Denon AH-D600 headphones
At £500, the Denon AH-D600 headphones are a massive financial commitment. The good news, however, is that we've had a sniff around online and you can already find them for about £300. While that's still not cheap, that's only a tiny sliver of cash more than the Beats Pro headphones we reviewed in August.
But, no matter what the price, there's only one thing that matters with headphones, and that's how the little headclampers sound when they're blasting your favourite tracks into your lugholes. We affixed a pair of these high-end cans, and our findings follow.
Comfort and fit
Think of the most attractive person you can. Now imagine them gently cupping your ears while singing your favourite song. Discard that fantasy, and replace it with a set of the Denon AH-D600s, because they're probably more comfortable than even that delightful scene.
They are kind of heavy though, if we're honest, and there's also the issue of the size. We have what some have described as a "big head", but even if we dispute that, it's still at least medium-sized. Even so, the Denons feel a little loose on us, and there's the vague sensation that they might fall off, if the head-banging gets slightly vicious.
The build quality of these cans is excellent. From the lovely stitching, through the the feeling that they will pretty much last forever.
On our list of things expensive headphones MUST have, are replaceable cables. This, we're pleased to say, is the case here. Not fitting interchangeable leads is a bad move, because it means your headphones are likely to have their lives cut short by nothing more than a broken cable. We've lost too many pairs this way, so for us, it's a must now.
The shell of the headphones is a hard plastic, there's not really any metal used here, but they feel incredibly solid, and we're sure they will last a very long time indeed.
Your new headphones come in a nice, sturdy cardboard box. Inside, there's a light silk covering into which the headphones have been nestled. It does feel like a premium package, which is good for this sort of money.
You get two leads in the box too. This is excellent, because we find that headphones usually come with either one or two cables, but they're often the same length. Here, you get a short iPhone compatible affair, which has a microphone and volume control on it, and a longer cable that's heavier and longer-lasting. This is clearly designed for using with your TV, or a stereo system.
The AH-D600s have a very specific sound profile - namely, they are designed to make your head explode with bass. Audiophiles, what we're saying here, is you should look away - these are not the headphones for you.
In some cases, headphones that push bass do so at the cost of other parts of the frequency spectrum. The good news is, that although these AH-D600s have more bass than we've heard in headphones for some time, they also manage to keep control over everything else. For us, this is the perfect situation.
We love a nice bit of rich bass, but we're suckers for the beautiful clarity of a crisp vocal, cutting through the beats of our trance music or, say, listening to Rihanna do her thing in Love The Way You Lie. The most striking thing we noticed was just how well balanced everything sounds. Yes, the Denons seem to have a real affinity with the low end, but there's no shortage of mids or highs either.
Best of all, there's none of that nasty overly-bright high end we hear too often with headphones that cost a couple of hundred quid. We find that sort of sound too harsh, and it makes long sessions impractical, but here, we could wear the Denons all day and not be bored with them.
The thing we didn't really expect was the other use for these headphones. Namely, for home cinema enjoyment, late at night, when everyone else in the house is trying to sleep.
Usually, headphones make for a poor home cinema system replacement. They give you crystal clear vocals that are usually far easier to understand than from even an expensive speaker system, but the lack of bass is a major downside. With the AH-D600s, what you get is such epic, explosive bass that you can actually feel the low frequencies rumble through your skull, and then on to the rest of your body.
So, if you're looking for headphones to watch TV with, these are probably a really good choice.
They're bonkers headphones, they really are. We'd never claim they'd suit an audiophile, because they quite simply push the bass too hard to be considered for people who want a pure experience.
But what they are is amazingly comfortable and beautifully clear. They sound utterly amazing, and for music - if you like electronic, or anything vaguely urban - they are the mutt's nuts. But, perhaps their best use is for TV and movies. Here, they explode with life and give you an experience much more like you'd get in a cinema.
So don't think of these as expensive headphones, think of them as a really cheap set of home cinema speakers you can take around with you.
And on the Pocket-lint scale of things we REALLY don't want to give back, these are near the top. Sadly, Denon has already told us our time with them is coming to an end, so perhaps we need to hatch some cunning money-making scheme?