Denon is hardly a stranger to the audio market, but you’re more likely to see its logo on audiophile-class bookshelf receivers than on the heads of commuter train or airline travelers. Denon’s new line of premium headsets aims to change that.
At a recent press preview in New York, Denon showcased stylish headsets with high-end electronics that it hopes offer the right combination of audio quality and good looks to make them holiday-season favorites. For example, Denon’s Globe Cruiser line of over-the-ear and in-ear headsets are aimed at travelers who want a luxury-class listening experience but need to remain productive and answer a phone call now and then.
At $500 the Globe Cruiser AH-NCW500 over-the-ear, noise-canceling Bluetooth 3.0 wireless headset is clearly meant for travelers willing to pay extra for an audiophile-class experience while in the air or on a couch. The unit, which comes in black and silver, runs for ten hours on a charge of its lithium-ion battery but can be used with a cord in a no-power “passive” mode even when the battery is depleted.
Denon’s noise-canceling technology works with the unit’s built-in amplifier to provide ample power with minimal interference from ambient noise. The 9.5-ounce headset has two 40mm drivers, dual microphones and supports the AAC and apt-X audio-compression standards.
The headset is designed to fold flat into its carrying case and comes with an audio cord so it can be connected to mobile devices that don’t offer Bluetooth and an airline adapter to connect with airline seat audio jacks. The headset comes with black or brown leather and the pentagonal shape of the foam earpieces are unique to Denon.
A common feature across Denon’s headset lines is the Denon Control Wheel, which lets you wirelessly control a Bluetooth-enabled mobile device like an Apple iPod or iPhone from the side of the headset. A twist of the wheel adjusts the volume while a tap of a button starts or stops music playback. Separate buttons on the headset connect and end phone calls button and enable or turn off the noise-canceling circuitry.
The much smaller Globe Cruiser AH-W200 In-Ear Bluetooth wireless headset ($180) has two earpieces linked by a short cord but still has room for a smaller version of Denon’s Control Wheel. The 0.8-ounce unit is packaged with four sets of ear gels in different sizes as well as a case, an audio cable with an airplane adapter and a USB cord for charging its battery, which lasts up to five hours. Like its larger sibling, the AH-W200 supports the Bluetooth 3.0, AAC and apt-X standards and can be used with a cord even when its battery is dead.
The fit of the ear gels minimizes outside noises while integrated in-ear amplifiers provide more audio power than lower-cost headsets, according to Denon.
Denon also offers Denon Travel, a free smartphone app which lets users access and fine-tune their music, listen to Internet radio stations and access their travel apps without leaving the Denon app. The app is available in Apple iOS and Android versions.