Pros: Very comfortable once head size is manually fixed + decent soundscape once bass is calmed down with the right EQ
Cons: Head size is seriously off on (some?) models + way too bass-heavy without EQ
Got this headphone from a friend after he got himself a more "comfortable" one (only 3 months after this Denon).
Trying it for 10 minutes was enough to understand the problem: the headband is way too curved, pushing the earpads extremely hard on the head. My skull isn't really above average and it was starting to give me some headache. So I brought it on my workshop table.
Note: The headache and hinges breaking-off issues only showing among certain users, I suspect Denon had production issues on certain factories or during a specific period, during which incorrect anthropometric data was used to calibrate the headband, or incorrect calibration was done, and it resulted in wrongly sized headbands, putting much more strain on the users and the plastic hinges.
Since there is no way to know if a model got the right size, unless you get to test it yourself for 10-15 min continuous use, I do not recommend buying one without the ability to return it without any additional charge.
A) Fixing the hardware
Step 1: the plastic hinges holding the pads both already had cracks on multiple points, and would completely break soon. Put some glue there and tried to reinforce the structure with leftovers found around, but that's just delaying the inevitable.
Step 2: fixing the headband.
- 2 screws to separate each pads from the hinges (the grey plastic part)
- 4 screws to separate each hinges (the grey plastic part) from the headband (the metal curved band)
- 2 screws to separate each jagged black plastic (used to keep the size adjustments in place) from the curved metal band (the 2 screws are situated on the 2 dark blocks on the headband)
- took out the central cushion from the headband
- went to the kitchen with a pair of pliers and kitchen gloves. Fired up the small gas stove, slowly heated up the metal, using the two pliers I slowly but steadily started bending it out (step by step, no rush!), to increase the spacing (evenly, to keep it symmetrical).
- after increasing the spacing by around ~35% (so ending with ~135% of the original spacing), turned off the stove and let the metal cool down while I cleaned up everything.
- once fully cool, mounted back the cushion, size adjustment jagged plastic thingies (4 screws in total), hinges (8 screws in total), pads (4 screws in total)
- tried it: it now fits perfectly, no more headache, doesn't fall off at all during rapid movements either, the plastic hinges seem to no longer suffer from excessive tension.
Been using this fixed hardware for 6 months now, it's one of the most comfortable headphone I had the chance of testing :)
One problem remains: the grey plastic hinges were very severely weakened during the first 3 months of use by my friend, and a vital part later broke off completely, requiring complicated gluing work (two-component epoxy mix for the solid base, cyanoacrylate to then glue the two parts) every 2 months. I'm currently trying to made a CAD version of a modified hinge (to 3D print it) to make such repairs much more easy, but lacking any formal training I'm quite struggling with it.
B) Fixing the bass-heavyness
Simply gathered some graph data on the D1100 using various reviews, then fine-tuned some software EQ configuration (mostly using one general-purpose, one for bass-rich music). I'm quite novice on this, so if you have a better method or knowledge, feel free to comment :)
- 31 Hz: -2.0 dB
- 62 Hz: -4.8 dB
- 125 Hz: -4.1 dB
- 250 Hz: -4.8 dB
- 500 Hz: 0 dB
- 1k Hz: 0 dB
- 2k Hz: +1.1 dB
- 4k Hz: +0.4 dB
- 8k Hz: 0 dB
- 16k Hz: 0 dB
Final words: once I fixed the hardware, then fine-tuned the sound with a software EQ, I gotta say it's a rather pleasant experience.
Accuracy is decent (you can quite distinguish each sound separately, 3/5), depth is comfortable (music tracks display a great range, 3.5/5), there isn't noticeable blur or sever distortion even at higher volume, so I never felt like I was missing out on a better experience. They're not the *best* sounding headphones ever, but they might be a good contender at their price range.