Denon AH-D1100

  1. rjm003
    Good headphone for casual listening.
    Written by rjm003
    Published Oct 31, 2016
    Pros - Light, comfortable, clear and full sound.
    Cons - Relatively delicate build, over-emphasized bass response.
    Not every headphone is reference-class, and I don't expect reference-class performance from a product like the AH-D1100 which is priced and designed for casual listening. There are a different set of concerns, and I'll try to judge the D1100 accordingly.
    Denon has cleared the baseline here:
    1. the jack is designed with a recessed flange so it plugs into in all but the most overbuilt smartphone case.
    2. the headphones are light and comfortable to wear
    3. they look good
    4. the closed back design offers good isolation
    5. the headphones are easy to drive and sound good without needing a dedicated headphone amplifier
    6. the overall sound is clear and and full-sounding, without excessive coloration
    There are downsides however,
    1. the oval earcups press a bit too firmly into your neck under the ear, reducing overall comfort
    2. the neodynium drivers suffer from the microphonics typical of the material
    3. there is an excessive mid-band boost around 80-100 Hz 
    It's a shame about the bass boost. I'm not against the idea of a bit of a lift on this class of headphone, but it is overdone here to the point of being distracting.
    Final word about price. Retail in Japan as of this writing is 6500 yen, new, and I picked up a set used for about $40. For $75 or so I'd say they are nicely made headphones. At double that price the relatively flimsy build would come in for more serious critique. I understand and appreciate that Denon were going for rigidity and lightness here, but they feel cheap nonetheless.
  2. DropTheBrass
    Two problems: head size often wrong, too bass-heavy
    Written by DropTheBrass
    Published Apr 7, 2016
    Pros - Very comfortable once head size is manually fixed + decent soundscape once bass is calmed down with the right EQ
    Cons - Head size is seriously off on (some?) models + way too bass-heavy without EQ
    Got this headphone from a friend after he got himself a more "comfortable" one (only 3 months after this Denon).
    Trying it for 10 minutes was enough to understand the problem: the headband is way too curved, pushing the earpads extremely hard on the head. My skull isn't really above average and it was starting to give me some headache. So I brought it on my workshop table.
    Note: The headache and hinges breaking-off issues only showing among certain users, I suspect Denon had production issues on certain factories or during a specific period, during which incorrect anthropometric data was used to calibrate the headband, or incorrect calibration was done, and it resulted in wrongly sized headbands, putting much more strain on the users and the plastic hinges.
    Since there is no way to know if a model got the right size, unless you get to test it yourself for 10-15 min continuous use, I do not recommend buying one without the ability to return it without any additional charge.
    A) Fixing the hardware
    Step 1: the plastic hinges holding the pads both already had cracks on multiple points, and would completely break soon. Put some glue there and tried to reinforce the structure with leftovers found around, but that's just delaying the inevitable.
    Step 2: fixing the headband.
    - 2 screws to separate each pads from the hinges (the grey plastic part)
    - 4 screws to separate each hinges (the grey plastic part) from the headband (the metal curved band)
    - 2 screws to separate each jagged black plastic (used to keep the size adjustments in place) from the curved metal band (the 2 screws are situated on the 2 dark blocks on the headband)
    - took out the central cushion from the headband
    - went to the kitchen with a pair of pliers and kitchen gloves. Fired up the small gas stove, slowly heated up the metal, using the two pliers I slowly but steadily started bending it out (step by step, no rush!), to increase the spacing (evenly, to keep it symmetrical).
    - after increasing the spacing by around ~35% (so ending with ~135% of the original spacing), turned off the stove and let the metal cool down while I cleaned up everything.
    - once fully cool, mounted back the cushion, size adjustment jagged plastic thingies (4 screws in total), hinges (8 screws in total), pads (4 screws in total)
    - tried it: it now fits perfectly, no more headache, doesn't fall off at all during rapid movements either, the plastic hinges seem to no longer suffer from excessive tension.
