With the AH-C820W wireless headset, the renowned Japanese Hi-Fi manufacturer from Kawasaki now also mixes with wireless in-ear headphones.
The black Bluetooth headset, which weighs just under 70 grams, looks good on the outside and is quite decorative thanks to the silver-coloured centre areas. The rigid neckband itself is made of silicone and the lower part is made of hard plastic. This ensures a secure, balanced fit for the in-ear plugs. The necessary fit is provided by wax-coated Comply TX500 earmolds made of memory foam with particularly large external insulation and five silicone variants in different sizes. When not in use, the earphones can be easily carried around the neck using a magnetic closure or stored in the carrying bag supplied.
Bluetooth 5.0 and the battery in the neckband allow a rather average battery life of up to ten hours. In addition to SBC, the AH-C820W also offers the higher resolution versions aptX and AAC for codecs, as well as the low latency version of aptX, which allows an improved synchronicity to moving images. aptX HD and LDAC, on the other hand, are not offered, despite the price class of almost 250 euros.
The earplugs sit well and quite securely in the ear despite their somewhat bulky shape. For mobile use I can recommend the design, but for jogging or sports these earplugs would not be my first choice.
On the left inner side of the neckband there are four round, recessed buttons, which take a bit of getting used to. The top button switches the handset on and off, or initiates pairing. The battery level can also be called up here, which, like other status information, is read out by a clearly understandable but somewhat stilted voice.
After the rapid pairing there is the possibility of start/stop, trackskipping by double and triple click, the ability to call up a smartphone language assistant and a volume control. The functions all work reliably, which is not necessarily the case for the competition, particularly when dealing with multiple clicks.
The free Denon Audio App for iOS and Android offers support; here you get a practical player with automatic illustration and playlist function. In addition, you have access to numerous radio stations which is quite entertaining, especially when operating in WLAN due to the countless, categorized Internet stations available.
The in-house double-air compression driver technology is used in this model. Two dynamic 11.5 mm drivers are placed one behind the other on each side, which are controlled via their own cables. In addition, there is a robust and low-resonance housing made of plastic and zinc with venting on both sides for pressure compensation. By combining these measures, the manufacturer promises particularly low distortion. Indeed, the Denon AH-C820W not only plays loudly when needed, but also works particularly cleanly in the bass range.
The general sound impression is balanced, rich in detail and pleasantly full. The reproduction begins in true low bass and reaches up to the highest highs, which are reproduced transparently but without hardness. Bass tonality and definition, and the entire mid-range of voices via acoustic instruments and treble are reproduced precisely and in detail. This results in a universal stylistic suitability from rock, pop and EDM to classical and jazz, in which the test device always plays harmoniously and offers a consistently good sound performance. At the same time, the AH-C820W sounds powerful throughout and delivers the necessary intimacy and fine dynamics, especially in quiet listening environments or in quiet classical passages. When tested outdoors as intended, however, these details lose themselves much faster.
The stereo panorama is precise due to the well-resolved treble range, while the spatial information lags behind the performance of open over-ear constructions.
As always, the sound impression depends, to a large extent, on the earmold used. The Comply version provided the best external insulation and the deepest bass, but also sounded a bit more bass accentuated than its silicone counterpart. The passive isolation of external noise is average but, conversely, noise hardly reaches the outside world. Finally, the intelligibility of telephone calls in both directions is first-class.
A special feature is the ability to use the AH-C820W as a USB audio output device for computers. In this way, sound sources can also be transferred to the headphones in uncompressed form. This option may be appreciated by audiophile listeners, but it can also be used for movie enjoyment on, for example, train journeys.
Denon’s AH-C820W delivers an all-round harmonious sound. This is to be expected at a price of about 250 euros. With its balanced sound and universal suitability for almost all genres, Denon has succeeded in creating a convincing product that ranks at the top of this product category. On the other hand, it is also in competition with products like Sennheiser’s Momentum In-Ear or the cheaper Triple Driver BT from 1More, which also perform convincingly. Due to the comparatively high price, I question the lack of other high-resolution codecs and would have expected a noise cancelling option.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)4 bis 22.000 Hz
- Impedance16 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)115 dB
- Weight with cable72 g
- Weight without cable10,4 g
What's in the box
- 1 pair Comply TX500 ear tips
- 5 pairs of silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
- Cable clip
- Transport case
- BT version: 5.0
- BT profiles: HSP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP
- BT codecs: aptX, aptX LL, AAC, SBC
- Battery life: up to 10 hours
- USB connection to computer