The $100 SRH550DJs are Shure's entry-level headphones for the budget-minded DJ, but their futuristic, sealed-back design also makes them a worthwhile noise-cancelling option for desk jockeys. Their acoustic image takes them a step closer to the club than I'm used to hearing from the company's natural-sounding earbuds, but DJs expecting durable headphones with clear definition and brain-rattling bass won't be disappointed by the Shure SRH550DJ Professional Quality DJ Headphones.
The SRH550DJ are tough competition for the Sony MDR-V700DJ Studio Monitor Series DJ Headphones that have earned the recommendation of discerning DJs for over a decade, but Shure offers modern visual appeal over Sony, which hasn't updated the MDR-V700DJ design since its introduction.
As with most DJ cans, the SRH550DJ headphones' earcups fully engulf your ears in material, in this case fake leather and soft cotton, to keep your music from leaking to the outside world. It's a useful trait for headphones meant to thrive in a loud club environment, but the cushions barely cling to the hard shell covering the 50mm driver.
Luckily, Shure also includes a pleather carrying pouch that keeps the headphones and earpads intact. You can also buy replacement cushions from Shure when they eventually wear out, but I prefer the modular snap-padding on the Aiaiai TMA-1 headphones, which just feels more secure against the hardware.
The folding cups rotate on a 180-degree axis so DJs can beat-match using one side to listen to music while the other ear pays attention to the speaker, and the lateral adjustments also help the cups conform more tightly to your head. DJs will also appreciate the 6.5-foot wire that extends out of both cups in a Y shape and terminates in a straight plug that won't get in the way of a busy mixer. Shure also includes a quarter-inch threaded adapter.
The headphones weigh slightly more than half a pound with the cord included, but the plastic lining on the headband that keeps them light also makes them susceptible to creaking. The weakest part on headphones is the joint connecting the band to the earcups, so the SRH550DJ headphones' fragility makes me question their long-term durability, especially considering the rough way that travelling DJs treat their gear. However, the SRH550DJs get Shure's generous two-year warranty, which protects against structural damage.