But the AH-C751’s are not perfect and initially this manifests itself in a sound that’s a touch on the dry side. They lack the Sennheisers’ warmth, excitement and punch, and neither do they have the thumping bass of those headphones. They’re not as at home with all types of music, either. One track I always like to throw in, to really challenge an audio product, is Mozart’s Requiem – a choral work of astonishing drama and complexity. Lachrimosa, in particular, really tests a product’s ability to reproduce complex high frequencies, and here the Denons failed badly. As the choir reached its crescendo, the headphones simply failed to cope; they didn’t exactly break up, but the resulting noise was bad enough that you wouldn’t want to listen to it for long.
Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations exposed this weakness too, albeit not as cruelly, with a sound that wasn’t quite full enough to allow me to properly enjoy the music. Starlight’s powerful, driving electric guitars could have done with a touch more body, and Knights Of Cydonia’s screeching opening vocals suffered from a similar muddle and incoherence as Mozart’s Requiem’s choir at full blast.
I really liked these Denon’s, but the trouble was I didn’t like them all of the time, with all types of music. Though they boast an impressive level of balance, warmth and realism, and are especially strong with acoustic music, there are weaknesses. Some tracks expose a deficiency at the top end and they have a slightly dry overall balance that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
The AH-C751s are, however, clearly very capable headphones – the problems detailed above will only surface occasionally. But they’re just not quite capable enough to convince me they’re worth spending £140 on. And, call me picky, but if I’m going to be spending this much on a pair of headphones I’d also expect them to come with a more complete range of fittings out of the box.
Score in detail
Sound Quality 8