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BeoPlay H7

Rating:
4.5/5,
Tags:
  1. BiscottiGelato
    Best SQ in Luxury BT Segment
    Written by BiscottiGelato
    Published Apr 6, 2017
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Neutral sound and great musicality. Excellent fit and finish.
    Cons - Touch control is finicky. Lack of Noise Cancellation. A little large when compared to the P7 Wireless and the Momentum Wireless.
    I did a comparison of the H7 in 2 different shops. Also amongst the mix were the B&W P7 (not the wireless unfortunately), P5 Series 2 (not wireless either), Sennheiser HD 4.50 BT. B&O's own H4 and H9. The below would be my short note.
     
    In the first shop:
    B&W P5 S2 - Very muffled compared to the P7. Not even part of my consideration right away.
    B&W P7 - Warmer and heavier in bass. A touch better in attacks than the H7. But I find too warm and bass heavy for my taste. Vocal is also a little reserved
    B&O H7 - More musical and better focal. More airy on older tracks with background static white noise. Attack isn’t as sharp or deep as the P7. But the musicality and the soundstage is much better. I find this to be a more neutral rendering.
     
    In the second shop:
    Momentum Wireless 2 On-the-ear - Distortion to moderately deep bass. Otherwise good midrange and quite musical when compared to the B&W
    B&O H4 - Weak midrange. A little muffled. Clear vocals and good bass attacks. The feeling is that things got pushed toward both ends but the midrange is missing.
    Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear - Neutral, but attacks are weaker. Still fairly musical
    Sennheiser HD 4.50 - Neutral, similar to the Momentum Wireless 2. Just a tad reserved and a tad weak on bass compared to the Momentum Wireless 2
    B&O H7 - Most musical tested. A touch bright but largely neutral. Attack and bass is a little weaker than the H4 but better than all the others. 
    B&O H9 - Noise Cancel feels stronger than the Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear. But this is very warm sounding. I would say warmer than the B&W P7. Price tag also off putting…
     
    I actually walked in with bias towards the Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear. But in the end, I picked the H7.~ The only downside I see for the H7 is the lack of noise cancellation, and actually is the bulkiest between the B&W and the Sennheiser. But sound quality-wise, I think it’s the best of the wireless. The only one I didn’t audition is the new Sony which is getting all the rave online these days. Hope this helps whoever that reads this~
      episiarch likes this.
    1. m1dday
      Would you remember how loud this is compared to the P7 Wireless?
      m1dday, Apr 20, 2017
  2. Sonic Defender
    Excellent sound with Bluetooth or Wired
    Written by Sonic Defender
    Published Apr 20, 2016
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound signature, very well made, comfort, design and good looks, removeable battery
    Cons - Lacks a little power for those who like loud playback volume
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    I don't often feel compelled to review products, but for the BeoPlay H7 I will happily make an exception. Briefly I will explain why I opted to go wireless; spoiler alert, it was because of the wires! I am a true portable user in the sense that I primarily use my portable gear on the bus commuting to school and around the city.
     
    I was constantly having issues with cables getting caught on seats, on other passengers, and just the constant annoyance of always needing to be cable aware and adjust the cable. The final nail in the cable coffin came not long after I received my gorgeous and extremely well made PM3 balanced cable from PETEREK (a shout out to the man is always due). I was getting off a train with a crush of other students (I'm an older university student) when a guy brushed past me quickly in the crowd. My cable got caught on his backpack and bang, in a flash the cable was ripped out of the PM3 cup. I was very lucky that there was no damage to either the cable, or the headphone. That was the last straw, almost from that moment I decided I would never have a cable for portable use again, never. I began researching and trying a few Bluetooth headphones and have now settled on the H7 as my current portable headphone.
     
    Build, looks, basic features
    The headphone is very well made which I don't think will surprise anybody given the price and that it is a Bang & Olufsen product. Everything about the design looks and feels like you would expect and I personally find it to be a very attractive and somewhat understated looking headphone. I won't go on about looks or build quality as I think most readers will be able to accept that B&O do indeed bring it with design and build quality.
     
    I find the B&O H7 to be extremely comfortable, perhaps ever so slightly loose, but I have a small head (big brain though). However, the seal is excellent and those lambskin ear-pads are to die for, literally I guess if you are a lamb, poor things. I can't imagine anybody having a problem with comfort at all, but I think my ears are moderate sized so I would think somebody with larger ears may find the pad openings too small - the openings are about two inches top to bottom, and side to side.
     
