing Songs

why do radio djs wear headphones and use macbooks

One of the main goals of a DJ is to mix different songs and play nonstop music by creatively transitioning from one song to another seamlessly.

If you are a club DJ, you want to keep the dancefloor moving to a consistent beat.

If there are any tempo changes between songs, a DJ has to creatively match tempo and match the beat of a song to another.

To do that, DJs need to set cue points from where to begin the next song and when to end the song that is currently playing.

With the use of headphones, the DJ can hear both tracks playing, without the crowd knowing.

The sound that is coming out of the venue’s speakers is different from what a DJ can monitor through the use of headphones.

Headphones help the DJ make a plan on how to integrate the next song without the crowd knowing.

Experienced DJs can do well without relying much on headphones, mainly if they already played the same songs a few times.

Most DJ apps and software let you save the cue points you set, and it helps DJs a lot when they already know where the cue points are when beginning a set.

Nowadays, some DJ software can set cue points for you, and automatically sync two songs together.

However, purists still want to use their own creativity when transitioning from track to track at live shows.

Monitoring the Sound

what do djs do and what do djs wear besides headphones

Although the venue has speakers, a DJ still needs headphones to monitor their sound clearly without the interference of noise.

The crowd can get loud in these shows, so the DJ will need headphones to monitor how the sound is coming out, especially when using EQ and adding effects.

On the other hand, headphones help a little to protect the ears from being exposed to loud noise blasting out the club’s speakers.


why Some DJs Only Wear One Side of their Headphones - why only one earcup

Headphones do look good, and even as a regular person, you use headphones for fashion purposes.

When we go out of the house to ride the subway or walk around town, we mainly wear headphones for listening to music, but sometimes it can also become a fashion accessory.

When buying headphones, we don’t only test the sound, but we also base our purchase on how it looks, right?

The same goes for DJs.

Their headphones are not just essential for mixing and monitoring, but also as an accessory to improve their aesthetic and stage presence.

Some DJs also have headphone sponsors, so even if they don’t need it, they have to wear it to make their sponsors happy.

How Come Some DJs Only
Wear One Side of their Headphones?

how to use headphones djing - why do djs pretend to turn knobs

Sometimes you will see DJs only wearing one side of the headphones, and that is not just for style purposes.

Because what they hear through headphones is different from what is coming out of the main speakers, they only need one side of the headphones when creating cue points.

They also want to hear the sound that is coming out of the speakers, so they tend to use only one headphone channel so that they can monitor the audio.


DJs use headphones for several reasons.

To give you a recap, DJs where headphones primarily for cueing tracks and monitoring their sound.

As headphones are part of the trademark DJ look, some DJs still use them even if they don’t have to.

Table of Contents