At £20 over our £100 limit, we hoped the Denon AH-D1100 headphones would impress us. Compared with the robust build of the Shure model and the light but tough styling of Philip’s entry, the Denon’s looks didn’t bowl us over. We think it’s the chrome-coloured plastic headband. Always a mistake, plastic pretending to be metal. But then there’s a carbon finish on the speaker housing that helps us forgive other foibles.
On further investigation we discovered that there’s a lot of adjustment in the headband, with a good 45-degree twist where the cups connect and flexibility as they fit over the ears. They’re a soft, comfortable fit too, feeling like genuine leather. A few plus points earned there.
There was a cool design feature that only became apparent after we tried the headphones on: the headband is angled forward a little. This doesn’t seem to make much difference until you inadvertently put them on the wrong way around. You’ll never mix up left and right again.
The sound reminded us a little of the Philips and O’Neill phones, although a little wider in terms of range and space, with a slight edge dynamically. There was good, strong bass with a subdued middle. Treble tones came through well, without being tinny or hollow. When we whacked them up higher, that bass response really came through – clean and even, with little boom.
Shopping around, you may be able to find these likable Denon cans for less than £120. If you spot them on offer, go for it. But at the RRP, it’s tough to recommend them above some of the other models we looked at, which are cheaper but similarly impressive.