Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pioneer HDJ-2000 Headphones

I am in an extremely good mood right now. I just got a set of HDJ-2000 headphones.

I've always been a fan of Pioneer's HDJ-1000 series, in some respects. I love the sound quality that they had. I've tried Sony headphones many times, which have a pretty good name in the industry, but I just never really enjoyed them. I always felt happier going back to the Pioneer brand. In fact, I've owned three sets over the past ten years.

The problem with the 1000's though is that there was a serious design flaw. The parts connecting the earpieces to the frame are made of plastic. And they broke quite easily. I got my first two pairs at the same time, back around 2002 or 2003. I ordered a set from DJMR, who then wrote back and said that they were not available. I ordered a set from overseas, and as soon as that set showed up, DJMR sent me a record order with a set inside. I didn't bother returning the second pair, figuring that someday I'd need a second set anyway after I wore out the first set, and besides, it's always good to have extra pairs in the studio.

Before long, I became a victim to the broken plastic problem in one set. I wasn't really pulling on it at the time either - the headphones got knocked off a table onto a carpet floor, and broke. I managed to put them back together with a bit of crazy glue and part of a plastic bread bag tab, to help reinforce them. Unfortunately, between my two sets, I managed to have several more accidents, from pulling them off at customs in airports, to having other DJ's break them during sets. One set got repaired so many times that I finally threw it out and ordered a third. I know - seems crazy, but as I said, I really liked them. You can see a couple photos below which show where they always crack, and a crack that I fix and then covered with the plastic tab for reinforcement (in retrospect, I should have maybe used a dime).

About a month ago, I was doing some work in the studio and once again, had an accident with the older of my two pairs. So I called the music shop and asked them to order another set. They replied that the model had been replaced and only the 2000's were available. Same specs, but they looked different. I went online and looked at a photo, and didn't really like the look, but I went ahead and ordered them anyway. They showed up this week, and I opened them a few minutes ago.

The box that they came in is really quite nice. Sort of reminds me of the classy sort of packaging that Apple uses with iPods. But the packaging is going in the garbage, so that's pretty irrelevant.

The first really pleasant discovery was that the cord is detachable. If you break the cord, you don't have to replace the headphones - just buy a new cord. And the connection is very, very high quality, and very solid. Not the sort of thing that will ever wiggle and cause shorts, or fall out accidentally.

The real surprise was when I put them on. Soft padding, instead of the hard padding that the 1000's had. This model is extremely comfortable compared to the HDJ-1000's.

So we have the same high specs on the drivers in the headphones, a solid brand name, and a couple of great improvements. Pioneer really listened to feedback on this one. If you want to see a bit more detail, you can click on any of the photos in this post and see them in larger size.

- Lightweight magnesium design
- Protein leather surface with memory foam padding
- Removable Mini XLR connector
- 'i-hinge' design with 90° auto return
- Type: Fully enclosed dynamic headphones

- Frequency response: 5 Hz to 30,000 Hz
- Impedance: 36 ohms
- Sensitivity: 107 dB
- Maximum power input: 3,500 mW
- Driver units: 50 mm dome type
- Cord: 1.2-m-long one-side connection coiled type (extended length 3 m)
- Plug: 3.5 mm 3P mini-plug (gold-plated, threaded type)
- Weight: 290 g (without cord)
- Accessories: Carrying pouch, 6.3 mm 3P plug adaptor (gold-plated, threaded type)

I'll be using these both in live performance settings, and also in the studio. And the odd time when I'm in the house and have time to relax and listen to music, I'll use them in the living room. The current price in Canada is about $320.

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