Perhaps related to this, but perhaps not, the 7000s are not at the state of the art in terms of resolving power. Instrumental decays (for example, the lingering resonances you might hear after a guitar is strummed) fade faster than what you would hear live. This slightly reduces the sense of the space in which the recording was made and makes instruments of different construction sound more like each other. You may not be thinking about this stuff as you listen, but the lack of micro-detail reduces the sense of realism conveyed by the 7000s. You will notice this more if you have a very good amplifier and source, something that can require additional investment.
Up high, I noticed a very small spike in the lower treble region. This makes some vocals sound more sibilant than they really should and leaves a slightly unnatural sheen on some ensemble work. I think this spike is narrower and less splashy than equivalent peaks I’ve heard on some of the Sennheisers and similar to what you would hear through the HiFiMAN HE-5LE’s. Judicious selection of a driving amplifier may help here.
In summary, the great thing about the 7000s is that the macro-balance from bass to midrange to treble is very artfully judged, which is probably the item most people will notice first and consider most significant. In addition the bass depth and weight are impressive. Assuming you like the character of the particular spectral balance that the AH-D7000 offers, then all that remains to consider are a handful of small flaws. The 7000’s bass and mid-range issues are mostly subtractive, so you might not notice them overtly. The treble zing occurs over a relatively small, narrow band, so it could go unnoticed too. So, for those of you hoping for a sampling of top-shelf sound at an upper-middle-shelf price, the Denons could do the trick.
On The Unthanks “Because He Was a Bonny Lad” [Here’s The Tender Coming, Rough Trade], the 7000s do an excellent job of separating the voices during the introduction of the song. More than on some other headphones you can hear each voice distinctly as you would if the performers were in the room with you. The Denons are also good at recovering the acoustic of the recording venue, the only limitation being that the softest sounds (and smallest low-level details) seem to have gone missing. In addition, the vocal sibilants are clearly resolved without stridency. There is a triangle in the latter half of the track whose fundamental and overtones are well reproduced, though I sense a bit more mid-treble resonance than initial tone relative to how the triangle would sound live.
On Jack Johnson’s “Dreams Be Dreams” [On and On, UMVD], the opening bass line is clear, with a richness you don’t get on some headphones (which can sound well defined, but unnaturally tight). Overall the balance here might be a tad warm, but this allows the bass line to propel the music along. On this track and others on this disc the lower and mid treble is alive and well balanced—certainly not reticent. At times, however, my impression was that very high frequencies were slightly rolled off.
On Shelby Lynne’s “Just A Little Lovin’” from the disc of the same name [Lost Highway], the introductory drums and bass come across more powerfully than on many headphones, giving a more dynamic sense than most headphones are capable of providing. At the same time, compared to live music, the bass balance here is a little too rich. This is a perfect demonstration of the psychoacoustic tradeoff I mentioned above. (By the way, for this test I primarily used the excellent Cavalli Liquid Fire amplifier, which I find has superb bass definition and depth, so note that a less potent amp may diminish my bass findings about the Denon).
The comfort of the AD-H7000s is very good, largely because the pressure on the ear and head is quite low. The fact that the Denons have potent bass without an ear-crushing seal could be a distinguishing factor for people considering purchase for long-term wearing. The only issue I see is that the loose feel might restrict dance moves or usage when not seated or standing (for instance, when listening in bed).
The 7000s come in a fancy box that is quite large and therefore not useful for transporting the headphones. The attached cable is 3.0 meters long and terminated with a gold-plated 1/4" plug.
Denon’s AD-H7000 is a punchy, dynamic headphone that stands out with its powerful but not bloated bass, and with balanced midrange and treble response.