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Headphones item created by , May 5, 2010
Pros - Excellent Sound, Awesome Build Quality, Fun
Cons - Hard to improve upon
I have been looking for a headphone that mates well with my Grace m903 which tends to sound a tad bright. My HD-650's just did not cut it. I tried a pile of expensive headphones and the only one that I thought sounded amazing was a pair of LCD-2's. Being outside of my price range I searched for something as close to that sound as possible. After listening to many headphones I settled on the AH-D2000 for two main reasons:
1.) An employee at headroom has two pairs of them. One for work and one for home.
2.) The AH-D2000 sounded as close to the LCD-2 as any other headphone.
Once I received them and plugged them into my m903 I realized what a synergy they created.
Build: Amazing, light, and high-quality ear pads
Bass: One of the best bass ranges I have heard period. Better than HD-650, HD-800, ATH-M50, as well as T5 and T1.
Mids: Excellent and well balanced. Nothing was missing or out of place
Highs: Not bright at all and the cymbals as well as bells are amazing
Cord: As Dave Rat noticed when he received his pair: "one of the best headphone cords I have ever seen" and I certainly agree. The cord is braided and thick enough to survive wear and tear, but not too thick to hinder its manipulation and placement.
Impedance: 25 Ohm so every amp out there can drive them whether that are constant current or constant voltage. This is a very flat impedance vs frequency so no region of the audible spectrum is dampened. This is the primary problem with the HD-650.
Sensitivity: 106dB which allows you to listen at moderate levels and not feel as though you have to turn up your amp just to get the sound you want.
Pros - Comfort, bass, weight
Cons - portability, cord on both sides
Coming from the ATH- m50's, there were a HUGE upgrade. The comfort was a 10 compared to the m50s and the sound quality (granted i am using an e7 and e9 now) is top notch. Sounds amazing. Great bass. The only thing i dont like is that both ears have the wires coming in, where as the m50s only had it on one side.. but being such a small and stupid thing i dont like i still LOVE these headphones. great deal
Pros - Nice hard-hitting bass, the kind that'd make anyone smile. It scales with better amps/dacs
Cons - Finding the right amp is stab in the dark.
Plenty of times we try to cut corners and enter the realm only the rich or lucky get into. No one takes the easy road, the results are usually frivolous and shallow ... except in this case! You see, for the low price of these headphones, you finally get a taste of true audio extravagance.
The Denon AH-D2000s are some of the most refined headphones I've ever come across that don't cost an arm and a leg. There's something about the sound and build that just screams quality. It doesn't matter what you're playing either. It can easily be enjoyable playing hip-hop and electronic as it is playing rock and jazz.
I'm kind of a late bloomer when it comes to these headphones. I only heard about them recently and I wish I would've known about them before. I'm playing song after song on my playlist and rediscovering music as I haven't heard before. It could be the lead singer taking a deep breath before singing a verse or even the hum of bass guitar as the bassist gets ready to play, these headphones can be chalked up as a revealing delight. Now, I don't want you to think this is an analytical or neutral sounding set of headphones. You'll hear unheard details, but then you'll be thrown into the nice impact of the bass making it more of a musical (or fun) sound.
Now the design is one of my favorites. Aesthetically it draws my friends like moths sittings amongst my collection. They feel comfy on your head and the construction is sturdy and solid. It sits on my head nicely while the cushions rest perfectly around your ears (and my ears are big!).
Amping these things are a bit touchy, and by that I mean you may not get the "full picture" if you don't use a proper amp. I purchased a nice, yet inexpensive, headphone amp and they sound great. But I was a bit disappointed that they didn't run well straight out of the headphone input of my iPod and laptop. They ran a bit better from my audio video receiver but it lacked all those nice details and bass my headphone amp provided. The good news is you don't have to spend a lot to get good sound. It just has to be better than your average headphone output, that's all. Most portable amps or small desktop amps should be sufficient. If you want recommendations, email me.
When all is said and done, I can't seem to take these off my head. I rarely use my powered speakers anymore (I can't buy a subwoofer because of the neighbors) and my other headphones are starting to collect dust.
The only real drawback I can think of to these headphones is some people might not like the sparkly highs mixed with the thumping bass. It might seem like too much of a contrast with not enough midrange in between, but to me it's sweet gravy and needs to be heard before judging. These headphones are meant to be fun and engaging rather than neutral and analytical.
Another minor complaint is I feel the headphone wire could've been a bit better. It's stiff and prone to tangling. But even with these small drawbacks, I wouldn't hesitate pulling out the old plastic for a pair. It's not just me either, they have a nice following among audio enthusiasts. Buy a nice amp and perhaps check out the aftermarket support for them (I replaced the stock pads with beefier pads).
Now that I'm on my 2nd year of owning them, I figured it's time to talk about why I have hard time finding a replacement.
Here we go:
A) Comfort: With the J$ pads, it feels like two comfy pillows placed right on ears.
B) Bass: Love the Bass on these. With most systems it gave me that nice low bass and no distortion.
C) Highs are unbelievable. The amount detail these drivers push out is to say the least fantastic.
Take the lightweight, comfortable ear pads, and good bass and fantastic highs. Yes, the mids are recessed a bit but the right amp and pad replacement can help on that a bit.
