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Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT-R Headphones Evaluate: Strong Sound, Customizable Type

Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT-R Headphones Review: Solid Sound, Customizable Style

“With a snug fit and multiple color options to make a style statement, Pioneer usually gets this right for $ 100.”

Good audio reproduction

Multiple color options and adjustments

Cable and Bluetooth operation

Comfortable, comfortable fit

Feel cheap to build

Adjustments are expensive

It’s hard to say what to expect from a $ 100 bluetooth on-ear headphone. Top-tier features or even Active Noise Canceling (ANC) aren’t options for cost reasons, but price should mean better build quality and strong audio performance go without saying. If these are my parameters, the Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT-R headphones – let’s just call them CUE1 for simplicity – seem to be just the thing for you.

The CUE1 is designed for Pioneer DJs who are “novice DJs and music enthusiasts alike”. He tries to balance style and performance for a very affordable price. Let’s talk about whether they are successful or not.

What’s in the box?

The CUE1s are simply packaged with the headphones and include an optional 3.5mm coiled cord that plugs into an extruded plastic tub insert. There is a plastic bag behind the tub with the relevant documents and instructions.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

There is a lot of plastic in this packaging. Aside from the tub, which should be recyclable in most places, there is a lot of soft plastics on and around the headphones. If you have the option to recycle soft plastics through your local grocery store, that’s great! However, this is not the norm in most places, so much of this packaging will end up in a landfill. We don’t like to see that.

We’ll get into the build quality of the CUE1 headphones shortly, but as a spoiler, I think they need a carry case, and unfortunately, Pioneer doesn’t come with one.

Design and build quality

I really like the color options for the CUE1. For this review I chose red because it’s my favorite color, but they are also available in black or white. I was pretty torn when it came to choosing the color because another selling point of the CUE1 is that Pioneer DJ has a range of bespoke ear cups and a coiled cord that come in five additional colors – orange, yellow, Green, blue or purple – and none of them go particularly well with red.

I’m not particularly impressed with the materials.

The customization kits with the product name HC-CP08 cost an additional $ 30, which feels a bit high. The cups cannot be attached in a special way, but rely on the tension of the material to hold them to the plastic cans. For example, if the cups were magnetic or had a bayonet lock, maybe I could see the value. Unfortunately, this type of mug is cumbersome to put on or take off and feels like something I would pass on as a buyer. I wish Pioneer had thought a little more about this feature that I usually like.

Pioneer dj hdj cue1bt r headphones rating 6 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Pioneer dj hdj cue1bt r headphones rating 7 Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The CUE1 looks pretty good when worn. They have a matte color that goes with pretty much anything, and the red will be especially eye-catching.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

I mentioned earlier that build quality really dictates the use of a case, and that’s because I’m not particularly impressed with the materials. This actually reflects our opinion on the high-end Pioneer DJ HDJ-X5 headphones. So it’s not particularly surprising to see her here. Although there is metal in the adjustment strap that is held together by screws, the rest of the product is made from a tough plastic that feels like it would tear easily if dropped or made rough contact with my backpack.

I know Pioneer needed to cut costs somewhere, and that clearly came into play with the materials used here. That’s why I’m going to loosen them up a bit, since the drivers in the cups are exactly what you find in the aforementioned Pioneer DJ HDJ-X5 headphones. More on what these are bringing to the table soon.

Control, convenience and connections

All controls, connections and a single microphone are located in the left auricle. There are a number of buttons for volume control and below that a single button that handles power, pause / play / skip, answer and end calls, and bluetooth connectivity. It seems to put a lot in a button, but it works well enough. The connection for the supplied spiral cable is located under this button. Below is the microphone.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

I’ll say the included 3.5mm jack cable gets everything right. Not only does it stick to the headset via a rotatable bayonet lock, but the other side of the cable is also L-shaped which keeps the profile slim compared to a computer or mixer and reduces the chance of knocking while removing or damaging cables. The cable is of high quality and the design is just right for the intended use.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

The ear cups both rotate to the side independently for use with one ear, real DJ style. However, they do not rotate in such a way that they can comfortably rest on your collarbones when not in use. The cups only spin away from you and not towards you for some reason, which is disappointing. As a result, they are not particularly comfortable when you are not wearing them.

