Denon AHD2000 High Performance Over-Ear Headphones

General Information

The superior headphone housing used in the AH-D2000 to produce high quality sound is made of materials yielding exceptional acoustic characteristics ensuring faithful reproduction of the original sound. Compound metal is used to increase density, making the sound more stable and clear.
Microfiber material has been used to form the diaphragm so that it faithfully reproduces the sonic details and delicate reverberations that occur in concert halls. The size of Microfiber is approx. 1/100 of natural cellulose used in ordinary diaphragms, and its density increases transmission rates.

Optimum acoustic characteristics are achieved by adjusting the sound pressure balance in front of and behind the diaphragm with the Acoustic Optimizer design. To provide a sonically clean performance, a balance of low to mid range frequencies is critical and dynamic clear bass is a must; the Acoustic Optimizer delivers both.

High-quality cables made with 7N-OFC copper of equal lengths for the L/R channels are used to maintain optimum sound quality. A cloth mesh jacket is employed for cable protection and durability, and it is terminated with an aluminum covered connector plug for strength and performance.

A light-weight magnesium frame has been used so that listeners can enjoy maximum comfort during extended listening sessions.

Latest reviews

Pros: extended, powerful bass, very present sub bass, natural vocals, relatively neutral mids, affordable price on the used market, solid metal connector
Cons: possibly harsh in the treble, bass not as tight, lost detail in the low-end, hard to find the perfect amp, cable a little big, weak isolation
If you ever came across the term ‘biodynamic’, you’ve probably heard of the famous Denon AH D-X000 series.
Driven by Foster drivers, they are known for their extended low-end and dynamic bass reproduction.
Unfortunately the X000 was discontinued in the end of 2012. That didn’t end the era of bio-cellulose diaphragms in headphones though.
Next to new models from Fostex, E-MU and several other brands, there is still a healthy used-market for the older D2000, 5000 and 7000.
While the D5k is a step up and the D7k even more expensive and rarer, the D2000 is not only very affordable, it’s also available in near mint conditions.
I paid 200€ / $220 for my used pair on ebay.
The chassis, mainly made out of metal, doesn’t only feel sturdy and solid, it also looks like it can last. Hinges are strong, head adjustment stays in place and clicks satisfyingly.
Not like the more expensive models, which are equipped with wood cups, the D2000 was only produced with plastic cups.
Despite being made in china, the plastics used on this model are very solid, thick and have a satin finish, which some (including me) prefer over the shiny wood cups of the D5k and 7k.
The angled earpads are made out of some sort of synthetic leather. They offer a relatively big enough opening for larger ears. The foam isn’t too stiff but offers no memorization either.
While the clamp is rather weak, the headband isn’t too noticeable and distracting, despite having not that much padding. At least for my head, the D2000 offers a pretty comfortable fit.
A little bit more space between the pads and driver would be a nice feature for my ears though.
Coming to the hardest and most important section, i’m very impressed by the D2000s sound.
It delivers what people love about biodynamic headphones, which is its excellent extension in the low-end and the “bottomless” subbass.
I would describe the bass as slamming and powerful, but i wouldn’t call this headphone bass heavy. While the bass goes deep and down to the bottom of hearable frequencies, it isn’t as tight and controlled as its more expensive siblings.
In the low-end, detail faints but is far from a point where i would call it “farting”.
Comparing this straight to an HD600 (driven by Valhalla 2), the overall detail and clarity just doesn’t seem to be the D2000s strongest part. Although in the same comparison, the Denon shows where it shines the most, which surprisingly isn’t the bass.
Offering pretty natural vocals and instruments from the lower midrange up to beginning of female vocals, while providing a very satisfying bass, just wasn’t what i expected from this kind of headphone.
On albums like ‘Metallica - Metallica’, the recessed upper mids and treble certainly get absorbed by the strong guitars which push themselves in the foreground and the emphasized bass drum. Snare drum and hi-hat sound accurate and don’t really fall behind the bassier instruments. Even in the lowest frequencies, the guitars character is still recognizable.
Now to a little more disappointing part, which isn’t the treble as such, just the fact that it can (but doesn’t have to) get a little harsh in certain frequencies on certain songs.
The treble isn’t forward enough to call the D2000 fatiguing or unpleasant on longer runs.
Depending on what you listen to, the higher treble can get a little disturbing on higher volumes.
If the problem can be solved by wood cups, which might be able to catch such loose frequencies, is to be experimented. Somebody is working on that and i should be able to test that myself soon.
A perfect transition to a different problem of this biodynamic headphone, which might be another reason for the harshness.
Despite or maybe because of the low impedance of 25 Ohm, it is pretty hard to find a (near) perfect amp combination. I tested the D2000 with my two very different amps.
First of the Schiit Magni 2, suited for the low impedance, but because of its brightness, enhancing the harshness in the D2000s treble.
The second amp is the Schiit Valhalla 2, calming the treble a bit, but definitely not suited for low impedance headphones, even on the low-gain setting.
Can a warmer amp change the Denons characteristic enough to recess the treble a tiny bit?
I can’t answer that myself, but i hope to be able to test it with a potential amp purchase in the future.
With a used price within the 200-280$ range, the D2000 offers an unbeatable value in search of an over-ear, closed pair of headphones. Not only with its striking bass extension and bottomless sub bass, but also with a balanced sound signature throughout the bass and midrange until ending in slightly recessed upper mids and a non fatiguing or disturbing treble.
Up in the treble lays one of the only problems of this Denon which is a slight harshness in certain frequencies in certain conditions.
Still, this isn’t enough to make it unpleasant on longer listening sessions. Neither is the very good comfort, which is granted by the pretty low clamping force and relatively light feeling of the just slightly padded headband.
Although i’m not in possession of a very fitting amplifier at this moment, i can highly suggest to keep your eyes open on a well priced D2000.
