High-end Danish audio maker, Bang and Olufsen is thought for its placing designs and high-fidelity audio copy, and each traits are in abundance within the firm’s newest flagship wi-fi headphone, the Beoplay H9.
Featuring wonderful lively noise cancellation, B&O’s signature sound, premium supplies and craftsmanship, wonderful battery life, and Google Assistant in-built, 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. Indeed, put the 2 side-by-side or maintain them in your fingers and also you’ll be onerous pressed to inform the distinction.
The H9 sports activities the identical cowhide leather-based headband and material underside with 4 padded quadrants. The completely 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 delicate and plush leather-wrapped ear cups themselves rotate easily on aluminum arms like a precision piece of kit.
The Beoplay H9, nonetheless, is extra snug to put on for prolonged listening classes; it’s far more power environment friendly, so its battery lasts longer; and B&O has put Google Assistant at your beck and name.
In my evaluation 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 challenge by including extra padding beneath the headscarf. I can say that with the H9, lengthy listening classes had been now no drawback. I didn’t frequently expertise the necessity to take off the headphones to alleviate strain on my head.
Those 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, because of a bigger (1110mAh) battery. You’ll stand up to 25 hours with Bluetooth and ANC; as much as 32 hours utilizing Bluetooth; and Up to 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 remark, I do want that B&O had lowered the button’s location a couple of quarter to half an inch. Instead of falling naturally the place my left thumb grips the ear cup, I wanted to slip my thumb as much as discover the button. Thankfully, the button is raised off the ear cup and simple to seek out by contact.
If you’re an iPhone person, like me, you’ll must launch the Google Assistant app in your cellphone for this characteristic to work. Google Assistant doesn’t auto-launch once you press the button. If 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 can improve or lower the quantity 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 can help you apply DSP filters for various sound environments: commute, clear, exercise, podcast, and so on. You nonetheless can’t see visually what these EQ modes do. You must cycle by way of them to listen to the impact.
I stay an enormous fan of B&O’s ToneTouch possibility. 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 helps you to drive Google Assistant or use your good gadget’s built-in assistant (akin to Siri on iOS).
The H9 headphones can be found in argilla brilliant and matte black finishes. The headphones include an opulent double-layer cinch sack, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm analog cable, and two-prong airline adapter. The cinch sack’s inside 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 type issue. The H9 are good for a backpack, however received’t essentially match into your jacket pocket.
Active noise cancelling efficiency
I examined the H9 on trains, subways, and busy New York metropolis streets. The B&O H9 persistently delivered excellent lively noise cancelling efficiency it doesn’t matter what atmosphere I attempted them in. The H9 killed the vast majority of HVAC noise and a big portion of engine noise. Walking 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 any high-performing ANC headphone, you’ll should be additional cautious about your environment because the B&O do an excellent job of placing you in your personal 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 situations. 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 utterly resistant to wind noise, however its response is certainly above common.
The B&O’s total ANC efficiency, nonetheless, 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 steadiness between ANC efficiency and musical copy—a aim that I really feel they hit on the mark. Other headphones sacrifice the music for ANC efficiency.
Thankfully, ANC strain is mild. I by no means felt that “underwater” feeling that characterize another corporations’ ANC know-how exhibit.
B&O calls its ambient-aware mode “transparency.” Transparency mode helps you to hold your headphones on whereas letting the sounds of the skin in, and it sounds remarkably pure—not like I used to be merely listening to the sounds of the skin 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. Certain frequencies—within the vary that HVAC noise occupies, for instance—had been barely accentuated, however the total sound was very pure.
A top-notch performer on cellphone calls
I used the H9 on a number of cellphone calls with my iPhone XS throughout my evaluation 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 capacity 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. Source materials included high-res music recordsdata and Tidal, with a choice towards Tidal Hi-Fi and Masters recordings.
The Beoplay H9 will work as a conventional, 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 Live, for instance, the highest finish had extra air; the midrange, better readability and separation of vocals and devices. On tracks just like the Revivalists’ “Wish I Knew You,” or Imagine Dragons “Bad 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. When I used the headphones wirelessly, there was a tonal shift. Upper 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. When 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 Memory, 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 Matters,” from the Game of Thrones soundtrack.
Among this headphone’s biggest strengths is a penchant for midrange readability and element. During my evaluation interval, certainly one of my associates turned me onto the band Luxury. The metallic track “War on Women” blends quite a lot of electic guitar riffs and vocals that simply mush collectively on lesser methods. The B&O H9 did a superb job of rendering the vocals intelligibly.
Smitten by the Beoplay H9
I’ve merely enthusiastic about B&O’s Beoplay H9 headphone. While comparatively costly at $500, the Beoplay H9 are a type of uncommon events the place you get what you pay for. Premium supplies are married to beautiful design and construct high quality. Coupled with stable lively noise-cancellation, very good battery life, and B&O’s signature sound, the Beoplay H9 are a simple suggestion. If you benefit from the finer issues in life, this headphone must be in your quick checklist to audition.