A Little Technical Stuff:
MRSP: Circumaural (over-ear) $1599.00 I purchased mine through a vendor on Amazon and at the time of writing they were sold-out. The D9200 is also sold-out on the Denon website.
I did not plan to complete a review on the Denon AH-D9200. I have other items that I must review, and time is a premium, so these were a purchase for solely my enjoyment. After owning the D9200 for a month, I decided I would write about these beautiful headphones to bring them to the fore-front and possibly make them a consideration for your next purchase, thus the Denon AH-D9200 review.
Generally, I try to keep at least one upper-tier headphone in my stable. Since I am focused on this hobby’s portable aspect, it takes time to research to find the best synergy in HP and portable source pairings. A hp that I can drive to maximum enjoyment with mobile gear. Keep in mind my portable equipment is of the higher-powered variety, but none the less, portable.
The D9200 is growing on me every day and gets better and better with each listening session. Indeed, it is an HP flying under the radar. For $1600, it is worth trying before spending more on higher-priced offerings. I cannot see myself letting these go anytime soon.
A couple of my most recent high-end headphones have included the Focal Stellia and the ZMF Verite Closed. Both of these HP’s, considered to best in the class of the closed-back variety. Both hold their own and perform wonderfully. Meanwhile, the Denon AH-D9200 is rarely included in the talks with the gear mentioned above. Sadly, it appears to be more of a niche purchase and undiscovered. Many folks are missing out on one of the most refined and untarnished tunings I have encountered.
I wish I still owned the Stellia along with the upgraded Arctic Cables silver cable, not because the D9200 is lacking, but because I would like to compare the two. It would require me to look at notes to compare, so it wouldn’t be fair to comment with any depth without currently owning the Stellia. I no longer hold the Verite Closed either, but while the Verite Closed was no slouch, it didn’t offer the Stellia dynamics with the same Arctic silver cable during my A/B sessions.
My initial thoughts were posted here Denon D9200 Initial Thoughts
A Little Marketing Hype word by word from their site:
Top-shelf headphones, hand-crafted by audio experts
Denon made their name in home theater and A/V receivers, but they’ve been crushing it with headphones the last few years. I auditioned their new flagship AH-D9200 headphones, and right out of the box you can tell how seriously this company takes personal audio. These premium over-ears are meticulously assembled by hand at the company’s Shirakawa facility in Japan — notice the striking bamboo earcups, strong aluminum frame, and plush leather earpads.
Denon has customized their famous “FreeEdge” headphone drivers, specifically to perform their best within the bamboo earcups. The AH-D9200 have the most spacious presentation I’ve heard from a pair of Denon headphones. They deliver a resolving sound with deep, controlled sub-bass.
Beautifully sculpted and finished earcups
Take a look at the images above that show the Denon crew at work. Each bamboo wood earcup is sculpted and sanded, then coated with a lacquer finish. Just holding them in my hands, I could sense the level of care and close attention to detail involved here.
And the housings don’t just look and feel deluxe. Rather, they also serve a musical purpose. Bamboo helps give the sound a clean, organic feel. It is a natural sound-dampening material that helps keep external noise from leaking in — and your music from escaping out.
The link below is a video showcasing the meticulous process to produce the cups for one pair of Denon D9200:
WHAT’S IN THE BOX:
- Over-ear headphones
- 10′ Audio cable (dual 3.5mm plugs on one end and 1/4″ plug on other end)
- 58″ Audio cable (dual 3.5mm plugs on one end and single 3.5mm plug on other end)
- 3.5mm-to-1/4″ Plug adapter
- Cleaning Cloth
- Owner’s Manual
- Handcrafted brochure
Build Quality and Fit:
Denon D9200 has a lightweight yet sturdy build quality due to the die-cast aluminum frame and the Japanese Bamboo cups. The earpads are sheepskin leather and have a soft, supple feel. Some folks may find the pads uncomfortable with extended listening due to the oddly shaped ear hole cutout. I have zero comfort issues but can understand how larger cups may work better for some. The sheepskin earpad and quilted headband padding do have a quality feel. The handmade Japanese bamboo cups are unique, and the build quality is simple elegance and well thought out. They are lightweight and comfortable but do not fold for more compact storage or carry. The D9200 weighs in at a little over 13 ounces (375 grams).
I have always had a soft spot for the Denon wooden cups, but this Japanese Bamboo is “simply” elegant, as previously stated.
