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Review: Denon AH-D7000 vs. Ultrasone PRO 900

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

I have been enjoying PRO 900 for a couple of months and so far I am very satisfied with how they perform. They are as good as bassy phones can get especially considering their price. High-quality and plentiful bass along with crystal clear high are their main strength and there is durability and comfort to boot. As good as they are, they are not perfect and that led me to trying out another pair of phones that seemed like a natural progression from PRO 900. I've read all the reviews and posts about D7000 that I could find. I was quite sure that D7000 would match or improve upon all aspects of PRO 900 except bass, comfort, sound leak, and of course, price. I knew I would always wonder if I didn't try D7000 for myself so with some doubts, I ordered a pair. I have listened to D7000 exclusively for a week and now I feel confident that I have reached my decision on which pair to keep. For those who are on the fence, they both are excellent phones and you will NOT regret buying either one. I think the decision should rest on what genre of music you listen to (and your budget, perhaps). Hopefully, my review will nudge you over to one side or the other. wink.gif

I am a casual listener, not as a measurebator, so don't expect frequency charts and sine waves. If they sound awesome to my ears that's all that matters to me.

 

Fit and Finish

 

900-7000-01.jpg

 

 

PRO 900
They are built like a tank and they have lots of plastic but not the cheap and brittle kind. They look and feel like they can handle abuse without breaking a sweat. I like the PRO 900’s velour pads because the material provides a good amount of friction thus keeping the pads in place and doesn’t get hot or sweaty. The rings are pretty thick as well and provide good contact. Entire weight of the phones is supported by a small pad on top. My head hurts after about an hour of use so I had fabricated a DIY suspender (pictured) to make them more comfortable to wear for a longer period (the suspender adds more clamping force, however). Cable is just a regular stuff. Other than the fact that it screws on/off and comes with both 3.5mm and 1/4" plug, nothing exciting here.

 

900-01.jpg

 

900-02.jpg

 

900-03.jpg

 

 


D7000
Fit and finish on these are superb. From mahogany cups to soft leather and magnesium parts all look super smooth and classy. I am sure the materials used in these phones cost much more than PRO 900's material (excluding the driver) as there is no plastic to be found. They do feel fragile though and they look like a piece of art. The pads feel a bit anemic and don’t make a good seal around. Maybe Jmoney pads will help in this department. The pleather does feel very soft, however, and doesn’t look like it can stand the test of time. Headband is also wrapped in pleather with some minor padding. Although the padding is not thick it's fairly comfortable to wear for at least a couple of hours and more comfortable than the PRO 900's pad (larger contact patch overall). Finish on the cups are super glossy and makes me want to keep touching itbigsmile_face.gif. Embedded Denon logo is also a nice touch. Cables are Y-style and pretty soft. I personally don't like this type but during use they were hardly noticeable.

 

7000-01.jpg

 

7000-02.jpg

 

7000-03.jpg

 

 

7000-04.jpg
 

900-7000-03.jpg

 

Sound

 

Bass


My journey up the ladder of headphones was heavily based on bass. I loved M50’s bass but I thought it was a bit boomy. I chose HFI-580 over M50 because of tighter and more controlled bass although HFI-580 had slightly less amount of bass. After a while, as I got used to 580’s sound I wanted something more, more bass, more clarity, wider soundstage, and something more comfortable (580 was too tight in every way).

 

After reading many posts and reviews I bought a pair of PRO 900, partly because I really liked HFI-580 overall and the Ultrasone’s sound signature. PRO 900 was an immediate love at first sight and it was the bass that pulled me in. There was more than enough quality bass to satisfy my hunger. Bass on PRO 900 is definitely over-emphasized over other frequencies but that’s what makes PRO 900 so fun to listen to especially when I want to listen LOUD. PRO 900 will kick you in the gonads when you push them.

 

When I tried on D7000 for the first time, I felt like there was about 30% less bass compared to PRO 900. Yes, it was very noticeable. I was not impressed by the bass on D7000 but what did impress me was everything else other than bass. I decided to give them more time for my ears and brain to get used to, and to see if burn-in would change anything.

 

Now that I’ve listened to D7000 for a week exclusively I am thinking there’s about 20% less bass compared to PRO 900 after comparing side by side today (it's funny how the brain works). In addition, bass is more realistic on D7000. What I mean is that it sounds like real instruments playing where as PRO900’s bass sounds a bit artificial and synthesized. Perhaps this is why PRO 900 does such a good job on trance/techno/electronica. I’ve heard about D7000’s famous sub-bass and I can confirm that it is really as nice as they say. You don’t hear it often considering that it’s really low freq. but when it does you will know. Initially I was looking for (and used to) that mid/upper bass that PRO 900 is famous of but not hearing it as much made me thought there was much less bass. It turns out that there is bass but it blends in with the mid and high so it's not as pronounced as on PRO 900. Quality-wise, D7000 bass is also quite satisfying (once I got used to the sound).


