Denon AH-C551K In-Ear Headphone (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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- In-Ear Headphone
- Aluminum housinig with deeper base performance
- 3 Sizes of ear pads; hard shell carrying case and extension cable with L-Type connector included.
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Denon's exclusive Acoustic Optimizer technology for enhanced bass response. Canal-type inner-ear headphones reduce ambient noise. Aluminum housing. Tangle-resistant elastomer cable. Includes 3 sizes of ear pieces for comfort fit and carrying.
Top customer reviews
The songs I used for the review were taken from a wide range of genres. They are "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac, "Every Planet We Reach is Dead" by Gorillaz, "Concerto Grosso no. 26 in D Major" by Handel, "I Know You Are, But What Am I?" by Mogwai, "Afro Blue" by Triplexity, and "The Patient" by Tool. I listened to everything on a Cowon iAudio 7 with all sound effects turned off and the equalizer set to flat.
The Chain(9/10) - bass is punchy but not exaggerated. Mids are rich. Treble is crisp and clear. Instrument separation is great, and sound stage is impressive for IEMs. Very balanced overall sound.
Every Planet(10/10) - again, the bass is deep and punchy, but very clean. Mids and highs are smooth and balanced. Instrument separation is very good, as is the sound stage.
Concerto(9/10) - bass, mid tones, and treble were all even and balanced. Instrument separation was clear, and sound stage was, again, impressive.
I Know You Are(9/10) - as with the other songs, the sound in this one seems clean and balanced, with good instrument separation and a fantastic sound stage.
Afro Blue(10/10) - bass is impressively deep, clean, and unexaggerated. The mid tones are pleasantly vibrant, as are the highs. Instrument separation is solid, and sound stage is unsurprisingly broad and impressive.
The Patient(9/10) - clean, punchy lows with vibrant mids and crisp highs. Excellent instrument separation; even more excellent sound stage.
Overall Sound(9.3/10) - these IEMs were overall very well balanced. They weren't lacking in any area, and sounded pleasing no matter what genre of music was being played. Their two biggest strengths were their bass, which was deep, clean, and punchy, but not exaggerated or distorted, and their sound stage, which was impressively large for IEMs.
Design(9/10) - as with the Sennheiser CX-300s, these have sort of an understated elegance to them. The styling is simple, but clean and attractive. I like the aluminum body, which seems very durable. They are also quite comfortable, even when worn for extended periods of time. The only downside(for me) is that they are a bit difficult to fit in my ear properly, and require some adjusting to get the sound just right. Others have complained about the cable, but I haven't found this to be a problem.
Noise Isolation(8/10) - there was a significant amount of noise isolation across all frequencies derived from these IEMs. Although not on par with some other canalphones, they were not lacking in this area. I estimate they block 10 - 12 DB of ambient noise.
Bottom Line(9.1/10) - these are a great pair of IEMs. I have been extremely satisfied with them, and would strongly recommend them to a friend. They are comfortable, stylish, and sound excellent. In fact, they sound better than any other IEM I've heard at this price, and I think you would have to spend significantly more money to find a better pair. If you're looking for IEMs in this price range, look no further.
AH-C551K vs. CX300
The CX300 definitely has BASS, and a bit more than the AH-C551K. However, the AH-C551K seems to go a bit deeper, and actually delivers a low-reaching sound instead of the punching feeling that the CX300 has. This deeper bass doesn't muffle the rest of the music, instead it seems to vibrate below everything, as it should. The aluminum casing of the AH-C551K also looks better than the noob-ish looking plastic of the CX300.
AH-C551K vs. Skullcandy Smokin' Buds
The skullcandies are defnitely worth some respect, but are below the CX300. These were all-around good headphones, because they had a good range, while the CX300 had a bass-focused one. However, the AH-C551K beat the range of the skullcandies, and delivered the highs that I had been looking for.
AH-C551K vs. Bose in-ear headphones
As with the CX300, the bose had a base-driven range. The open-fit of the bose did not isolate sound very well, which was a quality that i absolutely hated. Although the build of the bose was a bit more attractive than the AH-C551K, the sound quality was not. The essential mids and upper highs were missing...
In conclusion, the AH-C551K are the best i've had so far. As others have mentioned, the highs are a bit harsh, but only if listening at high volume. The cables feel sort of cheap, but they are acceptable.
The bass, like everyone has said, is pretty good. Not amazing, but they do have an impressive kick to them given the small size. The mids are also pretty good. Where these headphones fail is in the highs. High notes from guitars, cymbals, pianos, etc create a piercing sound that makes me cringe like that of fingernails on a chalkboard. It's not that bad at low volumes but at medium-high volumes it's very annoying.
They fit my ears pretty well using the standard medium earpads, but the headphones only sound good if you're able to create a suction in your ear canal, and it's sometimes hard to get that suction. Slight movements of the cord can easily break the suction which results in me having to constantly readjust them. Like others have said, the weight of the connector on the extension cord tugs on them, which frequently causes the headphones to break suction. Denon definitely should have included a shirt clip for the cord. The main cord connected to the headphones is only long enough to reach a shirt pocket (about 1.5-2 feet long), anything longer needs the extension.
These things do block outside sound pretty well. I work at a large datacenter where we are normally required to wear earplugs (sounds like a small jet engine in the server rooms). These headphones block sound out almost as well as the earplugs do, which is nice.
All-in-all, they aren't bad headphones. They sound as clear as my $100 BOSE in-ear headphones but with better bass. If it wasn't for the poorly produced highs and the heavy cord, these would be great. I'm still not sure if I want to keep mine or not.
*** UPDATE (3/15/2010) ***
Just thought I would drop by and add to my review now that I have owned my Denons for about 6 months. They are holding up fantastically. I basically just ball them up and stick them in my pocket while I'm running around all day at work.. constantly taking them in and out of my pocket. I figured the cord would have worked itself loose from the buds by now, but they're putting up well with my abuse. The black finish started wearing off after just a few weeks, and now they are half silver/aluminum, half black. Durability gets a B+ from me. The excessive weight of the extension cord connector has really gotten on my nerves.. I reached a point where I've been safety pinning the cord to my shirt at the start of every work day because the weight of it was pulling them out of my ears. And that happens sitting down, not moving. Any movement/walking makes it 10x worse.. borderline impossible to keep in my ears. I've lowered my review from 3 to 2 stars, and can confidently say I'd never buy these again, even if they were $20.
Hope this helps.
Most recent customer reviews
My Denon AH-C551K have truly stood the test of time. I bring them to work everyday.Read more
with very good sound and with a short cable not getting hooked
on everything.Read more