The headphone and earbud market is a saturated mess of Celebrity-endorsed cans that are overpriced and provide little innovation, aside from boosting bass. Denon's new family of headphones buck the trend by putting a control wheel and integrated mic onto the actual earcups and buds, and not as an afterthought on the cable.
Targeted at the very same crowd that enjoys a pair of Dr. Dre's Beats, the Urban Raver headphones and earbuds are heavy on the bass to cater better to the dubstep, dance and electronic music enthusiast.
Urban Ravers Headphones
At first glance, the Denon AH-D400 (over ear) headphones look like an ordinary pair of gaming headphones minus the dangling mic on one ear cup, but pick up a pair and you'll see that Denon's meticulously designed each headset for comfort and convenience. Defining features include 50mm drivers and an integrated amplifier (How many headphones have that? Answer: none.) On the right side is that slick patent-pending control wheel and integrated mic. Rotating the wheel to the right will increase volume and rotating to the left will decrease volume. The center button can also be pressed for play/pause and activating Siri.
The control wheel is a nice Denon touch, and runs in the same veins as Parrot's Zik headphones that put the controls on the side of the headphones, but without all the sexy touchpad goodness.
A bit on the bulky side, but not heavy on the head, the AH-D400 run on a rechargeable battery that lasts 12 hours on one charge and will be available in August for $400; blue LED glow lights on the ear cups included. Those looking for something a little more fancy can check out the Globe Cruiser (see gallery below).
Urban Ravers Earbuds
If over ear headphones aren't your thing or you just hate having flattened hair, Denon's also got the AH-C300 Urban Raver earbuds. They don't have quite the bass boom due to their smaller 11.5mm drivers and skip out on the amp and glow action, but do have a mini version of the control wheel and integrated mic. The wheel works exactly the same as the over ears, with the exception that they've got less of a springy pull to them when rotated. Again, it's all built onto the earbud and not tacked onto the wiring.
Denon talks up its patent-pending "Double Air Compression Driver Technology," but we think it's just a fancy way of saying it does noise isolation really well, which is more or less what it is based on our brief listening test.
The AH-C300 will set you back $250 when it launches in August. They're pricey, but when is good audio equipment ever not? You get what you pay for. And the Urban Ravers are ten times better than any pair of Beats.
All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.