Denon AH-D1001

A product review by Bobulous.

About the Denon AH-D1001

The Denon AH-D1001 are on-ear stereo headphones which use a closed-form design.

Claimed frequency response is 8–37,000Hz. Impedance is 32 Ohms.

Using the Denon AH-D1001 headphones


photo: The Denon AH-D1001 headphones laying flat on a white surface.
The Denon AH-D1001 headphones

As is common these days, the packaging containing the Denon AH-D1001 was a horrendous heat-sealed vanity blister pack, with a chunk of cardboard stuck on the side for good measure.

A carrying pouch comes in the package, but it's nothing more than a drawstring sack made of light, scratchy material. More usefully for audiophiles is a ¼″/6.3mm stereo plug adapter and also a 1.7m extension cable, though audiophiles probably already have a half-dozen of these lying around.

Build quality

My first impression of the build quality was to wonder whether the fairly thin arms, which join the earpieces to the main frame, would last more than five minutes. After a few months of use, they show no sign of failure, but I'll update this page if that changes.

I was very pleased with how comfortable these headphones are. The Denon AH-D1001 earpieces are large enough even for my big lugs, and the leather-style padding forms a very cosy seal around the ear, and the main frame adjusts to discrete lengths using detents (clicks into place). This is in stark contrast to the Grado SR80 which to this day stagger me with their agonisingly poor fit and displeasingly loose length adjustment. The snug fit of the Denon earpads does have the effect of making your ears hot and clammy in summer weather, but this is a small price to pay for such comfort.

One area in which the Denon AH-D1001 suffers in comparison is its cable. The cables are coated in a type of plastic which seems to provide huge friction, so that they catch on everything. This means that I'm frequently dragging the volume control (into which the headphone jack is connected) across the desk, or pulling the headphones down my head because the cable has caught on my arm. A smooth, slippery plastic would have been far preferable.

Sound quality

Because of the closed-form design, the Denon AH-D1001 sound very different to the Grado SR80. I described the sound as flat and muddy at first, and for a long time it felt like listening to music with a box over my head, especially when listening at lower volumes. Treble and vocals are clear and detailed, but the bass is very deep and strong.

After about three days, the new sound started to seem normal, though playing any very familiar track still sounded a little "boxy". And even after it stopped sounding radically different, it was impossible to fail to notice the resounding bass which saturates everything. Listening to some tracks reminded me of sitting in the back of a friend's car, in which he had a huge subwoofer which turned the world into a rumbling, trembling blur.

To anyone with an equaliser on their hi-fi or operating system, the AH-D1001 predilection for bass would not be a problem, as the levels could be tuned to suit. But I'm currently without the luxury of an equaliser, and I have to say that I've grown accustomed to the bass-heavy rendition provided by the AH-D1001.

After a few months of frequently using the Denon AH-D1001 headphones, I gave the Grado SR80 a try for comparison purposes. I was worried that I'd be so impressed with the Grado sound that I'd be forced to return to wearing those agonising hard-foam earpads. However, I have to say that now I'm used to the bass-heavy rendition of the AH-D1001, the SR80 cans sounded tinny in comparison, the bass oddly absent. So now the situation is reversed, and the Denon AH-D1001 sound seems normal, and the Grado SR80 sound kind of odd.

Evaluation of the Denon AH-D1001

The Denon AH-D1001 headphones are the polar opposite of the Grado SR80 headphones. The Denon AH-D1001 are very comfortable, closed-form, and incredibly bassy. It took me a while to adjust to this difference in sound rendition, but I'm now very happy with these Denon headphones. If possible, give these cans a long trial before you buy, to make sure the sound suits you.