Headphones supply a number of benefits over speaker programs. Perhaps most significantly, they take away the acoustic results of the room, offering a extra constant and predictable listening expertise. As a consequence, headphones proceed to encourage a thriving hobbyist group.
Denon has been making extremely regarded headphones for greater than 50 years, and the AH-D9200 is the corporate’s newest flagship mannequin. I reviewed it utilizing Denon’s PMA-60 two-channel built-in amplifier, a combo that makes stunning music collectively.
The AH-D9200 is a circumaural (over-ear), closed-back design handcrafted with premium supplies. For instance, the outer casing of every earcup is constituted of bamboo, which is claimed to have pure acoustic properties that significantly scale back undesirable resonances and promote a wealthy, heat tone. In addition, the memory-foam earpads are clad in engineered leather-based for optimum consolation over lengthy listening periods.
A diecast-aluminum hanger supplies sturdy assist and suppleness, permitting the earcups to maneuver freely round two axes for optimum consolation on all kinds of head dimensions and shapes. Comfort can also be enhanced by the headscarf, which is wrapped in real leather-based. But regardless of using such high-end supplies, the AH-D9200 weighs solely 375 grams (13.23 ounces).
Each earcup homes a 50mm free-edge diaphragm constituted of nanofiber supplies chosen for rigidity and low mass. The diaphragm is mounted in a vibration-reducing engineered-resin baffle with a delicate encompass materials that makes it simpler to maneuver in response to the music sign with out flexing or distorting. This design is claimed to cancel out resonances within the diaphragm.
With a specified impedance of 24 ohms and a sensitivity of 105dB/mW, the frequency response extends from 5Hz to 56kHz with a most energy dealing with of 1800mW. The neodymium magnet boasts an enormous magnetic discipline energy of greater than 1 tesla, which is claimed to drive the diaphragm with decrease distortion and decreased vibration. To put this in perspective, most medical MRI machines have a magnetic discipline energy of 1.5 teslas, whereas Earth’s magnetic discipline is within the vary of 25 to 65 microteslas on the floor.
The AH-D9200 comes with two removable OFC (oxygen-free copper) cables, each of which hook up with the 2 earcups with 3.5mm plugs. The copper wires within the 3-meter cable are silver-coated for greater conductivity, and the cable terminates with a 6.3mm (1/4-inch) plug for a house stereo system. The wires within the 1.3m cable aren’t silver-coated, and it terminates with a 3.5mm plug for transportable units. The shorter cable additionally features a 1/4-inch adapter.
The included storage case and cleansing material assist hold the headphones secure and pristine. Unfortunately, it’s considerably flimsy cardboard. I’d anticipate a extra substantial case at this worth.
To drive the AH-D9200, I used Denon’s PMA-60 two-channel built-in amplifier ($599), although many different amps would work properly with these headphones. The PMA-60 features a devoted headphone-amp circuit that includes a high-speed, low-distortion, wideband op amp paired with a totally discrete closing output stage. It even gives an adjustable headphone-amp achieve management with low, medium, and excessive settings. This management defaults to medium; the excessive setting launched a little bit of hiss, so I left it at medium.
For most of my listening, I performed DVD-Audio and SACD discs on an Oppo UDP-203 common participant. The participant’s optical and coax digital-audio outputs downsample high-resolution audio, so I used the left and proper analog outputs, connecting them to the amp’s aux enter with a 1-meter AudioQuest Emerald stereo cable with RCA plugs on each ends.
My favourite high-res audio recordings come from AIX Records, which releases its titles on DVD-Audio and Blu-ray discs with 2-channel and 5.1-channel mixes and a PCM decision of 96kHz/24 bits. I began with the 2-channel mixture of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, First Movement: Allegro, as carried out by the George Enescu Philharmonic Orchestra beneath the path of Cristian Mandeal. The sound was attractive—wealthy, full, and open. Each solo instrument and part of the orchestra was clearly rendered, permitting me to listen to deep into the combo.