The CUE1 should stay firmly attached to you even during exercise if this is your traffic jam.

However, when you wear them they are comfortable enough. On-ear headphones tend to put a lot of pressure on my ears to cling to my head and this is no exception. While this pressure does add some wear and tear fatigue over time, it also ensures that they don’t drop off with activities and that they have pretty good noise isolation as well. This is in contrast to the Jabra Elite 45H, which sounds great but struggles to stay on the listener’s head during activities. The CUE1 are definitely better at it and should stay firmly connected to you during training if that’s your traffic jam.

The bluetooth connection on these is solid and allows me to travel far away from my yard while leaving my phone on my kitchen counter.

The CUE1 offers a battery life of 30 hours, which is a matter of course for headphones without ANC. You can’t touch the 50-hour runtime of the Jabra Elite 45H, but nobody can.

Sound quality

I mentioned earlier that the Pioneer DJ CUE1 uses the same drivers as the company’s HDJ-X5 headphones that we praised for their quality, and I’m happy to say that the CUE1 does indeed sound great.

The highs, mids and lows are all well represented and balanced.

The highs, mids and lows are all well represented and balanced. For headphones that don’t have app support to set the EQ, it’s important that they sound fantastic right away, especially for those bass-heavy beats that DJs want to hear clearly. The bass isn’t overwhelming, but you definitely won’t miss it in pop and EDM songs.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

I’ll say that while the sound of the CUE1 is warm and accessible, it isn’t particularly clear, especially in the higher registers. They do a great job of not messing up any of the tones, which makes them very good for monitoring music like a DJ would do, but on top of the ambiguity, they certainly push the warmth beyond what I would say what qualifies them as real studio monitors. We had similar indications about the HDJ-X5 in our review, so I think Pioneer did a good job migrating those drivers to these headphones at a $ 50 discount.

How do they compare to another $ 100 set? It’s near. The Jabra 45H can actually have a little more punch behind its bass output if you adjust its EQ in the app. Overall, the audio display is very tight between the two, but I’ll nod the Jabra 45H for a little better clarity.

Call quality

While the Pioneer DJ CUE1 is sufficient for phone calls, they don’t do a great job with them. My voice sounded to me like I was in a closed pantry and not very clear. In the end, the voice quality was great, and while I wasn’t as clear as my listener wanted, we had an uninterrupted 20 minute conversation while I watered my garden.

Jaron Schneider / Digital Trends

Our opinion

The Pioneer DJ HDJ-CUE1BT-R are good $ 100 headphones that offer a stylistic angle that few other headphones offer, especially at this price point. The finish of the interchangeable color options could have been better, but we still love to see it. They sound as good as their more expensive brother, the HDJ-X5, but they also have the same problems with durability and the lack of a carrying case. But for $ 100 they do enough right.

Is there a better alternative?

The Jabra Elite 45H headphones offer very similar audio quality as well as significantly better battery life and Bluetooth multi-point capability. The thing is, you get these features at the expense of the Pioneer DJ CUE1’s better noise isolation, secure fit, and attachable cord. You should also consider the Audio BT-1 status or, thanks to the stronger bass, the Sony WH-XB700.

How long will they last?

Pioneer DJ offers a one-year warranty and we expect these to last longer with longer treatment. The thing is, you should buy a bag when you pick up these headphones to make sure they don’t have excessive wear and tear while traveling.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The option to mix personalized colors into your headphones and get solid sound performance for $ 100 is a combination of options that leaves the Pioneer DJ CUE1 all but alone. They are definitely worth a visit.

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