Although his legal name is Jeffrey Allen Townes, you probably know him as DJ Jazzy Jeff (or just “Jazz”). Jazzy Jeff was born in Philadelphia in 1965 and at a young age became interested in music. By the age of 10 he was already drawn to idea of being a disc jockey and would watch the local DJ at summer neighborhood block parties.
Intrigued by the DJ’s ability to get all the neighbors out dancing, Jazzy Jeff decided this was his calling. Adopting his new stage name, he professionally became one half of the now famous duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince with Will Smith as his partner, the two reached their first major milestone by winning the Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989. The two artists have since gone their separate ways and reached superstar status on their own.
But enough of the history, if you’ve landed here on this page I’m guessing you already know a fair bit about DJ Jazzy Jeff and are likely a fan of his music.
If you’re looking for the quick answer to the question of which headphones he wears: he is a outspoken fan of V-Moda and has collaborated with the company. He has shared on his Facebook page that it is his favorite brand and has often been seen in public wearing a pair of these V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Over-Ear Headphones.
When at the mixing table or in the studio we’ve seen videos of him with these V-MODA Crossfade M-100 wired over-ear headphones. The M-100s are definitely high end, whether you’re a music lover that appreciates audiophile sound quality, a budding or even professional DJ, the fact that Jazzy Jeff backs them is a worth taking note.
V-Moda actually works with several Grammy Award winning musicians and sound producers to fine tune the audio quality and sound signature of their headphones and are trusted in the music industry for their studio level audio equipment.
When looking at these, it’s clear that V-Moda has put a lot of thought into the design and ergonomics of the M-100s (and their entire product line), these headphones are designed to be comfortable enough to wear during long recording sessions.
The headband and the “Bliss” memory foam ear pads create a snug fit that is tight enough to create a natural noise isolating 3D sounds stage without putting too much pressure on your ears . This is a major drawback on many over-ear models and a problem that can be especially annoying if you wear your headphones for long periods.
According to V-Moda they put 5 years of R&D into their unique hexagonal design of their over-ear cans. As far as durability, these are made with military grade materials and the “Steelflex” headband and Kevlar-reinforced microphone cables make them feel almost indestructible.
The company also backs most of their headphone models with a Two Year Premier Warranty and have a unique “Immortal Life Program” where you can get 50% off a replacement for a lifetime so that you always have the option to upgrade to the latest and greatest headphones at half the price of new ones.
DJ Equipment Jazzy Jeff Uses:
|If you’re a DJ and wondering what other gear Jazzy Jeff uses, below you’ll find a few videos showing him in action along with the specific DJ equipment that he’s using.
In some of the videos it can be tough to figure out exactly what equipment he is using so we’ve set the start point where you have a clear shot of the gear.
A few years back on this Instagram post you can see he is on a Roland AIRA MX1.
The 18 channel performance mixer has three step-sequenced Beat effects (Filter, Side Chain and Slicer) and is designed to be the central hub of your mixing to serve as a mixer, control surface, audio interface, and step-based effects all in one.
In this first video here, from Ableton Live, you can see the Akia MPC 2500 to the right of DJ Jazzy Jeff. There is the newer version of the Akai studio controller: the Akai Professional MPC Studio. If that one is over your budget, you could also take a look at the Akai Professional MPD218 drum pad controller which would give you a lot of similar features. It may not be professional studio quality but it does sell for about a fourth or the price compared to the Pro Studio one that Jazzy Jeff is seen using in the video.
In this video he explains a kind of revelation he had on how he could drag and drop samples of his tracks using software. The video goes on for quite a bit with him explaining this in more detail…it’s pretty cool to see him actually using the equipment and how he puts the tracks together but we’ve skipped ahead to around the 5 min mark to start the video exactly where you can see the MPC on the desk.
Jazzy Jeff and Pioneer DJ Controllers
Jazzy Jeff uses equipment from a few different brands and has collaborated closely with Pioneer to come up with their third reiteration of the “Serato” line with the March 2018 launch of the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller. The new high performance controller features dedicated play & pause buttons, 8 performance pads, independent auto loop controls and comes with a free version of their Serato DJ Lite Software. That program gives plenty of functionality to get most DJs started but users can upgrade to the Serato DJ Pro.
Although the DDJ-S83 is being marketed as an entry level controller, the Pad Scratch feature along with looping controls and other high end features like the FX Fade makes it an advanced controller that will give budding DJ a whole new level to what they can mix and effects that they can come up with.
The Pad Scratch feature is really what sets this unit apart from competitors, the pad allows even novice users to create unique sounds from simple chirps to complex scratching patterns to replicate the kind of effects that a pro disc jockey would crank out.
The cool thing about this is collaboration with Pioneer is that from interviews with Jazzy Jeff, it’s clear that it wasn’t a promotional marketing stunt just to associate his name with the product. He really did give a lot of input into the design and features and truly does want to help and encourage beginner DJs in perfecting their craft. He was quoted as saying: “I want there to be a million great DJs in the world”.
There was some backlash on social media about the new DDJ model, specifically criticizing the Pad Scratch – with some people claiming it was “dumbing down” the art of DJing and making it too easy (as if maybe it was a form of cheating). Jazzy Jeff came back with a reply that he did it “FOR THE CULTURE” and that “if you really think that a pad scratch/sync/serato or any other piece of technology is going to end the culture…you don’t really understand what the culture is about.” You can see the whole post here on Instagram.
If you’re a fan of Jazzy Jeff, you may have already seen the Boiler Room set (along with a few million other fans).
The clip below cuts to the part of the set where you can see him in action up close on the Pioneer DJM-S9 Serato Battle Mixer where he mixes “Africa” by Toto then fading that into “What We Do” by Freeway (who woulda thunk?).
He uses the Pioneer mixer throughout the two hour set but we’ve started it where you get a good close up of it.
Hopefully we’ve answered your questions and also given you a peek into the kind of DJ headphones and other studio equipment that Jazzy Jeff uses as well as some of the impact is is having on their manufacturers themselves and they way they design their products. His impact on the industry and his desire to help young DJs enter the profession with better quality and more affordable gear than he had ‘back in the day’ is a great example of his desire to give back to music world he fell in love with back when he himself was just 10 years old.