Next, I listened to a number of tracks from an AIX demo disc referred to as A High-Resolution Audio Experience, which incorporates all kinds of genres. Sticking with classical for the second, I checked out Chopin’s Nocturne in D Flat main as carried out by Roberto Prosseda on the album Chopin: Selected Works. The solo piano was rendered fantastically; it sounded exceptionally clear all through the frequency vary with wonderful dynamic vary.
For classical vocals, I listened to “Now is the Month of Maying” from the album Voices Unbound, by Zephyr, a combined a cappella choir. The voices all sounded fully pure, and it was simple to listen to every voice within the ensemble.
In the folks realm, I performed “Mosaic” from Laurence Juber’s album Guitar Noir and “Ocean” from Jonathan McEuen’s One Step Ahead. In each circumstances, the acoustic guitar and acoustic bass sounded fantastic, very wealthy and plush with none trace of congestion. Likewise, Jonathan McEuen’s vocal sound was utterly pure.
Turning to jazz, I checked out “Yo Go Jo Po” from the album Odd Men In by the Emil Richards & Joe Porcaro Big Band. I’ve performed in numerous huge bands, and the sound of this recording on the AH-D9200 is unquestionably proper. I may hear every part clearly, and the solos have been tremendous clear and proper up entrance the place they need to be. The similar was true with “The Very Thought of You” as sung by Manhattan Transfer alum Cheryl Bentyne on her album Among Friends. The sound of her stunning voice was very intimate, and the piano, guitar, acoustic bass, and drums supported her in simply the correct proportion.
In addition to DVD-Audio, I listened to some tracks on SACD discs, which supply a special sort of high-resolution audio. Instead of PCM (pulse code modulation) at 96kHz and 24 bits per pattern, they use a scheme referred to as DSD (Direct Stream Digital), which makes use of PWM (pulse-width modulation) with 1-bit decision at a lot greater sampling charges, beginning at 2.8MHz. Because some SACDs shouldn’t have 2-channel mixes together with 5.1 mixes, I set the Oppo participant to output 2-channel on this case.
I began this spherical of listening with “Summer Fling” from Spyro Gyra’s The Deep End. The sound was fantastic, very wealthy and fascinating. The electrical bass was impressively deep, and the keyboards, guitar, drums, percussion, and soprano sax have been all tremendous clear and full.
Likewise, I actually loved listening to O Fortuna from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana as carried out by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus beneath the path of Donald Runnicles. This is the well-known half that’s utilized in a lot of film trailers; it’s largely loud however with just a few delicate spots. Everything sounded very clear and clear; I may simply hear all of the instrumental sections and choral voices, and the bass-drum hits and brass on the finish have been particularly spectacular.
The PMA-60 supplies the power to stream audio through Bluetooth, so I paired it with my iPhone XS and performed a few tracks from my iTunes library. At first, the extent was a lot decrease than it had been from the Oppo participant, however I found that the telephone’s quantity setting was fairly low by default for some purpose. After turning it up, the extent was loads loud sufficient.
“Glamour Profession” from Steely Dan’s Gaucho sounded nice, although a bit brighter and extra brittle than DVD-Audio and SACD. The similar was true of Percy Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry from the album Grainger: A Lincolnshire Posy by the London Wind Ensemble beneath the path of Denis Wick. This piece has a large dynamic vary, and it sounded wonderful in any respect ranges, with every instrumental part clearly delineated.
The Denon AH-D9200 is the epitome of a flagship audio product. It sounds fantastic, with deep bass, open midrange, and super-clear highs. In truth, every little thing I heard sounded utterly pure, and I may simply hear deep into the combo.
Also, it’s extraordinarily properly made. As I located it on my head, it felt very sturdy and substantial, but additionally light-weight, maybe due partly to the earcups’ bamboo casing. And the earpads and headband have been extraordinarily snug, permitting me to pay attention for hours with out pinching or undue stress. (After some time, I began to sweat a bit beneath the earpads, however my pores and skin is comparatively lively in that manner; you won’t have the identical downside.) My solely grievance right here is that the included cardboard storage case is just too flimsy to essentially defend the headphone.
At $1,599, the AH-D9200 isn’t for everybody. But for individuals who can afford it, Denon’s flagship headphone is properly definitely worth the funding, bringing musical nirvana to your ears.