I now run these cans through a DACmini Dac/Mini combo. While the bass isn't as prominent as it used to be with my old hybrid amp, it is now presented as it was intended. If it's heavy in a song, It'll be heavy in the song, vice versa. Just as it was intended. The decay is wonderful and natural. I know the amp has played a big part in why it turned out way it is, but it just going to show how much these headphones scale with better equipment.
I'll go ahead a futuristic proclamation:
The D #000 line will be regarded as a classic headphone and if it get's a new model, it'll still be sought out afterwards. If they discontinue it without new models, people will start buying then on eBay until Denon decides to bring it back.
If you haven't figured it out yet, go buy a pair of these headphones. Get a good Dac/Amp Tubes=warm and bassy, but lack of micro details. Solid state = less bass, analytical, transparent (bass, piano, etc. sound as they are supposed to sound.
Pros - Superb sonic capabilities, comfort, build quality
Cons - without an eq, they are too imbalanced
I have owned these cans for a few months I am reviewing them in the context of them being a 200-300 can. so im not comparing them to HD800's or Beyer T1 b/c they are not in that league and are not expected to be.
I am an ametuer reviewer, so please keep that in mind
I should be clear when i say actually like these cans, because much of my review may sound to the contrary
In brief - these cans are laid back and smoothe. quite imbalanced without an EQ but capable of great things with a little patience and an EQ
In fact i will say that for the money these are some of the better cans you can get Sure there are lots of other cans in the $200-$300 price range that sound just as good, but at that point it comes down to preference, and we'll visit that later
The major issue with these cans is that they require an eq. Without one, i am not exaggerating when i say they are hard to listen to.
I play a sine wave through all my headphones to find where they are imbalanced and eq appropriately. These took some serious work to flatten, but it was worth it!
they have huge frequency imbalances , which seems to be a universal experience with these cans.
Here is how I have to eq these cans to get them to sound "flat" across all frequencies
Imagine all those valleys as peaks, and vice versa, and you can see how they would scream in your ears without an eq
The reason i am so fond of these cans is that they are CAPABLE of sounding great.
Thats really what seperates average phones from audiophile quality. Sure each phone has its peaks and valleys, but the best ones are capable of handling much more than their stock sound whereas cheap cans or buds simply cant produce no matter what you throw at them
So for the sake of the rest of the review, lets assume we have properly flattened the sound.
since you will probably use them at home anyway.
BASS: 8.5/10 bass to me is almost purely a preference game. No two people like their bass the same, and no two will call a "flatly" eq'd sound the same when it comes to how the bass "should" sound.
these cans are commonly known for their more than ample bass. it should be made clear though, that quantity and quality are two different categories. in this case, these cans have some of both. though the bass is not totally clean, as it does get slightly muddy at times, the bottom line for me is this - Yes these cans have a bit more bass than some people prefer, but the great thing is you can simply eq some of it out and you lose nothing. The sound quality only improves. and for those, like myself who occasionally like to rattle their eyes, its there when you need it. The frequency extension is really good. i can hear 20hz on the hi-fi heartbeat track no problem. I have tried other cans that didnt have ample volume at frequencies below 50hz like these have, and i missed it sorely.
Mids 9/10 - I feel the mids on these cans is about laid back, and im pretty sure most people agree. This means that the mids are sort of in the background compared to the rest of the frequencies. I like this though and i feel they just sound great, no matter what i throw at them. I especially like how they sound with jazzy, vocal, or acoustic tracks.
Again, when eq'd properly, do very well. Everything is in its place and nothing gets mushy or tinny.
However, without an eq.. well... ouch!
Soundstage: 9/10 this one is tough for me to describe. I remeber upgrading from some sennheiser hd555's and being blown at the difference in how expanded and immersed i felt with the D2000 in comparison. thats the best i can do
Build...10/10 this one is easy.. these things are SOLID. Very well built from cup to headband cord and everything in between. The cord is a bit unruly though. While i do believe it could stop a bullet it is too stiff.
Comfort: 10/10 another easy one, very comfy. i often forget to take them off and wear them for hours with absolutely no discomfort.... really.
Fit: 8/10 they dont fit very tight, again this seems to be a universal sentiment, but for me this did not cause an issue except that they offer very little isolation. If isolation is important, these cans are not for you. I should also note that i have a small head.
Overall Sound: 10/10 I feel these cans have a way of adapting to my musical needs. I listen to a very wide range of music from metal to jazz to acoustic to hip hop with pounding bass, to classical to eastern, to meditation music. I dont feel they really fall short in any category, though they do better with smoothe laid back music than they do with hard precise or powerful music. They are just a great all around listening experience in their class.
Portability. none. Not meant for portability. These cans are not a good option for portability. The cord is too long and too thick, they dont isolate, they are pretty bulky and if you turn your head too fast they will probably fall off.
I would highly recommend these cans for someone who is just stepping into their audiophile shoes, and beyond. If you are willing to put in a little work and break out the EQ you will be very happy
to summarize again. a pretty capable laid back smoothe sounding headphone with ample bass, nice sound stage, and a generally Fun and Forgiving sound signature. Use and EQ and you wont be dissapointed.
If you are anti EQ however, i just cant recommend these cans - they will not be a pleasant experience
without an eq i could not listen to these cans for more than 10 minutes.. it just hurt.. with a flat eq, i felt like i could keep them on forever...