 

Mid


When listening to instrumental pieces such piano or guitar solo, it sounds like instruments are much farther away on PRO 900 than on D7000 as if I am sitting in the back row of a concert hall whereas D7000 sounds like I am sitting somewhere in between the front and middle rows. I believe this is another way of saying PRO 900 have recessed mid (and high somewhat). Vocal is much more in-your-face sounding on D7000. I never realized how much bass was overshadowing mid and high on PRO 900 until I compared them with D7000 one after another.

 

D7000’s mid is the best part of these phones. It sounds so detailed and clear, I am hearing minute sounds that I couldn’t catch even with PRO 900. I heard some saying that it's still a bit recessed but coming from PRO 900, it doesn't sound like that at all. I am not sure how to describe it but it just feels so 'real' without any layers or cloudiness.


 

High


PRO 900’s high was quite sibilant in the beginning but after 200+ hours of use, it has rolled off noticeably. High is clean and clear but very slightly lacks details (which I didn't notice until I tried D7000). Sound can be described as to be on the cold side. D7000 was also a bit sibilant (very little to a point that it wouldn't show 95% of the time) but again, after burning in for a few day, it disappeared. D7000’s high is clean, clear AND full of details. They sound noticeably warmer than PRO 900 though. Now that the mid is more forward in D7000 than PRO 900, high doesn't sound as pronounced (more blends in with others) but quality and details are still retained as much as PRO 900 do.

 


Comfort, Soundstage, Sound Leak


I put a good amount of emphasis on these categories because I listen in an office environment 95% of the time.

PRO 900 are snug but they don’t clamp as hard as HFI-580. It could be slightly less, however. Velour pads are comfortable and cool. They do get a bit itchy once in a while but most of the time, I can wear them for a couple of hours without any problem, provided that I am using my DIY suspender. Without the suspender, top of my head where the pad touches gets numb and uncomfortable after about an hour.

 

When I took D7000 out of the box for the first time, they didn’t feel like $1K headphones. They felt lighter than they looked. When I put them on they go on light and easy, and they didn’t feel like they provide sufficient pressure to provide a good seal. Upon inspecting the pads I immediately knew why they were poor at sealing sound in/keeping noise out. Top and bottom part of the pads are pretty thin compared to PRO 900. That in addition to lower clamping pressure was the cause of poor sound isolation and leak. They are, however, very comfortable. They feel very light on your head and the leather wrapped headband also provides good and even support.

 

PRO 900's soundstage is not too shabby in the closed-phone standard. It's not great but better than its smaller siblings like HFI-580 or M50. D7000 soundstage feels at least twice as wide. Going from PRO 900 to D7000 it's especially noticeable, feeling quite airy.

 

In the sound leak department, D7000 leaks more than I hope for closed phones. Not as much open phones but easily noticeable. PRO 900 keep sound in/out better at an acceptable level but still leak a bit more than one with tighter pleather phones (580 and M50). D7000 is on the border line when using in the office. People were able to hear me listen and were able to tell what I was listening when I was listening in high volume and standing away about 3-4 ft.

 

 

900-7000-02.jpg

 


Conclusion

 

As a whole package, D7000 sounds very natural. All frequencies play nicely to create one great harmony. No frequencies stick out like a sore thumb (if you are not a bass enthusiast, you will think it’s bass heavy but me coming from PRO 900, a bit of bass heaviness sounds natural to me). They do cost twice as much as PRO 900 and I don't think they perform 2x better than PRO 900. But I know I am approaching the right top corner in the dimishing return graph and I wasn't expecting 2x the performance. This is probably as far as I will go in that graph for now and I don't have any regret paying that amount.

 

PRO900 has a definite bias towards bass and they are bass lover’s headphones (so called "fun" and "colored" by some). They do this while keeping excellent high and not-bad soundstage, with comfort. For how much they cost, they are one heck of a value.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that PRO 900 will really shine with high quality encoding (FLAC, ALC) but punish those with lower bitrates, and this is quite noticeable especially in high freq. D7000 sound more forgiving when it comes to MP3s.

 

As I said in the beginning of this review, phones you will choose and love depends on your musical taste. I listen to all kinds of music and by that I mean 30% trance/electronica, 30% pop, 20% rock, 10% clasical, 10% light rock and R&B.

 

If I was heavily into electronic music, I would pick PRO 900 without any hesitation. One thing I know for sure is that I do miss PRO 900's incredible bass here and there while listening to D7000.

 

I am a so-called all-arounder, and listen to any and all kinds of music (yeah, kinda boring). In this department, D7000 handle it all oh-so nicely, while looking phenomenal.

