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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 noise-cancelling headphone review: A stunning refinement to a flagship

Top-end Danish audio maker, Bang and Olufsen is understood for its placing designs and high-fidelity audio copy, and each traits are in abundance within the corporate’s newest flagship wi-fi headphone, the Beoplay H9.

That includes superb lively noise cancellation, B&O’s signature sound, top rate fabrics and craftsmanship, superb battery lifestyles, and Google Assistant in-built, the $500 Beoplay H9 will get my robust advice.

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 cling them on your arms and also you’ll be arduous pressed to inform the variation.

The H9 sports activities the similar cowhide leather-based scarf and material underside with 4 padded quadrants. The superbly machined, brushed-aluminum scarf fingers stay a factor of good looks. They slide without difficulty from the headscarf and keep in position for countless adjustment issues. The cushy and lush leather-wrapped ear cups themselves rotate easily on aluminum fingers like a precision piece of kit.

The Beoplay H9, then again, is extra comfy to put on for prolonged listening periods; it’s a lot more power environment friendly, so its battery lasts longer; and B&O has put Google Assistant at your beck and make contact with.

Upgraded convenience

In my evaluation of the Beoplay H9i, I famous that once about an hour, I’d begin to really feel drive on the very peak of my head, because of the loss of adquate padding. B&O has addressed this factor by means of including extra padding below the headscarf. I will say that with the H9, lengthy listening periods had been now no drawback. I didn’t steadily revel in the want to take off the headphones to alleviate drive on my head.

The ones lush ear cups have additionally been redesigned. They now have progressed reminiscence foam cushions that additional enhanced my convenience dressed in them.

The plush, leather ear pads have been upgraded with new memory foam padding. Ephe Nicolakis

The luxurious, leather-based ear pads were upgraded with new reminiscence foam padding.

Advanced battery lifestyles

Battery lifestyles has long past from a decent 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 the use of Bluetooth; and As much as 33 hours being attentive to track in stressed mode with ANC. A USB-C charging port, positioned at the underside of the correct ear cup, helps speedy charging. A complete fee takes most effective about 3 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 optimistic remark, I do want that B&O had diminished the button’s location a few quarter to part an inch. As an alternative of falling naturally the place my left thumb grips the ear cup, I had to slide my thumb as much as in finding the button. Fortunately, the button is raised off the ear cup and simple to seek out by means of contact.

In the event you’re an iPhone consumer, like me, you’ll want to release the Google Assistant app in your telephone for this selection to paintings. Google Assistant doesn’t auto-launch whilst you press the button. In the event you don’t have Google Assistant introduced, you’ll be induced to take action.

The H9 will give you up to 25 hours of wireless playback with ANC active. A full charge takes about Ephe Nicolakis

The H9 provides you with as much as 25 hours of wi-fi playback with ANC lively. A complete fee takes about 3 hours with the integrated USB-C cable.

Delicate contact interface

The H9’s proper ear cup options an intiutive touch-sensitive gesture pad. The contact interface means that you can flip ANC and ambient-aware options off and on by means of swiping from the end or backside of the ear cup. You’ll build up or lower the quantity by means of rotatiing your finger clockwise and counterclockwise respectively. Tapping the center of the disk will play/pause the track.

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 once a lot progressed over the only at the earlier technology, giving me a extra constant reaction.

App strengthen

B&O has an Android and iOS spouse app for the Beoplay H9 that’s quite unchanged since I remaining wrote about it. The app will show the headphone’s battery lifestyles and can help you follow DSP filters for various sound environments: trip, transparent, exercise, podcast, and so forth. You continue to can’t see visually what those EQ modes do. You want to cycle via them to listen to the impact.

The Bang and Olufsen app gives you lots of functionality and features. Theo Nicolakis

The Bang and Olufsen app will provide you with a lot of capability and lines.

I stay a large 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 at ease.

The app additionally will provide you with simple get admission to to permit or disable the headphones’ lively noise cancellation and its transparency mode. A brand new function of the app means that you can power Google Assistant or use your sensible instrument’s integrated assistant (reminiscent of Siri on iOS).

Incorporated equipment

The H9 headphones are to be had in argilla brilliant and matte black finishes. The headphones include a sumptuous double-layer cinch sack, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, three.5mm analog cable, and two-prong airline adapter. The cinch sack’s internal layer treats your H9 headphones with a velvety contact.

B&O H9 in Argilla Bright color option. Bang and Olufsen

B&O H9 in Argilla Shiny colour possibility.

The headphones themselves fold flat for simple commute, however the aluminum fingers gained’t cave in additional into an ultra-compact shape issue. The H9 are ideal for a backpack, however gained’t essentially are compatible into your jacket pocket.

