REVIEW: DENON AH-D7200 OVER-EAR HEADPHONES

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by Matthew Jens

2nd May, 2018

REVIEW: DENON AH-D7200 OVER-EAR HEADPHONES

Denon headphones have been described by many as some of the finest over-ear dynamic headphones on the planet. Denon has now released a new flagship to sit at the top of the high-end range, the AH-D7200.

Denon AH-D7200

Over-Ear Headphones

$1699 RRP

Denon AH-D7200 Headphone Review

Denon headphones have been described by many as some of the finest over-ear dynamic headphones on the planet.

This is a sentiment that I agree with as the Denon D5000, for many years, was the flagship headphone amongst my collection. Released in 2012, at the time they were unparalleled in terms of comfort and quality.

Not only a personal favourite of mine, the Denon D2000/5000/7000 had a loyal fanbase that worshipped them. There were even a few successful businesses that exclusively carried out modifications and upgrades to them.

Denon has now released a new flagship to sit at the top of the high-end range, the AH-D7200.

Denon’s engineers designed this new model from the ground up, with two goals in mind: supreme sound quality, and ultimate comfort.

For comparison, priced overseas at $999 USD, this new flagship is contending with the likes of the Pioneer SE-Monitor 5 ($999 USD) and the Audeze LCD-2 ($1145 USD).

Build

If there is one thing I’m a sucker for, it’s wooden headphones. And considering the cup and housing of these headphones are made from real American walnut, I’m already in love. The headphones look and feel stunning; photos just cannot do them justice.

The good news doesn’t end there, either. The headband isn’t just some plastic strap - it’s solid aluminium, with both natural sheepskin leather on the outside, and stitched engineered leather on the inside.


 
The pads aren’t just pleather - they are constructed with a memory foam base, then wrapped in a stitched leather that was constructed specifically for the AH-D7200.

Even the yolks that hold the cups are luxurious, constructed entirely out of diecast aluminium.


 
Like the older flagships from Denon, the headband assembly uses two metal rods for adjustment on each side. These rods have grooves running down the length of each side, which do a great job at keeping the shape and size of the headphones.


 
The included detachable cable is a 7N Purity copper cable, complete with an ornamental copper ring. The only cable included has a 6.35mm jack on the end.

This is a no-compromise design, and successfully checks all of the boxes for a luxurious flagship release. I would go as far as to say that it's one of the nicest looking and feeling headphones I’ve tried in the past year.

Inside the headphone

The AH-D7200 uses Denon’s proprietary “Free Edge” driver technology - the same tech that has been used previously in models such as their AH-MM400 and AH-D600 headphones.

The term “Free edge” refers to the physical edge of the driver itself, which does away with the traditional rubber surround that a driver usually employs.

These drivers are made from a nanofiber material - a material that was chosen for its rigidity and low mass. They are mounted onto custom-made resin baffles, designed to eliminate all vibrations being transferred to the cup.

The drivers have an impedance of just 25ohms and aren’t too fussy with sources if the output impedance is kept to an absolute minimum.

Back in the day, modifications to the DX000 Denon flagship series often included damping of the cups and tuning the sound signature via different kinds of wood. The AH-D7200 comes pre-loaded with fully damped and tuned cups already, which were custom designed and fitted for the 50mm driver housings inside.

If I owned these, I wouldn’t even bother modifying them.

Using the headphone

There is headphone comfort, and then there is Denon headphone comfort. In my opinion, Denon headphones have always been in a league of their own in this regard. My old Denon D5000 headphones were always my benchmark for comfort, matched only by the Beyerdynamic DT1990 and the Sennheiser HD800.

Despite only being supplied with a 6.35mm cable, the AH-D7200 is surprisingly easy to drive, and they don't require heavy amplification. Using an adapter, even a humble smartphone can drive the headphone to sufficient levels. It would have been nice to see an option of a 3.5mm cable included as well, for some added flexibility.

They aren’t very heavy either weighing in at 385 grams, which is only 55 grams heavier than Sennheiser's HD800 and 165 grams lighter than the Audeze LCD 2.


 
The pads are incredibly soft and considering they're made from memory foam, they'll likely get more comfortable over time. Even for my larger ears, the pads only lightly touch the outside of my ears.

Oh, in case you were wondering: The AH-D7200 doesn’t fold, or flatten. And why should they? They look spectacular and should be sitting proudly on your shelf, not stored away in a bag somewhere.

Sound

As I started listening, the bass made me feel nostalgic. Just like the older Fostex/Denon flagships, it’s visceral, deep, driving, and powerful, but delicately controlled.

This is a huge part of the reason why so many people have loved the Denon flagship series for so long. The AH-D7200 is a good example of true audiophile bass and some of the best I’ve ever heard in a dynamic headphone.

It’s not even just the almighty deep slam of the bass that is so alluring about these drivers. It’s also their ability to reproduce the quiet, ambient background basslines in tracks such as Slow Song by Rival Consoles. In this song, the gentle bassline has been sent right to the back of the mix but using the Denon AH-D7200, the bass is felt, not just heard.

Just like the classic flagships from Denon, the midrange is ever-so-slightly scooped with just a little extra emphasis at both ends of the frequency spectrum. With an exciting sound, the 50mm drivers still create some of the most detailed and spacious midrange I’ve heard from a closed-back headphone design to date.


 
A good example is demonstrated when listening to Notte Sena Fine (Kiasmos remix) by Tale of us. Despite having gentle, throbbing sub-bass rumbling through the entire track, and punchy midbass kicks peppered through the mix, the string and piano samples still shine through with incredible detail and nuance and feel like the performance is happening right in front of your head.

For a closed-back headphone, the sense of space and perceived soundstage is phenomenal. Listening to binaural recordings is usually a lot of fun with a closed-back headphone, but with the expansive soundstage and angled drivers of the AH-D7200, it’s very realistic and almost spooky.

Isolation is acceptable for a closed-back headphone but don’t expect noise-cancelling levels of isolation here. These are roughly on-par with the Beyerdynamic DT770 in this regard, letting in just enough air for your ears breath but not completely sealing you off from the outside world.

Conclusion

Denon has been in the headphone game for 50 years, and it shows. Incredible aesthetics, perfect build, and incredible bass - what’s not to love?

If you’re a fan of the classic Fostex/Denon flagships, and you’re on the hunt for a closed-back flagship, you’re going to love them.

If you’re looking for a luxury flagship closed-back headphone, it really doesn’t get any better than this.

For more information visit Denon.

Specifications

  • Weight: 385 g
  • Driver diameter: 50 mm
  • Driver type: Dynamic (Nano-fibre/paper diaphragm + Free Edge)
  • Impedance: 25 Ω
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
  • Maximum power input: 1.800 mW
  • Frequency response: 5 - 55,000 (Hz)
  • Cable: 3.0 m length
  • Plug: 6.3 mm (Player), 3.5 mm x2 (headphones)

Gallery

Matthew Jens's avatar

Written by:

Matthew Jens

Constantly keeping himself busy, Matthew is a production manager, Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Head-Fi fanatic, coffee enthusiast and all-round cool Dad.

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Posted in: Headphones
Tags: denon  qualifi 

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