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Photos: Exclusive ears-on with Denon's AH-C252 earphones

Ever wanted earphones from a high-end manufacturer, but didn't want to sell your children into slavery to afford them? You're in luck. We went ears-on with Denon's latest

Denon, the Japanese high-end audio manufacturer that sounds like a yoghurt, has been getting bacterial on the earphone market over the last year or so, with the top-end AH-C751 earphones, then the AH-C551s, followed by the entry-level AH-C351s.

These are all in another world to the flagship AH-D5000 headphones we're so fond of here at Crave, but we're excited to bring you an exclusive first look at the new entry-level AH-C252 earphones. Ever wanted earphones from a high-end manufacturer, but didn't want to sell your children into slavery to afford them? You're in luck.

The £30 AH-C252 sound-isolating earphones are similar in design to the Sony EX75s, in that the sound-isolating tips are angled to better fit the shape of the ear. And they are extremely comfortable, with three sizes of silicone tips to ensure a good seal.

Build quality is decent for a £30 pair of 'phones, and in our opinion are a little more rugged- and professional-looking than the slightly more costly AH-C351s. Cabling isn't a selling point, perhaps obviously, and isn't anywhere near the almost tangle-free quality of the most expensive Denon models.

As for specs, the C252s have a frequency response range of 20Hz-23kHz, a sensitivity of 100dB/mW, an impedance of 16 ohms, and a maximum power input of 100mW. And inside each sturdy plastic enclosure sit 11.5mm drive units, backed by Neodymium magnets. 

With the snug earphones firmly in place, one of the first things we noticed about the C252s is their volume -- they're extremely loud, and far, far louder than most earphones we've used. Secondly, they've got a very different voice to the other earphones in the Denon family.

The higher-end models -- C751, C551 and C351 -- all offer varying levels of sound quality but, voice-wise, all tend to be quite bright in the treble, with powerful, smooth bass, and a slightly less prominent mid-range. The new C252s do not share this, instead offering a powerful mid-range and prominent bass, but the smooth, velvety bass and noticeable brightness of the higher-end models is not present. It's almost as if these 'phones were designed by a completely different manufacturer.

It's a decent, full-bodied sound though, very much suited to rock and metal. It should also be noted that the competing Sennheiser CX 500s offer a cleaner overall sound, with a smoother low end and better overall detail.

Expect our full review very soon, where we'll be able to go into much greater depth. The 'phones themselves will be on sale at the end of August from Advanced MP3 Players.

For now, enjoy a plethora of close-ups and comparisons over the next few pages. -Nate Lanxon

Update: Read our full Denon AH-C252 sound-isolating earphones review

At the end of the C252's cable is a gold-plated 3.5mm plug.

Build quality is certainly decent, and there's a larger than average shaft for sound to escape through.

Three sizes of silicone tip come with the C252s, as a good fit is critical to bass performance and sound isolation.

Notice the similarity of design to the Sony EX75 earphones.

Physically the C252s are ever so slightly larger than their rivals, the Sennheiser CX 500s, though in the ear this makes no noticeable difference.

iPhone users can relax: the C252s will fit the phone's recessed earphone socket.

The complete Denon earphone range. From left to right: the new AH-C252s, the AH-C351s, the AH-C551s and the AH-C751s.