Denon AH-D7100 Music Maniac Artisan Review – The best headphones for over-ear around?

Ferrari? Lamborgini? Or Ducati? Much like picking your favourite sports car, it’s a tough choice picking out the best headphones in the super high end of the market, costing over $1000 a piece. The Sennheiser HD800s, Grado Statement and Ultrasone Edition 8s all offer spectacular sound that, if you close your eyes, transports you to sitting in on your own private studio performance.

Well, the decision just got harder with the launch of the Denon AH-D7100 Music Mania Artisan headphones. These are the pinnacle of the Denon range and represent the best craftsmanship and audio performance the brand has to offer. Can they compete with the best headphones in the top dollar price bracket? Let’s find out…

Appearance

As you’d expect with the eye watering price tag, the build quality of the Denon AH-D7100 Music Maniac Artisan headphones is superb. You get them displayed on a satin bad in a custom designed wooden box, like you’re receiving some sort of reward. In this case, a reward for your ears.

As you’d expect, these are among the best headphones out there for build quality, reassuringly solid and with a frosted silver finish. The ear cups are made from a reassuringly luxuriant African mahogany with leather covering the memory foam ear cups and headband. From a distance these look similar to Beats by Dr Dre, a comparison even its makers have acknowledged. But that’s where the comparison ends.

They are on the larger side, and being closed back (and very expensive!) they are probably not practical for the commute to work. But then that’s not what these headphones are for. The Denon AH-D7100 are designed for enjoying music as the artist intended, in the calm surroundings of your favourite armchair where you can relax and let the music wash over you like a warm jet spray of delicious sound.

Performance

One of the Denon AH-D7100 key selling points are the 50mm Free Edge Nano Fibre drivers, which Denon compares to strapping a pair of speakers over your ears. Based on the reviews around the web, they’re not far wrong. These headphones have a rich and powerful sound that will delight audiophiles and astound anyone that has yet to experience a $1000 pair of cans.

These are a closed set of headphones, which normally means sacrificing spaciousness for better sound insulation. Not so in this instance. The Denon AH-D7100s have a sound stage that excels and offers as smooth a rendition of sound frequencies as you’ll find in any of premier headphones brands. In fact, it could be said that these set the benchmark when it closed dynamic reference class headphones. The soundstage is wide and expansive with exceptionally airy and warm notes. This makes the Denon AH-D7100s a premium choice when it comes to listening to live recordings. All the instruments are defined with pinpoint accuracy, delivering a soundstage that sounds like listening a live recording session. They also have a strong and forceful, bass that’s kept in control and is never allowed to run amok over the other tones.

So Denon have indeed stepped up to the plate when it comes to competing with the best that Sennheiser, Grado and Ultrasone have to offer. Deciding which are best for you ultimately comes down to personal choice. But with the launch of the Denon AH-D7100s, it is a decision that just got more perplexing.

Music that transports you to thinking the band is there around you

Classical, rock and any music with complex musical arrangements will sound spectacular on the Denon AH-D7100 Music Maniac Artisan headphones.

When you might actually want to take them off

Despite being closed back, these headphones aren’t the best when it comes to sound insulation. These wont hide outside noise on the commute. But then, you weren’t seriously planning on taking these on a bus were you?

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