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Denon AH-D510R Mobile Elite Headphones

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What's hot: Excellent and powerful audio, comfortable.

What's not: This model's remote control works fully only with iPhones.

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Reviewed January 12, 2011 by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

Denon is a big name in home audio, home theater and automotive audio. They also produce personal audio systems like iPod docks and headphones. Denon offers both in-ear headsets and over-the-ear headphones, and quite a few models in their headphone line up are designed for studio artists and professionals. These headphones have ultra high audio quality and expensive technology and components, but they also carry very high price tags. With the increasing number of mobile and portable devices on the market, Denon is now making lower end headphones that feature some of their best technologies but are affordable enough for everyday users to enjoy. Their least expensive headphone sells for $50, and we looked at their $100 model, the Denon AH-D510R, for this review.

Denon AH-D510R headphones

Design

The Denon AH-D510R has a traditional over the ear headphone design with large and thick earpads and a comfortable but firm fitting frame. The headphones feel light and are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Both the earpieces and top wire where the headphone makes contact with your ears and head have soft padding, and while the headphones fit snuggly and feel secure even when jogging, they don’t pinch anywhere or cause discomfort. We also like that the earpiece opening is quite large; this not only makes the headphones more comfortable to wear but also gives sound some space for full audio delivery.

As we mentioned, Denon puts some of their top technologies into these headphones and that includes the design. The AH-D510R has Denon’s Acoustic Optimizer system that puts equal ambient air pressure on both sides of the diaphragm, which gives sound more balanced and natural delivery. Denon also uses their specially designed housing on the earpieces that combines machined aluminum alloy with resonance-free resin to achieve a combination of light weight and acoustical rigidity.

As Denon’s Mobile Elite series, the AH-D510R has a specially designed in-line remote control for iPhone, iPod and iPad models and a built-in mic for phone calls. The 50” cord connects to both earpieces and the mic/remote stick lives on the left cord just beyond the Y split.

Audio Quality

The 42mm diaphragms on the AH-D510R allow for large and powerful Neodymium magnets to provide full sound with less power. The specially designed earpieces also help give the audio tracks more natural sound. When you listen to tracks that have a wide range from bass to treble, you will fully appreciate the range of the sound with all the audio effects and nuances intact. The large diaphragms also help some tracks with more lingering light audio and effects to play fully realized, which is a hard thing to achieve for headphones. Here are different aspects of the sound we observed via the Denon AH-D510R headphones:

Treble: In our wide variety of test tracks, treble tones sounded natural and wide ranged. Some opera pieces that sounded harsh via other headphones sounded absolutely full via the Denon. The delivery stays true to the original EQ, and those who prefer augmented and forceful treble will not find that here; rather, they sound as intended in the recording.

 

Deals and Shopping:

Bass: While still keeping the balance of the arrangement of a track, the bass on the Denon is more pronounced and forceful. On tracks with strong bass, like a hip-hop song with supercharged bass, the headphone can shake your ears with bass beats and they linger longer than most other headphones under $100.

Clarity: This is where the Denon shines. Some sound bites you don’t even hear on smaller headsets and cheaper headphones will come to life via the Denon, making this headphone a good choice for mobile gamers who enjoy the full spectrum of sound FX in games. We noted clear channel separation and distinct sensation of left ear/right ear audio movement in channel effects.

Volume: Volume is loud on the Denon but doesn’t blow out even when the volume is cranked high. Like many good headphones, it does have a “sweet spot” when it comes to volume settings; and when you find the optimum range of volume, the whole track comes to life with excellent tonal and dynamic balance. Though the Denon has thick earpads, it doesn’t block out ambient noise as completely as the more tight-fit Urbanears Plattan headphones.

Call Quality and iPod Controls

The Denon AH-D510R has built-in mic on the remote control stick made for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. You can accept and hang up phone calls with the middle button on the remote, and fast forward/skip, rewind/back to previous track and play/pause music tracks using all three buttons on the remote. We tested it with other phones and found that the call control didn’t work with phones like the Samsung Contiuum. The remote controls also worked perfectly with our iPod touch and iPad and it should also work with the latest generation iPod nano and iPod shuffle.

Voice quality is superb via the Denon. Incoming calls sound full and clear, and volume is high. The excellent audio quality will make you wish you could use this to make calls all the time. Outgoing voice is also very clear, though we found it was best when you hold the mic closer to your mouth.  

Conclusion

While the Denon AH-D510 has an unassuming look, it possesses some of the best Denon’s design and technology. These headphones have powerful audio, balanced and natural sound and a very comfortable yet secure form factor. If you are looking to upgrade from your default headsets/headphones to a more luxurious model, the Denon AH-D510R should be on your shortlist to consider. Although this is especially a good choice for those who have an iPhone, iPod or iPad in their gear bag, the limitation of the remote might turn some users away as they will want to use the headphones with a variety of phones and computers.

Pro: Excellent and powerful audio, comfortable form.

Con: This model’s remote control works fully only with iPhones, iPod and iPad.

Price: $99.99

Web site: usa.denon.com

 

Specs:

Driver: 42mm dynamic type, Neodymium magnet

Input impedance: 32 W

Sensitivity: 101 dB/mW

Maximum input: 1,000 mW

Playback frequency: 8-24kHz

Weight: 5.4 ounces

Plug: 3.5mm gold-plated stereo mini plug

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