    I don't care about packaging or accessories very much, this has never been a concern of mine. You get a USB charging cable, a short and fairly thin 3.5mm (both ends) cable without an inline mic/volume control, again, something I personally couldn't care less about. There is a travel bag which I have yet to use and a 6.5mm adapter for use with a desktop headphone amplifier. Basic stuff, no wasted money on superfluous accessories you likely don't need.
     
    I really like the toggle switch for Bluetooth operation on the cup, it feels very well made, is nice and discrete, easy to use by feel and it works very well. Pairing has been very easy every time I have tried it with a new device, very responsive. The BeoPlay website indicates that the H7 has Bluetooth 4.1 and also the codecs for AAC, Apt X, and Low Latency so I will have to assume that is accurate and there is no reason to think it isn't. I have found the stability of the Bluetooth to be rock solid always, and the range is quite good. I frequently wander around the main floor of my house and just leave my LG G3 in the kitchen.
     
    I am amazed how to this point I have not had any issues even wandering about 30 feet away and through a closed door when I say go to the washroom with them on. Yucky I know, but there you go, I do it so judge me all you want. I at this point have not experimented with how many devices it can pair with at a time or anything, sorry, I should have before doing this review, but I tend toward simplicity in much that I do, and audio is not different so I never consider myself a features "power-user" like Giogio for instance who as we speak is in the process of turning himself into the singularity with all things Bluetooth. Personally I think he is going to drive himself over the edge, but before he goes we'll all learn a great deal about Bluetooth from him.
     
    I have not tested the battery to the point of it failing, but the claim of 20 hours battery life seems plausible (but I would also assume that may not be at full volume). Another strong feature if you ask me is that the battery is replaceable! Now that is customer focused designing, and it isn't a proprietary battery form factor either if I remember correctly, so replacing if needed should be easily done. As for the touch controls on the right cup, I have only used the touch controls a little, but my experience has been positive and I feel they are sufficient if not ideal. I do tend to switch tracks on my phone and not with the cup touch controls, but I do pause/play and adjust volume with ease using the touch controls.
     
    Sound
    So how does the H7 sound? Well to my ears they are almost perfect, certainly for me. I tend to prefer a slightly fun, contemporary signature with the bass slightly north of neutral. I am going to be describing the sound in wireless operation at first so unless I mention wired, you can assume the sound is being described with Bluetooth engaged.
     
    My overall impression is that the H7 is a very articulate, balanced and coherent sound signature well extended in both directions. The bass is of very good quality and quantity and for a 40mm driver I am pretty darn surprised that it actually has impact. The decay is nice and crisp so the H7 feels quite quick to my ears and the bass is solid and not even remotely of the dreaded one-note variety. I am continually delighted how easy it is to track and hear the distinct notes in the lower frequencies. The H7 sounds bigger than I really expected. I have owned the TH 900, D7000, and a Z7 recently as well as a PM3 so I do like my bass quantity, but it needs to have solid quality and be able to reveal texture and timbre as well. I could never live with bass than is overly pronounced to the detriment of adjacent frequencies, loose or flabby bass.
     
    I find the H7 really comes up the middle with I'm sure not the last word in bass accuracy and clarity, but it just seems to strike the perfect balance for my tastes and I feel it exhibits very good control and low distortion. I can listen to the nuanced, but strong bass lines in Steely Dan's Negative Girl perfectly as well as enjoy the depth of deep bass as commonly found in electronica of which I am a very big fan.
     
    I have also played drums for more than 30 years and I can tell you with a great deal of confidence that the H7 can properly render percussion just wonderfully, and it is able to maintain a nice separation with the bass guitar, or deep synthesizers. I am actually very impressed with the level of separation and clarity of the H7 while still presenting music as a very coherent image. And keep in mind this is with the amp on full, I never turn it down and I consider this a testament to the quality of that tiny amp and the implementation that going full-out all the time it remains musical and sounds completely at ease. The DAC must be equally competent as it seems to grab plenty of detail with just that perfect hint of warmth that I like.
     
