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Official Denon AH-C700 Comparisons/Impressions

post #1 of 1418
Thread Starter 

EDIT: 16th Feb 2008

OK - time for an update! When I first wrote my comparison of the Denons with the Shure SE310, I had no idea the thread would evolve like it has done. As it's been going for almost 6 months now - I thought I'd briefly point out what I've learned from everyone's views so far.

Firstly, I've put as many links as possible on THIS page (Tony's suggestion and it's worked out very well), plus it saves trawling through 50+ pages to find the information you want.

Secondly. . . most people who bought the Denons, love them and have been good enough to post their thoughts in this thread. It's become quite comprehensive thanks to everyone's hepful input.

For those people sensitive to treble - the Atrio M5s seem to be the preferred choice, and for those who prefer an upfront midrange and a lot of treble detail - the Denons seem to be the preferred choice.

TIP REPLACEMENTS: Denon don't make any. The best tips so far appear to be the genuine Sony tips from the EX range. Others include UE silicon tips and various other brands including a violent assault on the Shure orange foamies to make them fit. HeadphoneAddict kindly provided photos of the Denons + Orange foamies to prove it can be done

FIT I don't have any problems with them falling out - but some people are having issues with getting a good fit. Someone suggested giving them a half twist once they're in to help them 'lock' into place. It does seem to keep them more secure.

BURN IN I was a complete skeptic when it came to burn in until I bought the C751 (same headphone but 'fancier' with an actual carrying case!!). I found them to be much more aggressive than my well-used C700s. So I let them burn in for around 20 hours and they smoothed out beautifully. So if you find them too 'much' out of the box - let them burn in a while, it really does make a difference with these headphones.


LINKS TO USEFUL POSTS: Most recent first

cn11 - Sennheiser IE8 vs Denon C700. Brief comparisons.
Brief opinions - Sennheiser IE8 - Page 17 - Head-Fi: Covering Headphones, Earphones and Portable Audio

Soozieq/Me Triple.fi 10 vs C700 -(sooooo unfair, but still...)

shigzeo - C700 vs Victor HP-FX500 (1st wood canalphones!)

bashot - Full review + comparisons with SE530/EP630.

warrior05 - C700 vs SA6 (Sleek Audio)

soozieq (me!) - C700 vs Klipsch Image (unfair!)

neoufo51 - C700 vs Atrio M5s.
Full comprehensive review.

Methos1979 - C700: First impressions

Ihatepopupads - C700 vs Shure E500

soozieq (ME!) - Comparisons: C700 vs C551

dura - Impressions/Bass comparison with Shure E4G/C

suba3333 -
Dealing with microphonics and cleaning tips.

mwallace573 - Comparisons: ATH-CK7 vs AH-C700

Cry Havoc -
Comprehensive Review: C700

natural_nut - Comparisons: C700 vs Creative EP630

amjiarka - Further impressions C700 vs C551

amjiarka - Comparisons: C700 vs Denon AH-C551

Karma23 - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs PK1

athenaesword - Impressions

anthonyfirst - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs Ety ER4P vs Altec IM716 vs Shure E500

oak3X - Impressions/Fit

HeadphoneAddict - Comparisons: C700 vs Livewires vs E500 vs (a little) ER6i

sinner6 - Impressions/Tips:

99SiR Alternative eartips

tstarn06 - Comparisons: M5 vs PK1 vs C700:

Warrior - Comparisons: C700 vs C350:

ajmiarka - Comparisons: C700 vs q-JAYS

Warrior Comparisons: C700 vs PK1

cn11 - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs Atrio M5s

99SiR - Fit/Comfort

Warrior - Further Impressions:

Warrior - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs C350 vs Atrios M5


Chris_Himself - Impressions:

epithetless - Comparison/Impressions: C700 vs Atrio M5s

HeadphoneAddict - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs SE310 vs E4C

amjiarka - Impressions/Photos:

quick01 - Impressions/Comparisons: C700 vs CX300 vs Sennheiser 580


My new Denon AH-C700 compared with my old Shure SE310

Firstly - Be nice to me please – this is my first ‘proper’ review, although it’s not really a review so much as a direct comparison between 2 pairs of headphones. Anyway, still be nice and remember the ‘hearing is subjective’ thingybob. I haven’t been here long, and yet I seem to have admirably worked my way through a whole heap of headphones in a ‘Goldilocks’ tasting fest in a quest to find the one that tasted just ‘right’ and I think I just did.

