- Long battery life with activated noise reduction system - up to 20 hours;
- Good sound quality;
- Very comfortable fit on the head - no discomfort;
- 2 types of connection: wired and wireless;
- Good quality microphone;
- Premium production materials: lightweight aluminum alloy, genuine leather, soft-touch plastic;
- Control with real buttons.
- No mode for working with a voice assistant (when connected to a phone);
- Turning on the headphones using the Play / Pause button isn't an obvious solution.
Denon AH-GC20: Packaging
The Denon AH-GC20 headphones are housed inside a tough carrying case, which sits in a sturdy package to attract a potential owner’s attention. You can be sure that the headphones will be completely safe during transportation in such a serious package.
Denon AH-GC20: Design
Denon engineers made the headphones reliable. All structural elements (headband, hinges, and bowl forks) are made of lightweight aluminum. You can be sure that the headphones will serve for a very long time. It is almost impossible to break them by accident.
The outer part of the ear cups is covered with matte soft-touch plastic.
It is very nice that Denon AH-GC20 does not have touch controls; all buttons are real. I really like this approach. The likelihood of a false alarm is significantly reduced, or vice versa, not a trigger. Besides, it is much more convenient to remember the location of the buttons, which in the future will allow you to press them without hesitation, automatically. With the hardware control buttons, you immediately understand whether you pressed the button or not, while the touch panel does not give you any feedback.
The headphones have an active noise canceling system that works at an excellent level. External noise is effectively damped, especially the low-frequency component: the hum of a car, bus, or subway.
Denon AH-GC20: Headband
The base of the headband is metal. It is impossible to break it. On the outside, the headband is covered with leather, and on the inside – with a special breathable fabric. Under the fabric is a molded memory foam.
Thus, even with prolonged listening to headphones, your head will not experience discomfort. The foam filler differs from ordinary foam rubber in that it “remembers” the shape with which it interacts while distributing pressure over a larger area, thanks to which the headphones almost do not press on the head.
The plugs that connect the earcups to the headband are made of aluminum. Moreover, the hinges with which the fastening takes place are also aluminum. As a result, the overall reliability of the structure deserves the highest marks.
Denon AH-GC20: Headphone cups
It is essential for full-size headphones that the ear cups and ear cushions are comfortable – this is the main condition. Convenience is sometimes underestimated, and compromises have to be made. In the case of the Denon AH-GC20, I can argue that this is one of the most comfortable over-ear headphones I’ve ever listened to. Despite the noticeable mass, the headphones on the head do not cause the slightest discomfort. All these thanks to well-thought-out ergonomics, foam padding in the headband, ear pads, and good cup size.
I have a big head, and some on-ear or full-size headphones are too small for me, so I always pay attention to the headphones’ potential to resize. Denon pleasantly surprised me: even the headband remained in the headband size.
The ear cups are large. My ears fit completely inside; the earpads did not press on the earlobe. This is a huge plus of the headphones. This landing method not only significantly increases the comfort of use but also affects sound insulation, which is one of the main criteria for a model with an active noise reduction system.
All headphone controls are located on the ear cups.
On the right side are:
- Audio cable input;
- USB input for battery charging;
- Volume control button;
- Music track control button;
- Active noise cancellation on/off button.
On the left side, there is:
- Voice call acceptance button.
Headphone cups swivel in all directions, have 2 swivel hinges. This way, you can easily fold the headphones to put them in your bag or backpack without taking up much space. I recommend using the hard case for transportation, which is included in the kit; it will protect the headphones from bumps and keep their original appearance. Also, the case can be folded into the charging cable and audio cable.
Denon AH-GC20: Active noise cancellation
Denon AH-GC20 headphones are equipped with active noise canceling system. Many people think this is pampering and can be easily dispensed with. This is true if you do not have to take the subway every day or take long public transport to work or study. Over the years, you just got used to the loud noise surrounding you and stopped noticing it. And to hear the music – turn it up.
