Denon AH-D7200 Dynamic Headphones – Unsupported Flagship
Denon AH-D7200 is the flagship Dynamic Headphone for Bassheads made by Denon. It is priced at 700 USD, and it will be compared to Beyerdynamic Amiron, Sennheiser HD660S, Dan Clark Aeon Flow, and Harmonic Dyne Zeus.
Despite being extremely popular, large, and in-demand, Denon is the kind of company that offers very limited support for their products. It is impossible to contact them directly, and after speaking with their local sellers and official representatives, they informed me that the company has poor overall support, and that some of their local engineers had to learn from scratch what the electronic boards looked like and how to solder them, when they had to fix something. This surprised me a lot, and while I don’t usually get the short end of the stick, Denon seems to either trust their production process a bit much, or be swallowed by their own current size and success. As we will explore in today’s review, this is a great headphone that needs more support from the mother company, and even ordering spare components for a headphone that is theoretically easy to fix, can turn into a complicated situation.
It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Denon, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Denon AH-D7200 find their next music companion.
First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:
The package includes the headphones, a really long cable, and a set of manuals.
That is it, with no extras, no specials, nothing else. Most headphones in this price point include a carrying case, or spare earpads, so the package of the AH-D7200 is not very impressive.
I have to start by saying that this is a personal pair that I purchased second hand from a friend, because I really enjoyed the whole concept of a closed back basshead headphone. It came like new, being very lightly used, and has been sold in good working condition.
The build quality of the AH-D7200 is actually excellent. They are a large headphone made of metal and wood, with actual leather in the earpads, excellent overall stability and wearing comfort. They are closed back, and will isolate averagely from the outside noise, and there is a certain hotspot right in the middle of the headband, that will make wearing a bit difficult for long periods of time.
The headband has a thick padding, but right in the middle the padding gets worn out after a while, and the overall comfort decreases. The earpads are also at the limit between being over-the-ear and on-ear for my ears, and getting a proper seal can be difficult at times. The wooden cups look gorgeous, and the adjusting mechanism feels very good, plus the cups feel really well built.
I actually had to disassemble the headphones, because one of my ears developed an issue where it seemed like it was quieter. I did what any man would do and ordered spare drivers, and this is when the disaster started. You basically can’t get in touch with Denon directly in any way, and have to speak with the local sellers. The local sellers basically painted a very grim picture about Denon, where the company offers short support for their products. They don’t even instructions on how to fix their products, local engineers having to figure that on their own, if any problems are to arise.
When asking about the drivers, the local sellers were able to identify the plates, and get them for me, since you can’t order those directly either, and the price was very good, about 100 USD for both drivers, including the plates they are attached to. I thought all is well, but the drivers came with zero damping material, so they did not work well at all. In the absence of the damping material, the sound was thin, brittle, and lacked bass, which is the main feature of the headphones. The damping material is glued to the plastic the drivers are glued to, so getting the old dampeners from the cups without damage can be a real challenge too. Using a different material won’t work so well, so a DIY solution won’t work so well here, all in all the whole experience is stressful, and frustrating. The headphones are in warranty, and this is why I was surprised that none was offered.
It would be simpler to purchase all the individual components and build the headphones from scratch than purchasing them as a whole, but you would still be missing certain parts like we see here, so I am quite unhappy with the whole thing. Usually, companies that do offer headphones that can be fixed by the user, do offer all of the components necessary to do so. Meze and their Meze 99 Classics is a good example, that headphone being properly supported by the company.
We need to make a large difference between the working condition and the non-working condition of the AH-D7200. With the working drivers, the new ones, the sound quality was pretty poor, with a brittle, harsh and bright sound that lacked bass and depth, and which was not really that enjoyable. It sounded like the bass was entirely cut out of their V-Shaped signature, and the treble had quite a bit of aggressiveness to it.
The sound, when they are working perfectly (old drivers, before having issues) is quite great, with excellent bass depth, good impact, and a very quick speed. They don’t sound very basshead to me, since they are V-Shaped and quite balanced in general. I would say that there are many other headphones I would go for if I was a basshead, like Ollo S4X, or Verum One, or Audeze LCD-2C, or Sivga P-2. Many others exist that can achieve close to the same overall clarity and detail as AH-D7200, but still at a pretty similar price, or priced lower.
The bass of the AH-D7200 is uplifted above the neutral, but it is only so by a few dB. The bass quality is excellent, quite clean and quick, good enough for Tehno, EDM and Death Metal, but also deep enough for house. There is a good amount of body to each musical instrument, and the overall balance is in favor of the sub-bass, with very little upper bass uplift or coloration. This means that the overall sound can be heavy but won’t get too thick with any music style.
In fact, this is something about the midrange you should keep in mind, AH-D7200 can be a bit thin at times, which can make the midrange a bit sucked out. The timbre is still fairly natural, with a good overall refinement and detail, and a fairly good soundstage. The presentation is natural in general, with a good instrument separation, and a fairly good soundstage. It is in fact, one of the most precise sound stages around, presenting wide-sounding songs wide, and something intimate, intimate.
I like the overall resolution too, and that extends to the treble, which is not only lively, but wide and energetic. The treble has excellent extension, but it can be a bit hot at times, especially in the upper midrange / lower treble, where most of the energy lies. This means that the 6-9 kHz range can be a bit too hot, and while this works ok for certain music, like Rock, it can sound a bit too aggressive for Jazz and Classical. As things stand, AH-D7200 is best suited for EDM, electronic, Dubstep, and Pop. They work well for Rock and Metal, but are too thin for Classical, Jazz.