* This may only be of interest to anyone who has the 310, or is considering buying either of these headphones.

The Denon AH-C700 and Shure SE310 are priced the same here in the UK, around £140 ($280).
The review I read pitted the C700 against the SE310 in terms of sound, fit, accessories etc. As I’d previously owned the SE310s, and had sold them due to fit issues and other minor niggles, I was really curious to try the Denons as they apparently ‘offered a surprisingly similar sound’ to the 310s.

I was also seduced by the hype that the engineers who'd worked on the $5000 Denon CD player had also worked on the AH-C700.
I figured it’s Denon, there’s no way they can sound bad, so it would be 'rude' not to buy them right?? Anyway. . . they arrived yesterday brand new and sealed, just $125 from eBay – half the UK price, which was a huge saving. I’ve now been using them on and off for around 14 hours and am so blown away by them that I just had to share my excitement and post my comparison between these and my memories of the 310s.

Firstly, the comment I read at trustedreviews is spot on: The Denons do sound similar.
The midrange and treble (the area I care about the most) is almost the same, very clear and detailed, although I think the Denons have slightly more treble detail. When I listened to Leonard Cohen’s ‘Guests’ with the Denons, the mandolins really sounded clear and twinkling, and the violins actually sounded like violins. I don’t remember hearing them sound quite so detailed on the 310s. Still, it’s very close in that area, BUT the most noticeable difference is in the bass.

The 310s had what I felt was a ‘cold’ bass, it was there, but completely uninvolving:

Since I didn’t listen to much bass-heavy music through headphones, it wasn’t really an issue. But the Denons have a rich accurate bass which adds warmth and depth I now know was missing from the 310s. I can't describe bass adequately, but it goes deep while not interfering with the other frequencies. It’s like listening to a ‘complete’ headphone after fitting the missing piece of the jigsaw. They fix every issue I had with the 310s.

Certain vocals sounded really thin and tinny with the 310s:
Neil Young, Rory Gallagher, David Bowie and Mick Jagger all sounded painfully screechy. I removed them from my daps because I couldn’t stand to hear them. Then I put them back and tried them with the Denons – well, all I can say is the vocal tone was the same as I would hear from my loudspeakers, no shriekiness, no painful wailing, just vocals sounding as they should. This gave me back access to a lot of music I’d deemed ‘unlistenable’ to with the 310s. The midrange is upfront and close with vocals sounding very clear and prominent. I love this presentation in a headphone.

Some songs needed turning up really loud with the 310s in order to sound good: I was forever ‘fiddling about’ with the volume control. This was irritating and I hadn’t experienced this in a headphone before. But the Denons don’t suffer from that quirk at all. They really sound great at all volumes. There’s not much more to add about the sound. Basically, I feel they’re an improved 310 with full involving bass and vocals that sound good no matter who’s screeching!

Soundstage: Bigger than the 310s without a doubt (in my opinion). I no longer have music playing in my brain, the sound is lifted upwards and outwards. As they're canalphones, I would have expected a bigger soundstage anyway, but it's better than I expected and creates a very pleasurable listening experience.

I used them straight out of a Sony NW-A808: All tracks were encoded @ 352kbps Atrac3plus, and for the first time I can listen with the EQ off. I’ve always had to tweak the EQ before any headphone sounded 'listenable', but the Denons sounded just 'right' from the start. I’ve listened to Jean Michel Jarre, The Who, CSN&Y, Pink Floyd, Classical, Jesse Cook – so far the Denons have coped with it all.