 

In summary, when listening to PRO 900, they make me want to get up and start headbanging. When listening to D7000 they make me want to sing at the top of my lung. Personally I am more of a singer than a dancer biggrin.gif

 


Edited by Dougeefresh - 3/21/11 at 7:51am
post #2 of 39

Excellent review! I've been waiting to hear your opinion on both of these.

 

This should clear up a lot of confusion for users deciding between these two.

 

From what you described sonically, that's exactly how I imagine the D7000 to be.

post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 

When I was getting PRO 900 I was 90% sure that I would love them and ditch the other phones, and I was right about that. This time around, however, I was 50/50 and I was slightly favoring PRO 900 in the back of my head since they satisfied 90% of my requirements at the time. Well, time has changed :) and I found myself wanting something different. I never thought I would 'give up' the bass for something else but I did (not completely though wink.gif). Guess that's why this is going to be a never-ending journey. Believe me when I say I know what you meant when you wrote that AD900 review. I was confused at first, which I am not going to lie, but when you encounter something drastically different and didn't realize it existed, your perception and perspective change.

post #4 of 39

Thanks for the excellent review Dougeefresh; well written and nicely dressed up with great photos.  I'm sure this will be valuable food for thought in the basshead dept.  I had fallen in love with Denons by way of the D5000, D7000 and D1001.  The D1001 was the only set that didn't really do it for me, but they were mainly for plane rides anyway.  The D7000's got a permanent place on one of my everyday stands (as in my top 3 favorites), while the D5000 got heavily modded just for fun...and almost gets more use now than the D7s.

 

I have been very curious about the Ultrasone brand/sound in general and this gives a glimpse into the 900's sound that is very helpful.

 

Nice work!

post #5 of 39
Thank you so much for this comparison. It was very professional, and very informative. You made it very clear and easy to understand.

You pretty much said what I envisioned about the Pro 900, except its half sized soundstage. I was expecting it to be on par FWIR before.

And I also agree about loving a bit more bass than the D7000 has, but once you adjust to the bass it does have, its very satisfying, considering how well it plays with the mids and highs. I do love the massive thump in the XB500s, but quality-wise, there is no replacement for complete sound quality. The D7000 bridges a gap between bassheads and audiophiles, and I seem to prefer staying in that bridge, than making a step in either direction.

Now, get the Pro 2900 and or HE-4 and compare it to these two. biggrin.gif
post #6 of 39

Amazing review... D7000 still on back order, but my Pro 900's are supposed to be here tomorrow so one day I will have both in my hands and can go back to this review. Are you taking it easy for now or you have another purchase coming?

post #7 of 39

Great review, Dougeefresh. You're really good at describing sound. I guess this somewhat confirms my thoughts about Pro 900 vs D7000. I had heard the D5000 once, and they sounded pretty good but the mids were a bit too aggressive and "shouting". It might have to do with the thin pads.

I'm surprised the D7000 uses pleather at this price point. My ESW9's earpads are leather, and the headband is "protein leather" (there was quite a fuss about that). Still, from what I remember about the D5000, the earpads and headband are really soft so I don't really mind. My ears don't sweat much anyways. 

Are you brave enough to mod your D7000? markl said the Denons have potential that is held back (or something like that), and there are a lot of markl mods you could try - well, if you dare, that is. If you like the D7000 a lot but aren't as enterprising, JMoney pads purportedly improve the sound quite a bit.

post #8 of 39
Problem with modding the D7000 is that they all seem to subdue the bass, which is a dealbreaker to some of us. For that reason, I may as well get another headphone with less bass, and more of everything else. But I'm not gonna start on that, as this has been discussed to hell and back in the D7000 thread.
post #9 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougeefresh View Post

When I was getting PRO 900 I was 90% sure that I would love them and ditch the other phones, and I was right about that. This time around, however, I was 50/50 and I was slightly favoring PRO 900 in the back of my head since they satisfied 90% of my requirements at the time. Well, time has changed :) and I found myself wanting something different. I never thought I would 'give up' the bass for something else but I did (not completely though wink.gif). Guess that's why this is going to be a never-ending journey. Believe me when I say I know what you meant when you wrote that AD900 review. I was confused at first, which I am not going to lie, but when you encounter something drastically different and didn't realize it existed, your perception and perspective change.

 

My AD900 review? I haven't written that one yet. Do you mean my thread on me liking the AD700 over the Pro 900? Regardless, I know what you mean. wink.gif

 

I had that exact same experience. I honestly thought I would never give my Pro 900 up, because it did my favorite part of sound better than any headphone I have ever tried. Little did I know, a headphone I have under-appreciated all this time came around and took the throne away. I was as shocked as everyone else on here. I couldn't believe I gave up my favorite aspect of sound, in favor of something else, which happened to be soundstage.