    Been using this fixed hardware for 6 months now, it's one of the most comfortable headphone I had the chance of testing :)
    One problem remains: the grey plastic hinges were very severely weakened during the first 3 months of use by my friend, and a vital part later broke off completely, requiring complicated gluing work (two-component epoxy mix for the solid base, cyanoacrylate to then glue the two parts) every 2 months. I'm currently trying to made a CAD version of a modified hinge (to 3D print it) to make such repairs much more easy, but lacking any formal training I'm quite struggling with it.
    B) Fixing the bass-heavyness
    Simply gathered some graph data on the D1100 using various reviews, then fine-tuned some software EQ configuration (mostly using one general-purpose, one for bass-rich music). I'm quite novice on this, so if you have a better method or knowledge, feel free to comment :)
    General-purpose one:
    - 31 Hz: -2.0 dB
    - 62 Hz: -4.8 dB
    - 125 Hz: -4.1 dB
    - 250 Hz: -4.8 dB
    - 500 Hz: 0 dB
    - 1k Hz: 0 dB
    - 2k Hz: +1.1 dB
    - 4k Hz: +0.4 dB
    - 8k Hz: 0 dB
    - 16k Hz:  0 dB
    Final words: once I fixed the hardware, then fine-tuned the sound with a software EQ, I gotta say it's a rather pleasant experience.
    Accuracy is decent (you can quite distinguish each sound separately, 3/5), depth is comfortable (music tracks display a great range, 3.5/5), there isn't noticeable blur or sever distortion even at higher volume, so I never felt like I was missing out on a better experience. They're not the *best* sounding headphones ever, but they might be a good contender at their price range.
      Cheesedoodle likes this.
  3. Raider0001
    Written by Raider0001
    Published Jun 24, 2015
    Pros - Great sound quality at low price
    Cons - bass is somewhat boosted
    This is my first review so i hope u like it.
    Soundstage: it is very good, clean instrument separation with some space to spare, just nice to turn on Dolby Headphone mode. I have heard a better soundstage in an open-ear design but this one doesn't include other sources of noises like kitchen or a phone or a dog barking etc.
    The sound quality: at beginning i was wondering why the bass is so punchy and overpowered-like, this is fixable by tweaking the EQ so i set 60hz -8dB, 120hz -9dB and 250hz -6dB - oh man how they output 30hz now, just pure heavy bass clean vibrating powahhh (Azedia - Thunder & Lightning, makes extraordinary bass so its not like empty BOom, more like deep vibrating WwWwWw) but for my imagination they do uncover themselves on my ears - not on the stage of the sound because of that bass. Middle range is a bit recessed but i like it like that, because of singers voices most of the time they sing directly in to your ear and not like on actual concert hall. About high frequency - yes there is a lot of that i didn't test myself but i think i couldn't get any higher pitch with more expensive pairs so there is precision and quality and you do hear difference between youtube and FLAC. Xonar DX sound card can drive them just fine but it cannot destroy them - i wasn't able to hit the hard wall even after tweaking 30hz to the max at maximum volume.
    Build quality: plastics just look awfully cheap but with a bit of good 3d engineering - hope they wont break after a while (fingers crossed). Wearing comfort is fine not super ultra fine but good enough to not drive me any pain.
    So my conclusion is - if u can get them at 73$ or less brand new just do, it is a steal, but be careful and save in mind these might be fragile.
    1. Lorspeaker
      Great portables...add abit of oil on the hinges...and blue tag the inner cup, and u hv a tight punchy bass.
      Lorspeaker, Jun 25, 2015
  4. PhenomenalNinja
    An embarrassment to the Denon name
    Written by PhenomenalNinja
    Published Apr 19, 2015
    Pros - Lovely sound quality, comfort
    Cons - Terrible build quality
    I decided to finally treat myself to a pair of quality headphones for a self-birthday present.  After hours of online research, the AH D1100 seemed to offer the best bang-for-the-buck under $200.
    Out of the box they were great, with good range, pleasing bass, and multi-hour comfort (though the ears get a little hot and sweaty because the seal is so good -- obviously great for keeping the good noise in and external distractions out).
    But within a month of owning, hairline cracks began to appear in the silver plastic head band.  Another small, plastic chunk just fell on my head, near the swiveling attachment point where the earphones join the headband.