  • 310 FIT/CABLE - Unless I sat perfectly still, like someone recovering from a neck injury, the phones would move around all the time. I know people say they are very comfortable, but they just didn’t ‘fit’ my ears for long enough. And I got bored with compressing foam, yanking my ear up and out, inserting tips, waiting for expansion etc etc etc. I just wanted to ‘shove and go’. I never got the full isolating effect anyway because I couldn’t get them to stay put, plus I never managed to get the kinks out of the cable so if I accidentally moved, I'd end up with a cable shoved up my nostril - always fun. . .
  • 700 FIT/CABLE– Best fit I ever had. They don’t isolate in the same way as Etys and Shures, as they're a canalphone and fit more like the Sennheiser CX300. But sound leakage is barely an issue. I got my unsignificant other to check for leakage, and he could only hear the tiniest of sound coming from the phones, and that was in a quiet room. On a train/plane/bus, no one would hear anything at all. Best of all they just don’t budge. I can spin my head round Exorcist style and there’s no pull on them or anything. It’s amazing. I can’t actually feel they’re in.

    I do believe the cable was made by elves using some sort of magical wire. . . it untangles itself! - How brilliant is that? No matter what you do, they just hang down obediently in front of you, and never get in the way. What’s more, the cable feels weightless, as if the earpieces are attached by air or something. I love how they feel. I can really just 'shove and go'. On another pleasant note, there are no microphonics from the cable.
  • 310 ACCESSORY PACKAGE: Just about everything you could want or need including a decent carrying case, three million ear tips and a handy cleaning tool for those of you disgusting enough to produce ear wax
  • 700 ACCESSORY PACKAGE: What accessory package? A box, headphones and 3 pairs of silicon tips, that's it. No adaptor, no carrying case, no selection of foam/rubber tips, and no cleaning tool. As I am female, and therefore do not produce ear wax. . . I don't need the tool! But I would have liked a carry case or something. . .
  • 310 BUILD QUALITY The earpieces are bigger than the Denons and housed in plastic with a chrome ring. The Denons look much nicer and less obtrusive.
  • 700 BUILD QUALITY The earpieces are made from spun aluminium which makes them feel really sturdy and secure, and they look really nice. I got the black ones but there's a silver version too.
  • EDIT: I called Denon to find out where to buy replacement tips, and was told they haven't even made any yet! Although other tips do fit - the bass tends to drop off. I am still in the process of trying alternative tips, but why didn't Denon make any??

Finally, this comparison is not intended to criticise the 310s, I did like them, there were just minor issues that made me sell them. The Denons include everything I liked about the 310s, and add a lot more on top.

Trustedreviews gave Shures the thumbs up, since they noted the Denons were the same price - had a similar sound, but shipped without any accessories. Well, as I bought the Denons for half the Shure price, I can live without the accessories. I think these are excellent headphones for the price I paid. In fact, if I'd had to choose between them at the same price, I'd still have chosen the Denons.

I seem to have got an improved 310 with better fit and fantastic bass for half price!

I'm surprised there hasn't been more info on here about them. I found a couple of reviews but would have expected more because they're so good (imo). This was supposed to be a 'brief' comparison, but like my passion for headphones, it's spiralled out of control. Anyway, I hope someone found it useful



Denon AH-C700 Earphones - TrustedReviews
CrunchGear » Archive » Denon AH-C700 Canalphones Hands On
Denon AH-C700 earphones Review on CNET.co.uk
post #2 of 1418
Soozie, I'm happy that you finally wrote a review about your new favourite headphones. Great review, indeed.
post #3 of 1418
Nice review, thanks! I may have to check out the Denon 700's, as much as I like my big Denon D5000's.
post #4 of 1418
Very nice review soozieq!
post #5 of 1418
Nice review but I am going to point out one thing. I have experience with NS-706 (apparently slightly better in sound than ns-808?), and it flawlessly comes through sounding in such a sense as you describe se310. If se310 has a V-shaped, or even treble-emphasis response, then you might be reviewing your DAP.
post #6 of 1418
nice review,i am a big fan of shures but i really do also think the denons are underrated and not much talked about around here denon makes some serious audio equipment thanx again for review
post #7 of 1418
Soozie has tried a Kenwood with both SE210 and SE310, so I don't think she has been reviewing her player. Also, the Denon should be even more transparent than the SE310.
post #8 of 1418
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by MaloS View Post
Nice review but I am going to point out one thing. I have experience with NS-706 (apparently slightly better in sound than ns-808?), and it flawlessly comes through sounding in such a sense as you describe se310. If se310 has a V-shaped, or even treble-emphasis response, then you might be reviewing your DAP.
I have the 706 too, but I haven't even got round to trying the Denons with it yet as I cannot bear to take them out of my ears for the 10 seconds it would take to swap over