Pros: Spacious, yummy bass, and exacting highs. Enjoyable equally for music, gaming, and movies. Very comfy. Very good price-to-performance.
Cons: Some may find the highs fatiguing, and they can take a bit to get used to. Cable can be a bit much and isn't detachable.
This review is an expansion of my comments in the D2000/5000/7000 thread. I wanted to spend a bit more time with them, and ultimately these have become my daily driver. I've gone through many headphones, and these honestly are among my favourite. I love how they sound like an open set of headphone thanks to the Acoustic Optimizer (you'll see the space between the cups). This is one of the hallmarks of the Denon AH-Dx000 series (and by extension the Fostex TH-x00/600/610/900, E-mu Teak). Not only do you get an incredibly spacious sound, but the advantages of back pressure for the bass range gives this series some low-end punch. The bio-cellulose drivers are quick. not as quick as the planar magnetic but quite close. There is definitely a sonic character to these that I haven't heard elsewhere (well the AH-D600 also had this but I prefer the AH-D2000).
Here are some comparisons to the HD650, Sony MDR-7520, and Audeze LCD2.
Comparisons to HD650
These make my HD650 sound very sleepy. And its easy to see why by looking at the  frequency graphs. In comparison to the HD650, the Denons mid-range around the 1khz level is quite lifted. The reason for this is prior to 1kHz the 650 has an elevated mid-bass and lower mid-range hump, whereas the D2000 is considerably flatter. Also the upper frequencies of the D2000 are more in line with its lower and mid range frequencies. The result is that the D2000 is much sharper sounding. The 650s sounds a bit cloudy - not congested - just darker. 
No doubt, the HD650s are much easier on the ears and you just sink into them after a couple minutes of listening. The 650s could be listened to ad infinitum without fatigue. I also may prefer the 650s upper mid-range over the Denon.   The HD650 delivers that velvety-lushness while still retaining some detail which makes it such a classic. Comfort, the 650 still wins.
One thing that makes a massive difference for any testing, is listening volume. The D2000 isn't a headphone I'd want to crank up without eq. The HD650, you could crank up. The D2000 can produce listening fatigue centred right in that 512Hz-1khz range at louder volumes. The D2000 is brilliant at a lower/average listening volume, and its there that they sound more realistic. It probably can replace my 650s functionally for what I use them for - movies, gaming, lounging about, direct listening from iPod, piano practise. 
The D2000s actually replaced my HD650 as my daily driver. The HD650 is an excellent headphone, but I felt that the D2000 beat it out for practicality (easy to drive, closed design brought more privacy) and sonically (the Denon had more tactile bass extending further, and the highs on the Denon brought clarity that was just too blanketed on the 650). I've owned the 650 twice, and feel that I'll be reunited with them at some point again. They are one of my favourite headphones, and even more than the LCD2, make everything easy to listen to. I didn't need two open headphones and between the LCD2 and the 650 I felt I still need to spend time the LCD2. Hoping Sennheiser updates the 650 design in a better build in the future. Perhaps I should be looking at the HD800S. :)
Comparisons to Sony MDR-7520
Compared to the Sony MDR-7520 the Sony sounds much more closed yet still impressively detailed. Some may find it 'boxy' but for those of us used to listening to studio cans, this is a familiar effect of their signature. The brain acclimates to them pretty quickly, and soon you start listening to the depth of the music even though it doesn't seem as wide as the D2000. It is much less spacious than the Denon, particularly as it isn't doing any 'tricks' with its frequency range. And it shouldn't, as its designed as a proper studio headphone for mixing purposes. The 7520 has very good bass, and is definitely more accented. The D2000 has a bit more sparkle and sizzle, whereas the 7520 is flatter. 
Comfort wise, the Denon is a winner here, and that is one of the main reasons I picked it up - I was looking for a more comfy closed can. Its more because of my large ears, otherwise I think the 7520 is actually a very good fit. The Sony is a lot more portable and also has a removable cable. Build-wise the 7520 is more rugged - with magnesium cups and a very simple but sturdy  headband.
I'm going to try not to be biased with 'new toy syndrome' and I'll say that the 7520 gives the D2000 some competition. It seems that somehow the Sony is smoother in the upper mid-range. I do feel that the 7520 is more faithful to what is being recorded but the D2000 is more faithful to what is intended on being reproduced
However, the 7520 can be largely listened to without fatigue. Those highs aren't nearly as sharp as the D2000. In my review of the 7520 I felt its performance was incredible, even against the HD650 and my LCD2. 
Going back to the D2000 from the 7520 instantly opens up the sound. Everything separates and becomes more spacious. Overall, I'd put the D2000 ahead for music enjoyment, and the 7520 has its place as a studio tool or street headphone.
Comparisons from memory
I used to own a Denon AH-D600 and I don't recall it being as spacious as the D2000. I believe its bass was elevated a bit more, but overall the D2000 sounds a bit more linear, and less artificial in the upper registers. That said the D600 was still a very good and even more comfy. The D600 could also be said to have a friendlier signature. 
Logitech Ultimate Ears UE6000 - The UE6000 have much more bass than the D2000 and overall have a dark tilt to their signature. The D2000 have a much more refined sonic presentation. You can listen to classical on the Denons, whereas its mush with the UE6000 (still a good can, just more for pop and bass music).
Beyerdynamic T5p - I really liked that headphone. There again is a headphone that some thought was too bright but I really enjoyed them. Didn't feel they were too bass light either. The fit on the T5p was very good, same with the build. Still, from a price perspective, I picked up the D2000 for a 1/4 of the price, and I really feel they compete sonically with the T5p. Funds permitting, I'd love to try out the DT1770, T5p 2nd edition, and T1 2nd edition. 
Some LCD2 comparisons
I remember listening to a TH900 at an event and being impressed. Not replace my LCD2 impressed (though close). Now I feel that I have a bit of that magic, of course, for much much less. 
The LCD2 are some serious head gear compared to the rest. I've grown accustomed to their fit. But, the D2000s are ultimately easier to deal with. Even though the D2000 cable isn't perfect, it isn't stiff like me early LCD2.1.

