Denon AH-D2000 Headphones - Denon AH-D2000

By Jonathan Bray


  • Recommended by TR
Denon AH-D2000 Headphones


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Compared to my Grados these Denons are on another planet - in build quality and comfort terms at least. The Grados' foam supra-aural earcups can become uncomfortable after extended listening; these do not. The Grados feel quite fragile in comparison, but they're also a fundamentally different design. Where the Grados are open-backed - which is supposed to offer the best possible detail and sound quality - the Denons are of the closed back variety - a design more frequently seen on noise-cancelling and DJ headphones than high-end audiophile units.

This approach has its benefits. There's far less noise leakage from a pair of closed back headphones than with opened back cans, which is ideal if you want to listen to your music in the same room as someone else. Open back headphones can irritate if you're sat right next to someone else trying to read a book or watch the telly, for instance. Closed back headphones shut out the outside world more effectively too, though I hasten to add that these Denons won't shut out aircraft thrum, office air-conditioning or commuter train bustle like Sennheiser's noise-cancelling PXC-450's.

The burning question I wanted answering, however, was how these AH-D2000 would fare for pure sound quality in comparison to Grado's superlative 325i headphones? For while they're not the most comfortable or best built phones in the world, the latter do produce simply fantastic sound quality for the money.

First things first, though the Denons exhibit a slightly closed sound, they do still manage to feel extremely light and airy. Denon makes much of the phones' microfibre diaphragms, which it claims reproduce the nuances and details in music much better than the cellulose type in most headphones. I imagine this helps in this regard - the AH-D2000's certainly don't sound very boxy.

Play Ramon Ruiz's beautifully recorded flamenco-style guitar through them and you'll find there's a real sense of atmosphere to them. You can hear the buzz of the strings on the frets, and the jangle of his rasgueados seem to leap out into your brain, but also the character of the guitar seems to come right through and there's a real weight and attack to the low notes. My favourite test, an extract from Mozart's Requiem, was next up - a powerful blast of choral drama that really tests audio components to their limits. Again, the Denons had a little closed sound to them, but the drama and detail was all there, and the ominous plodding of the orchestra had impressive weight and gravitas.

Here, however, the Grados showed their strength. They sound just that little more real, effortless, and unforced. Though the Denons are extremly good they can't quite reproduce music with the same sort of hair-raising realism that the 325is can. Worryingly, when I cranked the volume up during the louder choral passages, the AH-D2000s started to break up, but since this was at levels that would turn you deaf if you listened for longer than a few hours, it's probably nothing to worry about.

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Mikko Lahti

September 21, 2008, 4:44 am

Great review,

But.. "Worryingly, when I cranked the volume up during the louder choral passages, the AH-D2000s started to break up," > doesn't sound like something you should even mention, or do without any mention of proper burn-in, we're talking about true hifi cans here afterall.

Also, I would like to know what kind of setup you used to run these cans, because that really does affect the listening experience, otherwise the review, while good, still sounds a bit one-dimensional (I do know that the basic consumer doesn't need to know such details, but this isn't really the most basic consumer product is it?). cheers


September 21, 2008, 9:56 am

you know, some guy at a train station asked if he could swap these headphones for my grado sr80's a while ago...

i should have said yes

Mikko Lahti

September 21, 2008, 2:19 pm

Whoa 'ilovethemonkeyhead', why would somebody do such a swap? You really should have said yes :P


September 21, 2008, 6:29 pm

I got mine 2 weeks ago and I haven't noticed any break-up when playing them, which means they must be cranked up uncomfortably loud in order to expose this flaw. Only done about 24 hours worth of burn-in but it already sounds amazing. I've been using a pair of Sennheiser HD600 for the past 8 years and these Denons are the closest I have come to matching them. I would say that the HD600 still has the edge, it just sounds a little bit more natural and airy. The Denon's have a VERY smooth sound, and stonking bass. The bass is just a little bit on the excessive side, but it's great for rock music. Recently I've also owned a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-AD900 but the Denon wins easily.

Mikko, I've used the Denons straight out of my Sony mp3 player and they sound great. They're very low impedance so go loud enough easily. For more serious listening I have a Meier portable headphone amp connected to the line-out dock of an iPod (bypassing the iPod's onboard amp). The amp adds body and impact to the sound, and opens up the upper frequencies a little more. These 'phones have been discussed quite extensively on Head-Fi's forums:

By the way, I paid 200 pounds for mine at


September 22, 2008, 2:00 am


nice site - i'm currently eyeing the grado sr325i's - i love my grado sr80's, and do every activity with them. they're suprisingly comfortable, in my opinion, as they just seem to rest on my head (especially if my hair's grown a little), plus i remain sweat free. and the open endedness seems to make them feel lighter, most of the time i can forget they're there and believe i have a stereo system next to me. in fact, if i might find a few flaws, i don'y like the plastic construction, especially when i paid 𧴦 at richer sounds for them (high, but i got to try out a whole range of phones, too), and one cup has always appeared a little louder than the other.


September 22, 2008, 10:32 pm

I used to own a pair of Grado SR225i. The sound was too treble-rich for my taste, it got tiring very quickly. I really hated the construction too, and I found the ear-pads very uncomfortable. I haven't heard any other models of Grado so I don't know if the 225i represents the Grado house sound. I've heard many good things about the 325i, but my experience with the 225i has put me off Grado for good. A friend of mine is now using the 225i and he's very happy with them.


September 23, 2008, 1:56 pm

I've bought one a few days ago (for about 140 pounds) and altough I wouldn't rate the build quality and the cable that good, with a good amp+dac it really does sound wonderful, I just love it. And the review should have mentioned that there is a certain amount of sound leakage from medium volume. Overall (for that price) I think it is mightily good.


September 23, 2008, 8:31 pm

Where did you get one for 140 pounds??? That's a fantastic price!


September 23, 2008, 10:54 pm

yogi-comp (ebay, price includes shipping)


June 23, 2015, 12:05 pm

just dug mine out. man they rock. excellent bass.

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