Review: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 (3rd Gen) wireless Bluetooth headphones
Because who says you can’t buy class?
Bang & Olufsen has a long pedigree of both striking designs and wireless fidelity, so is that trend continued in the third generation of Beoplay H9 headphones? I mean, $500 is a hefty chunk of change to spend on any headphones. That said, B&O has always been more expensive than similar systems, as you do pay for their unique styling. But we’ll get to more on that later below.
So, how was my experience with Bang & Olufsen’s third generation of Beoplay H9 headphones? After a few weeks with them, I personally enjoyed them and couldn’t ask for more. But let’s dive in and see what these are all about.
Okay, the first thing you notice about the Beoplay H9’s is those shiny aluminum earcups. They’re not all bling though, as the right earcup also has a touch-sensitive interface that lets you control stuff like playback, skipping tracks, volume, and ANC modes.
B&O has a long history of touch interfaces, and that has served them well here. Circling the ring either increases or decreases the volume. Swiping from the top and bottom lets you control ANC or the company’s new Transparency mode (which lets you hear your surroundings). Swiping forwards or backward skips tracks, and tapping in the middle handles play/pause.
Then there are the lambskin-covered memory foam pads, which are pretty darn comfy, although I wish they were slightly bigger to cover my (admittedly oversized) ears. Those coupled with the extra padding on the headband is a nice touch too, just like an overstuffed leather couch on a lazy Sunday morning.
An 1110 mAh battery can power the H9’s for up to 25 hours (without ANC on), 32 hours with just Bluetooth, and 33 hours if you use them wired but have ANC on. Yes, you can use B&O’s classy headphones wired, and it’s arguably my favorite listening choice.
Oh, and that USB-C port you see on the earcup? That’s a properly wired USB-C port so that you can recharge from anything with a USB-C out. This is a nice bit of attention to detail that I’d expect with B&O’s reputation, but something that sadly is missed by many wireless headphone makers.
Okay, so convincing my ears today is some literal classical music, courtesy of Tidal’s 101 Classical Music Masterpieces playlist. And, you know what? I’m halfway through Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, and I’m majorly convinced. B&O has a signature sound that really comes across with the range of the cello, and I can hear every single light tap of fingers on the body of the instrument behind the vibrating strings.
Oh, I suppose I should take a quick pause to talk about the active noise canceling. It’s good. Like, really good. Unlike earlier versions, there’s no tale-tell hiss when ANC is on. It’s removed my A/C rumble, my soon-to-die fridge compressor noises, and even the renovations going on in the apartment below me. Top marks here without the feeling of pressure that some ANC systems give. B&O’s ANC does its best at not coloring the music as well, so kudos to their engineering team.
Ahh, time for 21 Hungarian Dances. I feel like twirling along, so it’s just as well the H9’s stay on my head pretty securely. I doubt they’d hold on during heavy headbanging, but that’s fine, really.
I have noticed that when on high volume and used wirelessly, the bass response seems to be too much for the drivers. That might just have been the combination of ANC plus using the B&O app to adjust the EQ levels, though, so YMMV here.
So, should I buy them?
At $500, the third generation of Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9 headphones are going head to head with other premium sets like Master & Dynamic’s M65. If you’re in the market for clean sounding cans, the Bang & Olufsen H9’s are worth an audition or two. I’m sure you can find better-sounding headphones if you look, but will they look this good?
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Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided to KnowTechie for the purpose of this review.