    Denon tech support, while courteous, have been unhelpful.
    This has soured me on the Denon brand -- which I previously respected and trusted -- and has ensured I will never purchase a Denon product again, sadly.
    1. Jean Terrasson
      Same bad experience, broken plastic part, absolute rubbish, extremely disapointed
      Jean Terrasson, Feb 9, 2016
  5. BassHeadJim
    A welcome change to my beloved ATH 700 pro MK2's
    Written by BassHeadJim
    Published Jun 1, 2013
    Pros - A more detailed sound than I'm used to, but still with lots of tuneful bass
    Cons - Flimsy feeling build quality, especially the silver colored plastic bits
    This is my first ever review, so please excuse my amateurish fumbling attempts at describing sound. I will do my best, but don't expect the work of a seasoned professional!
    The Denon's are my 4th set of "good" headphones, but the only set I have used consistently since I started getting into head fi are my beloved Audio Technica ATH 700 Pro MK2's.
    I went looking for a new set primarily because the Audio Technica cans are still too uncomfortable due to clamping even after a lot of use, and even after replacing the stock pads with M50 ones. I primarily use them at work, and that means many straight hours of listening (I'm a programmer), so comfort is a big concern for me.
    The other motivating factor was that after listening to a few other models recently (notably the Sony MD1R's that I nearly bought when I saw them on sale in an airport), I have started to realise that the 700 Pro's are a little... um... samey? I lack the vocabulary for describing sound that most reviewers here have. What I'm trying to say is that they seem to smooth everything out a bit. Everything sounds kind of melded and creamy as if the top has been cropped off a bit. The bass is what attracted me to them, and what has kept me faithful for so long, but like I said... samey. Different albums and genres all seem to sound similar through them it seems to me - like an instrument I guess - whatever music you play on it, it still sounds like that instrument.
    Anyway, I digress. This is a review of the Denon D1100's, not the 700s.
    Test gear:
    Denon AH-D110's (obviously) - brand new with zero burn in. 
    Audio Technica ATH 700 Pro MK2's - for direct comparison.
    Cowon C2.
    Fiio E11 amp.
    When I first unpacked them, I had a bit of a sinking feeling to be honest. I read a lot of reviews (especially on Amazon) complaining about the build quality, or more accurately the quality of the materials. They feel flimsy and brittle, especially the silver coloured plastic bits, and I am certain they would not stand up to being sat on or dropped from any appreciable height.
    Another major downside for me is that the cable is not removable. The cable is (usually, although I'm not sure in this case) the weakest & most vulnerable part, and should therefore always be easily replaceable on all but the cheapest cans in my opinion.
    Compared to the Audio Technica's (OK, they're designed for DJ's but still), the build quality on the Denon's does not fill me with confidence that they will last.
    Brilliant. They are light, the pads are soft & sensibly sized, and the grip is firm without clamping. 
    Sound insulation for me seems very good, and initial experiments suggest they don't leak much.
    I do not have a whole lot of reference or experience here, so once again I'm going to have to resort to a direct comparison with the 700 Pro's.
    The Denon's have bags of bass! It's not quite as punchy and aggressive as the teeth rattling capabilities of the 700's, but every bit as tuneful - possibly even more so! Amplified, they really start to thump! The RZA's Grits turned up moves an incredible amount of air in those pads - even to the point of being quite overwhelming, almost unpleasant even. Actually, they seem a little more bass sensitive than the 700s - you don't need to work them as hard to really get the drivers traveling. I can see I am going to need to dial it back a bit on the EQ if I want to turn these up when listening to Hip Hop.
    Where they really shine (at least to my novice ears) is in the separation. Highs are much clearer, and the mids are much more detailed. I can hear things that I now realise were there with the 700's too, but muted so that I never really noticed them before. Everything sounds much crisper, lighter, airier, and more playful. I am listening to Larry Carlton's All Blues as I write these words, and the interplay between the different instruments is absolutely joyful. The music seems to have much much more three dimensionality to it... not only is each instrument more clearly distinguishable, but also it's position in the soundstage. 
