AT a tenner under the £100 mark, the price tag of the AH-C120s is considerably cheaper than most Denon earphones and signals a desire on the part of the Japanese firm to broaden its appeal beyond high-end audiophiles with money to burn on the latest tech.
Gadget review: Denon Music Maniac AH-C120 headphones
The move towards more affordable tech, thankfully, has not resulted in a compromise in quality.
The in-ear headphones boast an elegant appearance, with hybrid metal casing featuring the Denon insignia. With 11.5mm drivers, the sound frequency is crisp and neutral and delivers power and clarity regardless of whether you are listening to music or podcasts. For in-ear phones, the bass is especially well represented, even at lower volume levels, with no vibrations or distortion when the sound is cranked up.
The tangle free cord, meanwhile, improves the listening experience to such an extent that it makes you wonder why the tech is not an industry standard for all wired sets. A boon for restless sleepers who enjoy drifting off to a podcast or digital radio station without the fear of strangulation, it also allows the earphones to be stored away knot-free in their petite carry case.
Joggers, too, benefit from Denon’s engineering expertise in this field. Our field test included the use of the AH-C120s on a bracing 5K route, where the firm’s radio cascade damper system ensured there was no vibration or interference as the cable brushed against the body. It is an example of the small attention to detail that sets the earphones apart from other brands in the sub £100 category.
Some aspect of the AH-C120s are disappointingly fiddly, however. Should you wish to have a selection of equaliser presets - a reasonable expectation for those who want throbbing bass for gym sessions but something a touch more restrained for everyday listening - the firm’s dedicated app suggests that in-app purchases are required, a confusing and unreasonable demand for such a standard feature. Overall, however, the AH-C120s deliver excellent value for the price and represent a good option for those in search of premium audio quality without a pricetag stretching into hundreds of pounds.