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Denon aha 100

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #103 in Over-Ear

Posted

Pros: Audio quality, comfort, easy to power, stylish design, 5-year warranty

Cons: Limited availability

I walked in to a nearby stereo store a couple weeks ago and saw these on display. I hadn’t intended to buy anything, but after I demo’ed the H-A100 on my iPhone I had no choice but to walk out $500+tax poorer. Not a moment too soon, because it was their last pair in stock. It is now the crown jewel of my fledgling high-end headphone collection.

 

Currently I own these, the EarSonics SM3, the ATH-M50, the Denon AH-C710, the Grado SR80, and the Sennheiser HD 555. I had a pair of Sennheiser HD 575s that died about a year ago. My frame of reference is thus limited by the fact that I haven’t done extensive home listening with flagship cans like the HD 800, the T1, the A7000, the LCD-2, etc. I’m only going to compare them to the SM3s below because the other headphones in my collection don’t even come close.

I bought the SM3s on the basis of their high reputation around here (I’ve been a lurker for a while) and although I was quite happy with them I can assert that the A100s are better in almost every way: better soundstage (goes without saying); tighter, punchier bass; equally lush, liquid mids; and a vastly superior high end that captures far more detail without sibilance or harshness. The SM3s obviously have better isolation, but isolation on the closed A100s is quite decent, and they’re far more comfortable for extended wear because they’re not jammed into your ear canals. They’re lightweight and feel secure without any tight clamping.

They sound great running off mobile devices, so I see them as the phones that the B&W P5s were supposed to be: a truly audiophile mobile solution. They cost $200 more and they’re bulkier, but unlike the P5 they actually DO offer audiophile sound from mobile sources.

I can’t speak to how they stack up against the flagship headphones listed above, but given that they blow the highly-regarded SM3s out of the water, I’d say they occupy a very sweet spot where SQ, comfort, price, and mobility meet in perfect harmony. They’re also beautiful. It’s too bad they’re only a limited edition, because I think they’re world-beaters. Knowing how Japanese firms operate, I suspect Denon is selling these at sliver-thin to no margin: A limited-edition product celebrating their centennial is the kind of statement into which they might pour their resources with only a cursory nod to profit.

If you can get your hands on these, by all means give them a try. They may not replace your HD 800 or Stax SR-007, but I think they offer even the most discerning audiophile an excellent mobile solution, and for many may be the last headphones you’ll need to buy.


 

Posted

Pros: Clarity, Neutrality, Bass Detail, High-Fidelity for iPod

Cons: Muggy if Worn Outdoors

The Denon Ah-A100s are the last real pair of headphones I'll ever need. I purchased the headphones to revolutionize my studio capabilities, and mainly to expand my ability to mix when I travel.  While I admit, they have a little something more when I run them through an amp, I wouldn't say the difference is night and day. That is, the sonic quality without an amp is something my ears revel at- unlike anything I've heard on the market today.  In this way, they are certainly more price-efficient over the Denon 1000, 2000, and 5000, and they are certainly more power-efficient and portable in this regard as well- the drive from a headphone jack of a laptop keeps them relatively true.

 

I bought the headphones new, and admit that I was a bit worried at first that they were overly bassy, too "far away" in the mix, and "clouded."  After feeding them for several hours, the audio quality began to shimmer and expose itself as something truly remarkable.  In about two days of listening, and referencing to several sources, I was amazed at the pristine detail- you just "hear so many things you heard before" as many have said. Though I have remained careful and continued to reference my Denon Ah-A100 mixes between near-field, far-field monitors, iPod headphones, car speakers, and other audio devices, I've found that mixing straight to the Denons brought the most-crafted, and detail-oriented mix I've achieved to date.  Some touch ups for mastering, and I'm done.  

 

In this way, these headphones save me about 80% of the time I would normally spend on mixes, and from this perspective, the cost-efficiency change has already paid the cans off.  I simply hear more, thus, I can do more, quicker.  The investment was certainly worth it.  But these aren't just studio headphones- these are portable mix-at-the-coffee-shop, reference-in-Washington-Square, tweak-at-the-airport headphones.  The Ah-A100s give you permission to get out of the studio and take in some fresh air while I mix, stay inspired while you work, and get out of town when you need a change of pace and be able to take your studio with you.  I feel like I've been "irresponsible" on the last projects I've worked on, but clients seem more impressed than ever.  I'm thankful to have found some "near-field monitors" that I can wrap around my head and take with me on the go. 

