Today we’re going over a high-end closed-back from the Japanese audio company Denon. Priced at $1599, I have some pretty high expectations. I somehow haven’t gotten around to trying something from Denon before, but the D9200 is their flagship model, so I think I’m giving the company a pretty fair chance at a good first impression. Let’s go over what it comes with, the tech inside it, and most importantly, what it sounds like.
What’s In The Box?
- Denon D9200 Over-Ear Closed-Back Headphones
- 3 Meter Quarter Inch “Y” Headphone Cable
- 1.3 Meter 3.5mm “Y” Headphone Cable
- Quarter Inch Adapter
- Anti Static Cloth
Look and Feel
Here, I give the D9200 the highest marks possible. It’s flashy but not kitschy – stylish in a way that won’t have people staring at you, but will impress anyone who notices them. The housing is made of Japanese bamboo wood that has a mildly coarse and organic texture rather than a smoothed-over lacquer finish like what you see on most wooden headphones. The headband was particularly flexible, and I appreciated the metallic sliders and gimbals for adding a diversely textured look and for providing considerable durability.
I was honestly shocked to see that these weigh 375 grams, which while not too heavy, betrays the feeling of lightness I experienced when they were on my head. The ear pads and headband are made of memory foam and exceptional luxury leather that felt great against my skin and head. I have smaller ears and rarely have an issue with getting them to fit inside small headphone chambers, but those with larger ears should be aware of the fairly narrow space that the pads leave for them. If this bothers you, you can always change out the padding – but if you do that, just remember that the driver is positioned closer towards the front of the headphone, and your ears should be positioned accordingly.
Design and Technical Specs
The FreeEdge dynamic drivers featured in the Denon D9200 serve to eliminate resonance and distortion, as does the bamboo wood housing which has naturally dampening qualities. A neodymium magnet is also featured as a cherry on top of a technical design specially geared towards a virtually distortion-free listening experience.
- Driver: 50mm FreeEdge Dynamic
- Impedance: 24 ohm
- Sensitivity: 105 dB
- Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 56 kHz
- Weight: 375g
The D9200’s stage reaches an adequate width with an above-average depth for closed-backs in this price range. More striking than the size was its fluid panning and it’s ability to convey angular qualities in different parts of a track. My impression of the image was that it was somewhat conical, with sound originating from a front-facing center point and expanding outwards, flying past my ears as much as into them. I’ve included a picture below to demonstrate this specific shape I’m describing. It’s entertaining if not overly vivid, and I come away feeling something between neutral and good about it.
If you’re looking for a pure-pleasure pair of headphones that slap your face with deep and driving bass, the D9200 can be quite the tease. I felt like I was perpetually on the precipice of getting a good sub rumble out of these that was constantly just barely falling short of what I was looking for – on the very select tracks where I could find it, it was fantastic, and left me wishing it was a slightly more prominent quality. That being said, there was a nice punchy quality in the low and mid bass upwards of 60 Hz that could elicit a moderate slam on the right tracks and albums. The best sounding low end I could get from the D9200 was found in the tight kick drums and bass on “It Makes the Babies Want to Cry” by George Clanton, which in fact sounded really rich and powerful. Check out the track here to see what I’m talking about.
I’m familiar with this type of semi-restrained low end, which can be found on other balanced headphones such as Beyerdynamics. While this profile left my hedonistic listening desires slightly unfulfilled, it undeniably added a level of clarity that never came close to masking the predominantly crisp and airy qualities of the D9200’s mids and highs.
Denon’s D9200 is somewhere between being a balanced and bright headphone thanks in large part to its mids profile. Much like its low end, low mids find very balanced and moderate expression. Acoustic drums and the fundamentals on most vocalists present themselves flatly and naturally. At the end of the day, the aggressive high mids may likely be the first thing you notice about the D9200’s sound character. Vocals shoot to the top of mixes, guitars ring out aggressively. An emphasis in the 1 – 2 kHz region highlights a vibratory harmonic layer that adds a healthy dose of high-end energy – while I loved this quality and found it to be intensely vivid and colorful, it’s fair to say that some listeners will find it harsh.
This is where some will start to love the the D9200, while others will find it unbearable. As someone who likes bold and bright treble in a headphone, I fall into the former camp. It’s an understatement to say that The Denon D9200 adds air to vocals and synths – it reaches way up and brings out the granular tips of vocal rasp and sawtooths as well. The dense harmonic layer present in the high mids rides up into the extra pronounced high end, bringing with it the tippy-top harmonics on the high strings of guitars and the higher-pitched tonal decays in ride cymbals. I won’t lie, this headphone rings. It’s a question of whether intense high frequencies give you an enjoyable sense of detail, or just a headache.
The longer I listened with the Denon D9200, the more it grew on me – and it didn’t take too long before I realized I liked it quite a bit. My ears are pretty consistently tuned to the bright and balanced sound of Beyerdynamic headphones. While The Denon D9200 is also bright and balanced, it leans into the former with quite a bit of intensity. Some people like myself will love it. Some people probably can’t stand it. Who is this headphone not for? Very casual listeners, people looking for an easy listening timbre, or people particularly sensitive to higher frequencies. Who is it for? Treble heads, audiophiles, fans of Beyerdynamic and/or Focal’s Celestee, or collectors looking for a unique and somewhat extreme tuning that isn’t found in many other headphones. I, for one, am finishing this review quite pleased with the D9200, and significantly more interested in future Denon releases.
Purchase or read more about the Denon D9200 here at Audio46.
-Punchy mid-bass with decent slam
-Balanced lower and center mids
-Unique and bright harmonic energy
-Very stylish and comfortable
-Ever so slightly lacking in subs
-Some listeners will find the treble level harsh.