    The mids seem very well done, not back in the mix, nor forward, just right as far as I can tell. Female vocals are excellent and rich with lots of yummy texture. And going back to the bass for a moment, it has a nice roundness to it, a certain liquidity that I find very appealing. I listen to a moderate amount of vocal rich music, but these days mostly it has been Diana Krall and Holly Cole. I really think the H7 shines with such material, small to mid sized musical arrangements with lots of space, but complexity to the pieces. I find the detail is very compelling, but not distracting in the sense that I find it very difficult to analyze the music instead I end up just listening to the music. In my books, that is a very good sign.
     
    The treble is just perfect to me, cymbal work is gorgeous and energetic, but never fatiguing or shrill, never. Now, I am going on 48 so perhaps younger ears might perceive the treble differently, but despite my age, I actually think my high frequency acuity is still pretty darn good. The treble is vibrant enough to give music that immediacy and engaging quality, but again, in keeping with that Bang & Olufsen sound, it has just that right sense of musicality and richness to it. I actually do prefer the H7 to the PM3 though I'm sure others may not reach that opinion. I like the sound stage very much, I do feel it is larger than the PM3 in all directions, but soundstage isn't something I really focus on so I will put that out there as a disclaimer. I do find spatial cues are excellent and the instrument placement and separation is certainly up to snuff with any closed portable I have tried.
     
    To sum up the sound signature, an engaging, musical and consistently balanced approach that can bring the bass when called for. It hits the bass sweet spot for me as a modest bass head, but I doubt a true bass head would be completely content with the amplitude of the bass. They would likely enjoy it's speed and tonal quality, but perhaps want more impact. For my needs it is just right, too much bass can punish you with bass centric music and I will always trade a few db of amplitude for more balance and accuracy, but again, the bass can't be lean. 
     
    Of course this is subjective, and I have no idea if you will enjoy the H7 as much as I do, but I would feel safe suggesting you give it a try. I purchased from Amazon and had I not loved it, I could have returned it for a full refund, return shipping paid so if you are at all inclined to try the H7, see if you can get it through Amazon. The price I paid was in Canadian dollars by the way and included shipping.
     
    Lately I have been using the H7 with my iDSD Micro and I can confirm the H7 scales very nicely. It is a 40mm driver so there will always be that limitation, but saying that I again will state that I find the H7 can play bigger than I would expect, so for certain the design of the driver and dampening is likely exceptional. I'm sure it won't measure as a reference device, but I would be willing to go out on a limb and suggest it measures quite well given the design goals.
     
    I do sincerely hope that Bang & Olufsen come out with a 50mm driver design with this signature as I do feel an even bigger driver could really help take this already amazing sound signature to the next level and really make it a versatility king as desktop amp users will likely want that extra scale that only a larger driver seems to bring to the table.
      stetre76 and calmblue like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. Monstieur
      I am only interested in headphones which are flat down to 20 Hz such as the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Wired Active. The QC 35 uses Active EQ to correct the frequency response which is how it's so flat.
       
      I am considering the H7 over the QC 35 because of aptX Low Latency alone (for gaming). How does the H7's frequency response compare to the QC 35's flat response. I didn't bother with the H9 because the noise cancellation is crap compared to the QC 35 anyway, so I'd rather not have it at all.
      Monstieur, Feb 1, 2017
    3. Monstieur
      @mellowjamie I'm pretty sure the H7/H8/H9 all have digital EQ applied to correct the frequency response via both the wired and wireless inputs (similar to the Bose QC 35), whereas the H6 does not. If the battery dies on the H7, the sound may change in wired mode. This happens on the Bose  QC 35. I would happily buy a QC 35 just to use it in wired mode because of it's ActiveEQ and flat frequency response. Measurements don't lie, and the QC 35 measures better than almost 99% of wired headphones.
      Monstieur, Feb 1, 2017
    4. BiscottiGelato
      I posted my own review. Can't say about the QC35. But I did back and forth on the spot back and forth for the Momentum 2 Wireless vs the H7. And also did the same thing in another shop between the B&W P7 vs the H7. I easily preferred the H7 in both cases.

      In case you said I went in with a bias. I almost clicked buy on the Momentum 2 on Amazon, before deciding that I should listen to a few alternatives before pulling the trigger. After auditions, I ended up going with the H7. Go figures~
      BiscottiGelato, Apr 6, 2017