 

However, Summer weather just hit, and these are not the headphones to jog 20 blocks with. Leave them at home if you've got a long trek, or if you don't have a decent carrying case, because a)  the ear cups get warm around the ears quick, b) rain, theft, or otherwise would be tragic, c) dropping them is likely because they don't wrap easily around your collar/neck, and d) I don't trust the plastic not to get scratched or break if something were to happen.  But.... you've got a 5-year manufacturer's warranty if you bought them new, so it's up to you.  Even so, a good case and indoor environments will ensure protection from potentially subtle changes in sonic quality, due to otherwise slight damage of outdoor heat, condensation, scratches, etc.

 

Comparing other high-fidelity headphones to the Ah-A100s, there's no better portable option on the market today, but expect competing companies like Sennhesier or AKG to mimic, innovate, and release their own deviated models of portable high-fidelity headphones at competitive prices. If you're brand loyal to another company, waiting for the market to catch up to what Denon has done with the Ah-A100s could be more ideal for you. But if you're like and me and need the portable studio now, you will be pleased with the quality and overall capabilities of the Denon Ah-A100s.  

Posted

Pros: Comfort, Looks, Soundstage

Cons: Sound quality, Price, Almost identical to cheaper model

The cup is a beauty, and I believe that's a fact. aesthetic wise it looks very good, it is a thing that can turn people's head ..... no ... not away, but to you or at least that's what I feel. so,  I vouch for this phone to be the best looking phone ever, well apart from edition 8 LE which I'm not sure if those are portable or not. And I would also vote this to be the most comfortable portable phone ever. Just couldn't think of anything better. The leather is so soft, it feels like ... well ... a leather. a high quality one, and it sits just right around your ear with adequate clamping force that also feels right. Isolation is pretty good, I can hear no background sound on loud public area.

Build quality is good, though the plastic band is kinda worrying, It just doesn't feel sturdy enough. And you got no carrying case with it. The packaging box is nice though but what's the use of a box ... I'd be happier if I got a good carrying case/

 

Now about the sound .... it's good. just not good enough for me. I'm not really an audiophile but I feel it's nowhere compared to similarly priced ath esw10jpn; Yes, the sound stage is bigger but the treble, the mid and the bass is just sounds dull to me. Well not exactly dull but just not really exciting, treble feels a bit harsh, and so does the mids, wait ... well not really, the mids is just fine .. a bit recessed, quite smooth and solid and thick but on some recording feels quite thin, mostly on rock, but it does great job on jazz and classical. so ... about the problem .... It's not really blaring mistake but I just feel it kind of lacking refinement. The bass is not deep enough, It mostly stays in mid bass and sometimes it feels a bit boomy. the sound is not bad but it doesn't feel as refined for which which at this price point I expect it to be. I just It's just not as exciting as esw10jpn. Or maybe I just simply love AT house sound better than Denon's

 

 

 

 

Posted

Pros: Bass quality and quantity,detail,isolation,fun,comfort

Cons: the cord is a little cheap, mid is a little far away and treble could be hotter

The first,i want to say "hi" to all of  headfi-er heresmily_headphones1.gif and i'm sorry about my bad English cuz i from Vietnam. So , i will make my 1st review as short as possible in order to avoid the vast of error grammars that always occur every time i try to write a refined long english passage :d

 I have previously owned a pair of Vsonic Gr07,the Bose in-ear and listend to the Beats Solo by Dr. Dre On-Ear, the yuin pk2s and the soundmagic pl30s. Seriously, it is not fair to compare a IEM vs a fullsize(Denon a100 is portable-fullsize thought) but i feel the Beat solo even don't come close my GR07, so i think using only the gr07s which is the best in my experiences and gotten a lot of praises in the forum is a good thing to describe how the A100s sound. The A100s are over the GR07s in almost aspects: they are much much detailer, fuller, more fun with deeper and solider bass, the treble is laidback compare to the shrill treble on GR07(i just detected this after sticked to A100 instead of GR07 for several days), the soundtage and 3D image is really great too(i know it is fullsize's powersbiggrin.gif), the isolation ability on par with GR07. The only thing that GR07 win in this battle maybe MID. When i listened to few songs of Mariah Carey, i realized something missing and i don't have the emotion "creepy satisfaction" like having on GR07, it because A100 have the Mariah's voice is smaller and comes from further place. We know the GR07s 's mid is wonderful and forward (i race GR07 30% bass, 40%mid 30% treble on SQ) and Denon's style is slightly V-shape then we are easy to understand this issue. Finnaly, i put 4. 5 stars at audio quality to this Denon 100th anniversary headphone and i think they worth any pennies of mine.

Denon aha 100
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