But you’d be surprised if you put on the noise-canceling headphones, turn them on and go down the subway. Yes, you will still hear the noise around it, but it will be much quieter. And then, when you ride in the car, turn off the noise cancellation—a huge difference. For a more powerful effect, remove your headphones altogether. You will be amazed at how loud it really is in a subway car. Once you’ve tried noise-canceling headphones once, you won’t be able to part with them. I believe that the active noise canceling system makes listening to music or podcasts more comfortable and significantly reduces the burden on the hearing organs, keeping them healthy, which is much more important than enjoying music.
The Denon AH-GC20’s active noise cancellation performance is at a very high level. I would compare it to the famous Bose headphones, which are leaders in this field. Denon has slightly weaker suppression but more effective than many other competitors. For example, Philips SHB9850NC headphones have less effective noise cancellation.
It is important to note that when noise cancellation is activated, many headphones have background white noise – artifacts of the system’s operation. In rare cases, interference from the operation of the radio module becomes audible. In the case of the Denon AH-GC20, enabling noise cancellation does not cause any side effects. I only noticed a slight increase in emphasis on the low frequencies.
When headphones are connected via a wire, the noise-canceling system continues to work. This is a huge plus of the headphones. Not all competitors can work in hybrid mode. Normally, noise-canceling only works if the headphones are in wireless mode.
Denon AH-GC20: Microphone
The quality of speech transmission in the room is good. The interlocutor hears you clearly and clearly. You do not have to ask your words again.
The interlocutor will hear you well on the street, but he will already clearly understand that you are not speaking to him using the phone. Sometimes he will have to ask you again because your voice will not always be transmitted correctly.
And if you try to talk from a bus or subway car, you will most likely be heard poorly. Loud ambient noise will greatly reduce the transmission efficiency of your voice.
In general, I can characterize the microphone as good.
Denon AH-GC20: Convenience
The Denon AH-GC20 headphones have excellent ergonomics: ample headband adjustment, large ear cups, and comfortable ear cushions.
I listened to the headphones for several hours and did not notice any fatigue from using them. This is a rare case. If you can’t find full-size wireless headphones for yourself, pay attention to them.
At the same time, they stay securely on your head. If you wish, you can even run in them. It will not be very convenient because Denon AH-GC20 – full-size headphones, but they will not fall off your head.
Denon AH-GC20 sound quality in games
I tested the sound in games in wireless mode with the noise-canceling system turned off.
The Denon AH-GC20 is not a monitor headphone. It has a noticeably colored sound. There is an emphasis on high frequencies, a slight dip in the mids, and the bass is raised again. This character of the sound creates the illusion of a bright, powerful, and contrasting sound. Personally, I liked this factory setting. Headphones do not distort the sound, but they make it a little more effective and enjoyable, especially in computer games.
I love to play games. I do it almost every day. If there are free 2, 3, or even 4 hours, I can easily spend them in the virtual world, which is why the headphones’ convenience is essential to me so that they do not distract me from what is happening on the screen. There were no problems with the convenience of the Denon AH-GC20. They are very comfortable, I played games for 5 hours, and there were no problems. The ears didn’t even sweat much, just a little.
The sound in games is bright and convincing—explosions and gunfire sound natural and powerful. At the same time, headphones can convey the slightest nuances of sound. For example, if someone is sneaking around a corner hunting you, you can easily hear it.
Moreover, thanks to the drivers’ high resolution, the sound in games does not sound like much. Each sound is distinguishable in detail, and you can easily identify it. This is very important in multiplayer competitive games like Battlefield or Rainbow Six, where what you hear naturally depends on whether you are alive or not.
Because headphones can create a good sense of the sound stage’s volume, it is easy to navigate by sound in games. You can easily recognize the direction of the sound source and can make the right decision.
I recommend Denon AH-GC20 headphones for use in computer games. You will get a lot of positive emotions.
Sound quality of Denon AH-GC20 When Listening to Music
Denon AH-GC20 supports the apt-X codec, so you will get the best sound quality only if your phone or player supports this codec. Otherwise, the headphones will use the standard codec, and the sound will not be detailed and clear enough.
I used a connection with active apt-X, so my opinion is based on the headphones’ best possible sound quality.
In general, I can describe the sound quality as warm, dark, soft, with good detail and an excellent sense of the depth of the music scene.
