Excessive-end Danish audio maker, Bang and Olufsen is understood for its hanging designs and high-fidelity audio copy, and each traits are in abundance within the firm’s newest flagship wi-fi headphone, the Beoplay H9.
That includes glorious lively noise cancellation, B&O’s signature sound, premium supplies and craftsmanship, glorious battery life, and Google Assistant inbuilt, the $500 Beoplay H9 will get my sturdy suggestion.
Refinements over its predecessor
The Beoplay H9 is a refinement over its predecessor, the Beoplay H9i. I reviewed in February 2019. Certainly, put the 2 side-by-side or maintain them in your arms and also you’ll be exhausting pressed to inform the distinction.
The H9 sports activities the identical cowhide leather-based headband and material underside with 4 padded quadrants. The peerlessly machined, brushed-aluminum headband arms stay a factor of magnificence. They slide effortlessly from the headscarf and keep in place for infinite adjustment factors. The smooth and plush leather-wrapped ear cups themselves rotate easily on aluminum arms like a precision piece of apparatus.
The Beoplay H9, nevertheless, is extra comfy to put on for prolonged listening periods; it’s rather more vitality environment friendly, so its battery lasts longer; and B&O has put Google Assistant at your beck and name.
In my evaluate of the Beoplay H9i, I famous that after about an hour, I’d begin to really feel strain on the very high of my head, because of the lack of adquate padding. B&O has addressed this difficulty by including extra padding underneath the headscarf. I can say that with the H9, lengthy listening periods have been now no downside. I didn’t frequently expertise the necessity to take off the headphones to alleviate strain on my head.
These lush ear cups have additionally been redesigned. They now have improved reminiscence foam cushions that additional enhanced my consolation carrying them.
Improved battery life
Battery life has gone from a good 18 hours to a whopping 25 hours, due to a bigger (1110mAh) battery. You’ll stand up to 25 hours with Bluetooth and ANC; as much as 32 hours utilizing Bluetooth; and As much as 33 hours listening to music in wired mode with ANC. A USB-C charging port, situated on the underside of the fitting ear cup, helps speedy charging. A full cost takes solely about three hours.
Google Assistant on the contact of a button
The again of the left ear cup now has a devoted button that launches Google Assistant. As a constructive statement, I do want that B&O had lowered the button’s location a few quarter to half an inch. As an alternative of falling naturally the place my left thumb grips the ear cup, I wanted to slip my thumb as much as discover the button. Fortunately, the button is raised off the ear cup and straightforward to seek out by contact.
In case you’re an iPhone person, like me, you’ll must launch the Google Assistant app in your telephone for this characteristic to work. Google Assistant doesn’t auto-launch while you press the button. In case you don’t have Google Assistant launched, you’ll be prompted to take action.
Refined contact interface
The H9’s proper ear cup options an intiutive touch-sensitive gesture pad. The contact interface lets you flip ANC and ambient-aware options on and off by swiping from the highest or backside of the ear cup. You possibly can improve or lower the amount by rotatiing your finger clockwise and counterclockwise respectively. Tapping the center of the disk will play/pause the music.
With the H9, the disk now has a raised outer ring that makes it tremendous simple to get your finger perfecly aligned for touch-sensitive instructions. In my testiing, the H9’s gesture pad was a lot improved over the one on the earlier era, giving me a extra constant response.
B&O has an Android and iOS companion app for the Beoplay H9 that’s comparatively unchanged since I final wrote about it. The app will show the headphone’s battery life and will let you apply DSP filters for various sound environments: commute, clear, exercise, podcast, and so forth. You continue to can’t see visually what these EQ modes do. It is advisable to cycle by way of them to listen to the impact.
I stay a giant fan of B&O’s ToneTouch choice. It’s simply slick. Use a slider to tailor the sound of the H9 to be heat, brilliant, excited, or relaxed.
The app additionally provides you quick access to allow or disable the headphones’ lively noise cancellation and its transparency mode. A brand new characteristic of the app allows you to power Google Assistant or use your sensible system’s built-in assistant (equivalent to Siri on iOS).
The H9 headphones can be found in argilla brilliant and matte black finishes. The headphones include an expensive double-layer cinch sack, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm analog cable, and two-prong airline adapter. The cinch sack’s interior layer treats your H9 headphones with a velvety contact.
The headphones themselves fold flat for simple journey, however the aluminum arms received’t collapse additional into an ultra-compact kind issue. The H9 are excellent for a backpack, however received’t essentially match into your jacket pocket.
