- Good sound quality
- Touch of sound leakage
Recombu cranked up the volume and put the walnut-clad, over-ear Denon AH-MM400 headphones through their paces to see if they are worth the dosh.
Headphones are big bucks these days, especially since Beats Audio turned them into fashion items first and audio products second, which is a shame when music fans want the very best from their collection.
Denon was guilty of going in that direction in recent years, but the AH-MM400s are aimed at ‘serious music listeners’ and as such promise a return to audio prowess, yet still offer a touch of ear bling for those who care about making a statement.
So just how good are they and would we spend £209.90 (the current price on Amazon at the time of writing) for the privilege of buying them? There was only one way to find out.
Upon opening the box of the Denon AH-MM400 headphones, the word that springs to mind is premium. From the aluminium hangers that are cold to the touch to the American Walnut (yes, actual wood) ear cups, the Denon headphones offer a stylish mixture of modern and classic design that will attract more mature buyers without being untrendy.
Though you may be fooled, the ear cups are lined with a faux leather that is extremely soft to the touch, which undoes some of the wow factor provided by real walnut. To make matters worse, the inner cup is plastic painted silver and that is odd at this price.
While it may seem like a slight case of cutting corners, the AH-MM400s (originally released with an eye-watering £349 RRP) do at least feature lightweight aluminium elsewhere and are seemingly sturdy and robust enough to survive daily life.
The Denon AH-MM400s come with an inline remote that is fully compatible with iOS and Mac OS, but only partially compatible with everything else. The design of the buttons help you feel out the controls eyes-free, with embossing and relief to help you feel out the plus and minus volume buttons easily, making them easy to use on the go.
Usefully, the headphones can be folded up so they take up less space but sadly Denon only supplies a soft case, which is hardly reassuring if the need to store them in your luggage ever arises.
The fake leather and fit of the AH-MM400s ensure they hug your ears nicely and are very comfortable to wear for prolonged periods of time. Meanwhile the headband grips with reasonable enthusiasm, but the fit is a bit loose for exercising so runners are better off looking elsewhere.
For such a stylish product, we are thankful audio quality is impressive. There is enough clarification between highs and lows and decent bass is offered up in energetic fashion – though the latter could pack a little more oomph. The soundstage is impressive, if not outstanding.
The ear cups do an admirable job of blocking out unwanted noise, but ultimately fail to fully cancel out the background din of a busy city street or underground tube. Those who crave total silence, then, will need headphones with active noise cancellation instead, as opposed to passive.
There is also some minor sound leakage, too, which isn’t the end of the world but on quieter overground trains you may get a few accusatory glances from fellow commuters if the tunes are really pumping.
Overall, the Denon AH-MM400s definitely win on style points but aren’t quite undisputed when it comes down to overall sound quality as rival Sennheisers offer a similarly pleasing sound for fewer pounds. But the Denons are good enough to make you feel like you haven’t been cheated out of your hard-earned and the walnut gives them a unique look. If that’s worth £210 to you, we doubt you will be disappointed.