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Denon PerL Pro review
Adjusts and optimises the playback sound specifically for your hearing
By Andreas Bergsman
Tech AdvisorSEP 11, 2023 3:47 pm BST
Image: Andreas Bergsman
At a glance
Effective noise cancelling
Unrivalled sound quality
Extensive customisation options
Only IPX4 rated
Ear adapters are almost impossible to get in place
With apologies to Technics and Bowers & Wilkins, Denon’s new PerL Pro blows others out of the water in the quest for an optimal listening experience. You’ll have to search long and hard for this kind of reproduction. Add in effective noise cancelling and crystal-clear dialogue and you have a winner. Too bad only a few of us can afford to buy a pair.
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Denon is no slouch when it comes to audio experiences and is perhaps best known to most of us for its home cinema receivers and amplifiers. But they have more to offer: multi-room speakers, turntables and soundbars to name a few.
Over the years, we have tested a few of Denon’s models, mainly over-ear variants, and they have consistently performed well. Thus, expectations are high for the mischievous in ear headphones PerL Pro.
The PerL Pro are undeniably oddly designed with their flat circular casing that, when the shells are in place, protrudes a bit from the ear. I doubt that everyone appreciates the shape, but on the other hand, you as a wearer will stand out from the crowd.
Speaking of shells, there are a total of five pairs of adapters in different sizes (four in silicone, one in foam) and a pair of fins, or “wings” for the headphones to sit extra firmly in the ears, for example during a workout. The problem is that the adapters are insanely difficult to replace.
Without exaggerating, I have to fiddle with them for several minutes before they fit correctly and before I find the right size, half an hour has passed. Completely up the walls, and getting the fins on is impossible so they go in the trash. But okay, when the hellish task of finding the right adapter is over, the shells are super comfortable, even with strong head movements, so the fins fortunately feel superfluous anyway.
The installation and connection to the mobile phone is quickly completed and the fun can begin. The accompanying mobile phone app contains a couple of really interesting features, of which Masimo AAT (Adaptive Acoustic Technology) is perhaps the most exciting.
As you know, hearing varies from person to person and no two ears are the same. With Denon PerL Pro, Masimo’s adaptive acoustic technology allows you to analyse your ears and adapt the sound to your hearing.
The app sends a number of test tones into your ear and measures the microscopic sound response from your eardrum and inner ear, calculating your personal sound profile and optimising the sound from your headphones for your ears. The process takes a few minutes but is well worth it, the sound quality is noticeably better with the optimisation turned on. PerL Pro delivers amazing sound with a tangible sense of presence. In ear headphones with the ability to reproduce all the nuances of a piece of music are extremely rare, these gems come close enough to be awarded the highest rating!
More customisation options in the app
In the app, you can use an equaliser to further customise the sound and select features such as Selective Noise Cancellation or Social Mode, which lets in more ambient noise. The function buttons on the cochlea can be customised to suit you: one press on the left to pause the music, two presses to select the next song, and so on. I quickly get into the swing of things.
The active noise cancellation and call quality are really good, as is the social mode, where I can easily take note of any sounds in my vicinity. PerL Pro has eight microphones, two of which have bone conduction sensors that pick up your voice via vibrations in your skull. The receiver hears you clearly and the built-in processor optimises both noise reduction and call quality in real-time according to current environmental conditions, including automatic suppression of wind noise and background noise.
One of the drawbacks here is the price of the Denon PerL Pro earbuds. They cost $349/£299/€349 making them out of reach for many users. More expensive than rivals from Apple, Sony and Bose.
If you can afford them then they are available from Denon as well as Amazon.