 

But, funny thing is, I once again have found yet another replacement to the headphone I thought would be with me forever (AD900). Recently receiving the HD558 revealed that I like a very smooth and balanced sound. It has treble that is tamed down a bit, bass that carries some weight, and mids that aren't hidden behind a veil. On top of that, it has excellent soundstage. Against my AD900, it completes the spectrum more by taking from the highs and adding to the lows. Exactly what I wanted.

 

Now, the journey continues, as I'll be ordering the HD598. What's next, I honestly cannot predict... rolleyes.gif


Edited by Katun - 3/20/11 at 9:21pm
post #10 of 39
Get J$ leather pads for both of them and do the review again ;)
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

And I also agree about loving a bit more bass than the D7000 has, but once you adjust to the bass it does have, its very satisfying, considering how well it plays with the mids and highs. I do love the massive thump in the XB500s, but quality-wise, there is no replacement for complete sound quality. The D7000 bridges a gap between bassheads and audiophiles, and I seem to prefer staying in that bridge, than making a step in either direction.

Now, get the Pro 2900 and or HE-4 and compare it to these two. biggrin.gif


I am finding things I like about D7000 as I listen more. It wasn't a love at first sight but as my ears adjust I am appreciating finer and mature sound quality. FYI, I leave everything at default (no EQ) as I don't trust I will do better by messing with freqs. And, I want to hear music that the recording artists intended.

 

I do seem to prefer the 'bridge' atm. :) I currently have no desire to get open phones but looking at my past track record, I am sure that will change if you give enough time...


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jronan2 View Post

Are you taking it easy for now or you have another purchase coming?


Taking easy for a while. I would like to enjoy what I have for a while so I will have something better to discover and enjoy later in time. Honestly, I wouldn't know what to get that will better D7000 for now (closed, bassy phones). I am always willing to take suggestions though lol. I am not saying I wouldn't venture into other parts, however very_evil_smiley.gif  J$?


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 12345142 View Post

I'm surprised the D7000 uses pleather at this price point. My ESW9's earpads are leather, and the headband is "protein leather" (there was quite a fuss about that). Still, from what I remember about the D5000, the earpads and headband are really soft so I don't really mind. My ears don't sweat much anyways. 

Are you brave enough to mod your D7000? markl said the Denons have potential that is held back (or something like that), and there are a lot of markl mods you could try - well, if you dare, that is. If you like the D7000 a lot but aren't as enterprising, JMoney pads purportedly improve the sound quite a bit.


I am not 100% sure if it's pleather but it's super soft so I am guessing. For all I know it could be lamb's testicle skin as one of my co-workers commented (don't ask me how he knows).

I don't plan on doing markl mod as I am quite satisfied with what I am hearing. Similar to what I said above, I like to hear what the Denon's sound engineers have intended me to hear. Once I get bored of it though I may try something. Jmoney pads, I am considering, just for better isolation and enhanced bass (supposedly).

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Katun View Post

 

My AD900 review? I haven't written that one yet. Do you mean my tread on me liking the AD700 over the Pro 900? Regardless, I know what you mean. wink.gif

 

I had that exact same experience. I honestly thought I would never give my Pro 900 up, because it did my favorite part of sound better than any headphone I have ever tried. Little did I know, a headphone I have under-appreciated all this time came around and took the throne away. I was as shocked as everyone else on here. I couldn't believe I gave up my favorite aspect of sound, in favor of something else, which happened to be soundstage.

 

But, funny thing is, I once again have found yet another replacement to the headphone I thought would be with me forever (AD900). Recently receiving the HD558 revealed that I like a very smooth and balanced sound. It has treble that is tamed down a bit, bass that carries some weight, and mids that aren't hidden behind a veil. On top of that, it has excellent soundstage. Against my AD900, it completes the spectrum more by taking from the highs and adding to the lows. Exactly what I wanted.

 

Now, the journey continues, as I'll be ordering the HD598. What's next, I honestly cannot predict... rolleyes.gif


Yeah, sorry about the confusion. It was AD700 and PRO 900 thread.

You really need to stop tempting me. I have barely gotten accustomed to D7000. My wallet is weeping... Regardless, do let us know how HD598. Those look wicked and not too expensive ;)

 

 

post #12 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nachkebia View Post

Get J$ leather pads for both of them and do the review again ;)


I am actually looking for a pair of V1 or V2 but not getting lucky. Do you have V3?

post #13 of 39
I am not sure, is there any way to find which version I have? :)
post #14 of 39
Uhh, the bass isn't enhanced, its subdued. @_@

FWIR, you get less bass, more tightening of it, allowing for more mid presence. I don't see this as an issue with the D7000, nor would I ever want less bass from them.
post #15 of 39
I havnt head D7000 but from what I remember of D5000, Pro 900 wins almost on every aspect, well besides soothing warmth that Denons have. :)
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