Review: B&O BeoPlay H8

Disclaimer: The B&O Beoplay H8 were sent to us for an evaluation period of three weeks by B&O Beoplay in Denmark. The sample is being returned this week.

B&O Beoplay H8 – Review

In August of 2013 I had the pleasure to review the B&O Beoplay H6. My expectations weren’t too high before I got the sample but it turned out to be a very well-tuned headphone and we ended up recommending it to a lot of people that were looking for a closed headphone, together with the DT770 and the B&W P7. The H6 already was considered a “design” headphone but B&O Beoplay has upped the design level on the H8 considerably. As the H8 clearly is a fashion headphone the “looks” section will be a bit longer as usual. Readers that are looking for this kind of headphone simply want to read about it.

She’s got the looks

The Beoplay H8 is a wireless on ear headphone with ANC: Active Noise Cancelling. That’s right: Noise Cancelling, not our favourite kind of technology. More on that in a later part.

The H8 was designed by Jakob Wagner who also designed the original H6 and you can clearly see both headphones share the same looks. The H8 is available in Argilla Bright and Gray Hazel, our review pair was the bright version and while I absolutely like its form, I’m not really a fan of the light gold color. Build quality and finish/presentation is pretty good but I didn’t expect anything less for a design & fashion headphone by the hands of B&O. Materials used are aluminum, fabric, plastic and lambskin leather. This isn’t a headphone for veganists, that’s for sure. The gold cups actually are made out of carefully sun-polished and anodized aluminum. These cups aren’t just cups: they house a touch control system which is actually pretty awesome.

H8 In Use

On ear headphones in my eyes are developed as portable headphones to start with. Why else would anyone out of free will choose an on ear headphone? Most of the time they’re horrible to wear and the sound quality isn’t always to write home about. Sure there are exceptions like the Beyerdynamic T51P whose comfort and sound is great but overall it aren’t the most comfortable and best sounding headphones.

It’s no surprise I’m not the biggest fan of the Beoplay H8’s comfort after stating that. They do have those lambskin ear pads with memory foam but saying they rest gently on your ears is an overstatement. After half an hour of use I already feel the need to take the H8 of my ears. The headband isn’t the softest either and the top of my head starts hurting after a while too. The Vmoda XS and Beyerdynamic T51P score a lot better in the comfort section. It’s not really head bang proof either. Listening to Faith No More’s latest Sol Invictus album, the H8 goes flying off my head right after the 3rd head bang, if I can call it like that.

For a portable headphone it is quite big to carry around. It measures 180 x 190 x 40 mm or 7.1 x 7.4 x 1.5 in and weighs 255 grams. Maybe fashionable people wear the headphone around their neck when they’re not using it but I tend to put my headphones in my man bag. Yes, I have a man bag. Serious though, the ear cups do fold 90 degrees so you can put them flat on your desk or against your chest when you’re not listening to them but the headband doesn’t bend so they take up a lot of space when you put them in your bag. Maybe the design got in the way of its comfort and transportability. Maybe I’m just an addict that uses headphones for way too long without a break. Maybe I should set my timer for 30 minute listening breaks. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s not just me. Maybe the design got in the way of things. Maybe you should just decide for yourself. Yeah.

Bluetooth you say, hmm

Wir schreiben das jahr 2015 and so far my life has been pretty much Bluetooth-less. In my 37 years on this planet I never really had the need for something with Blue Tooth technology. Well there was this one time where I bought a Jabra Bluetooth ear piece to accept phone calls when driving but it was so horrible I replaced it with a girlfriend. Now she’s taking my calls when I’m driving and she can do other stuff too. Stuff I can’t see Bluetooth doing any time soon, like marrying me later this year.

But anyway, the H8 comes with Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX codec that is supposed to give you uncompromising sound. The battery in the left ear cup that allows all this to happen is a replaceable 800mA Lithium one that charges in 3 hours’ time. It will give you 14 hours with Bluetooth and ANC, up to 16 hours with Bluetooth and even up to 35 hours with ANC. I always say any battery driven device should work for at least 10 hours and the Beoplay H8 has no issue whatsoever with that. I have to admit I didn’t listen to the H8 till the battery died, but I’ll take their word for it.

The thing is the Bluetooth worked quite nice. It connected without any issue to my Samsung S4 phone and I didn’t experience any drop outs. Not even with the phone on my desk and me walking around it. I had a less nice experience with the H8 connected to the TOTL AK240 DAP, drop outs every x seconds, very annoying. Sound quality wise the Bluetooth connection wasn’t bad at all but I’ll take a cable over wireless for now, thank you. I do advise to charge the battery when you’re not using the H8 as charging the battery results in rather loud peeping and hissing that’s audible throughout the music. Sound wise the difference between cable and BT isn’t easy to analyze as you can’t switch back and forth from BT to cable. I do feel there’s still a difference where cable actually sounds better.

Apart from the AK240 hiccups (I blame the AK), I didn’t really experience any drop outs but I always had my phone on me or I was very close to it. I seem to be lucky when it comes to drop outs, the Sennheiser RS220 which is/was known for its dropout always worked fine when I was using them, even when I was a floor up or down from the source. Call me positively surprised by the BT in the H8. I have read several reports of people complaining about the H8’s BT but I can’t confirm that with my sample.

More on Page 2, after the click

Review: B&O BeoPlay H8
4.2 (84.29%) 70 vote[s]

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

23 Comments

  • Reply May 21, 2015

    dalethorn

    Interesting that the sound becomes less clear in NC mode. The Bose QC25 and the Logitech UE-6000 are the opposite – the treble becomes less muffled in NC mode.

