Review Denon AH-D 7000 Headphones
My first set of headphones were purchased in 1974. I’m excited to write that over the years my favorite headphone has improved every so often. I am not a complete obsessive type who compulsively is upgrading my system. I have a relaxed process where if something works then it stays in use for awhile. As we build our headphone systems each piece of equipment is interdependent on each other for the overall sound. That old saying that your system is only as strong as the weakest link stands true as ever. It is actually really hard at times to get all your components to complement each other. When you have system synergy going strong, I have felt it is just better to leave it alone and enjoy the music.
For a ten year period the Sony MDR-CD-870 closed back headphones were my reference set. Sure there were lots more out there. At the time I was using 1960s Scott Amplifiers and the Sonys were a good match. My goal was a fun, comfortable and rocking set of headphones. If you have a system which works enjoy it and leave stuff alone. We all know of the crazy upgrade condition. The upgrades are a great way to spend time with this hobby. Basically every purchase is a learning experience. I’m a little conservative so having a purchase be a financial learning experience is not my idea of fun.
At a Head-fi show I tried as many headphones in my system as I could. I already had a wonderful pair of AKG k701s which were great and all but are not the best for rock. Even for dance music the AKGs leave something missing. Put on some well recorded vocals and guitar and then the AKGs show their true potential. So to shorten this story the Head-fi member next to me had a pair of AH-D7000s to sell. The price was right in my ballpark at $450.00 usd. I had spent the whole morning with modified Sennheiser HD 800s. Heck I had seen the HD800s with the t-shirt modification where you take and pack a cotton t-shirt inside them. I had used a stock set of HD800s with a super expensive after market cord which was $500.00 usd itself. I played the HD800s with a limited edition remaster of Dark Side Of The Moon on an $80,000 usd vinyl rig. I came to try the Sennheisers but somehow maybe I’m not a Sennheiser guy! Don’t get me wrong as the HDs sound very, very clear. Each part of the recording is rendered in the right sound field place. I just didn’t feel it in my heart.
So he hands me the Denons from next door and I put them into the high impedance output of my Woo Audio 5 LE. I could tell right away that I was there. In three minutes I was done, all done. But some say that if you have this instant satisfaction that maybe you will not like the equipment over time. There is this theory that some manufactures put this color in their products so everybody is floored on first listen and open their pocketbooks, only to go home and find the color is somehow keeping them from audiophile truth. I really don’t know. There is a woody feel to the sound of the AH-D 7000s. You could call it color. The sound of great and controlled bass going as low as you need it to go. The overall experience is just in one word, fun. Can you have too much fun? It’s been about 13 months and the honeymoon is not over.
When you wear the Denons for weeks on end then swich to somthing like the AKGs then you realize how light and perfect the AH- D 7000s fit your head and ears. I had always thought the AKGs were nice to wear but again the AH-Ds rule. The HD-800s felt just like they look, big heavy cages on your head! The HD-800s are as enjoyable as a hospital and the AH-Ds are as enjoyable as a redneck keg party in the woods!
The build quality is great. When you first study them they look a little fragile in the armatures. The piano lacquered cups seem like they could even dent if you get a little loose with them. Knock on wood, it has been 13 months and they are holding up perfect. So they are made in China and not the brisk mountains of Italy. They are made really, really well. The cord is a Y configuration which carries no micro phonic properties at all. At times there is a small adjustment phase just before all the equipment gets on. This adjustment gets to be an easy thing to get used to with time. The cord does need to be sorted out straight at times. The plug is really well made and feels like it will last for years. The plug has a heavy quality which just feels right when adding it to amps. A short right at the plug is an issue with many headphones used a long time. This plug seems truly first rate. I also use the AKG mini plug adaptor to plug the AH-Ds into the mini plug of my Nuforce Icon USB Desktop Amplifier And Headphone Amplifier. A great combo for the Nuforce using it as a USB digital output for a laptop playing Foobar2000 or Macintosh playing aiff lossless files in I-tunes. The high impedance of the AH-D 7000s results in truly great authority just going directly out of an I-pod Touch playing lossless aiff files.
So later that day we found a couple more tube amps to fit into our test system. The AH-D 7000s were always polite and never became harsh in the high end. Everyone said the system was simply divine with the AH-Ds in place. What they did say was that the system was perfect for jazz and classical. We still had some issues. Everything was buttery smooth; there was warmth and detail in a very sublime way. The problem was what they call speed. I was using cheap Monster RCAs and my old computer cord for power. Could the Denons improve? The question was how much did they have in them to improve. What the Denons lack in midrange reproduction is overcome by the lush silky midrange reproduced by 300b tubes. The fact is that the midrange is one of the finer points of the Woo 5LE. What could be done to improve was cords. What I thought was a little too much bass response was all just problems in my system due to the cords I was using. After changing cords the bass became focused, tight and better placed into the sound stage.
The Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord enters the power feed to the amps. The addition of speed takes place. What I thought was a deficit in the speed of the Denons was a flaw in what was brought to them in the system. It was like finding out they were a new set of headphones. Drums would attack and decay with harmonics, tone shifts would take you almost out of your seat with surprisement. Could these things really be world class headphones? What else could be done for them and how would they react? A set of Virtual Dynamics Master Series RCA interconnects are then put in between a Rega Planet Compact Disk Player and the Woo 5 LE RCA inputs. Now the Denons responded with speed and detail. OK, I said I’m not into the upgrade cycle! I’m not, I’m not. I do need a new CD player though.
Equipment Used For Denon AH-D 7000 Headphone Review
Sony MDR-CD-870 Headphones
AKG k701 Headphones
Denon AH-D 7000 Headphones
Headphone Amplifier Inventory
Woo Audio 5 LE Headphone Amplifier And Custom Modified Preamplifier
Nuforce Icon USB Desktop Amplifier And Headphone Amplifier
VPI Scout Turntable
Clearaudio Aurum Classic Phonograph Cartridge
PS•1 Phono Preamplifier and HC•1b Dual Mono Power Supply by Monolithic
Rega Planet Compact Disk Player
Virtual Dynamics Master Series RCA interconnects
Electra Glide Audio Reference Glide-Reference Standard "Fatboy" Power Cord
Electra Glide Audio Epiphany X2 Power Cord