Straight from the box, these headphones will make you stop and just stare at them for a moment. The beauty of the mahogany tops against the elegant magnesium frame demands immediate attention. They’re certainly not heavy like other high-end cans, despite what you may think. While they’re certainly not small, they are less cumbersome than the AKG K701s I’ve also owned.
The luxurious faux fur ear cushions and headband sit great against your head. The clamping pressure is quite light, especially for a closed design headset. Compared especially to my previous AKG K701s, the Denon AH-D5000s don’t constantly remind you that you’re wearing headphones while listening. I have spent many nights unsuccessfully adjusting the K701’s headband to relieve my headache.
In virtually any genre, what will set these headphones apart from other competitors is the impact of the bass. It’s solid and warm, which for me was a stark contrast to the K701s. However, the D5000s are quick to prove that bass isn’t the only thing it’s all about, and they deliver amazing clarity on vocals and instrumentation. The upper mids and highs are alive and instantly accessible without being harsh or over the top. The overall tone feels balanced, except for the low end, which I found nice.
My demo took me from the smooth sound of Fiona Apple to the guitar-heavy Godsmack. My journey continued in everything from Eric Clapton to Snoop Dogg, and from Pink Floyd to Franz Schubert. I was never disappointed.
This was a pleasant surprise, as many hi-fi reviewers claim that headphones like the Sennheiser HD650 are better for classical music, citing other models for rock or other genres. Having a headphone that offers solid and enjoyable performance on virtually all music is impressive. This is of the utmost importance for listeners with a diverse taste in music.
Although the D5000s don’t block out outside sound as much as other closed-style cans, they still provide an intimate level of isolation that’s useful for noisy rooms. The advantage of any closed headphone is that very little music leaks through, so it won’t disturb people nearby in a quiet area.
It’s worth mentioning that the D5000s are like most other high-end headphones in that they require a good power supply to sound their best. Their standard 1/8″ jack allows them to be used from an iPod or headphone jack on sound cards, but applications that require the 1/4″ converter (included) are what these great headphones are made for.
Other features and thoughts
The D5000s feature a 99.99999% Oxygen Free (7N) cable, covered by a thick fabric mesh. One minor complaint is that the cable is a bit long and can be awkward if you don’t need the length. The cable splits into a ‘Y’ near the top; Denon states in his manual that this ensures maximum balance between each side.
One thing you won’t find in the box is a stand of any kind. For some, this isn’t a problem, but if you’ve owned other high-end headphones, you know it’s not uncommon to get a kickstand. For headphones that retail for $699, something along these lines doesn’t seem like much to ask. Another minor complaint is that the ear pads are leatherette; some describe it as Synthetic leather. While still quite comfortable, Denon literature says that the ear cushions are genuine leather. Again, for an item at this price point, delivering on the promise of nice leather ear pads isn’t too much to ask.
Overall, despite the minor issues above, the Denon AH-D5000 is a solid contender in any audiophile’s collection. Its durability, design, quality of components and sound are top notch. Their superior sonic character is combined with their beautiful design, making them both a work of art and a source of sonic bliss.