Pros: Extremely comfortable, smooth, powerful bass, pleasant highs, amazing soundstage for a closed can, cheapest flagship out there
Cons: Recessed mids, closed design hinders soundstage, artificial compared to other flagships
Early this year I saw what I thought must have been providence: A pair of Denon Ah-D7000s for $600 from a reputable dealer. I had been doing a fair amount of research into the upper-tier of flagships: LCD-2, HD800, T1, Ed 8, etc. When I saw the Denons, I knew these would be the headphones for me. And after opening the box and viewing my new mahogany headphones, I was 100% correct. For 8 months these headphones spent several hours a day on my head, giving me musical bliss. Note: these were fed with a Nuforce Icon HDP DAC, which I highly recommend for them. And here's why:
Comfort and Design: The Denons disappear on your head like no other headphone can. I've never once encountered a pair of high-end cans that were so comfortable to wear, especially for somebody with a big head like me. Not only are they comfortable, they're gorgeous: piano-glossed mahogany wood cups with leather pads and headband. They're very simple, but also very elegant. If the LCD-2s - which replaced the Denons - were this comfortable, I would be permanently satisfied with my headphone set-up.
On to the sound!
Highs: Being bright and warm, the highs on the Denons are actually very good. They're natural and focused, and sound amazing for pretty much any good recording. Female vocals and electronic music are smooth and pleasant. Although the highs aren't the highlight of the headphone, I can definitely say if you listen to music with a lot of the high-range, you won't be disappointed. String music is lifelike, detailed and all around incredibly enjoyable.
Mids: If you're coming from a pair of mid-tier headphones, you won't notice how recessed the mids are. However, after comparing them to the LCD-2s, the mids are definitely recessed. You can see this on the FR graph, but how good are the mids? I would say they occasionally suffer with music that also incorporates a lot of low-range music, since that seems to be their focus, but on their own the mids are excellent. Vocals are sweet and intimate, and everything feels real in vocal-intense recordings.
Bass: Oh the sweet bass. If you love electronic music, the Denon will be your go-to headphones. The bass is smooth, impactful and sweet. Percussion music is wonderfully refined and in-your-face, dubstep is otherworldly and heavy metal is beautiful. I cannot recommend these headphones enough for a bass-head. Out of the entire spectrum, this is the range the Denons do best. It reaches extremely low and provides some great texturing. One might expect this with fun headphones, but I definitely don't regret the Denons being fun.
Presence and Transparency: One of the things the Denons also excel at producing is presence. Every note feels distinct, clear and powerful. This may very well come with the Denons just being powerhouses for the highs and lows, but overall I think the Denons have a very special flavor concerning presence. As I stated in the bass section, percussion music is phenomenal with these headphones. If you love hard-hitting music, you can't possibly go wrong with these. However, when considering presence, one must also consider transparency. Being fun headphones, transparency doesn't seem to be as much a focus, and (may) have something to do with a closed design. I'm not an audio engineer, so I don't know. But coming from the Denons to the LCD-2s, there seems to be a very thin space between the music and the listener. It's almost unrecognizable until you actually do a thorough comparison between the headphones, but the transparency certainly suffers from the flavor of the headphone.
Soundstage: The headphones are of a closed design, so the soundstage simply won't be as good as other open flagships. However! The soundstage is still very good. Music has a brilliant intimacy, and everything is defined very clearly in space. There's no 'blob' with the Denons by any stretch, so long as you don't expect them to be soundstage-focused. I can't really expect a pair of fun, closed headphones to compete with the HD-800s or T1s, especially considering that they do everything else very well.
On a comparison with the LCD-2: As I stated in my review of the LCD-2s, when buying the LCD-2s I intended to make a decision between them and the D7000s. I eventually chose to sell the Denons, but I must add how difficult it was. The problem in choosing between either headphones arose in a very strange manner: they're simply different. The D7000s are excellent headphones, and had been my absolute favorite for 8 months. I've heard the 600 models from Sennheiser, the Thunderpants, DT880 and Dt990s, but I didn't love any of them like I love the D7000s. It was merely that the LCD-2s don't have any faults concerning SQ. When switching between the D7000s and LCD-2s, it became increasingly apparent that they were both excellent but nothing - excluding naturalness, transparency and soundstage - was starkly better or worse in either. That being said, I still find the LCD-2s as the natural upgrade for somebody who loves the D7000s. I must still recommend a degree of scrutiny when choosing which stays or goes, since the LCD-2s are several hundred dollars more expensive and scale much better with more power.
Conclusion: The D7000s are an excellent pair of flagship headphones. They're elegant in design, amazingly comfortable, and provide an extremely pleasant listening experience. The bass and highs are wonderful, but the mids and transparency leave something to be desired. However, they are definitely affordable in terms of flagships, and if you're somebody who loves fun headphones and doesn't have the scratch for a pair of LCD-2s or T1s, go for the D7000. You won't be disappointed.