Review: Denon AH-D7000 Headphone Page 3

Bottom Line

I'll just let Phil sum up: "These headphones have me looking at my bank account, shaking my head, and shaking my clenched fist at the sky." I can't disagree - in the closed-back category, this is really a superlative headphone. The purists out there may feel that they have a little too forward in the low end and midrange, but that warmth comes at very little cost given the detail and apparent soundstage on tap here. And they're very, very comfortable to boot. If you can swing the cost, you'll likely be quite happy with these.

A cool grand, of course, is certainly a lot of cash. But a quick scan of the high-end market reveals that these may well be among the cheapest of the ultra-high-end flagships. As an entree into the world of exotic headphones, you could do a lot worse. And if you're in the market for a truly great sounding headphone that you can wear at the office without annoying your cubicle mates, the D7000 may be just the ticket. Paired with a quality headphone amp - and that need not be an exotic - you get a very impressive listening system that you can keep to yourself.

And stay tuned, not only for Denon's new headphone line, but for the continuation of the line of design thinking that led to the D7000 in the first place. There's a good indication that longtime Denon OEM Foster Electric Company will be soldiering on, with their consumer wing Fostex's announcement of the TH-900, a wooden-cupped headphone quite similar in overall design (and with even more luxurious fit and finish work).

Measurements

I measured the AH-D7000 using a G.R.A.S. Type 43AG ear/cheek simulator, a Clio FW audio analyzer, and a Musical Fidelity V-Can headphone amplifier. I experimented with slight differences in position of the ear cups to get the best seal of the headphone on the cheek plate and the most representative frequency response curves.

The frequency response measurements suggest the AH-D7000 might sound a little biased toward the midrange; most headphones judged to sound subjectively "flat" have a dip in the midrange. Adding 70 ohms output impedance to the V-Can's 5-ohm output impedance to simulate the effects of using a typical low-quality headphone amp produced only a mild increase in bass response, typically +2 dB at frequencies 60 Hz and below.

Total harmonic distortion (THD) is negligible at a level of 80 dB (measured with pink-noise, A-weighted). At 100 dBA, it's below 1% at frequencies of 100 Hz and higher. It does hit a peak of 8.2% at 30 Hz, then rises above 10% below 15 Hz, but the vast majority of audio recordings contains no content at such low frequencies.

Impedance is almost flat, averaging 24 ohms and maxing at 31 ohms/29 Hz. Isolation is not impressive for a sealed-back headphone, running between -10 and -20 dB at frequencies higher than 1.4 kHz.

Average sensitivity from 300 Hz to 10 kHz with a 1 mW signal at rated 25 ohms impedance is 96.3 dB. This is much lower than Denon's rating of 108 dB at 1 mW. I have recently changed from measuring sensitivity of all headphones at 0.178 volts RMS to measuring at 1 mW for each headphone's rated impedance, but even under my old method, which was a little more forgiving, the average sensitivity was 98.6 dB. - Brent Butterworth

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