Denon has its name well-established in the audio world. From headphones to receivers, the Denon name is attached to a variety of quality products. We’ve tested out a few of their AH line of headphones before, with the AH-D9200 being one of my favorite wired closed-ack headphones. Now, Denon is getting into the true wireless earphone market with the PerL and PerL Pro. I’ve been very interested to see what the PerL Pro offers since hearing about some of its interesting features. They go for $349 right now, making them one of the pricier true wireless models. Is it worth the hype?
What You Get
- PerL Pro Earbuds
- Charging Case
- USB Type C Charging Cable
- Wing Attachments M/L
- Ear tips XS/S/M/L
Look & Feel
The PerL Pro has a unique design that makes it stand out from many true wireless earbuds on the market. They’re shaped like a quarter and possess detachable wings that hold the housing in place better in your ear. It’s an elegant design and makes the PerL Pro look like the real deal in terms of being more premium earbuds.
Design & Functionality
Inside the PerL Pro is a 10mm dynamic driver with a triple-layer titanium diaphragm that is designed to deliver ultra-low distortion. These earbuds can get pretty loud, especially when activating immersive mode and personalized sound. Denon’s headphone app houses these features, along with spatial audio powered by Dirac Virtuo. Its sound personalization test is one of its biggest features, and it’s a very simple process. Some Bluetooth earbuds with similar features are very involved, but all you have to do here is stay still. This measurement is supplied by Masimo Adaptive Acoustic Technology for accurate sound tuning that’s shaped to your ears.
You also have adaptive noise-canceling, and it’s effective, but it’s still in the shadow of Sony’s ANC technology. Lastly, all of the controls on the PerL Pro are completely customizable, and the sensors themselves are very responsive. With the surface of the earbuds being so large, it feels more natural and easy to use than smaller true wireless earbuds.
The PerL Pro has Bluetooth capabilities that outmatch almost every pair of true wireless earphones on the market. It uses Bluetooth version 5.3 and has excellent stability with fast paring and multipoint. What makes the PerL Pro a step above others is its use of aptX Lossless as one of its CODECs. You need an Android phone to be able to experience lossless-quality audio over Bluetooth, but it’s still a major piece of technology for true wireless.
You can enjoy the PerL Pro for up to 8 hours off of a single charge, depending on what features you’re using. With its charging case, that’s 32 hours of playtime, with only five minutes of charge equaling an hour of battery life. It’s not the best battery life in its price range, but its good for all the other features it provides.
Some strange things are happening with this soundstage. Depending on the results of your personalized sound test, it could be completely different for you, and spatial audio is also a factor. In its default setting, the soundstage is wide and linear without any spatial audio. It feels like the left and right channels have a straight line drawn across each other. The imaging doesn’t portray any specific positioning, but you can tell that the spacing is there.
With spatial audio, both channels feel more connected and can give you more identifiable imaging. You can tell where instruments are coming from much easier, as the soundstage becomes more holographic. The sound feels like it has more of a specific origin rather than feeling like it’s coming from the driver. It presents more of a live feel, even though the headspace is still limited to being inside of your head. Spatial audio mode seems more like what a good stereo environment is supposed to feel like rather than an immersive experience.
There are ways to get this bass to sound absolutely booming, but it comes at the sacrifice of some midrange fidelity. In its default mode, there is still plenty of bass tone to go around, even without EQ. It has a consistent shape, forming a clear body of sub-bass and mid-bass frequency content. My own personalized sound profile enhanced the rumble of the lows, supplying more vibration to the sound signature. Increasing the immersion slider in the app also adds a ton of bass resonance, though sometimes this results in a boomier timbre.
As long as you control the bass well through EQ/immersion mode, the mids can show very good clarity. The instruments stay out of the background but lack a certain sting. Everything is pretty relaxed and neutral but never comes off as dull. It’s a smooth timbre you can bring out with EQ and make a few elements pop out more. However, the results can end up with certain sound elements that come off as thin. Vocals suffer the most here but still sit well in the mix.
The treble is pretty much saved by my sound personalization settings and EQ, as the response can be bare in default mode. It’s like a thin line of high frequencies that only acts as a minimal tail to a larger body of tone. There’s very little gain to them, but can be brought out by EQ. My personalization settings gave the treble some much-needed life. Here, the highs showcase some nice shimmer, and slightly more enunciated detail.
I’ve never tested anything like the PerL Pro before. Its combination of sound personalization, spatial audio, and lossless audio over Bluetooth offers an experience you can’t get anywhere else on true wireless earbuds. While it’s not always perfect, I can’t say I was ever dissatisfied with the performance of the PerL Pro. The sound is also the most subjective aspect, as everyone’s measurements will be different. Everything about the Denon PerL Pro gives you the impression of a higher-end set of true wireless earbuds than what you’re used to seeing and is well worth it for that.
The Denon PerL Pro is available from Audio46.