    • Reply May 21, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      People should just get customs 😉

      • Reply May 27, 2015

        Rasmus Horn

        I would agree customs or maybe just closed headphones would suit most people better. I even prefer the passive noise cancelling in the BeoPlay H6 over the ANC in H8. I also prefer the sound better as well even during transport. I also don’t get why wireless is important to people when the source is right next to them (during flight, train, transport or in the pocket) most of the time. So for me the H8 went back to B&O again, the H6 stays.

        Nice review by the way! 🙂

        • Reply May 27, 2015

          Headfonia_L.

          thanks mate. how’s the new job going?

          • Reply May 27, 2015

            Rasmus Horn

            So far so good 🙂 I miss the products and some of the old colleagues but other than that everything is better the new place.

            Congrats on the engagement. Enjoy the time and don’t let work consume too much of it. 😉

  • Reply May 21, 2015

    brcmrgn

    You are correct about the AK240 Bluetooth – it’s bad. I had this problem between the AK240 and the Noble BTS. The Sony A17 works flawlessly as a Bluetooth source.

  • Reply May 22, 2015

    Ted Tillholm

    Congratulations on being engaged.
    Maybe Mike will fill in for you while you’re on your honeymoon:)

  • Reply May 23, 2015

    Nickjan Glas

    congratulations with the upcoming marriage. great review. I am always fan of B&O. Surprising to read the difference in tuning; as you stated that it performed best with popular (dance) and R&B. I ll just stick to the nice H6 for my classical (listening rogier van otterlo’s ‘ soldier of orange’ soundtrack right now). Very anxious for canjam to try out all the new stuff.

  • Reply June 14, 2015

    Domain Rider

    Good review – I’ve had a pair for a couple of months and agree with you about the sound and the ANC. I find them extremely comfortable for lengthy listening sessions, despite being on-ear, although they get quite warm.

    I really like them, but I’d agree they’re more fun than hifi – the bass is a bit forward (tho good) and the treble a wee bit bright.

    The only gripes I have are that they don’t stay put very well if you’re moving around; the APT-X Bluetooth is a bit harsh/grainy; and too many BT connections drop out too often; when it’s good, it’s very good, but when it’s dropping out, it’s very aggravating.

    • Reply June 14, 2015

      dalethorn

      The Audioengine B1 BT receiver I have does a good job of receiving music and feeding my headphone amps. It uses AptX, and I’ve never noticed any grain or harshness, although there’s a quality/resolution loss across BT. Still, since it’s a hi-fi sound more or less, it makes me wonder if the fault in the H8 may be the implementation rather than AptX itself.

      • Reply June 15, 2015

        Domain Rider

        I think the H8 sound very good when wired, so it may be the BT implementation, but I had the impression that the implementation of codecs like AptX was standardised… I don’t know, but I hear the difference (though AptX is clearly better than basic BT). And though I like them, I wouldn’t say the H8 was true hi-fi in either mode. Individual ears and preferences probably make the difference there.

  • Reply April 9, 2016

    Viet

    Dear awesome Headfonia, I’m a long time reader here, however, due to work and life getting in the way, I’m not following the scene recently. Now I’m back to the market for a new headphone so I would like to get a recommendation from you guys.

    – Scenario: my working place is very noisy so I need a good closed back head phone with good sealing to concentrate on my work.

    – Type of music: I mostly listen to rap, R&B and some general mainstream stuff but for working place I would settle for more easy relaxing stuff like Enya, Regina Spektor and the like. I do like headphone that has more emphasis on bass (not the boomy kind but the well controlled, tight bass aka Sennheiser HD-25 type).

    – Requirement:

    * Good sealing: noise cancelling is not a must.

    * Comfortable: I expect to wear it during my 8 hour work day so it need to be comfortable. The longest I can do with the HD-25 is around 3 hours.

    * Relative easy to drive: I won’t be able to buy an amp or a good DAP anytime soon so I would like something that can perform decently straight out of the iPod.

    – Budget: 300-500$

    – Current headphone: Sennheiser HD-595 & HD-25 (It’s lovely to get something that can compliment these two but it’s not necessarily a requirement).

    – What I’m looking at: this B&O BEOPLAY H8, Sennheiser Momentum, Sony Z1000.

    Thank you so much for your time. 🙂

    • Reply April 9, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      I would go for the H6 or the Beyer dt770 32

      • Reply April 9, 2016

        Viet

        Wow, lightning fast response. That’s why you guys are awesome 😀

        Is it the normal Dt770 or the Anniversary one?

  • Reply April 17, 2016

    Headfonia_L.

    DT770 AE and 32 are exactly the same sounding. Just a different badge, Beyer confirmed me this personally.

  • Reply September 13, 2016

    Shreeraj

    I am considering to buy Beoplay H7 or H8… Which one is more comfortable ? Is H8 comfortable to wear for 4- 5 hours at a stretch ? Plus which one sounds better H7 or H8 ?

    • Reply September 13, 2016

      dale thorn

      I cannot find even one audiophile review of the H7, but of the reviews I read, several said that the Bluetooth sound was worse than the wired sound.

  • Reply September 15, 2016

    Ben

    They are very similar in design to the S6s which are extremely comfortable for hours on end (I know they are wired) but they sound excellent, albeit they show up a lot of poor recordings.

  • Reply December 30, 2016

    David

    I have read your post about Beoplay H8. I am really interested in buying a pair of headphones B&O but i can´t take a decision that maybe, you can help me.
    For you, which model is better? Beoplay H7 or H8? I want a wireless headphone, to travel, good sound quality and also easy to transport.

    Thank you very much in advance!

  • Reply June 25, 2017

    Lapadula

    Hi, i am also facing a dilemma between h7 and h8. Any help?

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