Top positive review
126 people found this helpful
These work well but require some tinkering to sound their best.
on October 23, 2008
The Denon AH-NC732K is a very nice pair of headphones. They are compact, comfortable, and sound very good. The noise canceling works very well taking care of engine noise and other low frequencies. The included carrying case is perfect to slip in your briefcase or carry on bag and it has enough room for all of your adapters and cables.
The headphones don't fit around the ears like the larger Bose QuietComforts. They rest on and cover the entire ear. I was surprised that they were comfortable to wear. It took a little fiddling around to get a secure fit but it was worth it. The headphones feel like they are creating a seal to achieve maximum noise reduction. In fact if you just put them on without creating this "seal" you might not think much of these headphones so proper fit is key.
My first test was for noise cancellation. A lot of people will use these just for that feature and not even play any music through them. I ran an airplane noise WAV file through my desktop stereo system to simulate being in a plane. After cranking up the volume on my JBL 2.1 system I put the headphones on. There is a small switch on the side on the headphones to turn noise canceling on and off. With it off you could clearly hear the humming of the engines, the beeps of the seat belt indicators, and the general noises of cramming a hundred people in a cabin. Turning the noise cancellation on reduced these noises by 80%. The engines were barely audible and the beeps sounded like they were further away. Overall I was pretty pleased with the noise cancellation. Hopefully they work as well on a real flight.
I tested these for music with an iPod Nano and my stereo system. Plugged into the headphone out of my Peachtree Audio Decco using Sonos as a source I was immediately disappointed with the sound coming out of the Denons. They were bright and harsh with one note bass. I made sure the noise canceling switch was on, it was, and turning it off made the sound worse. I decided to "break in" the headphones before doing any more listening. I plugged them into the Nano and put it on shuffle mode, turned up the volume and then put a towel over them to drown out the sound.
After 5 hours of non stop playing I decided to give them another listen. They definitely sounded better, the highs were smoother and the bass was more relaxed. They still weren't great and for $299 they should be better. I decided to play around with the EQ settings on the Nano. Listening to The Beatles, Norah Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Daft Punk, etc. I checked every single EQ setting on the iPod. Surprisingly the Classical EQ setting sounded the best followed by Electronic , Rock, and Latin. With the Classical setting engaged these headphones sound fantastic. The volume was turned up 90% of the way to get the amount of sound I am used to, which is to say as loud as the real thing.
On my Shure E5C headphones the volume at half way is more than enough.
Comfort 4/5 They are very comfortable but it takes time to get them to fit correctly.
Convenience 5/5 I love the detachable cords, the case, and in a pinch you can listen to music if the battery dies.
Sound 5/5 They sound great once they break in but remember to try the EQ settings on your MP3 player to get the best sound.
Value 5/5 If you can try these at a local dealer and buy them for less than $299 (most dealers will discount) then they are a great deal, especially when compared to the competition.
I took this set with me on a short flight from Denver to Milwaukee. Typically I take my Shure E5c ear buds, external headphone amp, and my iPod Touch with me on flights but I wanted to travel as light as possible on this trip. So I shoved the iPod into the back pocket of the Denons included carrying case and threw everything into my carry on bag.
So how much noise do they really cancel? Well I have to stick with my 80% comment from earlier. In terms of engine noise they probably canceled around 90%. It was the high pitched beeps, buzzing, and guy four rows ahead of me singing that got through.
I have always believed that in ear headphones like the Shures offered better sound and more isolation from noise than "noise canceling" headphones. Comparing my experience with the Shures and now the Denons I have to say that I have had a change of mind. These Denons were far more comfortable over the duration of the flight. They canceled more noise than the Shures blocked out and were less fatiguing to listen to. In a quiet environment the Shures E5C still has an edge over the Denon NC732 but my default travel headphone from now on will be the Denon AH-NC732.