The best you can do for 20 dollars!
These should suck more than they do.
Somehow, Monoprice makes a totally okay pair of DJ headphones that you can buy online for around $20.
And they cut many, many, many corners to get there. But there?s also a couple of really great things about them.
The Monoprice Hi-FI DJ Style Pro Over-Ear 8323 Headphones have a stupidly long name, and it seems like most people just call them the 8323?s. So that?s what I?ll do from now on.
They sell for between $17 and $25 online. Like all other Monoprice products, if you buy straight from their web site you can get a per-unit discount on a bulk order.
A lot of the product listings for these online are out of date, and don?t list the right accessories. So if you see one advertising a 10-foot cable?it?s not quite right.
The current version of these headphones comes with two 4-foot removable cables terminated in 3.5mm plugs. One of these cables has a one-button remote/microphone attached to it. That remote unit is too low on the cable, and sits near the bottom of my chest.
This is but one of the many quirks you?ll have to live with if you buy these.
The ear pad holes are barely big enough to be called over-ear.
So, what is a DJ Headphone?
Typically, DJ-style headphones are tuned with powerful sub-bass and low-bass frequencies, and have highs that are reduced. This is so that DJ?s can crank the volume up in loud environments to hear the bass correctly, and not destroy their hearing with piercing treble.
Believe it or not?the 8323?s totally nail the DJ sound signature. The sub bass and low bass are well-rendered, with just the right amount of oomph. The mids are nice and gentle with a big dip in the upper mids, and the treble is rolled-off and not at all sharp or bright.
I can turn these up louder than most of my other headphones without hating myself.
If you?re not using these as a tool in a club?they provide a nicely relaxed, very warm sound that I think will appeal to fans of Beats headphones. They?re very forgiving of badly-recorded and compressed material. They?re very non-fatiguing, and just north of boring in the mid and high ranges.
Usually cheap headphones have a sucked out or tinny-sounding midrange, but the mids here are nicely warm with only a little bleed-in from the bass frequencies. They?re more listenable than I expected. They?re the opposite of Audio-Technica?s typical bristling, clean, upper-mid focused sound.
Soundstage is very close to the head and intense, and although imaging is decent?these probably wouldn?t make for the best gaming or movie headphone.
If you just want some thumpy good bass in your ears and enough detail to hear the rest of the music, then these are fine.
My pair has a slight channel imbalance across certain midrange frequencies that slightly favors the right side. It?s not so much that I wanted to return the headphones, but something for the detail-obsessed among you to know about.
Most cheap headphones are either a v-shaped or tinny mess, and these are on the warm side of respectable, and relatively impressive for their price. They have a good facsimile of the DJ-style sound signature for way less money.
Do they sound better than more expensive headphones? No, not particularly! But they do sound much better than any other sub- $30 headphone I?ve ever heard. They?d also probably be really fun to rip open and mod, to mess with the sound signature.
These fold down in a number of ways!
These aren?t all that comfy.
Most of the problem comes down to the clamping force, which is super tight!
This clamp no doubt helps produce the fun bass response of these headphones, but the first thing you?ll notice when you put these on is how tight they are.
My pair has loosened up a little after a few days of use, but they?re still really clampy. The interior of the headband isn?t metal, so I doubt they?re going to loosen up any more.
The clamp situation isn?t helped that much by the stock ear pads. They?re covered in a cheap leatherette, and the foam inside isn?t all that impressive either. The openings are just barely big enough to fit around my ears, and the interiors of the pads are quite shallow.
If you?ve ever used an M50X or Sony 7506 and hated the feel of those pads, you?ll hate these too.
I actually like the headband pad a lot, and I?ll talk about that more in design below. It?s made of a shockingly good memory foam, and I wish the ear pads had the same foam inside them. I wish it ran the entire width of the band instead of just being in the center, because if you don?t get it placed just right for it to mold to your head, it?ll create a hot spot right at the top of your skull.
The headband adjustments provide a good large range?but I have to use them almost fully opened up on my larger-than-average head. So if you have a big head, be warned that these might not work for you!
These are fine for about 30 minutes, and then you?ll start to warm up/sweat around the ears and feel some minor discomfort from the clamp. Depending on the shape of your head and how much the clamp bothers you, you could probably get used to their fit over time?but they just don?t feel that awesome.