With different types of connection, headphones change their sound character. The best sounding, as it seemed to me, the headphones demonstrate when connected wirelessly, and the active noise canceling system is turned off. In this case, the music becomes as detailed as possible, and the overall balance of frequencies is harmoniously balanced. Of course, taking into account the fact that the headphones focus on low frequencies, but not bulging them to the fore, but making them more capacious and noticeable.
When connected wirelessly and Active Noise Cancellation is on, the sound changes: the emphasis on bass is further enhanced, and the high frequencies also begin to sound brighter. This does not mean that the sound is getting worse. It just gets a slightly different color. With a similar nature of the sound, the sound becomes brighter, more saturated. Various manufacturers often use this effect. They even give it marketing names: “Crystal” effect, “True sound,” and so on. Its essence is simple: emphasis is placed on low and high frequencies, mids are slightly muffled. Thus, the sound gains additional contrast and is perceived as brighter and more detailed. This is a kind of psychological deception, but since it works, why not use it?
Headphones acquire the most inexpressive sound when connected via a wire. Good detail of high frequencies is lost, and the bass becomes comprehensive, filling all the free sound space.
Without adjusting the equalizer, the wired connection sounds very sloppy, overestimating the emphasis on the low frequencies. Perhaps someone will like this kind of sound, but it is somewhat disappointing after the wireless mode of the headphones because it is clear that the drivers can play much better.
And now I will listen to my standard set of music tracks and describe each of them’ impression.
- U2 – Every Breaking Wave: assertive, powerful sound with good detail and natural male vocals. It’s nice to listen. During the chorus, in the moments with the most difficult musical part, the headphones retain great detail, the sound does not become a mess.
- Paul Simon – Graceland: Real instrumental music sounds great. It feels like some raised low frequencies, but this does not spoil the listening experience in the least—good level of detail and no noticeable distortion in the sound.
- Scooter – Shake That! : the headphones coped with the dance track playfully, the low frequencies are energetic and elastic. The sound is stable, detailed, soft.
- Madonna – Jump: no problems with pop music, the track sounds lively, bright, all frequencies are balanced. There is nothing to find fault with.
- How to Destroy Angels – Ice Age: I don’t know what the solo instrument is called, but in headphones, it sounds very nice, detailed. The sound is such that you can easily imagine what the instrument is to the touch and how it plays it.
- Snoop Dogg – Neva Have 2 Worry (feat. Uncle Chucc): the low frequencies of the headphones play clean, energetic, and deep. The track as a whole sounds harmonious, soft and lively. Male voices only benefit from the nature of headphone tuning.
- Snoop Lion – So Long (Feat. Angela Hunte): there is nothing to complain about in this track either. The headphones sound smooth without serious flaws.
- Kylie Minogue – Where the Wild Roses Grow: Acoustic guitar and a bewitching female voice will instantly paint the brightest pictures in your head that you will imagine as the song narrates. This is the magic of sound, nothing more, nothing less.
- Leo Abrahams – Masquerade: the guitar sounds bright, nice. With these headphones, you can enjoy listening to instrumental music. The slightest sounds of guitar strings are heard, and even the sounds of a musician’s hands sliding along the strings create a special atmosphere, as if they are playing especially for you.
- Parov Stelar – The Catgroove: headphones don’t have any problems with dancing material. They deal with this kind of music easily and naturally.
Denon AH-GC20: Equipments
- USB charging cable;
- Audio cable with 3.5mm jack;
- Jack adapter from 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm;
- Adapter for connecting headphones on the plane;
- Hard case for transportation.
Conclusion: Should you buy Denon AH-GC20?
The Denon AH-GC20 wireless headphones turn out to be successful from any point of view. They are very convenient to use, you can listen to them for hours, and you will not feel the slightest fatigue: excellent ergonomics and fit on the head.
Excellent sound quality, listening to music is pleasant, and your hearing will not get tired, even if listening stretches for several hours.
The ear cups have two swivel mechanisms that fold down to a very compact size, making them easy to put in a backpack or bag.
2 connection methods: wired and wireless, and the active noise canceling system works in both cases – a rare success.
On the whole, I recommend the Denon AH-GC20 for purchase if you are looking for comfortable full-size wireless headphones with active noise canceling and long battery life.
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