“An intuitive touch interface gives you full control of all functionality. Turn your music on and off, answer calls, switch Active Noise Cancellation on and off, and much more. All at your fingertip.”
As soon as you connect your H8 by Bluetooth the aluminum right ear cup transforms in to a remote control. While I was skeptical about this I have to admit I became a big fan once I started using it. The more you use the controls, the easier it gets and I think B&O Beoplay did a great job on them. I won’t go in to detail on what movements do what, the manual explains it all in detail. The only issue I had with it was that I did a couple of accidental redials on my phone when I just wanted to pause and play the actual song. I’m sure the local pizza place didn’t appreciate it. The ear cup remote system will of course stop working as soon as you connect a cable but call me a fan!
Straight out of the box (a used version) the absolute first impression the H8 gave me was one of bass and air. It’s not easy getting the sound right with on ear headphones as a lot of people wear it in a different way. B&O certainly managed to get enough bass in it though. Impressions are with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) turned off.
For an on ear headphone the sound stage is OK, compared to over ear headphones the sound stage width is average which isn’t bad at all. It’s wider than it is deep though. Stereo imaging is actually pretty good with a nice left-right balance. 3-Dimensionality isn’t the H8’s strongest point but I didn’t expect that from it either. Detail retrieval is pretty good, sure it’s not the most detailed headphone you’ll ever hear but it’s reasonably good. I wouldn’t call it a neutral tuned headphone.
The Beoplay H8’s tuning is very enjoyable and it’s more a fun kind of tuning than it is an audiophile tuning if I may call it that. There’s a slight darkness in the sound and from bass to highs the H8 has a very smooth delivery. At the same time I always had the feeling the bass, mids and treble weren’t really connected to each other. All are delivered smoothly but the connection between them is a bit lacking. It’s more like they’re doing their own thing by themselves and I can’t seem to shake off that impression.
Bass obviously has a focus in this headphone and is emphasized. It’s got a lot of body and it’s on the slow and not so tight kind. It goes quite deep and has good rumble but at the same time there isn’t too much detail, layering is lacking a little. For an on ear design, bass even if it doesn’t sound like it, is quite impressive. The mids are very rich and have good body but compared to the bass and treble can be perceived as a little bit recessed but not overly so. It’s easier to notice in some recordings than in others. Like with the bass the mids don’t have the best layering.
I find the treble to be very inoffensive, it’s not the most detailed or most extended treble but it’s perfectly tuned to enjoy all kinds of music at all times without it ever being hot or sibilant. I have used the H8 for a lot of hours and I’ve played music ranging from the Beatles to Nailbomb. The H8 does it all but when playing popular (dance) music or R&B it really performs best. I also enjoyed it a lot when watching movies and series on my laptop, it’s a very lively sounding headphone.
With ANC turned on you might hear less noise from the outside but it unfortunately also decreases the H8’s sound quality. Highs get rolled off and there is less detailed and layering everywhere resulting in a more boring and compact sound. On top of that all you will find the H8 to produce a lot more floor noise with ANC turned on. I wouldn’t suggest using the ANC unless you really need to.
The only other Bluetooth headphone in my collection is the Philips M1BT. I never reviewed it myself and I have hardly ever used it but the H8 surely beats the M1BT to me. The M1BT just sounds muffled in my opinion and it doesn’t really sound good in my opinion. Comfort wise the H8 has the Philips beat too. I never got to hear the M2BT, maybe that’s another story. Compared to other non BT on ear headphones the HD25I-II and certainly the T51P is still miles ahead.
In the end the H8 to me is a very well-functioning and enjoyable fashion headphone. Tuning is clearly bass focused and while it’s no audiophile kind of unit, the tuning is very enjoyable and fun. The ANC is a nice thing to have but I wouldn’t really turn it on unless you’re in a really noisy environment.
The Beoplay H8 scores big in the looks department. At the same time I do have some questions about the design in regards to its transportability and comfort. The materials used in the H8 are top quality and the headband looks oh so sexy. The Beoplay H8 sells for $499/499€. You pay a pretty steep price for Beoplay’s latest but you get a wireless design headphone with ANC made from top materials in return. Included in the box is an audio cable with 3.5 mm jack, a micro USB cable for charging, a flight adapter, carrying pouch and a quick guide.
The H8 doesn’t need any amplification and I’ve used it directly out of my phones, several DAPs, portable amps and even the Chord Hugo. When using better devices and amps the bass will get a bit tighter but there is no real need for amplification.
If you’re looking for a fashion headphone with a blue tooth wireless connection and ANC on top of that, the H8 has a lot going for you. It’s not as easily recommendable as the H6 is though. I personally don’t need all the extras the H8 has to offer and I do prefer the H6’s tuning. The H6 is going for $399 nowadays and together with the HP100, COP and DT770 still is a headphone I would recommend in the mid fi closed headphone segment any day. If you just want an on ear headphone, do have a look at the Vmoda, Sennheiser and Beyerdynamic offerings as well.