Denon utilizes a 50mm free-edge diaphragm. The drivers themselves are constructed with nanofiber material, supposedly for better detail retrieval and less distortion. The internals include a resin baffle system said to be surrounded by a soft material that reduces vibration.
D9200 has a 24 ohm impedance and 105dB/mW sensitivity with a frequency response of 5Hz to 56kHz.
This review is written utilizing full portable set-ups: the Hiby R8 and the Astell&Kerm SP2000. I also used the Samsung Note 20 Ultra, but it isn’t part of the review findings. I listened to a playlist of DSD and FLAC files and streaming Tidal, Qobuz, and Amazon Music HD.
Moving on to the sound section….
The D9200 provides a balanced, detailed signature. If I were to sum these up in a few words, it would be exquisite tuning. The Denon D9200 is firing on all cylinders. I have so much respect for the amount of care and mastery that went into the tuning and timbre. These bring me through the entire gamut of emotions, from head bobbing to contemplation. Emotive! Please put on The Rippington’s Gran Via and feel it.
The bass is quality, with enough quantity to not color the music, and the quantity is only present when a track showcases it. The bass is fast, taut, and never bloomy. It is polite and detailed as it displays the bass frequencies and digs deep but isn’t going to rattle your skull.
In listening to Dream Theater, Metropolis-Part1: The Miracle and the Sleeper, the D9200 had absolutely zero issues keeping up with the track’s speed. The bass drums had a natural tone and timbre. The bass line was clear and detailed, with layers of bass unfolding in your ears. I love to listen to Dream Theater; although their perfection bores me after an extended time, it is great to test a driver’s speed.
On Rush, Spirit of Radio, the bass dug down deep and rendered Geddy’s bass line with perfection. Clear and present.
Some feel there is a brightness to the D9200, and I can understand that, but it is more balanced, with the “brightness” revealing details as opposed to anything close to offensive. The Denon is a headphone that focuses on resolution and its natural timbre. The frequency curve of the D9200 shows the extension in the treble, but there is just enough extension to allow for air to surround the notes. The tuning of the D9200 is remarkable, considering it takes the listener to the edge, provides air around notes, treble extension, and detail but never has any harshness.
The overall signature brings you front and center to your tunes. The mids reveal a wonderful forwardness without being in your face. The mids are actually slightly retracted, but it is the authority with which the mids portray the frequency, which creates forwardness. If you are looking for a massive “V” shape, this is not the headphone for you. The mids help to blend the synergy within the signature. The mids are layered and have textured resolution. Fortunately, the upper mids have no harshness or give way to any sibilance if a musical track is prone to it.
The stage is wide, and there is a dimension to the sound—excellent stereo separation, especially for a closed-back design. The Stellia had a fantastic open sound for a closed-back design, but the D9200 is certainly no slouch.
Yes, I’ve Seen All Good People displays the depth of the stage and holography touch. One of the things that stood out in the Stellia, with the Silver Cable upgrade, was that it had an incredible dynamism level, and the staging was exact. There are some parallels between Stellia and D9200, but to my ears, the D9200 may have more control but not the same level of precision.
You might want to own this Headphone if:
+ You want incredible balance, natural tone and timbre
+ You prefer a transparent, detailed signature that can dig deep into the bass realms
+ You want some the of the most refined tuning available in a closed-back design
+ You want TOTL technical abilities at a more reasonable price
+ You appreciate craftsmanship and one-of-kind type of attention to detail in the design
There is no earth-shattering, game-changing technology inside. I know I put the marketing hype above, but honestly, Denon’s marketing phrase should be “Refined Elegance.” Those two words apply to the build, design, and craftsmanship, and sound signature.
I am an IEM fan but do enjoy a TOTL set of headphones. The Denon has delivered a high-priced (not comparatively so) pair of headphones that strike above their high price tag. From the one-of-a-kind, handcrafted cups to the luxurious leather, the listener has a simple yet painstakingly designed set of headphones. I feel I have been redundant with my wording choice, but there is care and refinement throughout the D9200.
The sound quality is impeccable in its tuning and the naturalness of the timbre. The sound is balanced, non-offensive, and refined.
At under 2K, it is difficult to go wrong with the Denon D9200. The admission price is $1599 compared to the Verite Closed at $2499 and the Focal Stellia at $2990. You could purchase these and not feel that you are “just settling” for a lower-priced option.
I am steeping high praise on the Denon AH-D9200. The distinction is well-deserved, and I hope this review assists Denon in receiving the attention they deserve for the D9200.