Denon is one of the world's leading companies in the audio industry with one of the most expensive and highly regarded headphones on the market. I'm not stranger to the Denon quality of headphones, but I am a newcomer when it comes to in-ears. Denon's portable line didn't really impress me all the much when I reviewed the Denon AH-D510R over-ear headphones. This time I've got my paws all over Denon's mobile in-ear offering, the AH-C 560R. These are going to run you exactly the same as the AH-D510R headphones at $99.99. While both have the same price, the two are worlds apart. Don't miss out the full review right after the break.
I've reviewed quite a few headset oriented earphones in the past and the Denon AH-C 560R have disappointed me like no other. For $99.99 I would expect a lot more, especially coming from Denon. To save you your hard earned cash, if you're looking for a pair of portable headsets to make calls, you should pass up on the AH-C 560R in a heartbeat. These have the worst positioned mic in the history of headsets. Denon should have never even included a mic and raised the price on the AH-C 560R.
The 3-button remote and mic act as the Y splitter which is placed far away from your mouth as possible. Never have I seen such, excuse me here, stupidity before. This is certainly no place to put a remote let alone the mic. In terms of usability, the mic has no use whatsoever. Denon has failed to create a working mobile headset like the product name suggests. The only possible good thing here is that the 3-button remote works fine to control your volume and skip tracks.
Leaving aside all the bad stuff aside, there are plenty of good things to say about the Denon AH-C 560R. The build quality here is very solid and these feel like a high quality pair of in-ears. The housing is made out of aluminum with rounded silver accent on the back creating a distinctive look between the black colored housing. The cable doesn't feel flimsy and is very durable. Even though the 3.5mm jack has an L shaped design, it's fairly slim in order to fit most device even with cases on.
The Denon AH-C 560R are angled to fit comfortably in your ear and come with various sized silicone tips as well as a pair of Comply foam tips which I always recommend using first as they offer the best fitting and noise-isolation of all the other tips. I have had any issues using these for long durations without any discomfort.
The sound quality on these is what really got me impressed. Setting aside the terrible mic situation, the sound quality is what got me to like the AH-C 560R. Getting some burn-in time in these will really help improve the overall sound quality. Straight out of the box, the AH-C 560R still sound much better than the similarly priced Denon AH-D510R. The bass isn't overwhelming yet very pronounced. Bass lovers won't find the bass too appealing, however an amp can easily drive more punchy bass out of these like the cMoyBB portable amp. Paired with an amp, the AH-C 560R are able to produce an amazing thumpy bass. Overall I find the bass to be smooth and clean.
The mids are not very detailed and slightly turned down. I would have liked more treble to spring outwards. Nonetheless, the mids have a warm dynamic sound and overall clean of distortion. The highs are perfectly clear and very detailed. The clean, trebled highs are what give life to the whole sound stage. Vocals come thru unscratched by the bass and mids which is something that you really want to see in a good pair of headphones or in this case, in-ears. I don't think you will be unsatisfied with the sound quality unless you're looking for strong bass presence. If you're not going to use an amp, I would suggest taking a look at cheaper offerings like the JAYS a-Jays Three or even the a-Jays Four if you're seeking a good performing IEM with an outstanding 3-button remote with a high quality mic.
Lastly, I found it surprising that these leak sound. Typically headphones leak sound, but these leak sound quite a lot as far as in-ears go. Something to take into consideration, especially when you're after a pair of in-ears as most do not leak sound.
I wouldn't recommend the Denon AH-C 560R as a headset but as a pair of in-ears by themselves. Though the $99.99 price tag isn't fitting I think, but when you compare the build and sound quality against similarly prices in-ears, these are not too bad.