    Rock is a similar story - A Perfect Circle's Blue delivers in a big way through the 1100's. The vocals are clear and commanding, the drums kick confidently, the bass massages my earlobes reassuringly, and the guitars are ... just so THERE. I don't know how else to say it, but hopefully you have some idea what I mean.
    Even older and accordingly lower quality recordings like Led Zep's Lemon Song sound great through these cans. They don't seem to refine the sound or take away any of the rawness. Perhaps the guitar solo in the right channel around the 1:40 mark was a bit TOO harsh and high, but that could be because I am used to the muted mid-y quality of the Technica's.
    I got these headphones from Amazon UK for 60 quid (GBP) - at that price, I would definitely recommend them to any new head-fier who, like myself, is looking for a comfortable, fun and bass heavy listening experience. I'm looking forward to spending some more time with these things. They will be going to the office with me on Monday instead of the 700's, and I'll see then whether they are less fatiguing over a long listening session.
    1. Lorspeaker
      For that price u paid for it...awesome buy !
      i loved mine when i had it.
      If u wanna tighten the bass, check out the denon d1100 thread. :p
      Lorspeaker, Jun 2, 2013
    2. BassHeadJim
      Thanks, I'll check it out Lorspeaker!
      BassHeadJim, Jun 4, 2013
  6. adam1pplayer
    The best home and flight HPs for the price!
    Written by adam1pplayer
    Published Apr 19, 2013
    Pros - +++Exellent soundstage! ++great highs +Heavy and fully bass ++Pretty detailed +++Extremely comfortable and light! ++Great isolation +flexible build
    Cons - -Recessed midrange (Can be Equalized) -Bass can be muddy --Ugly, cracking arms --Two sided, non-changeable, weak cables
    I've own these headphones for about year and a half now. I've been listening with them about 80 hours in the car/bus, 15 hours in airplanes and 150 hours at home on my computer.
    This is just a short review of my experiences with the D1100s.
    1. Lorspeaker
      love this portable, the bass is OMG...rumbling.
      bass could be more controlled, just take off the 4screws, add some blue tag around the inner perimeter of the cup...spray some silicon anti stain spray to silent the squeaky joints..and u have a winner.
      Lorspeaker, Apr 20, 2013
    2. kingice10
      I also had this - the SQ is nice. I loved them for movies and videos with their hollow soundstage. Although the midbass is overpowering, it does not frequently drowns the midrange. Best bang-of-buck if you below $200.
      kingice10, Apr 20, 2013
  7. Krisman
    Lovely tone, delightful full bass but just lack the mids to make them a 'must try'
    Written by Krisman
    Published Mar 31, 2013
    Pros - Entertaining sound, comfort and musical
    Cons - Subdued mids, bass can get a bit 'boomy'
    For the first week I LOVED these headphones but, sad to say, with time I found more and more holes in their performance. For the money these are very good value but not a 'must try' unless you are looking for a U shaped response curve. Detail in the highs is pretty good, nice airy feel instruments/vocals sound spread out. Bass is warm, gets low and is very good fun for the pseudo bassheads. The mids are where these really fall apart. At first I was so entertained by the highs and lows that I neglected the mids, then I put on my Audio Technica M50s and realised the Achilles heal of the Denon's. The M50s have a pretty flat response curve and nothing is really suppressed or exaggerated. The same cannot be said for the Denon's with their U type response curve. Great if you want sparkly highs and deep bass but not so good anything in between. 
  8. Leonarfd
    Fun headphone
    Written by Leonarfd
    Published Jan 30, 2013
    Pros - Much bass and comfort
    Cons - bass is abit muddy also they lack midrange
    Not much to say, a reason why I returned them right before 45day. The bass in theese are the best part, it is punchy and it is alot more than a neutral headphone. But at the same time the bass do bleed into the mids making it hard to hear on bassy songs.
    Also they kinda feel cheap like they can brake easy, I would have kept them if i mainly listened to to electronic music. But for the most I listen to jazz and some indie pop and the lacking mids make them fall back for me.
