Few brands conjure such a direct mental connection with DJ gear, turntables in particular, as Technics. Thus, the brand’s DJ headphones are bound to enjoy a certain level of popularity alongside its other music gear. Thankfully, the RP-DH1250 also happens to provide high quality audio performance in a sturdy, comfortable design. At $269.99 (list), it feels overpriced compared with the competition, but it does not disappoint on any other fronts.
Before we continue, if you’ve seen a remarkably similar Technics pair called the RP-DH1200 out there, this pair is identical. Save for the extra phone-controls cable included with the RP-DH1250 and the model number printed on the earcup, it’s merely been re-branded. So, minus the cable detail, consider this a review of both models, which are both floating around out there.
In the dictionary under “DJ Headphones,” there should be an image of the RP-DH1250. Its thick, padded headband and classic black-and-metallic styling features earcups that offer a subtle tip-of-the-hat to the familiar design of Technic’s flagship product: The DJ turntable. Usually, huge logos turn me off, but the massive Technics logo printed across the top of the headband looks so iconic and cool, almost synonomous with DJ turntables themselves.
Technics also gets things right from a functionality standpoint. The headphones are not as plush-feeling as, say, the Numark Electrowave, but they are every bit as sturdy, stable, and comfortable. These won’t fall off your head if you move forward or backward quickly, which is not necessarily the case with all DJ pairs we’ve tested recently, like the Pioneer HDJ-1500.
The earcups here are flip-away, so you can easily free an ear up. The headband is also quite flexible, so you can flip-away and swivel the earcup forward with ease, as well.
The cable is detachable and locks into place at the base of the left earcup. Two cables are included with the RP-DH1250: One with an inline microphone and remote for mobile devices, and one coiled option for DJ gigs. Each cable terminates in a 3.5mm connection, but a ¼-inch screw-on adapter is included.
As previously mentioned, Panasonic, which owns Technics, explained that the new mobile device-friendly cable is essentially the only difference between the RP-DH1250 and the previously released RP-DH1200.
At top volumes, the RP-DH1250 reproduces deep bass frequencies without any distortion—pretty much essential for a good pair of DJ headphones. The Knife’s “Silent Shout” has some serious sub-bass content, but even with the volume maxed out, the RP-DH1250 provided a clean signal with plenty of deep bass presence.
Its overall frequency response is pleasant as well, with nice attention to low- and high-mids in addition to the bass realm. Comparing the RP-DH1250 with the Numark Electrowave and Pioneer HDJ-1500, two less expensive models, it seems a bit less bright—there’s less high frequency shimmer and crackle on guitars, high-range strings, and percussion. In no way, however, is the sound signature dull; It’s just a bit less sculpted in the high-mids and highs than the other two pairs.
On instrumental music, like John Adams’ “The Chairman Dances,” lower register strings and percussion receive a nice bit of boost—nothing overwhelming, just enough to add a bit of resoance to the bottom end of the mix. Higher register strings and percussion sit well in the mix, with the attack of woodblock hits still very defined—just perhaps less in the forefront than on the other two pairs.
On pop music, the RP-DH1250 conveys vocals with clarity, and the attack of beats is still crisp and clear—again, its response is not dull, just less bright than some of its competition. On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” there is still plenty of edge on the attack of the kick drum loop, for instance, which stands out far more than the song’s substantial sub-bass synth content. Vocals on this track, as well as on rock, pop, and R&B tracks, come across crisply and clearly. So while there are pairs with more brightness to them, you would never describe the RP-DH1250 as muddy.
Whether you want a bit more brigtness and edge is a matter of personal preference. I actually gravitate to a little more treble edge, particularly when dealing with headphones that boost the bass—I like the added definition. So while I might choose the Numark Electrowave over the Technics from a sonic standpoint—it’s nearly a toss-up. The Numark pair is far less expensive, however, so that makes it a bit of a steal in comparison, even if its styling looks a little goofy in comparison with the cool RP-DH1250.
Despite good looks and solid performance, the big negative here price—that there are DJ headphones in the sub-$200 that can hang with the RP-DH1250 tells me Technics and Panasonic are asking for too much. The Pioneer HDJ-1250 is no slouch in the audio performance department, either, but it is not nearly as comfortable as our Editors’ Choice, the Numark Electrowave, or the RP-DH1250. Compared with the more expensive Beats Pro by Dr. Dre , the RP-DH1250 has fewer bells and whistles, and less intense bass, but some listeners will prefer its less sculpted sound signature. If all of these options are out of your budget, consider the capable, affordable Shure SRH550DJ .
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