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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Denon AH-D600 review: extremely comfy headphones with majestic audio


One of Japan's oldest audio companies, Denon has been involved with hi-fi electronics for over a century, and is now part of D&M Holdings Inc, alongside sister brand Marantz. See all audio reviews.

The Denon AH-D600 is second only to the company's flagship AH-D7100 headphones from the same Music Maniac range, and were originally priced around £500 but can now be found for £350 or even considerably less – Amazon UK currently sells them for £200. See also Group test: What are the best headphones?

They are a large over-ear design that are more suited to indoor use due to their sheer size; they will make you look like a helicopter pilot. But the quality is unmistakeable – plush, stitched leather like muffs on the ear and under the headband provide a luxurious fit. These large earpieces really encircle your ears, cutting out much outside noise like ear defenders, while also affording more internal space for a larger soundstage to wrap around the head.

Despite the highest weight at 365g, they have a wear-all-day feel that won't tire, helped by a swivelling ball-joint arrangement that allows the ear cups to rest naturally in place on the head.

A relatively thick lead is nevertheless very supple, and includes an in-line Apple three-button remote. The cable plugs into each earpiece with 3.5mm mono plugs. Also in the box is an even larger diameter and longer oxygen-free copper (OFC) audiophile cable for home use. A zipped nylon bag with carabiner is included, plus a gold-plated 1/4in plug adaptor.

The Denon headphones have a very smooth and confident sound. Profoundly fulsome they also proved very revealing, uncovering hidden detail in familiar tracks, such as a ticking clock in ‘Penguin Freud' by Mono.

Bass was phenomenolly deep and extended when required, but out of the way when not, rather than swamping every song in low frequencies.

Warm and cuddly they perhaps lack the last word in speed, but are extremely tuneful and boppy to help you forget about the hi-fi niceties of music. At the top end, treble was artless, easy going and entirely free of edginess – there's none of the faint metallic aftertaste we found in the AT and Onkyo headphones, for example.

The rhythm and drive of relevant music could be appreciated but they're not quite as lightning quick as closer-field ‘phones that can seem ‘faster'.

Very wide and spacey is their stereo presentation, a natural ear-speaker effect well-suited to let you hear right through a massed mix of instruments.

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