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Denon AH-D310 - First Impressions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

The AH-D310 are Denon's cheapest headphones in the AH-D line. Curious, isn't it? Well, they're not the elusive "AH-D1001 on a budget" (or AH-D2000, etc.). But... But. In the class of $50 headphones they're quite worth the money.


Looks like Denon (or rather, Foster) decided to jump into the "Bose Triport" niche and well, that's what the headphones' layout reminds most of. Smallish half-circumaural headphones, they're barely large enough to qualify for the title. Ears fit into the headphones, but they're not fully surrounded by the headphones. They're more like "slip-in sleeves" for ears.


The headphones fold flat; inside the usual Denon one-cup-showoff box they are folded.


Small cups are the headphones' problem. Cups ought to be larger; the diaphragms are 42 mm. So they're more towards power and less towards sweetness. Ideal size for headphones might be 38 mm., balance between power and sweetness. K-240 Sextett/silver K-141 had 38-mm. diaphragms, AH-P372 have 38-mm. diaphragms.


Isolation, well, what do you expect from almost-supra headphones with thin plastic walls? Compared with my own modded Franken-Senno-Panasonic-RP-HTX-7-PMX-100 they barely attenuate external sounds when not playing. The Senno-RP-HTX7, on the other hand, can be used as earmuffs. But they have two layers of isolation placed in the cups by hand (no factory nowadays even bothers with isolation materials for headphones it seems, except Fisher).


Sound is, well, average. Between the usual $50-70 headphones like AKG K-430, K-518, RP-HTX7, etc., these might have the cleanest sound. E. g. the RP-HTX7 drop midrange badly (they're wa-a-ay towards loudness, so much so they "forget" the midrange body altogether), the K-518/K-81 are bass monsters, the PX-200-II don't have the sparkle, etc. Even compared with PX100, the AH-D310 have a brighter and more open soundstage, though they lose a bit in geometrical positioning. But, they do have air, just not as much as the "big sibling" AH-D1001. Senn PX100 are dark by comparison, dark and distant. Whichever air there is, reminds of a dark stilled warm evening in a claustrophobic German forest. AH-D310 are closed, but they have better treble and more space and air.

But of course you don't get the sparkle and large soundstage of AH-D1001. AH-D310 have a smaller, flatter soundstage, with some cheapie plastic/flat colouring to the sound. Midrange could be better. They sound more like supra-aurals than circumaurals. Again, that's what you get from flattened and downsized cups. They don't have the quickest dynamics either (AH-D1001 are better here too), though they're reasonably fast. And of course there's the classic "midrange bleed" problem that all Asian headphones have. That is, they drop low midrange at around 250 Hz by 3 dB or so. Which is nasty for electric guitars and just warmth. They still need some EQ experimenting, but boosting the 250 Hz slider on a player's EQ will fix the "guitar body bleed". AH-D1001 and just about any Asian headphones suffer from the same.


Overall, what you get is comfy slightly-larger-than-supra headphones with an average soundstage, fairly fast dynamics and no fears about squeezing them to death in a bag (the headphones fold flat). Are they worth the money? Well yes, they're more or less in the same league as other $60-70 headphones. But if you've got a few more coins, AH-D1001 (AKA Creative Aurvana Live) are more like it.


AH-D310R is a version with a microphone and a player/phone remote built in (should work with more than just Apple players). The "R" adds a tiny bit in price, but, sometimes you can get the "R" version cheaper than the micless one.


AH-D310 should improve with a recable, but that's a different story.


Photos will come later.

Edited by Seidhepriest - 3/9/12 at 1:21pm
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 

Some hours later they did burn-in. Out of the box the sound could be rather flat and technical. Later on they flexed and started sounding more natural, though the old problem was there - soundstage flat/collapsed because of drivers sitting too close to ears. Anyway, later on they were quite nice, though a day later they became dull. And, of course, Asian low midrange bleed.


They don't have much by way of isolation like most headphones nowadays - just naked walls with no coating inside the cups, but they're loud enough to cut off all noise when playing. OK for rock/metal/whatnot if low midrange (~250 Hz EQ slider) is boosted. And bass is dropped.


These headphones don't deserve a stock cable beyersmile.png


So a couple days later after a lot of work (courtesy of awful screws driven way too deep into plastic on the factory line), they were recabled and slightly modded with - guess what - Sennheiser HD414 yellow foam.










The HD414 foam is inside, covering the driver grilles. These are bits of foam used for raising the pads.

Cable is Navships' AWG 30 silver-plated copper twisted pair. Joined with necklace rings-turned-staples. That's what the rings were intended for, in theory, they're from a bijoux store.


Piece of advice: the right EQ for AH-D310 is dropping bass (whatever leftmost slider you have on the player EQ) by at least one notch. Modded they're not as bassy/boomy as stock, but still, dropping bass and boosting low midrange (~220-250 Hz slider, +1 notch) is a must. That will fix midrange bleed that drains guitars of energy/body detail.

post #3 of 11
could u plz tell me if they need a.specific equalization ....and does the large driver suffers shortage of power from my mobile device
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

EQ is: bass down by one notch, low midrange (~250 Hz, second EQ slider) up by one notch.


They work very well with underpowered devices, the sound's pretty good out of a measly Nokia C3.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

A couple photos (clickable):




These have gotten the full treatment, Dynamat+SPC recable+Senn HD414 foam. They've also improved with burn-in, the sound was atrociously flat/technical with some kinds of music, out of the box. Now they're mostly OK, even though there's still some midrange detail missing. They also tend to bass-boom, and this has to do with the large-ish drivers, filling the cups shouldn't help much.

Edited by Seidhepriest - 4/3/12 at 6:53pm
post #6 of 11
will the fiio e6 help it in any way......i use xperia x8.
post #7 of 11
Originally Posted by pornstarxkr View Post

will the fiio e6 help it in any way......i use xperia x8.

Yes, you will notice a difference with E6.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

As far as headphones go, Denon headphones (really Foster) are the easiest to drive. The main problem with driving them from the Nokia C3 directly is, they don't isolate from external noise. With a powerful player or headphone amp, they'll go Real Loud. No idea about the Fioo E6, but a CMoy or a PA2V2 ought to drive them fine.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Here's what they look like on a person... There was a lot of noise there, but at the player's max. volume they clearly have an effect atsmile.gif


Denon AH-D310

Edited by Seidhepriest - 4/6/12 at 12:30am
post #10 of 11
Originally Posted by Seidhepriest View Post

Here's what they look like on a person... There was a lot of noise there, but at the player's max. volume they clearly have an effect atsmile.gif


Denon AH-D310

what about that recable thing,,.. can i do it....BTW it looks hot.


post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Here's the Recable Thread... And here's the full AH-D310 review.

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