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Philips A5 Pro review: DJ headphones with a rich soul

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The Good Tough build structure; includes two cables with smartphone controls and three detachable ear pads in varying sizes and materials; excellent sonic performance and passive noise attenuation.

The Bad Heavier-than-average weight class might turn off listeners that are used to featherweight designs.

The Bottom Line The Philips A5 Pro headphones might be tuned and marketed for DJs, but their incredibly detailed, balanced soundstage makes them well-suited for anyone.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Sound 8
  • Value 8

Review Sections

Philips teamed up with musician Armin van Buuren to design its flagship headphone for DJs, and after several years of prototyping and testing, the A5 Pro over-ear DJ headphones are available to purchase for $300 (£250; AU$450).

An arsenal of features like swiveling ear cups, powerful 50mm drivers, and detachable ear cushions all give the A5 Pros an advantage for DJs, but the box also includes accessories that you can swap in to make the headphones work with portable audio devices and home audio systems.

Design and features

The hallmark of the A5 Pros is that they're built like a tank, so DJs don't have to worry about them breaking as they tumble around in a gear bag, and that also means they can easily handle your daily commute. The core of the headband is made of aluminum and alloy steel with a little extra width to smooth out any irritating pain points.

Sarah Tew/CNET

These cans have a serious heft to them that also adds to a perceived feeling of invulnerability, but some may balk at the fact that they actually weigh 405 grams. They certainly feel a lot heavier than the V-Moda M100 DJ headphones, if you're doing a back and forth comparison, but I've been wearing the A5s all day at work for several weeks now and haven't noticed a difference. Whether you're a DJ or not, it's important to take frequent breaks when you're listening to any pair of headphones.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you've ever broken a pair of headphones in your life, you're probably aware that the ear pads and the headphone cord jack are always the first parts to degrade. In response, Philips generously provides two detachable cords (a straight one with a single button/microphone for smartphone controls and a simple coiled version for DJs) and two additional sizes of ear pads that install in seconds using a simple "twist and click" retention system.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The replacement ear pads also come in varying widths and materials (leather and memory foam) that you can tune to your preferred sound profile.

Another cool feature is that the headset has open ports on both sides so you can plug the cable into either the right or left ear cup, and the jacks themselves have a locking mechanism that prevents the jack from getting yanked out of your ear while you're listening to music.

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