Sonically, the LCD2 seem to mix the best from both the 650 and the D2000. They also have the edge on overall clarity. Yeah, they aren't going anywhere. Impressively, I'd say the D2000 is quite close to LCD2 in presentation, with a bit more added presence. The LCD2 have a bit more 'meaty' sound to them. Oh, and with the D2000 soundstage isn't even that much less than the LCD2!  LCD2 on a budget? Honestly, I feel the bio-cellulose drivers compete very well with the planar magnetic drivers of the LCD2. I also find the LCD2 could use a lift in the high-end and the low-end and the D2000 has a presentation that I prefer for most listening. 
Put it this way. The D2000 has made me consider parting with LCD2, HD650 (gone), possibly my MDR-7550 in-ears. I'd keep the 7520 for studio reasons and outdoor portability. For open I might get an HD800 to replace the rest. Not quite sure, and when I put on the LCD2 I appreciate them. I'm not going to rush that decision. Either way, the D2000 is getting the majority of my listening time right now. 
Binaural audio test (using Naturespace app on iOS)
Lastly, I tested the D2000 with some binaural recordings of nature. My HD650 has always been the best in this test. The D2000 while not quite as natural and relaxed sounding as the 650 faired well and in some ways better in binaural listening tests. They bring some of the energy on the top-end that the 650 lacked. They are quite realistic, again due in large part to the linearity of the D2000 through most of the frequency range. Would need to test more before declaring a victor but I'm edging towards the HD650 - something sounds more complete.
Final verdict
In a lot of ways, this inexpensive headphone is kind of endgame for me. In many ways this is what I've wanted from a headphone, especially a closed headphone. You can lock the outside sounds of the world away,  be encompassed by your music with all of its details, and admire the overall design. 
I guess I'll have to check out the Fostex models and will especially be keeping an ear out for the new Denon AH-D7200. I have a feeling I'd find the D2000 largely give you the performance of many of its siblings without the expense.
Pros: Sub-bass, Good Soundstage, Sounds good un-amped, Fun With EDM, Price/Perf Ratio.
Cons: Long cord, Stock pads aren't great, Sharp treble, Leakage
For the low price point that these now sell at, it's hard to find a much better choice. Its sub bass is powerful and it adds a very fun bottom end to EDM music. Good sub bass is hard to find in a headphone, but the D2000 excels in this area.
In addition, they present music in a large but natural soundstage.
They are detailed and perform well un-amped! If you do not have a separate DAC/AMP unit, these still sound good. I enjoy playing them straight out of my macbook, with itunes or watching youtube with them, although I own equipment I can use to make them better.
One nice upgrade is the Alpha pads, they bring comfort to a maximum, improve the soundstage, and overall just work very well with the D2000.
A few cons. The cord is rather long and annoying. The highs are can be harsh at louder volumes.
If you listen at low-medium levels, they should not become too problematic unless you are particularly sensitive to treble.
Again, my review probably doesn't add much to the available reviews, but I have to say these are nice headphones for the price.
agree'd, such a Shame Denon stopped making these :/ 
I like how Twerk and Mshenay slightly hop around your question Marc...and I gotta agree with these guys, they are still awesome. I gotta get me hands on one of these again.
I actually never tried the new ones, so I can't personally comment on the lack of love for them.


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