Energetic noise cancelling efficiency
I examined the H9 on trains, subways, and busy NY city streets. The B&O H9 persistently delivered excellent lively noise cancelling efficiency it doesn’t matter what surroundings I attempted them in. The H9 killed nearly all of HVAC noise and a big portion of engine noise. Strolling New York’s bustling streets, the H9 killed a big quantity of ambient noise round me, serving to me get misplaced within the music. As with every high-performing ANC headphone, you’ll have to be additional cautious about your environment because the B&O do an excellent job of placing you in your individual remoted bubble.
I’ll praise B&O’s microphone efficiency. I’ve had many good-performing ANC headphones which have been insupportable to put on throughout barely windy circumstances. Many ANC algorithms don’t successfully cancel the sound of wind passing over a headphone’s mics, amplifying the whoosh as a substitute of cancelling it out. So I used to be pleasantly stunned that the Beoplay H9 doesn’t undergo from this shortcoming. It’s not fully proof against wind noise, however its response is unquestionably above common.
The B&O’s total ANC efficiency, nevertheless, is a step down from the top-end choices from Sony and Bose. In my conversations with B&O’s representatives over time about ANC efficiency, they’ve informed me that their aim is to strike the fitting stability between ANC efficiency and musical copy—a aim that I really feel they hit on the mark. Different headphones sacrifice the music for ANC efficiency.
Fortunately, ANC strain is gentle. I by no means felt that “underwater” feeling that characterize another firms’ ANC know-how exhibit.
B&O calls its ambient-aware mode “transparency.” Transparency mode allows you to preserve your headphones on whereas letting the sounds of the surface in, and it sounds remarkably pure—not like I used to be merely listening to the sounds of the surface world by way of the headphone’s amplifier and audio system. Taking the headphones on and off was uncanny—there was just some slight variations. Sure frequencies—within the vary that HVAC noise occupies, for instance—have been barely accentuated, however the total sound was very pure.
A top-notch performer on telephone calls
I used the H9 on a number of telephone calls with my iPhone XS throughout my evaluate interval. Not as soon as did people on the opposite finish complain that they coudln’t hear me, and being out on bustling streets didn’t trigger issues for my calls. I used to be very impressed with the Beoplay H9’s skill to carry out reliably on this regard.
I examined the B&O H9 with an Astell&Kern SR15 hi-res DAP and an iPhone XS. Supply materials included high-res music information and Tidal, with a desire towards Tidal Hello-Fi and Masters recordings.
The Beoplay H9 will work as a standard, wired headphone in addition to a wi-fi headphone. Wired efficiency sans ANC brings out the headphone’s full potential. I discovered the H9’s wired efficiency to be extra refined. On Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow Dwell, for instance, the highest finish had extra air; the midrange, larger readability and separation of vocals and devices. On tracks just like the Revivalists’ “Want I Knew You,” or Think about Dragons “Dangerous Liar,” the underside finish was noticeably extra managed and tight.
The Beoplay H9 helps each AAC and aptX codecs. I confirmed aptX assist on A&Ok SR15. After I used the headphones wirelessly, there was a tonal shift. Higher bass notes particularly received a slight bump. This bump is one thing I’ve persistently observed with headphones utilizing the aptX codec, and the identical attribute held true right here. After I performed the headphones wirelessly, bass additionally misplaced the management and tightness it exhibited in its wired mode.
Wired and wi-fi variations apart, there’s nothing analytical or scientific concerning the Beoplay H9’s sound. I can inform you that the H9 engaged me emotionally each time I put them on, beckoning me to re-sample songs in my music library. Lisa Gerrard’s etherial vocals on “Elegy,” from Immortal Reminiscence, delivered each ounce of their emotive high quality, to the purpose the place the hairs on my arms virtually stood on finish. I felt virtually the total thrust of the impassioned, miserable depth of Ramin Djawadi’s “Nothing Else Issues,” from the Sport of Thrones soundtrack.
Amongst this headphone’s biggest strengths is a penchant for midrange readability and element. Throughout my evaluate interval, considered one of my associates turned me onto the band Luxurious. The metallic music “Battle on Ladies” blends quite a lot of electic guitar riffs and vocals that simply mush collectively on lesser methods. The B&O H9 did a advantageous job of rendering the vocals intelligibly.
Keen about the Beoplay H9
I’ve merely captivated with B&O’s Beoplay H9 headphone. Whereas comparatively costly at $500, the Beoplay H9 are a kind of uncommon events the place you get what you pay for. Premium supplies are married to beautiful design and construct high quality. Coupled with strong lively noise-cancellation, excellent battery life, and B&O’s signature sound, the Beoplay H9 are a simple suggestion. In case you benefit from the finer issues in life, this headphone needs to be in your quick checklist to audition.