The 706 outputs more bass and has a 'fuller' sound than the 808 - and the 808 is leaner and meaner, but both have really good SQ imo. I used to prefer the 706 but now I like them equally for their own strengths and I don't have a preference anymore. I know they're not a Kenwood or an iAudio or a Vibez and I haven't bought the most expensive headphones in the world, but the Sony's do output very respectable sound quality and the Denons seem to 'suit' them the most.
post #9 of 1418
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by antonyfirst View Post
Soozie has tried a Kenwood with both SE210 and SE310, so I don't think she has been reviewing her player. Also, the Denon should be even more transparent than the SE310.
I wasn't reviewing the player. Antony, remind me what 'transparent' means again?
post #10 of 1418
Great review, soozieq! The AH-C700s have been on my radar for awhile, so it's nice to hear some more about them. I wish there was a way for me to try them out...along with the upcoming q-JAYS...and maybe the Mylarone XBs...and not go bankrupt in the process...
post #11 of 1418
Originally Posted by soozieq View Post
I wasn't reviewing the player. Antony, remind me what 'transparent' means again?
Actally I was defending your review.
What I mean by transparent is that it exposes your source's strenghts and flaws better than other phones, so if you weren't liking the SE310 'cause of the players, you wouldn't have liked the Denon, as well.
post #12 of 1418
Thread Starter 
Actally I was defending your review.
I know you were I was agreeing with you that I wasn't reviewing the player.
What I mean by transparent is that it exposes your source's strenghts and flaws better than other phones, so if you weren't liking the SE310 'cause of the players, you wouldn't have liked the Denon, as well.
Aaaah. . . I see, still so much to learn. I did like the 310s, but the Denons are something else altogether. I'm still surprised I haven't needed to EQ at all. They just seem a great match for my daps, and when you think of the millions of combinations of headphones + daps, it's easy to see why this minefield of testing has to continue until the right combo is found. Antony, do you think you'll ever be done?
post #13 of 1418
Julie (soozieq),

I thought the Etys were the perfect iem for me. Then, the Koss A250 (cans) arrived and beat them in musicality and liveliness. In a certain way this is good, since it means there is room for improvement over the Etymotic. I'm waiting for a pair of modded Altec iM716, and K340. I don't know if I'll ever be done... the discovery of new, special gear is just fun.
post #14 of 1418
soozieq, would you mind saying a bit more about isolation and microphonics? Is isolation on par with other canalphones like the CX300, or does the ported design of the ATH-C700 reduce it even further? Is music drowned out by the sounds of the trains/planes/buses you mentioned, or do the C700s still afford enough isolation to enjoy each part of the frequency spectrum?

The cord/earpiece design seems to suggest that over-the-ear looping is not really possible (at least not sustainably so) -- Can you in fact loop the cords over your ears without them slipping off? If not, how microphonic do you find them when worn hanging straight down while you're in motion?

Also, my stock question: Do you find them at all harsh or sibilant?

As an aside, I wonder when Denon's newer models will start reaching the masses...Gizmodo said "out in August." I'm with antonyfirst on this one -- the journey is never over.

P.S. Any chance for some in-ear shots so we know how they look in practice? I'm torn between the blacks and the silvers...maybe a pic or two would help settle me.
post #15 of 1418
These C700 have definetely caught my attention.
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