What is it?
The Ultrasone DJ1 Pro Headphones are high-end surround sound headphones. The headphones come with a carrying case, replaceable earcups, two deatachable headphone cables, and an instruction manual. You may ask, why an instruction manual, and why would headphones cost over $200? These questions were quickly answered during testing.
As a DJ, I am in a DJ booth for 5 hour (and longer) shifts, mixing music on a loud club system. I control the monitor speaker and the headphone volumes in order to mix my tracks together. The louder the volumes of both, the more damage I am doing to my ears. This equation is why I quickly learned that these headphones were worth the price.
With their patented S-Logic technology, the DJ1 pro headphones produce a natural surround sound coming from the front and bouncing off your ear canal, rather than driving directly to the middle of the ear. Listening to beats in the headphones, there is a clearer separation of the sounds, which would allow a DJ to monitor at lower volumes and protect their hearing. Switching back and forth between different pairs of headphones throughout testing, I quickly realized that the DJ1 Pros worked at lower volume than my comparison Sony, Koss, and Technics headphones (Yes - I carried 4 pairs of headphones with me to club gigs).
An even more soothing test is my nightly deafness check. As you are driving to the club, listen to music on your stereo at a low but comfortable volume. Note the setting where you can still hear the music, yet talk to someone else in the car. After DJing (or dancing), while driving home - turn the stereo to the same volume setting and see how jacked your ears are after the night. Can you still hear and understand the music at the same low volume? Normally after spinning a long shift with my older headphones, I would have to increase the volume on the car stereo. When testing the DJ1 Pros, I was able to maintain the same (preclubbing) volume on the car stereo. My light guy even commented, offhandedly, that I kept the monitor speaker at a lower volume on the nights I was testing the DJ1Pro.
The manual also mentions that on the protection front, the headphone drivers are made with Space Shuttle grade Mu metal which reduces radiation by 98%. Granted, I worry more about radiation from my mobile phone, but it's still nice that Ultrasone paid attention to this. Another sign of quality are the connections. Another set of headphones I use, which have a detachable cable, employ a click-in cable with a piece of plastic holding it in place. The detachable cables for Ultrasone DJ1Pros are gold plated and screw-in - which insures a solid and unbreakable connection. For a DJ like me who is known to bounce up and down while spinning, this is essential.
Outside the club, I normally don't listen to music in headphones (the joy of not living in an apartment), so I decided to test them while listening to a variety of types of music. I noticed a real difference when compared to other headphones. It wasn't just a clear separation of frequencies, it was a fullness of sound at a lower level of volume. Imagine being in a club where you can feel and hear the music, but still be able to talk to the person next to you. The DJ1Pro is the headphone equivalent, a full range of sound at a comfortable (and low volume).
For durability, I simply carried the headphones with me for a month to see how they held up. I abuse my headphones (which is why I used to love the $6 replacement fee for Koss headphones). The DJ1Pros come with a nice zippered carrying case which keeps the phones pristine in transit. The case holds the additional ear cups and cables that might be needed.
Critiques of Ultrasone DJ1 Pro Headphones
With 15 years of DJing, I have gone through many pairs of headphones. The Ultrasone DJ1 Pro is one of the best, if not the best sounding pair I have ever used. The surround sound technology allows a lower volume to have the same effect as other headphones at a higher volume. To be able to DJ a full night and leave the booth with no hearing fatigue is a testament to this. These headphones are not inexpensive, but its one of those times where if you want quality, you pay for what you get.
What is it: high end surround sound headphones for DJs
Who is it for: DJs and music lovers willing to pay for high quality headphones
How long does it take to set up: 10 seconds to plug in
What is required for its use: an audio source with a headphone plug
Difficulty level: 1/5 (1 is easy, 5 is difficult)