Pioneer have been a key player in the DJ headphone market for a dogs age. In fact the HDJ-1000 (that aren't featured in this set at Pioneer's request) have become such a standard that far eastern sweat shops have been knocking out fakes for a while. But it's all about the new style, and Pioneer have clearly thought long and hard about headphone design, and obviously not wishing to remain lumped in with the rest of the crowd, they've redesigned their cans from the ground up with nothing but quality in mind.
In The Box: Nothing special here - the prerequisite screw adaptor and a soft bag. I'm thinking that at this price though, a hard case would have been welcome.
Looks: Like nothing else in this test. To be honest, these were a breath of fresh air after a stream of samey looking Black and Silver plastic cans. There is a certain subtly to the design - a welcome minimalism that the others just don't have.
Build Quality: The problem with so many headphones is the extensive use of plastic. Not so in the HDJ-2000 - All the pesky bits that were likely to wear or break have been replaced with Magnesium alloy parts. In fact the whole design has been rethought in improve comfort and strength. When I manhandle them, I'm not seeing any obvious weak spots. Top marks. And the cable is a removable mini-XLR type as found on AKG cans, so replacements will be easy to find.
One bad point is the ridged ear piece - it collects gunk like nobody's business. You'll be constantly cleaning the handruff out of those pesky little grooves. I know I had to for the photos.
Sound Quality: Oh my. These headphones have a clarity and response that the majority of the group just don't have. They offer excellent reproduction across the entire volume range too, giving a good bass response even at low volumes. They're perhaps not as bass heavy as others in the group, but still providing more than enough low end. I would happily use these for easy listening as well as DJing. And having a mono switch is a big plus too.
Isolation: These very soft leather padded closed cups and almost entirely closed cup design offer really good isolation. I've read some comments about the bass response being a little too low and having to crank up the volume to compensate, but I've not found that to be the case. But that is just in my own environment.
Comfort and Stability: Comfort wise, I described these on Twitter like "having your head cushioned between 2 ample bosoms". And that opinion hasn't changed. I get a decidedly "aaaahhh" response when I put them on - so soft and giving, yet still doing their job perfectly.
Compactness: Very compact indeed. Because of the design, you can fold the cups into the headband in 2 ways and slot them neatly into the supplied pouch.
Value for money: Oooooh the thorny issue with any Pioneer gear. In the general scheme of things, the HDJ-2000s are in their own price band. And while the undoubted quality and comfort is there, you'd need to try them for yourself to work out if you want to drop that kind of cash. If I were feeling flush, I definitely would.
Pioneer had quite a headphone legacy to follow up, but they absolutely nailed it with the HDJ-2000s. The quality is outstanding, from the buildand comfort, right up to the audio. No expense has been spared to bring you a seriously immense pair of cans, but as ever you'll need to dig very deep to snag a pair. You're looking at 2-3 times the price of others in this group. If however you can dig, you will be rewarded with one of the finest pairs of DJ headphones around.
Hype: Build - sound - comfort
Gripe: The arm and leg price