Review: Denon PerL Pro True Wireless Earbuds
Denon has over 110 years of experience developing consumer audio gear. From their first phonograph released in 1910, to the highly-regarded DL-103 phono cartridge launched in 1950—and still in production today—the company history is impressive. All of Denon’s products are hand-tuned by the Denon Sound Master, and with the introduction of the PerL Pros, they’re giving you a Personalized Listening experience.
What’s In The Box
When you open up the box you’ll get The PerL Pro earbuds, a charging case, a short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, medium or large wing attachments, and extra small, small, medium, and large silicone eartips, as well as one size of foam tips. The foam tips are my preferred fitment, and I’ll talk about that later.
The Basics (fit, finish, design)
The PerL Pros weigh less than half an ounce which is the same as a single AAA battery. And the case is under 2oz. which is about the weight of a deck of playing cards. There are (4) microphones on each side, including 2 bone conduction microphones.
The PerL Pros have a 10 mm ultralow-distortion triple-layer titanium diaphragm dynamic driver. A much bigger driver than most other ANC IEMs (in-ear monitors) in this class. The PerL Pros have a Frequency Range of 20 Hz–40 kHz which is becoming a new benchmark for IEMs. The extended frequency response can improve the sound quality of your headphones. The PerL Pros are also capable of making Super Wideband calls when utilizing aptX Voice. This capability creates clearer phone calls and enhanced speech quality. As for the case, there are (3) LEDs on the charging case. They indicate the charge available for the left earbud, the charging case, and the right earbud
- Green LED = Battery above 70%
- Yellow LED = Battery between 30% - 70%
- Red LED = battery below 30%
The battery percentage of the earbuds will also appear in the Denon app.
Let’s check the boxes on what an active noise-canceling earbud needs to be competitive, and how the Denon PerL Pros stack up.
- Good Battery Life: Yes. They’re rated for 8 hours per earbud with 24 hours of battery life in the case. The earbuds will charge in 2 hours and the case will take an hour.
- Solid carrying Case/Charger: Sure thing. The case is solid and can take a drop or a slight crushing. Also, the earbuds are magnetically held in place and won’t just pop out if dropped. You can charge with a USB-C cable or a wireless Qi Charger.
- A Good IP Rating: Yes. The PerL Pro’s are IPX4 rated which means they’re splash-proof or water-resistant. Just what you need for a light workout. They are sweat ready.
- Phone Call Sound Quality: Yes. Calls are clear as a bell because they are Super Wideband capable.
- Multi-Point Connections: Yes. The PerL Pro’s can connect to your phone and computer at the same time. You can listen to music on your computer and take a phone call without having worrying about switching without bandwidth limitations.
- Latest codecs: Yes and No. The PerL Pros have aptX Lossless, but do not have LDAC. Testing it with an iPhone Amazon music said there was connection rating of 24bit 48kHz. With my Roon ARC app I saw a 24bit 96kHz track down converted to 24bit 44.1kHz.
- Intuitive touch controls: Yes. They have single, double, and triple tap commands as well as a tap tap hold for volume adjustment. And they’re customizable. Which leads me to the last box
- App for customization: Yes. And you WANT to customize the PerL Pros. They will shine with the Adaptive Acoustic Technology. This is what makes them different than every other ANC IEM on the market.
PerL Pro Fitment & Setup Using Adaptive Acoustic
Before doing anything make sure they fit in your ear well. I swapped out the default pieces and I put on the larger curved pieces, the “winged attachments” to help stay in my ears better and chose the foam tips. I chose the foam tips because for me they create a more solid seal in my ear, and are more comfortable. When you do put them in, pop them in and slightly twist backward to find the right fit. If you do use the foam eartips, compress the foam when you put them in and hold them in place as it expands to create the seal. Out of the box they will sound good, however once they are calibrated you will hear a HUGE difference.
The Denon Perl Pros will use their Adaptive Acoustic Technology to create a personal sound profile for you. The sound profile measurements are also based on the ear tips you use. I loved that when it runs the test there’s a voice that says “I’m going to learn how you hear music”. When it’s done there will be a graph to show you how Denon personalized the PerL Pros to YOUR ears, AND will give you an A to B comparison. There is also an Immersion slider to increase or decrease the impact the bass will have while listening. If you want them to pound turn it up, or if you’re like me you may turn it up one tick so it’s more present but not overwhelming the other instrumentation. At this point, you’ll hear better separation, more dynamics, and clearer vocals.
I used two specific songs to test out the PerL Pros; Jen Razavi - Saw in Half and Codefendants - Defcons. The Jen Razavi track is a very floaty song, almost ethereal. It has a crawling synth melody, a slow beat, and a subtle acoustic guitar. The PerL Pros do a good job of replicating her fingers delicately sliding across the strings and other small nuisances that could be missed. It’s a spacy song and will show you how well the PerL Pros will handle soft vocals with intricate instrumentation as well as create a large soundstage.
Conversely, the Codefendants track is highly dynamic and starts with a heavy bass tone, tight percussion with disappearing backing vocals that will swim between the left and right channels. The PerL Pros did an excellent job of not muddying the sound where you might lose the intricacies and dynamics of the percussion or the vocals that slowly fade between the channels while trying to fight through the thumping bass. It also helps to have high-quality versions of tracks to listen to. With Amazon Music you can see how the track quality ends up translated to your output device, like you can see here on this graphic. I also like using the ROON ARC app, because it not only shows the quality, but it also shows the work on how the conversion is done and where the weakest part of your listening experience may be. In this example, it’s my iPhone not having the aptX Lossless codec so it’s dropping down the sample rate. The tracks still sounded really good, so I’m not worried about the little bit of loss.
I swapped out my everyday active noise canceling earbuds while testing out the Denon PerL Pros, and found the good fit and the calibration to how my ear “hears music” makes them a top contender for True Wireless Earbuds because they enhanced HOW I was hearing my music and pushed me towards listening how I SHOULD be listening to my music.