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Denon's awesome new headphones

Denon will totally revamp its line of headphones this summer, and Marantz still makes old-school audiophile products.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
Denon AH-D7100
Denon AH-D7100 Denon

I've always been a big fan of Denon receivers' sound quality, but now the company's really getting serious about headphones. Yes, it's made headphones for years, including some really nice ones, so I was unprepared for the radical rethinking of Denon's headphone line. I was treated to an advance preview of upcoming Denon, Marantz, and Boston Acoustics products on Tuesday in Mahwah, N.J.

The Denon AH-D7100 full-size, over-the-ear headphones were simply stunning. Supercomfortable, and the sound was seriously transparent. I've reviewed some of the best Denon headphones over the years, but the AH-D7100 was vastly better-sounding. Oh, it's also the most expensive set of Denon headphones ever ($1,200), but the $500 AH-D600s were also terrific, and better than the older, more expensive Denon headphones I've tried. The headphones were "98 percent" finished designs, so production units may be slightly different.

The fire-breathing PM-1153 integrated amp with its top cover removed Steve Guttenberg/CNET

I was shaken and stirred by the Marantz PM-1153 stereo integrated amplifier. The massive 100-watt stereo amp, with its top cover removed, was a sight for sore eyes. The massive power transformer and heat sinks looked like a 1976 Marantz amp, and I mean that as a compliment! The build quality was tremendous!

The Marantz TT-1551 belt-drive turntable was a svelte beauty, but more contemporary in appearance. Marantz, more than most large electronics companies, still caters to the audiophile crowd.

The Marantz TT-1551 turntable Steve Guttenberg/CNET

To learn more about the new Denon and Marantz receivers, check out Matthew Moskovciak's reports, linked here.