The Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphone

I've been listening to a lot of mid-priced, sealed headphones lately, and these just keep jumping out at me. They say DJ on the side and have a mono switch, but I'm not buying it ... these are just plain good headphones.

Pioneer, eh? Who'da thunk it.

The Pioneer HDJ-2000 ($450 MSRP, $349 Street)
This full-size, sealed headphone is designated as a DJ headphone by Pioneer; and they do have a mono switch, swiveling earpieces, and surprisingly small folding size. But there's simply no reason avid listeners should shy away from the "DJ" moniker as these are quite good performers in the category of all full-sized, sealed headphones in just about every way.

Styling, Ergonomics, and Build Quality
The mechanical design of these headphones is quite unusual and very successful, in my opinion. The middle section of the headband is a soft molded rubbery material with a metal band embedded, which provides the spring for the clamping force. The inside of the middle section has a pleather covered pad. The outer sections of the headband are rigid and contain the sliders for the headphone adjustment. Overall, the curvature of the headband itself is quite narrow, and though it appears like it may be too small for some heads, my modestly larger-than-normal head found them an easy fit.

The hinging mechanism attaching the earpiece to the headband have a rather long arm and its shape when unfolded allows the outward distance needed to get from the close-to-the-head headband around to the swivel on the outside of the earpiece. This unusual design gives the HDJ-2000 a very low profile look. Many full-sized headphones look and feel quite bulky on the head with large headbands that stick out quite a distance. Not so with the Pioneers, these appear much smaller on the head than most full-size headphones. With the earpieces folded up into the space within the headband for storage and transport they are quite compact.

The earpieces swivel in a couple of ways so that one earpiece can be held up to the ear comfortably, but the configuration on the head for these cans when using one earpiece only does not feel very stable or comfortable to me. I would steer DJs who want to wear the cans with one ear only to the Sennheiser HD 25II-1, Beyerdynamic DT 1350 and DJX-1, or Monster Beats Pro. The Beyer DT 1350 sounds the best to me.

The excellent ergonomics of the Pioneer HDJ-2000 would be for naught if the cosmetics weren't up to snuff, but I can gladly report these cans are very nicely finished and construction appears to be of good materials. Most parts appear to be high quality synthetics of various types, but the outer main components of the hinge are cast magnesium. These cans appear quite durable.

Both the earpads and cable are removable and replacement parts are available (pads #HDJ-EP01; cable #HDJ-CA01). The cable uses a mini-XLR, and is compatible with the AKG Quincy Jones Q701 cable, which are non-coiled cables available in 10' and 20' lengths ... they are, however, bright lime-green. The stock cable is terminated with an 1/8" mini-plug, and a screw on 1/8" to 1/4" adaptor is included.

There are a couple of mentions out on the internet of poor quality wiring in these cans. I did partly disassemble the headphones for a look. The cable going over the top through the headband appears to be a small diameter coaxial cable with adequate strain relief and cable guidance. It does seem like the cable gets a bit cramped when the headband adjustment is fully retracted. I would store them with 1/4' remaining on the adjustment to put less stress on the cable. Replacing the cable appears to be possible as many parts are screwed together, but not necessarily easy. I stopped investigating when I found I'd have to remove the adhesively applied headband pad to look into it further.

Comfort and Isolation
The ear-cups on these cans are fairly small and not very roomy. While I would consider them circum-aural (around the ear), they do touch my ears and press in modestly. People with large ears or ears that stick out significantly might find them uncomfortable; most people will find them a bit confining and possibly uncomfortable for listening sessions of longer than an hour. The headband pad is relatively small and does rest mostly on the top of your head, but it is fairly plush and supple. I would characterize these headphones as middle of the road in comfort --- easily tolerable, but not really comfortable.

The isolation of these headphones is a bit above average for a headphone of this type. Good, but not great.

There have been numerous reports of fake Pioneer DJ headphones, primarily the HDJ-1000, so I would be sure to order from an authorized dealer. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

maverickronin's picture

Its good to see someone finally do some writeups on headphones that aren't very well known. When they're expensive and not from a band well know for that sort of thing they have a tendency to fly under the radar.

There are probably some hidden gems out there that don't get any love online.

natal's picture

the KRK 8400 or 6400 for review? They look like phones with good isolation which I'm looking for but I'm not sure about the sound quality. I don't live near a dealer to find out. I really like the thorough reviews and comments here.

Armaegis's picture

Thanks for the link to my review/comparison thread. Man, now I have to go update that thing and make it look like I know what I'm talking about :)

Armaegis's picture

I just noticed the link to the Skratchworx review is broken. Here's the correct one:

Armaegis's picture

This is my mod to alleviate the bass rolloff, which brings it up considerably:

audiophilephotography's picture

How do these compare to the Philips Fidelio M1? Or the L1, for that matter (I hear you have a production model L1?)? How about other popular headphones at the price point, like the k550 or the new Polk noise canceling cans? Thanks you!

seecesar's picture

There is a hinge problem on these headphones. I had the 1000's and loved the sound so I upgraded to the 2000's. My 1000's snapped on me right by the hinge and just the other day the hinge part broke on these too! They broke when I took them off my head.

I opened the headset and I was soooooo surprised by the thin, flexible and not very DJ quality plastic that was holding this together. I am soooo mad that Pioneer would have such a design! Don't spend your money on these unless you are willing to take the risk of replacing 240 dollar headset. The sound is great but the durability is horrible! I looked to see if I can fix it myself but it seems like these are like a horse with a broken leg. Look up the problem on Youtube.

I have talked to several people who have had the same problem. Also, I contacted Pioneer and was told that they would not do anything to replace them.

bh_josdan's picture

Pads #HDJ-EP01 is compatible with the  HDJ-1000?