    But at the same time the cheap Sony xb500 has better mids and even more bass, this makes me feel that the new denon is really noth worth the money they ask for it. My Sony mdr-1r for example cost 20$ more and they sound out of league compared to the denon. Better bass and more detailed but less quantity, much better mids and no bass bleed. But also have the withdrawn higs on both models, it make both of them really non fatiguing at all.
    Enough rant, they are not horrible but I feel there is better options out there that cost the same or less.
    1. XxDobermanxX
      XxDobermanxX, Jan 30, 2013
  9. wampa
    Great First Over-Ear Cans
    Written by wampa
    Published Oct 9, 2012
    Pros - comfortable, seemingly accurate reproduction, work good un-amped, solid but not overwhelming bass
    Cons - headband to cup swivel connector seems a bit flimsy
    These are my first non-ipod earbud or cheapass $20 skullcandy-esque on-ears. I got them used on the forums here for $80 which seemed like a steal as they are $200 new on amazon. Needless to say they blow anything i have listened to out of the water. I listen to bass heavy electronic music and they do a great job with it. It is not muddy at all and the high frequency synths are reproduced faithfully and layer nicely with the tight powerful bass. It's not really a con but after an hour+ of listening when i take them off my hearing is a bit muffled, not in a too loud of music ringing way but in a used to isolation closed design kind of way. They don't really block out a ton of noise for being closed ear but there is some outside noise suppression. I listen at medium volume levels and have studied within a few feet of people who said the minimal sound leakage was not bothersome. Outside of 6-10 ft. I don't think you could hear much at all given normal listening volumes. They seem to have more potential to give an I'll hopefully have them LOD'd to a Fiio e11 here shortly. I think that could boost the bass to earthquake like levels as the drivers seem capable of more than my iphone can power on their own through the headphone jack. I got these used and have already listened to them for over 48 hours so I assume they are adequately burned in (if they weren't already) I can't really comment on the more audiophile aspects such as sound-stage or ultra-detailed frequency analysis but all I can say is I'm extremely happy with my purchase and think these are a great introduction to decent quality cans.
    1. leader
      Good review. I hope you enjoy those headphones for many years.
      leader, Oct 9, 2012
    2. ccubeice
      Yeah, headphones last for LONG times :wink: Good review!
      ccubeice, Oct 10, 2012
  10. TickleMeElmo
    Good Cheap Can
    Written by TickleMeElmo
    Published Aug 12, 2012
    These were my first over ear headphone. At the time I went to a retail store and tested the D2000, D5000 and the D1100. Due to price considerations I went away with the D1100.
    Build Quality
    The headphone in terms of worksmanship is commensurate with the price. The back of the cups are some kind of alloy while the rest of it is mostly plastic construction. This helps keep the headphone light. The ear-pads are reasonably soft and there were no manufacturing faults.
    Where I have to fault the design is the use of plastic in the arms that secure the cups. Over the course of about 4 months of moderate usage the arms started to crack and eventually one of them broke. I was able to super glue it and it has held up for the last month or so without re-breaking. In the interest of full disclosure I have a fairly large head.
    Those who would buy these headphones should take care to take them off by not pulling out on the cups but rather pulling out at the pivot to reduce the stress on the thinner plastic arms.
    These are very light and there is very little clamping force. This combined with reasonably soft pads makes for a very light listening experience. One can often forget that these are on his or her head.
    Since these are closed back and use some kind of synthetic leather there is very little ventilation for your ears and they may get hot after a few hours of listening.
    Frames of reference are:
    Etymotic MC5
    HiFiMAN HE-400
    These are definitely bass heavy and this bass does leak through into the mids. While there is a lot of bass I am left wanting a little more clarity. 
    The mids are well detailed to my ear if a little recessed.
    The treble is a little rolled off compared to the HE-400. 
    Overall these are a warm can that will appeal to those who love their bass.
    Soundstage is fairly good. I am not one who experience a lot of depth to music but I can say the separation between instruments is good but I would not say it is easy to pinpoint where each sound is coming from in 3D space.
    It is very easy to drive and you will not have trouble with it out of a portable music player without an amp. This combined with its portability is a big plus for people who would want to use these on the train or during commutes.