Denon's new AH-D5000 headphones have been on our list of things to drool over since we first glanced at them.
At £500, they're not for the faint-hearted, nor the light-walleted -- these are headphones for serious audiophiles and those who can truly appreciate the experience provided by high-quality audio. The question is, are they worth half a grand?
The D5000s are unthinkably light for 'phones encased in mahogany. Those of you sceptical about placing wood around your head will be pleasantly surprised. They're instantly comfortable -- the delicate yet substantial earpads cushion the cans and, at least for us, caused none of the sweatiness that often occurs after long listening sessions. An asymmetric earpad design further ensures the wearer gets a comfortable fit.
Denon has gone a few extra miles with its design of the D5000s. The adjustable headband is mounted on a ball-bearing system that lets the wearer smoothly adjust the size of the headphones. The padded headband is also as comfortable as the earpads. It's superbly well constructed but flexible and lightweight, thanks to its magnesium components -- just what you'd expect for the cost of a cheap second-hand car.
The feature that most justifies the cost is, thankfully, sound quality. The beauty of audiophile headphones is that you can get close to the precise audio reproduction of a hi-fi costing upwards of £2,000, without breaking into the four-figure price brackets.
The D5000s blew us away with stellar reproductions of every musical genre we threw at them -- tightly orchestrated classical recitals, brutal black metal performances, chest-pounding drum 'n' bass, over-produced pop -- everything sounded crystal-clear and perfectly delivered by the 50mm neodymium magnets in each 'phone. It's like a orgy for your ears, and only supermodels are invited.