There is one major reason DJs wear headphones while playing, and that is for previewing the upcoming track.
Special DJ headphones are built in such a way that you can bend and fold it in different ways like the Numark Red Wave. They are durable and flexible. Inside overhead section is usually steel body which makes it strong enough for heavy use.
In a typical DJ booth, you see decent sized monitor speakers installed either in the front or on the side of DJ. Main sound has to be clear and delay-free in order to maintain proper mixing. That’s why monitor speakers are mounted so close.
The question is, why do we wear headphones on only one side.
Above is a picture of me DJ’ing in Atlantic City for an after concert party. I have the headphone exactly on one ear.
I was listening to the main sound thru monitor speakers on my left and getting ready to mix into the next track.
DJ mixers have queing control knobs that you can adjust the headphone volume and mixing preview level. If necessary, headphone volume can be turned up so you can hear sufficiently when main sound is high.
A DJ puts one ear cup on one side and leaves the other free. Left listens to already playing track and the other previews the upcoming one thru the headphone.
Nowadays, digital DJs don’t even need to carry headphones. Software does the job with perfect beatmatching and mixing skills. So, no need to preview anything. Check out PartyCloud.fm and you’ll know what I mean.
My advice to all who love music and wanna be a real good DJ.. Please use DJ headphones and learn how to properly mix and beatmatch.
That’s when you call yourself a “DJ” !