Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H3 Review. The H3 is a pair of premium single armature earphones under £200. With a powerful smooth bass rich sound signature and a comfortable presence in the ear the craftsmanship is beautiful. This review delves deep into the inner workings of the H3.
Dating as far back as the 1920’s, Danish born ‘Bang & Olufsen’ is a brand that has some seriously deep roots within the sound technology industry. Producing stylish products that typically adorn the abodes of the more financially sophisticated user, Bang and Olufsen have a certain design precedent that inherently ensures that each and every one of their products provides each user with an experience that can satisfy every sense with pure unadulterated class.
However, in recent times Bang and Olufsen have released the BeoPlay range that aims to take this same level of quality from out of the typical domestic environment of their target market, and places their years of experience into the portable audio environment. Noting the above, today we shall be exploring their latest flagship inner-earphones; the BeoPlay H3’s.
Unboxing, Features, and Build Quality:
Arriving in a standard retail packaging, the BeoPlay H3 enclosure is very reminiscent to many of all the other designs that you would see hanging in any retail space. However, after finally after unwrapping your latest purchase, you will locate your shiny new earphones in either a dark-grey/black, light grey, or red colour that is visually very pleasing. Also included within this package is a choice of four sets of silicone earplug adaptors that, for optimum sonic presentation, should be selected according to the size of your outer ear cannel. The four sizes that are included are extra-small, small, medium, and large, and appear to be of a similar standard to most retail products, but we would have liked to have seen the inclusion of some double flange fittings to offer a greater seal that can help certain users with the H3’s ‘sweet-spot’ frequency response.
As the BeoPlay H3’s are, yet again, another product that has been ‘designed for Apple’, the brand new H3 design includes an in-line remote on the 1.5m cylindrical cable that controls all of the desirable music player functions, but furthermore includes an microphone that enables the user to take phone calls without the need to reach into a pocket. Additionally an aircraft (dual mono pin) adapter has been included for those frequent fliers.
Whilst you cast your eye over the build quality of these particular headphones, they seem to have been produced by Bang & Olufsen to a very high standard. In fact the design of the angular driver housing has been created to perfectly match the contours of the outer ear so that there is no clandestine feeling towards your choice of music listening fashion. This immediate detail works nicely in both theory and practice where it certainly reminds us of their designer, Jakob Wagner’s design philosophy of designing the H3’s to match “people’s personality” in the same way that other close-facial objects, such as glasses, integrate into a person’s presentation and interaction. Here it is important to note that it is certainly incredible that out of the box the H3’s include a one-year limited warranty that, if registered, becomes extended to a whopping three-years.
Moving on into more of the critical information now, the H3’s sport a 10.8mm driver that can pack a serious punch that have been correlated to a twenty-three precision drilled hole driver housing that aims to tune the housing and allow for more movement and a greater open back like sound. This is something that we will come back to later within this review, and whilst we feel that the product that is supplied is very nice, we would feel much more comfortable with this presentation if it included an adequate protection case as many other earphone packages in this £199.00 retail price-range include this.
As a synopsis when opening the H3 earphones up at first glance the H3s look very simplistic, however after a few minutes you start to see the deep craftsmanship behind these earphones. The brushed aluminium housings make for an elegant and sleek piece of audio wear indeed. The cable is tough and can certainly take the strain of the user on the move. The 3 button mobile control is also built to the same high quality standards you would expect from B&O. The H3’s feature a slim profile 3.5mm jack connector of again sturdy construction and design. Comfort is also a feature that hasn’t been looked over, these earphones sit well in the ear and create a great seal to the ear. Not once have these fallen from my ears when the cable is brushed by arm or hand, as many earphones often do!
As predicted, the H3’s definitely make for a pleasurable listening experience. Although the bass detail won’t satisfy those ‘bass heads’ out there, they certainly have a rather true to life presentation that doesn’t make the bass overly bombastic. Some might say that the low end does lack some of that ‘punch’ that many of you may be familiar with from other commercial brands, but it does have a nice fabric response that is believable; albeit more neutral.
Although the above may be true, and could possibly be a clincher for consumers who demand a curved response that artificially heightens the listening experience, because listening to electronic bass lines do sound a little flat. On the other hand, if you consider yourself to be something of an ‘audiophile’ then you will appreciate this for what it is worth, but saying this we have also found the dynamic attention to detail to be a little flatter than what we would have expected.
When focussing on high frequencies, the H3’s gladly don’t have a distorted presence or make the sonic signature to appear out of sync with the bass-lines, and because of this you won’t be as so prone to premature listening fatigue. In fact the high frequencies have a shine and brilliance that remind you why we all love music! Likewise the midrange is nice and fluid. It sounds nicely balanced with the bass and treble to make a clean and clear sonic presentation that is free from ‘artificial hype’.
However, we do all feel that the dynamics feel a touch stunted that lacks some clarity and richness to fill all of your senses which, at times, makes emotive musical dynamics feel lost. This is strange because the BeoPlay H3’s have those twenty-three precision-drilled holes in the driver housing to help with dynamic presentation. In fact thinking about this further you might imagine that these holes might make travelling with these earphones to be a tricky affair, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. During travelling these earphones are very neighbourly as there doesn’t appear to be any sound leakage, and likewise your external environment is passively blocked out quite significantly so you can rest assured that you won’t be disturbing your neighbour. On the other hand in the event that you are sat next to someone on a bus then you can pop these little beauties in and enjoy the ride.
Overall the Bang & Olufsen H3’s have lived up to the expectations of this prestigious brand. Comfort mixed with smooth easy to listen transmission of music makes for a pleasing pair of earphones. Where the bass lacked the H3’s more than made up for that in other areas of its sonic performance. So to the star rating, we at The Pro Audio Web Blog give the Band & Olufsen H3’s very nice four out of five stars.