DENON AH-D7200 IMPRESSIONS

Talk about an interesting headphone. Long gone are the days when Denon was king of closed back headphones. When they were very popular several years ago, they offered the most detailed closed backs available until a couple of things happened: they started producing some other more futuristic looking headphones with sub par sound quality and Fostex launched the TH900.

As a basshead of sorts, I always appreciated Denon bass but couldn’t stand the scratchy highs and sucked out midrange of their grainy flagships. Fast forward to now and they have paid homage to their roots but, in my opinion, have done things much better. I was curious about how their new Flagship woodie sounded and low and behold, by the generosity of an SBAF member, I was able to sign up for a tour they started and get my ears under these cans. Overall impressions? Generally positive. I have already posted these impressions on Superbestaudiofriends.org.

Here are the same slightly touched up impressions:

Listening out of the box is impressive. I personally believe they tuned this headphone to scrape up the nuance in the recording and let you see it easier. They are very detailed headphones. I wasn’t expecting them to be as resolving as they are and at $999MSRP they earn their price tag quite easily in my opinion when it comes to sheer technical performance. It has excellent microdynamics but only decent macro-dynamics in my opinion. Sometimes sounds seem a little stiff to me and drums lack some natural bloom.

Sustain seems a bit missing to me and the tones don’t have enough body sometimes to give you that tangibility you can get from something like the Atticus or or a planar. The transients are sharp with good focus but the decay can be just slightly, slightly unnatural. Sometimes I felt like the drums didn’t slam hard enough but the snares and hi-hats had very good bite and snap to them. They just sound a bit too sharp and needle like and percussion sounds more ‘prickly’ than punchy and weighted. So the short story is that the timbre could use some improvement because while it gives good details it doesn’t sound natural doing it. Other times those little details are very fun to listen to and it also sounds a little open for a closed back; that is an attribute the previous Denon woodies had as well. 

The lower treble and upper midrange is emphasized but the middle treble is not boosted beyond my levels of tolerance and even though it sounds a bit bright for my tastes, I honestly can’t call it a ‘bright’ headphone with confidence. It sounds like it has a downward slope with the bass being a bit more highlighted than the lower mids. A lot of times I just couldn’t connect with the voices as sometimes they just flat out seemed unnatural to me. They had good harmonics and decent air but body and warmth on some male vocals was missing a little. 

The bass is boosted and gives good foundation and while it has a faster decay with less cup resonance than my Atticus, it doesn’t hit as hard even if sometimes seems to have good control. I feel like it needs a bass port or something because even though it has a lot of presence, the bass sounds just a bit compressed to me. I tried to boost it just to get a bit more intensity from it (not sheer volume) but it still sounded a bit compressed, even though it was elevated. Not sure what could fix this. On Lavender Diamond “Dragonfly” the bass line has good texture and control with good sub bass extension. Her voice is forward and crystal clear on the Denon 7200. A song like this is the D72’s bread and butter. It actually sounds just a bit too forward but the recording is mixed a bit dark and D72’s open it up a bit.

The soundstage is good enough for me to enjoy the headphone for sure but the Atticus engulfs it. It takes the same images and gives better space around them as well as gives them more depth, girth, and width. But the Atticus is also much darker and less present in the upper midrange. The Atticus reveals reverb trails and the ambience of the recording just a little better but the immediate surface details and transients are more in your face with the Denons. 

Compared to every other D2’s I have heard (2000-7000) I think this headphone is tuned better, and while not perfect it is still better than those in a lot of regards. Especially when it comes to graininess and of splashiness  during busy songs that cause details to wash out; in those regards the new Denon AH-7200 doesn’t do bad at all. This newer version has better treble solidity and when pushed hard doesn’t turn into a mess on busy passages. Were it not for other headphones on the horizon, like the Klipsch and Auteur, I would probably buy a pair, mod them a bit with a bass port and new pads, and get some new wooden cups.

I thought the comfort was okay but it didn’t really conform to the shape of my head enough. Ergonomics can improve though they are very light and easy enough to get a good seal from (at least with my big noggin).

Well those are really all I have for impressions. I find them a mixed bag with a lot more good in the bag than bad since they have good clarity, details, decent bass control, good bass and treble extension, and a balance (a bit shouty) is a lot more tolerable and enjoyable than many offerings out there currently. Were this headphone released in 2012, it would have been king for a long time. The bass is not on par with the TH900 and it is not nearly as spacious but the tone is much much better.

Well, hopefully someone makes some cups to fit these and if so they may end up in my stable when I re-up on headphones again. 

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