Energetic noise cancelling efficiency

I examined the H9 on trains, subways, and busy NY city streets. The B&O H9 constantly 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. Strolling New York’s bustling streets, the H9 killed a vital quantity of ambient noise round me, serving to me get misplaced within the track. As with every high-performing ANC headphone, you’ll want to be further wary about your setting because the B&O do an excellent activity of placing you on 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 right through reasonably windy prerequisites. 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 be afflicted by this shortcoming. It’s now not utterly proof against wind noise, however its reaction is for sure above moderate.

The B&O’s total ANC efficiency, then again, 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 objective is to strike the correct stability between ANC efficiency and musical copy—a objective that I believe they hit at the mark. Different headphones sacrifice the track for ANC efficiency.

Fortunately, ANC drive is gentle. I by no means felt that “underwater” feeling that signify every other firms’ ANC generation showcase.

B&O calls its ambient-aware mode “transparency.”  Transparency mode means that you can stay your headphones on whilst letting the sounds of the out of doors in, and it sounds remarkably herbal—now not like I used to be simply being attentive to the sounds of the out of doors global in the course of the headphone’s amplifier and audio system. Taking the headphones off and on was once uncanny—there was once only a few slight variations. Sure frequencies—within the vary that HVAC noise occupies, as an example—had been reasonably accentuated, however the total sound was once very herbal.

The right ear cup features a touch-sensitive navigation disc. Ephe Nicolakis

The proper ear cup includes a touch-sensitive navigation disk.

A top-notch performer on telephone calls

I used the H9 on a number of telephone calls with my iPhone XS right through my evaluation length. No longer as soon as did folks at the different finish whinge that they coudln’t listen me, and being out on bustling streets didn’t motive issues for my calls. I used to be very inspired with the Beoplay H9’s skill to accomplish reliably on this regard.

Listening exams

I examined the B&O H9 with an Astell&Kern SR15 hi-res DAP and an iPhone XS. Supply subject material integrated high-res track recordsdata and Tidal, with a desire towards Tidal Hello-Fi and Masters recordings. 

The Beoplay H9 will paintings as a conventional, stressed headphone in addition to a wi-fi headphone. Stressed out efficiency sans ANC brings out the headphone’s complete attainable. I discovered the H9’s stressed efficiency to be extra delicate. On Sarah McLachlan’s Afterglow Are living, as an example, the end finish had extra air; the midrange, higher readability and separation of vocals and tools. On tracks just like the Revivalists’ “Want I Knew You,” or Consider Dragons “Dangerous Liar,” the ground finish was once noticeably extra managed and tight.

The Beoplay H9 helps each AAC and aptX formats. I showed aptX strengthen on A&Ok SR15. Once I used the headphones wirelessly, there was once a tonal shift. Higher bass notes particularly were given a slight bump. This bump is one thing I’ve constantly spotted with headphones the use of the aptX codec, and the similar feature held true right here. Once I performed the headphones wirelessly, bass additionally misplaced the keep watch over and tightness it exhibited in its stressed mode.

Stressed out and wi-fi variations apart, there’s not anything analytical or medical in regards to the Beoplay H9’s sound. I will let you know that the H9 engaged me emotionally each and every time I put them on, beckoning me to re-sample songs in my track library. Lisa Gerrard’s etherial vocals on “Elegy,” from Immortal Reminiscence, delivered each and every ounce in their emotive high quality, to the purpose the place the hairs on my fingers nearly stood on finish. I felt nearly the total thrust of the impassioned, miserable depth of Ramin Djawadi’s “Not anything Else Issues,” from the Recreation of Thrones soundtrack.

The headphones fold flat for easy travel. Ephe Nicolakis

The headphones fold flat for simple commute.

Amongst this headphone’s biggest strengths is a penchant for midrange readability and element. Throughout my evaluation length, considered one of my pals grew to become me onto the band Luxurious. The steel track “Conflict on Girls” blends quite a lot of electic guitar riffs and vocals that simply mush in combination on lesser techniques. The B&O H9 did a tremendous activity of rendering the vocals intelligibly.

Smitten by means of the Beoplay H9

I’ve merely smitten by means of B&O’s Beoplay H9 headphone.  Whilst quite pricey at $500, the Beoplay H9 are a kind of uncommon events the place you get what you pay for. Top class fabrics are married to beautiful design and construct high quality. Coupled with forged lively noise-cancellation, excellent battery lifestyles, and B&O’s signature sound, the Beoplay H9 are a very simple advice. In the event you benefit from the finer issues in lifestyles, this headphone will have to be in your quick record to audition.

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