Rather discreet in its marketing aimed at mobile music lovers, Denon is nonetheless a manufacturer to consider when equipping yourself with portable audio equipment such as hi-fi or home cinema. The Japanese manufacturer has enjoyed for several decades a reputation that is not overrated, born with high fidelity itself. Denon is the excellent DL-103 vinyl cartridge, which has been delighting vinyl lovers for 50 years, the PMA stereo hi-fi amplifiers with large current reserves or the Dolby Atmos home cinema amplifiers with more than 13 channels . In short, Denon has expertise in acoustics and the announcement of new Denon Perl Pro headphones with Dirac spatialization technology necessarily arouses curiosity, even arouses the desire to taste a very particular sound experience.
Dirac, the Denon asset
The trend since Apple launched its AirPods Pro 2 with Spatial Audio has been for headphone manufacturers to also play the immersive sound card. Unfortunately, none manage to convince, even when Dolby Atmos or 360 Reality Audio technologies are supported. Let’s say it straight away, Denon breaks the curse and offers with its Perl Pro a truly immersive and tasty sound, in simple stereo. By entering into a partnership with the Swedish company Dirac, an expert in calibration and acoustic correction, the Japanese manufacturer has equipped its headphones with truly valuable technology.
Denon PerL Pro Technical sheet
|Model||Denon PerL Pro|
|Active noise reduction||
This test was carried out with headphones loaned by Denon
Denon PerL Pro Design
If you’re looking for headphones with a truly atypical design, you should take a look at the Denon PerL Pro. Their 3.5 cm diameter shell, ultra-flat like a UFO, is intriguing and therefore does not go unnoticed. This saucer covers a conventional shell, with a silicone support system for securing in the ear canal, extended by a classic tip which is inserted into the ear canal.
Despite this three-part structure, the thickness of the headphones is not excessive and the well-distributed mass makes the Denon Perl Pro comfortable to wear over the long term. The manufacturing quality is above all suspicion, the assembly impeccable and the choice of matte and shiny plastic materials elegant. Each earbud is equipped with a port finder and multiple microphones discreetly integrated. The Denon Perl Pro can be used during sporting activities, since with their IPX4 certification they are resistant to perspiration and splashes.
The storage box could not be more discreet, with an entirely black dress. The three charging indicator LEDs on the front are invisible and only perceptible when they light up. This compact charging case can be charged via its USB-C port, as well as with a Qi induction charger (not included).
Denon PerL Pro Use and application
The two touch zones of the headphones can be completely reprogrammed independently and then cover all the available functions. By default, volume adjustment is not provided, but simply open the Denon Headphones app to associate it with one or other of the headphones, using one to three successive presses, or one more short press, then a long one. The hulls being large, it is easy to operate the touch zones.
Sound tailored to the listener’s ears
This is not the first time that a headphone manufacturer has offered to analyze the listener’s hearing abilities to adapt the acoustic functioning of its headphones. We think of Soundcore, in particular, which asks the listener to confirm whether they hear a particular sound. Denon has integrated Masimo AAT technology, which performs ear calibration using sounds measured with microphones, without requiring any intervention from the listener.
Each ear then has an exclusive profile, which considerably impacts the sound reproduction. The before-and-after comparison is striking and we no longer go back to the default signature.
Adjustable Dirac immersion
The Denon Headphones app provides access to a 5-band ProEQ equalizer, which is not of much interest, since it only covers the audio spectrum from 400 Hz to 10 kHz. The entire bass register is therefore not modifiable, but this is not a problem, because the low frequencies are adjustable in another way.
Indeed, the Dirac Virtuo immersion mode, if engaged, offers a six-step adjustment slider, which mainly impacts low frequencies. And how ! When you increase the immersion, the bass reaches pressure levels rarely heard and frankly enjoyable. Particularly, low frequencies are selectively emphasized, according to an algorithm which determines which elements of the title played must be highlighted. And it works admirably.
Multipoint Bluetooth and aptX lossless
The Bluetooth controller manages the multipoint connection and therefore allows two sources to be used simultaneously (smartphone, tablet, etc.). A host of audio codecs are supported, including aptX lossless which provides a (very) slight increase in quality with Android smartphones. The connection is impeccably stable with my iPhone 13 Pro Max and Huawei P30 Pro and does not cut through a thin wall or wooden floor, up to 10 meters. Latency is high, with noticeable sound-to-picture delay in video games. Of course, this phenomenon does not occur in video playback, since the applications perfectly synchronize image and sound.
