The AH-D501 are good value for the money. They are quite good in their class, and will give the likes of Grado SR60, Sennheiser HD215, etc.
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The AH-D501 are built of plastic, with synthetic leather cushions and the usual black acoustic foam pads. The plastic looks durable and likely won’t break in the headphones’ lifetime.
AH-D501 are comfortable and lightweight, but the fit can be somewhat too loose - and they can slip while the wearer is walking. This can cause some minor acoustic power bleeding. The AH-D501 have a plastic “self-adjustable” headband in the style of AKG Studio-line headphones.
A possible problem for owners of Apple gear is, again, the uncommon impedance of AH-D501. Apple computers (and IPod players) have headphone outputs designed for 32-ohm impedance. An IPod might not do that, but here the Apple Powerbook G4 had killed a couple headphone sets with a nominal impedance of 24 ohm. 28 ohm isn’t that far from 32 ohm though, so there shouldn’t be any trouble.
Out of the box, AH-D501 were somewhat disappointing. They do sound somewhat shallow and bland, duller. Combined with the harshness of new headphones, this could mean only one: burn-in.
And burn-in they did, playing a mixture of powerful tracks - anything from English rock (Godflesh) to 96/24 symphonic demos, also playing through perhaps the best burn-in album ever, Mick Harris’ Hednod Sessions.
This album, when played through appropriately powerful speakers, can do what the cover shows.
Of course there was the usual burn-in material - pink noise, and several tracks of silence, off the downloadable Audiotest CD. So after a night spent locked away in a carton box with clothing, the headphones have done at least 14 hours of playing. And they softened up. At which point they might as well be compared to other headphones…
AH-D501 are quite neutral in their presentation of music, monitor-like even. They are in the class of headphones that reveal all instruments in a mix, never trying to hide any subtlety. Soundstage is quite wide and detailed. They’re also rather unforgiving to sources; the Sony D-NE500 player sounds rather shallow and cold with the AH-D501. There was going to be a test with an Apple IPod digital player, but the owner’s never shown up; however, the AH-D501 ought to work fine with the more powerful rechargeable-battery digital players like the IPod, Cowon players, Meizu M6, etc.
Double headband for easy fitting and wearing
Large. powerful driver unit
Aluminum connector cover
Left and right cable lenght is equal for sound quality
Earpad in a elaborately sewn synthetic leather with a pleasant touch
Housing reverssal mechanism allowing one-ear monitoring
Frequency response (according to Denon): 10-24000 Hz
Nominal impedance: 28-ohm
Sensitivity: 103 db/1mW
Maximum input: 1,000 mW