Denon AH-D600 Music Maniac headphones
Denon’s audiophile headphones aren’t for commuters, but they’re great for discerning listeners
- Strong bass
- Comfortable fit
- Sturdy build
- Bass can be overpowering
- General cord complaints
Denon's AH-D600 headphones are aimed at discerning music listeners. They're not made for the trip to or from work -- they're definitely most at home when you're sitting still and paying attention to whatever you're listening to.
Denon is a force in the home audio world. It’s been around since the start of the 20th century, moving from gramophone to vinyl record to cassette tape to CD and beyond. The company has been producing hi-fi components since the ‘70s, but we’ve only recently had the chance to try out its revitalised range of headphones.
The Denon AH-D600 fits into the upper-middle of the company’s range of Music Maniac headphones, targeted at serious music listeners who value uncompromised audio quality over anything else.
Denon AH-D600: Design and specifications
The AH-D600 headphones are pretty good-looking.They’re nothing too outrageous, and the mix of smoothly curved head-band and straighter ear-cups looks attractive. Each ear-cup has a circular, laser-cut-metal Denon logo.
The headphones’ head-band and ear-pads are wrapped in soft black leatherette, with very soft padding underneath that makes for a comfortable fit. The white stitching on the leatherette seams is a nice style touch. The head-band doesn’t have a particularly high clamping force, though, and even at the minimum size the AH-D600 sits slightly loosely on a medium-sized head.
We’d suggest that the AH-D600 is best suited to wearers that don’t move around very much, or that have medium-to-large heads. If you’ve got a small head, or if you want to wear headphones while moving around regularly — think commuting, or exercising, or even chair-dancing — these Denon cans aren’t for you.
If you’re content to sit reasonably still and listen to your music, the AH-D600 are comfortable enough to wear for an extended period, and at 365 grams they’re not heavy enough to be fatiguing over a few hours of wear.
The AH-D600’s cable is something that’s going to polarise potential buyers. There are two bundled cords included in the AH-D600’s box — a 1.8m cable which is supposedly more useful for ‘portable’ wear, and as such includes an iPhone-compatible three-button remote control, and a 3m cable designed to be used when you’re in a more confined environment like listening at your PC or in your study.
Both cables are perfectly serviceable, but they terminate in two 3.5mm plugs, one of which plugs into the bottom of each AH-D600 ear-cup.The cable’s Y-shaped design is more comfortable than a J-shaped one, where only a single ear-cup is connected, but the cord does tend to get in the way more than usual. The remote control on the 1.8m cable also doesn’t work properly if you’re using a Google Android smartphone.
Denon AH-D600: Sound quality
Denon’s Music Maniac range, of which the AH-D600 is a part, is aimed at the buyer who really wants to sit down, shut up, and pay attention to the music they’re listening to. The AH-D600 is a closed-back design that has some carefully-hidden acoustic vents.
Huge 50mm speaker drivers in each ear means a claimed frequency range of 5-45,000Hz — stunning if it’s accurate, but even just the number alone speaks to the high opinion Denon has of its Music Maniac headphones.
The AH-D600 has excellent bass response courtesy of these huge speaker drivers. These are some of the bassiest, most powerful beat-driven headphones we’ve listened to. If you really, really like your bass — if you’re a lover of beat-driven electronica or heavy bass-kicking metal — these Denon headphones are tailor-made for you.
We did notice that with a small range of music that we listened to, the AH-D600’s powerful bass would sometimes overwhelm other frequencies, swamping mid-range somewhat and leaving high frequency notes sounding quiet by comparison. This is possible to remedy through careful use of your audio source’s equaliser, but it’s something to consider — unless you love bass, we’d try these before buying to see whether it’s the kind of sound you like.
When the headphone drivers’ bass is behaving itself, the treble and mid-range detail that the Denon AH-D600 is able to produce is extensive, performing just like we’d expected a high-end, audiophile-targeted pair of headphones to. Frequency response in the higher ranges is reasonably moderate, so there’s no hills or valleys that would make any one sound more loud than another.
If you’re intending to use the AH-D600 to listen critically to a piece of music — as long as it’s not too heavy on the bass — you’ll come away impressed at these headphones’ clarity. A wide soundstage is also not something that we expected from the AH-D600 given their closed-back design, but we found surprisingly expansive stereo audio response when we tried out various live audio and orchestral tracks.
Denon AH-D600: Conclusion
Denon’s AH-D600 headphones are reasonably expensive, but they’re well built and have the sound quality to back up the price tag. If you don’t mind a bit of ear-shaking bass, check them out.
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