Denon is well-known by audiophiles the world over for its high-end hi-fi equipment and headphones. Its previous set of elitist cans -- the D7000s -- provided luxurious wooden construction for the more mature music
The AH-D600s however ditch the classic wood stylings in order to appeal more to the Beats by Dre crowd. Their RRP of £500 is pretty pricey, but you can currently snag them on Amazon for only £200, making them an absolute steal.
I've rated them based on this price, which Denon tells me isn't likely to change soon. It's worth keeping your eye on it though and if it does, I'll update the review accordingly.
Should I buy the Denon AH-D600?
Yes, go quickly to Amazon now just in case the price changes. At £500, the D600s' plastic construction and loose headband won't appeal to those of you used to Denon's earlier wood-cased cans. Similarly, their emphasis on bass won't suit hardcore audiophiles.
At their cut-down price though, the D600s are an unbelievable bargain. Their modern design, coupled with superb comfort and sound quality make them an excellent choice for those of you who want to take a step up in quality from the Beats range.
Even at full whack, these are good headphones spoiled only slightly by the headband. At £200 though, they blow their similarly priced competition clean out of the water.
Design and build quality
The D600s are something of a departure from Denon's typical style. Gone is the classic, wood-encased look of its older D7000 cans, replaced instead with liberal amounts of black plastic.
This use of synthetic materials isn't going to appeal to those of you who adore the warmth and sophistication afforded by the wooden enclosures. Denon is clearly hoping to attract a new breed of customer however -- perhaps those who are currently splashing their cash on Beats by Dre's brash aesthetics.
That's not to say the D600s are unattractive though -- far from it. The black plastic earcups are offset nicely by the brushed metal Denon logo on the outside and the white plastic 'inner' cup within. This inner cup connects to the outer casing with a ball and socket joint, allowing it to move freely. Denon claims that this means you can achieve a much more comfortable fit.
It certainly seems to work too, as the D600s are extremely comfortable to wear. The earpads have a pentagonal shape to them, which helps them fit easily around the ear, while the leather is supremely soft. Don't worry, vegans -- the leather in question is 'protein leather', meaning no cows were required to lay down their lives for audio comfort. I almost guarantee you won't be able to tell it's not real though.
It's not all good news unfortunately, as the headband is far too loose for my liking. Even though I have quite a large head -- 'one size fits all' hats are often too small for me -- I found the cups were loose around my ears. They were tight enough to form a proper seal, but only just. This also meant that sharp head movements would easily dislodge them -- an issue exacerbated by the D600s' heft.
At £500, that would be difficult to ignore, but the huge reduction in the price of these headphones will help you gloss over that easily enough. They're well put together and I've certainly felt worse construction from similarly priced headphones. I was able to comfortably wear them for several hours at a time. My head started to ache from the din of music I was pushing through them long before I felt the discomfort from the headphones themselves.
The cable is detachable, which is a big plus if your wires have previously met their doom after getting tangled in the wheels of your chair. It also allows the hi-fi elitists among you to source your own premium cabling. Two sets of cables are included: one long rope-like one for home listening and a shorter, lighter one with an iPhone microphone for on the go use. I wouldn't really recommend them for out and about listening though.
Audiophiles looking to Denon to reproduce their music with brutal accuracy shouldn't get too excited about the D600s. Instead of a totally honest, flat tone, the D600s put their emphasis more on the high- and low-end frequencies.
Like the styling, that's likely to appeal more to those of you who've cut your teeth on Beats cans. Unlike Beats, the D600s have a firmer hand in controlling the bass. It's powerful and can deliver a punch to your head that feels almost strong enough to seriously compromise the structural integrity of your skull.
The bass doesn't come at the expense of the rest of the sound though. Zomboy's track Hoedown was reproduced with deep, roaring bass lines, while the higher-end synth parts and sharp snare hits were clearly separated in the mix. Similarly, the powerful guitar, meaty bass lines and thumping kick drum of Periphery's Icarus Lives were well produced without muddying the shimmer of the cymbals or the crack of the snare.
High-end is handled well too -- the cymbals and sharp snare on the beautifully recorded song Watch Your Step by Dave Weckl Band were bright and well separated. If anything, the the D600s might lack a little warmth in the mid range, so die-hard fans of folk and acoustic music might want to go ears-on before splashing their cash.
They're best suited to fans of electronic music where deep, growling bass is paramount but where high-end synth needs to cut through sharply. Dubsteppers and drum and bass nuts are well catered for, as are rockers who require low-end power -- Periphery, Dream Theater and Meshuggah all sounded great.
For £500, the Denon AH-D600s don't provide the classic luxury of their wood-enclosed predecessors and their loose headband isn't perfect. At their lower price of £200 however, they're well above their competition.
The emphasis in the low and high ends of the tone won't suit dedicated audiophiles, but will be welcomed by electronic music fans. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better sound from a more comfortable set of cans for anything like the same price.