At the 2015 CES show there was one press event that was awfully loud, and to be honest, the last thing I wanted to do at 9pm with East Coast jet lag was try on a pair of headphones and subject my eardrums to the pounding bass of some techno-something track. But my eyes were drawn to a stunning display of Bang & Olufsen headphones on their table and things changed. I popped on the new BeoPlay H8 noise cancelling headphones, their first entry into the world of wireless Bluetooth headphones believe it or not, and suddenly–magic!–I was transported somewhere else entirely.
That’s when I knew a whole lot of Bang & Olufsen-loving audiophiles are about to add a new splurge tech gift to the top of their wishlists.
If your vision of noise-cancelling headphones hails from the days of those original Bose frequent-flyer staples, you have to get a load of what the BeoPlay H8 headphones can do First off, Jakob Wagner’s Scandinavian design is utterly gorgeous, with a rich leather headband and striking anodized aluminum discs over the ears which function as your touch-control panel.
A truly light touch is all it requires; swipe up, and suddenly that noisy ambient environment sound all but disappears, and the person talking to you is the only one in the room. It’s by far the most responsive, easiest touch-gesture Bluetooth headphones I’ve tried. use it to adjust volume, pause and play, or toggle between audio and phone calls. But when that music comes on? That lovely, relaxing classical music? Transcendent.
(And hey, the boom-y hip-hop sounds spectacular too. Just not for me, at that particular moment.)
Whatever you’re listening to, I think you’ll be blown away by the crispness and richness of the sound, whether you’re tuning into the latest Serial podcast episode or the opening credits to Game of Thrones. It’s clear that B&O really waited to launch wireless headphones until they were just perfect.
Now much as sound quality is essential with a pair of headphones, as a frequent traveler, I’m equally about long-wearing comfort. These on-ear headphones score big marks thanks to a high-quality soft lambskin around a memory foam insert. No ear squishing for me, not even with earrings on. And at just under eight ounces, they’re even comfy to carry around in your bag. So if you’ve got them on even for the full 30 hours of listening promised on a full charge (en route to Tokyo perhaps?) using the Active Noise Cancelling, or for the 16 hours through Bluetooth alone, I think you’ll be pretty pleased.
B&O, no strangers to high-end audio, calls this the most advanced headphone they’ve ever made and I could see why in the first 20 seconds. Of course such perfection comes at a cost, and I’m inclined to say, if you have to ask, you shouldn’t be asking.
But okay–$499 a pair.
If you have a work-in-a-cubicle situation, fly-all-the-time situation, or a many-kids-who-make-noise while you’re trying to work at home situation, the exquisite noise-cancelling BeoPlay H8 headphones may be just what you need to take you away. Even faster than a tub full of Calgon.
The new BeoPlay H8 noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones from Bang & Olufsen comes in two gorgeous colors and should ship by February. Which is soon! Sign up on their website for notifications. That gives you a bit of time to figure out if you should take the plunge, and allow me to live vicariously through you.