Earbuds? In-ear headphones? Earphones? IEMs? Whatever the correct terminology, Pioneer has announced their first steps into this particular market with the DJE-1500 and DJE-2000 in-ear professional headphones. Let’s use their terminology for now.
I wonder what Pioneer has to say? Let’s find out:
Inner space: The new DJE-2000 and DJE-1500 in-ear professional headphones deliver maximum versatility for DJs on the move
5th March 2013: Pioneer is launching the versatile DJE-2000 and DJE-1500 in-ear headphones, giving DJs a professional option for in-ear monitoring and preparing sets on the road. Available in black or white, the DJE range boasts a powerful sound across the frequencies, superior noise dampening, and secure over-ear and in-ear positions for maximum comfort.
The DJEs are designed to give accurate sound reproduction of dance music, so DJs can audition tracks and prepare sets on their smartphone or tablet with confidence – and hear every detail. The polyurethane earbud tips ensure a snug fit and superb noise cancellation, wherever the DJ uses them.
The DJE-2000s feature a hybrid two-way driver system comprising a dynamic driver – with a large 9.4 mm aperture and rare earth magnets – and a balanced armature driver, to produce a rich bass and clear mid range to treble. And the over-ear structure is crafted from shape-memory resin to ensure DJs’ comfort over long periods.
The DJE-1500s use a single dynamic driver to give a rich bass, and ceramic-coated tremblers and lightweight CCAW voice coils ensure a wide frequency response. The rotatable earpiece housing lets DJs choose between over-ear and normal in-ear wearing styles, or switch between the two for different uses.
Both models come with a durable carry case, and are built with the rigours of the road in mind. The robust, thick cables are clad in a braided textile material that prevents tangling and can be detached at the earpiece and replaced if necessary.i
The DJEs will be available from the end of March at an SRP of:
DJE-2000: EUR 299/GBP 239, including VAT.
DJE-1500: EUR 159/GBP 139, including VAT.
DJE-1500 and DJE-2000 — for DJs, but for not for DJing?
I watched the video and read the PR and was struck by the lack of these being used in a regular DJ environment. Clearly (and it states as much in the PR) that these are effectively Pioneer’s play for the ears of regular users and DJs who trust the Pioneer brand. DJs absolutely trust Pioneer to make killer headphones, as witnessed by the HDJ-1000s being one of the most popular and indeed forged headphones in recent times. So before readers go off half-cocked about how they’d never use IEMs for DJing, Pioneer aren’t saying that you should. It would of course eat into their established headphone market. But it does raise the next question which is…
In-ear headphones — would you?
I’ve owned a pair of Ultimate Ears IEMs for a long time now. I haven’t used them so much for DJing, but certainly when I’m out, they have been my goto pair, if only because they give me a secret service look that draws second glances at train stations. But I’ve never been quite sure about using them in a live situation.
With headphones, I can put them on, wear them on one side, on the back of my head, on my shoulder etc. But with IEMs, I have to push them in, take them out, and generally abuse my ears. I should explain that I lack the anitragus aka the fleshy hook that keeps ear buds in, so I’ve always had to use IEMs rather than buds, and can attest to the ache that the constant in and out of IEMs causes. But the isolation is out of this world.
Professional performers use custom moulded IEMs like those from ACS (I must have silicone injected into by precious ear canal at some point), but they’re designed to stay in all the time. And in these times where DJs are as much performers with an image to uphold just as much as they are selectors, will we see a rise in custom IEM use? Headphones don’t exactly make your hair look pretty do they.
So to recap – the Pioneer DJE-2000 in-ear headphones will cost €299/£239, and the DJE-1500s will be €159/£139, and will be available in March. We’ll have a look at Musikmesse, but there’s no way I’m sticking a pair in my ears after hundreds of trade show attendees have mauled them.