Denon AH-D5200 Headphones Page 2

This deep bass was also evident after switching to something funkier in the form of Bob Marley And The Wailers' 'Could You Be Loved' [from Legend; 192kHz/24-bit]. Punchy, yet never out of step, the low-end also impressed in that it never sounded under-damped, meaning its effects could not be heard higher up the frequency range. I did detect a low rumble in the track that I've not heard before, prompting me to remove the headphones to see if a truck was reversing up my drive! It's not the kind of detail you will typically hear when listening to this song on loudspeakers, unless they are blessed with a very low frequency response.

As for the treble, the muted hi-hats on the Bob Marley track were perhaps a little zingy, adding sibilance, while they also stood out a fraction too far in the mix. Nevertheless, this ageing, but well produced, recording was presented in a highly convincing manner.

The Good Fight
The gritty blues vocal of Laith Al-Saddi on 'Gone' [from the 2013 set Real; 192kHz/24-bit], is a fine test of neutrality and will expose any resonance or irregularity through the vocal region. The AH-D5200 didn't quite convey the sheer vocal presence I would have expected from what is a very familiar track, yet at times the headphones overstepped the mark with a little too much 'grit'. This may highlight a level shift towards the top end of the vocal range, resulting in slight tonal inaccuracy.

Wanting to investigate this issue further, I selected a 44kHz/16-bit CD rip of 'After The Gold Rush' from kd lang's Hymns From The 49th Parallel originally written and performed by Neil Young. Ms lang's vocal can at times dance on the edge of stridency, but to be fair to the AH-D5200, it performed well, with only a slight edge and a little thinning in the lower vocal range. So it appears this small shortcoming is very track dependant. However, despite no lack of bass, it has to said that the presentation can sound a tad short of warmth at times.

I found the AH-D5200 able to deal with more complex, louder recordings with superlative ease. It ensured The Foo Fighters' 'Something From Nothing' [from the band's 2014 album Sonic Highways; 44.1kHz/24-bit] was a compelling listen from the opening guitar chords to the meta-metal thrash finale. Handling everything this recording could throw at it, the AH-D5200 remained composed throughout, never reaching the point of raucousness. What's more, instruments and vocals were admirably well separated,even if the volume was cranked up to concert levels.


Danish singer Agnes Obel's 'Riverside' [from her 2010 debut album Philharmonics] is a far more plaintive affair. There's a higher than normal level of treble-frequency hiss on this track, which did seem to stand out more on these headphones than when heard through rival models. This could be a sign of some imbalance or rising top-end response, and I felt the delivery to be slightly on the bright side while not quite able to retrieve the levels of detail I would expect at this price point.

Nevertheless, when it came to the expansive, haunting harmonic vocal, the AH-D5200 rendered the performance amazingly well. What's more, the separation of instruments was hard to fault, even if the pianos, while tonally well balanced, sounded a little recessed in the mix – though I am being highly critical here!

Sheer Scale
Moving to something a little more upbeat, this time from Muse and 'Undisclosed Desires' [from the group's 2009 album The Resistance; 96kHz/24-bit], the AH-D5200 excelled with the sheer scale of the power rock trio's performance, sounding impressive and full. Vocals were perhaps a little recessed, but even when the music became complex and trashy the AH-D5200 made for a fatigue-free listen.

A marginal lack of warmth through the lower vocal range and slightly sharp high frequencies were again noted, but neither distracted from the music. If the AH-D5200 didn't possess a hefty bass with which to offset the tonal imbalance this may have been more apparent, but for the most part it was noticeable only on certain tracks.

If you are looking for an accurate, studio-like presentation, then there may be more suitable open-back headphones out there, including the Sennheiser HD 700. Nevertheless, the AH-D5200's plus points are hard to ignore, thanks to the quality of its bass, its rendering of scale and its ability to dial up the dynamics when the music requires. Also admirable is the fact that when listening at low volumes, the balance remains full and doesn't appear to drop away or change in character.

A note of caution however: the AH-D5200 possesses high overall sensitivity, which permits volume levels heading towards the ear-splitting while the music remains clear and undistorted. Not recommended practice, but it does demonstrate the AH-D5200 offers good dynamic headroom when used at moderate listening levels.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
A premium set of cans with the emphasis firmly on use in the home, the Denon AH-D5200 may not be the last word when it comes to sheer accuracy at the price, but it is a design that is sure to impress should dynamics, scale and deep, solid bass figure high on your wish-list. Supremely comfortable 'all-rounders', these headphones are solidly built and also provide excellent isolation from ambient noise.

Sound United/D+M Group
Supplied by: D&M Audiovisual Ltd UK
02890 279830