January 20, 2010 6 min read
[caption id="attachment_1281" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The surprisingly good sounding line-up of high-end Denon sealed cans: D7000, D5000, and D2000."][/caption] For a long time the sound quality available with closed headphones was quite poor. Then, a few years ago, Denon appeared with not one, or two, but a whole line of sealed headphones that smoked the competition at virtually every price point. At the top of their line are three of the world's best sealed headphones. Construction The Denon AH-D2000, AH-D5000, and AH-D7000 are all very similar full-size, sealed headphones. The family uses the same design throughout, with common earpads, cast magnesium fittings, baffle plate, and variations of similar housings, drivers, cable, and finishes. [caption id="attachment_1285" align="alignnone" width="467" caption="This exploded view shows the D7000, but all three headphones are essentially the same design with materials and driver variations."][/caption] The overall execution of the design is very good throughout the line; these are nicely finished and very good looking headphones. The cast magnesium hardware components function well and are finished tastefully. However, I would also consider these headphones somewhat delicate and fragile. Fine for around the house, but audio professionals will have to take a bit of extra care in use. [caption id="attachment_1288" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Here I poke the reverse side of the "leather" out to show that it has a backing indicating it is a synthetic leather."][/caption] The earpads used on all three models are wonderfully comfortable, and are fashioned in soft glove leather ... or so it seems. It does say "leather" in a couple of places on Denon's illustrations and literature PDFs, but I'd read on Head-Fi that the pads were synthetic. You can't tell by looking at them, they look and feel very real, but I just had to know for sure, so I broke out my sewing kit and had a look. Sure enough, they are some sort of synthetic leather; maybe the nicest synthetic leather I've seen, but still ... pleather, not leather. Each pad is attached to a mounting plate with a flap of material that flips over its edge. The mounting plate has four nubs which insert and twist to lock them into the magnesium frame of the housing making it very simple remove and replace the earpads. One note here: the earpad slides around very easily on its mounting plate, so the earpads are easily rotated around without the mounting plate beneath moving. Removing the mounting plate requires a counter-clockwise rotation of about a half inch at the perimeter; you may have to grip the outside edge of the earpad very firmly in order to rotate the mounting plate for removal. The stock cables on the D5000 and D7000 are excellent with conductors that are 99.99999% oxygen-free copper. The conductors in the cable on the D2000 is copper of lesser, but still good quality. I'm generally in the middle of the road when it comes to cables, thinking they make a difference sometimes, but often not one big enough to warrant the price. When it comes to headphone and speaker cable, however, I find the differences can be substantial. I tend to think the improved cable is likely a strong contributor to the significant improvement with the step up the D5000 or D7000. [caption id="attachment_1290" align="alignright" width="300" caption="L to R: The D7000, D5000, and D2000 housing covers."][/caption] While the housings on all three model are similar in shape, the materials and interior design vary somewhat. The D2000 housing is molded of a plastic with metal filler to increase density and rigidity, it also includes a little packing and damping material attached to the inside that the other two do not have. The D5000 and D7000 earcups are machined out of mahogany.
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