I decided to go for more comparisons above pairings, so I will be comparing the AH-D7200 to Harmonic Dyne Zeus, Beyerdynamic Amiron, Sennheiser HD660s, and Dan Clark Aeon Flow. In terms of pairings, AH-D7200 is not extremely hard to drive, but requires a source that is smooth, thick and bassy. They have extremely good potential for EQ, so you will be able to squeeze bass out of them if you want to, but for that, you’ll need something with a good overall headroom and dynamics.
AH-D7200 has a 6.3mm Single Ended connector o their long cable, so it is recommended to pair them with desktop DAC/AMPs like Singxer SDA-2, Soundaware A1X PRO, Rebel Audio Rebel AMP, or the AAdac from Audio Analogue.
Denon AH-D7200 vs Sennheiser Hd660s (700 USD vs 500 USD) – The overall comfort is better on the AH-D7200, with HD660s being a bit too tight and too clamped on my head. The cable is better on Hd660S. I prefer the overall drive factor of AH-D7200, which is easier to drive and sounds good, but I much prefer purchasing a headphone that will be supported by the company selling it, Sennheiser being quite good with that. The overall clarity is comparable, AH-D7200 has a better bass, while HD660S has a better midrange. The HD660S is generally better for Jazz, Classical, Orchestral, and it will be easier to get a proper fit with them / proper seal, but AH-D7200 is better for EDM, Electronic, Rock and Metal.
Denon AH-D7200 vs Harmonic Dyne Zeus (700 USD vs 350 USD) – Generally, the comfort is better on the Zeus, but the build quality is theoretically better on the AH-D7200. Linsoul is far better at supporting their headphones as they do with the Zeus, while with AH-D7200, the lack of support for the price point is a bit disturbing and I totally advise you to read reviews (even others than mine), about something more expensive, before purchasing it. The sound of the Zeus is everything that people promise AH-D7200 to be, a nice basshead headphone with a good bass, excellent natural midrange, and a fairly sparkly treble, open soundstage for the price, and excellent detail. AH-D7200 always sounds a bit too thin in the mids, there is always a bit too little bass, and the treble is always a bit too bright, so I would get Zeus if you ever learned about AH-D7200 and liked what you read, but didn’t quite like them when you heard them. It is quite possible that Denon changed drivers designed in time, so the latest variants of AH-D7200 on the market sound quite different from the original. I remember hearing one original version that sounded better than the Zeus, more detailed, more impactful and dynamic, but the overall tuning was really close between them.
Denon AH-D7200 vs Beyerdynamic Amiron (700 USD vs 500 USD) – Amiron does not get much better support from Beyerdynamic than AH-D7200 gets from Denon, as Beyer reps can be quite unfriendly and rude. At least Amiron and Beyer headphones are covered by the EU law and forced to offer some warranty. Also, at least within Europe, Beyerdynamic can cover their own products better, where Denon relies on local engineers, but does not provide them with the necessary materials to properly support their products. The overall comfort is better on the Amiron, but they are far harder to drive. I prefer the overall clarity, bass depth, impact and resolution of AH-D7200, which sounds more lively and more open than Amiron. Amiron by comparison can be quite bright, lacks some bass and needs a bit of EQ, sounding a bit too close to HD800S for my liking. Amiron was released as a bluetooth headphone too, and as far as I understand, the signature of the Bluetooth variant has a bit more bass, so it should be more ideal than the original Amiron was. All in all, right now AH-D7200 sounds better for EDM, Rock, Metal, Pop, Jazz and Classical, covering pretty much all music styles with better dynamics and impact.
Denon AH-D7200 vs Dan Clark Aeon Flow (700 USD vs 600 USD) – Aeon Flow is actually a bit tighter on the head, but ends up being more comfortable than AH-D7200 which has too thin of earpads to feel quite as comfy. At least Aeon Flow fits my head better. Coming from the USA, Aeon Floiw and Dan Clark offer excellent warranty and won’t let you down when you purchase their products. The sound is more v-Shaped on the Aeon Flow, with better resolution and detail, while it has better impact on the AH-D7200. I really wish I would have liked the AH-D7200 more, especially given the design and wooden earcups, but the Aeon Flow is simply the better headphone, both technically, but also as a value.
Value and Conclusion
At the end of the day, Denon created a good headphone, with excellent build and ergonomics, a beautiful design, but is acting a lot like an OEM here. They provide just the products and components, but not the adequate support that is supposed to come with those products, being a lot like how we fear the Chifi stuff is going to be before purchasing it. In this sense, Harmonic Dyne Zeus, and it having Linsoul’s support behind it, feels safer and should be better than getting a Denon product and hoping the local engineers will be willing or able to fix it, if anything goes wrong. Even ordering spare components will mean you have to know what you’re doing and understand the headphone a bit more, so as things stand, I am having a hard time saying that AH-D7200 has a good price / performance ratio. It ain’t a bad headphone, but dropping this money on a headphone, I usually expect some support when something breaks.
The package is not overly impressive either, with just a long cable ending in a 6.3mm Single Ended connector, and most aftermarket cables having a fiddling fit with the way the connectors are designed. This being said, the actual comfort of the headphones is ok, and the sound is actually fairly good.
If you can grab a pair from a store, one that will support them, or Amazon, and if you want a fairly neutral / natural / V-Shaped headphone with a really good bass presentation, but if you don’t expect basshead quantities, the AH-D7200 is a great headphone, although quite an elusive one, and with a ton of competition in the price at the moment.
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Full Playlist used for this review
We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!
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