Denon PerL Pro Active noise reduction
The Denon PerL Pro headphones are equipped with an active noise reduction system, active by default and without the possibility of adjusting its intensity. It works well against the lowest noises, but struggles to reduce medium sounds, especially conversations. This ANC system is sufficient in the car, but a little tight in the tram or train and requires you to listen loudly – which it would be difficult to complain about as the PerLs sound good at (very) high volume. In any case, the noise reduction is less effective than that of the Apple AirPods 2 or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.
Transparency mode is called “ social » and allows you to hold a conversation or hear the noises around you. The sound then lacks a little treble.
Denon PerL Pro Audio
I mentioned above the care taken in the timing (or temporal alignment) of sound in Dirac technology and it is the foundation of the excellent acoustic performance of Denon PerL Pro headphones. Temporal alignment of sound is only possible by analyzing the diffusion delays of the transducers in the ear canal, frequency by frequency. By properly processing the audio signal before its broadcast, we obtain a much more homogeneous and intelligible sound, even at high volume.
Each instrument sounds better, the space between the sound layers is palpable and then, what dynamics! From the first bars, the Denon PerL Pro draws you into the music, and invites you to listen even louder, unreasonably even. It must be said that Denon has housed dynamic transducers of 10 mm in diameter (common), with triple titanium membrane (much less common) that are really very powerful. Titanium is usually the prerogative of prestige hi-fi headphones or high-end hi-fi speaker tweeters, but it is rarely used with True Wireless headphones. As this material is ultra-rigid, it ensures low distortion from bass to treble, even less here as the transducers are made up of three layers for better damping. Thus, at very high volume, the Denon PerL Pro do not disintegrate.
Sound signature and response curve
The “Denon Signature” sound is powerful, detailed and remarkably airy. Despite the calibration adapted to my ears, the tonal balance is far from neutral, especially since with the spatialization mode activated and the slider pushed to +1 or even +2, the Perl Pro beats the bass eardrums frequencies. Dirac Virtuo technology is second to none for highlighting a bass line or a bass drum, which one would not imagine to be so muscular in a title that is nevertheless well-listened to.
To better visualize the behavior of the headphones, here are three frequency response curves. The pink corresponds to the default signature, the blue to that after calibration and the dotted blue to the signature calibrated with the immersion mode engaged. In all three cases, we observe that the bass register is generous (< 100 Hz), that the midrange is balanced and that the extreme treble is very forward. As mentioned above, it is not neutral at all, but the excellent timing of the whole thing is really convincing. Another important observation, the zone from 2 kHz to 3 kHz to which our ear is very sensitive is set back, which removes any harshness from the restitution. This is all very well researched.
- Low: goes very low, enormous energy and speed; it only drags in +3 immersion mode and then becomes frankly regressive
- Medium: organic presence, lots of energy and precision, well-embodied voice
- Acute: a slight lack of finesse at the end of the spectrum, but here too what energy!
The sound produced is hyper coherent and, combined with remarkable immersion, provides nothing but pleasure.
Dynamic behavior and soundstage
The dynamic capabilities of these headphones are remarkable and they excel at reproducing both small and large differences. When you really push the volume, the dynamics do not settle down, and even expand blatantly. Denon seems to have implemented an algorithm which gradually accentuates low frequencies and this also contributes to strong immersion. Well seen.
The soundstage is vast, wide and deep, with space between sound planes. When the immersion mode is active, this character is transcended, the cutting of the shots truly astonishing and always credible. Note that it is not necessary to listen to titles in Dolby Atmos or 360 Reality Audio to benefit from all this, but simple titles in stereo.
Denon PerL Pro Microphone
The Denon PerL Pro are equipped with high-performance conversation microphones, combined with a rather effective and responsive noise reduction system during phone calls. When noise around the listener suddenly disrupts a call, it is immediately reduced without affecting the sound quality too much.
Denon PerL Pro Autonomy
Despite the sound power they develop, the Denon Perl Pro are particularly durable. At 50% of maximum volume, ANC active and immersion set to +2, I measured almost 6h30 on a playlist of jazz, rock and pop tracks. The charging case offers up to four additional charges.
Denon PerL Pro Price and release date
The Denon Perl Pro headphones are available in black at a price of 349 euros in France. They are nevertheless already offered by certain resellers on promotion for around 200 euros. Be careful not to confuse them with the Denon PerL, sold at the same price.
Where to buy
Denon PerL Pro at the best price?