The ear pads and headband pad are both easy to replace. The ear pads pop off and the headband pad is glued into place?but easy to peel out.
Of course, if you spend money on third party pads, you?ve just destroyed the value of these headphones.
Isolation is average for this type of closed-back headphone. With the high clamp, the isolation would probably be better if the plastic material used in the ear cups wasn?t so cheap.
The 8323?s have a weird mix of cheap and awesome in their build.
The entire headphone is made from basic plastic. The ear cups have that horrible hollow sound when you tap them. The leatherette feels like really cheap vinyl. Two-thirds of the headband is made with a plastic core, and the center piece has a rubber core instead of the more-typical metal.
The cable is removable and non-proprietary.
The adjustment mechanisms are hilariously sturdy and clicky. Seriously. I wish the adjustment clicks on every pair of headphones were this secure.
The headband pad is made of some of the most impressive memory foam I?ve seen on a pair of headphones. You can squish your fingers into it and it takes forever to rebound. Which is amazing! I enjoy just squishing the headband foam. If you?re a ?like to pop bubble wrap? person, this headband pad is your new best friend.
I love the feel of these little pad things. I have more fun squishing them with my fingers than wearing them on my head.
Of course, my headband pad wasn?t glued in evenly when I received my pair, but a quick push on one side fixed that.
The headphones fold up in a number of ways. They fold flat. The cups swivel in all directions. You can do the ?football-style? fold. You can flip one side over or up for DJ-style monitoring, where you can listen to the room speakers and one headphone cup at the same time.
The overall design looks a lot like other popular studio headphones, such as the 7506, the M50X, or the Shure SRH 440?but it?s just a little smaller in all directions.
If these headphones were 25 percent larger and otherwise identical in build, a lot of their comfort issues would be reduced.
I wouldn?t throw these across a room but I?m fine having them in a bag. They?re as robust as something that costs $20 can be. It?s miraculous that the headband pad is so squishy, that the cable is removable, and that they fold in so many ways.
I imagine that when they inevitably break, Monoprice expects you?ll buy a new pair. They?re cheap enough that repairing them would be silly.
Also, they sit just far enough away from the head that you might feel/look a little silly while wearing them.
It?s really cool that Monoprice included two cables in the box.
But only one of them feels okay. The other one is hot garbage.
The cable that doesn?t have the built-in remote/mic is made out of absurdly thin wire and rubber. It feels like it?ll turn to ash if I blow on it too hard. It tangles up if I just think about looking at it.
The other cable is totally fine though. The play/pause button is hilariously big and doesn?t have the best feel to it, but it?s fine. Also, the cylinder that holds the button and the mic seems to be made out of metal?making this the only piece of metal in the whole pair of headphones that isn?t a screw or a plug end. Weird!
There?s also a snap-on 6.3mm adapter in the box.
You could buy a whole number of aftermarket cables that would work fine with these?but once again, you?d be destroying their decent value.
It?s kind of amazing these come with more than one cable.
These stick out pretty far from the sides of my head.
The Monoprice 8323?s are a totally fine cheap copy of real DJ headphones with more features than you?d expect for their $20 price tag.
They don?t sound very detailed, but their bass is fun and they?re still listenable overall. They?re not that comfy over long stretches, but the adjustment mechanisms and the headband pad are weirdly good. They?re built out of cheap plastic exclusively and one of the wires is made of weird dust spaghetti.
But you really can?t ask for more for $20.
These would be a fun cheap gift for the audiophile or beginner DJ in your life. An audiophile might scoff at all the same things I did, but they?ll probably also find all the cool things too. And they do the DJ sound signature well enough that they?d totally function in that particular setting?at least until you save up and buy an HD25 instead.
I wouldn?t use these for my personal listening. I wouldn?t use them for gaming or movies. But I?ve had a lot of fun reviewing them, and I?ll keep them around just to pull them out and press down on the headband pad every once in a while. I?ve received $20 of value just during the time I?ve reviewed them these last few days, so that?s great.
I wore them during the writing of this whole review and now I have to take them off for a minute because my head is mildly displeased with me.