Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones Review

I owned the Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones for twenty years. So I’ve used them with numerous and varied CD players, iPods, mixing boards, headphone amps, and touring preamps. We found them to be exceptional audio devices in numerous aspects on our mobile disc jockey gigs.

These dynamic earphones offer probably the best sound of any unit in their price class. They reproduce the high frequencies clearly, and not too strong on the bass, especially once you’ve adapted to listening to the Sony MDR-V500DJ. But the bass level can be regulated with an equalizer.

Actually, the reduced bass output makes these pro DJ phones quite suitable for mixer monitor listening, since many DJ mixers tend to be heavy on the bass anyhow. I found this mobile gig audio gear to be the best-sounding for the cost, and I’ve owned many cans, from Apple, Koss, RCA, and Grado, over the past four decades.

Given the relatively cheap price, I didn’t find too much to gripe about in them, except that the pads wear out rather quickly (after only two years). I’ve had to replace them on my set several times now. But replacements can be gotten for roughly $10 a pair. So this deficiency is minor.

So if $50 to $100 is all you’d want to spend on a decent pair of earphones, then I’d highly recommend the MDR-V500DJs. For that cost, you get a fairly flat and durable pair of quality audio equipment.


Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages of the Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones

  • Lightweight DJ headphones.  I found these extremely light on the gigs; especially after having adapted to wearing the Koss Tech 2 for eleven years prior. This offering is even lighter than my Sennheiser HD-650.  Easy to whip on and off while going between cuing music and accepting requests from party patrons.
  • Long wearing comfort.  Thus, I could wear these for many hours at a stretch without discomfort. The music will fatigue your head before these phones fatigue your ears.
  • Noise reducing.  They reduced surrounding noise adequately, which is a feature their closed-air design. They employ a black metal plate that encloses the driver speaker in each earpiece, and keeps program sound in, and ambient surround noises out.
  • Soft muffs.  There are foamy, soft earcushions, coated with a thin, highly flexible black film that gives them a soft, leathery feel, further enhancing the comfort level.
  • Circular over-the-ear cans / cups.  The black ear cushions sport circular-shaped openings, that supply additional comfort when wearing these headphones.
  • Over-ear design.  The cushions have oval-shaped openings that work well as an ear-surrounding or over-the-ear design.  Much better for disc jockeys than earbuds.
  • Drivers positioned very close to ear entrance.  The round and soft cushions are medium-sized in circumference, but not terribly deep. Thus, the front of the driver speaker touches my ear. But again with the overall softness of the pads, this does not interfere with comfortable listening for long periods for me.
  • Adjustable size headband.  Light enough and the MDRV500DJs offer a wide enough range of headband adjustment, that each can does not press too hard against my eyeglasses. Thus, I need not remove my glasses at all while listening.
  • Same soft padding on headband as found on ear cushions.  The headband includes spongy soft padding as well that further enhances overall comfort. These phones indeed feel as comfortable as they sound good.
  • Look as good as they sound.  They look like they sound as well. The unit is black with silver trim, with a red and gold “Digital” sticker on the back of each phone, that gives them a modern, hi-tech appearance.
  • Compact, fold-up speakers.  It offers “retractable” earpieces. These can fold up inside the headband that shrinks the size of the overall unit down to a small enough size to fit in the included small black pouch.
  • Very sensitive, easily driven with low power, and lots of volume.  The MDR-V500DJ plays sufficiently loud, with fairly wide dynamic range over most of the audio frequency band. This suits them well for widely varying musical volume levels such as found in classical music, yet allows them to produce the very loud, continuous program of pop and hip-hop tunes.
  • Exceptional headroom.  Can play sufficiently loud, with the wide dynamic range over most of the audio frequency band.
  • Plenty of volume and treble.  For pop music listening, these play loud enough to hurt the ears.
  • Repairable coil cord.  While the connecting audio cable is not detachable via unplugging it, replacement is not terribly difficult.  New cables are readily available as well from numerous Internet vendors, even today, nearly two decades since Sony introduced the MDR-V500DJ headset.
  • Non symmetrical shaped earpieces.  Can be worn with equal comfort either way (left earphone on left ear, or left earphone on right ear). The angle adjustment on each earpiece probably accounts for this nice feature that I utilize when hearing those cheaper hit compilation CDs, where the stereo left and right channels are mastered backwards from the original LP or single versions.
  • Noise isolating.  Reduce surrounding noise pretty well, which is a feature the closed-air design that they employ. They use a metal plate that boxes in the driver speaker in each earpiece, and keeps sound both in and out.  Thus, there’s not much audio spill with this model. These are a good choice to listen to when other people are close by and do not wish to be disturbed.
  • Flat sounds great.  There’s no need to use an equalizer to cut down on the bass response of the MDR-V500DJ headphones. They sound pretty good with “flat” music sources indeed. While a bit strong on the mid-range audio, they’re not so bad that they require an equalizer, though one does make them sound spectacular when you lower the mid-range a bit.


Disadvantages, Cons, Limitations, and Problems of the Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones

  • Bigger ear openings needed.  These openings for the ears are rather small, such that my ears just barely fit inside. Thus the inner edges of the leathery cushion rims always touch my ears. This might be a problem with other headphones, whose earcushions are not as soft as those found here. But this causes no discomfort with these studio monitors.
  • Short life ear cushions.  The ear cushions begin flaking and pealing only a year or two after purchase. They’ve left little black specks in our hair.  They
  • Non detachable audio cable.  The cables are more difficult to replace than they would have been, had they been made detachable.
  • Not completely flat output.  These earphones favor the higher mid-range frequencies, and this can make ears ring after extended gigging, unless we tone it down with an equalizer.
  • Low, bass output.  These phones have notably less bass than the MDR-V700DJs, which is easily distorted if you bump the lower frequencies on an equalizer supplying these headphones.
  • No longer made.  We’re sorry that Sony stopped manufacturing the MDR-V500DJ headphones.  We miss them, and feel that the good sound they produced has not gone out of style.  So it’s confusing as to why these are no longer sold new.


Product Rating

We find the Sony MDR-V500DJ audio headphones to be decent for our listening and DJ purposes. So we would definitely purchase them again, and would rate them at 95 out of 100.


Where to Buy the Sony MDR-V500DJ Professional DJ Headphones

These are widely available on eBay and Amazon.  Look for them in a clear plastic box, that displays virtually the entirety of the product, which is primarily black in color.



Revision History

  • 2017-02-23: Originally published.