B&O H7 Bluetooth Discussion and Impressions

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  1. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Okay, well quickly, very quickly this headphone is becoming one of my favorite portables to date! I will try to temper my new toy enthusiasm, but the H7 is very, very good. I already know that I prefer it to the PM3, which I was very happy with. I actually hear the H7 as similar to the PM3 with less, but more articulate bass (subjective of course) and most certainly with improved treble extension. There is an effortless about the H7 and I like it's tonality which has a sumptuousness about it.
     
    Instrument separation is very good, sound stage may be better than the PM3 (although I do tend to struggle with sound stage as it is also recording dependent much of the time). The treble is grain free and I find that as a whole the signature really holds together well. Midrange seems well balanced and again quite nice.
     
    The built in DAC is very nice, I like the sound and detail level. The amp seems quite clean as well if a tad underpowered for people like me who like music quite loud. Still, I'll bet the majority of users would find the volume level output just fine. I didn't spend much time wired yet as I am going Bluetooth so worrying about wired seems to be a waste of energy. Still, I intend to listen more wired so as to provide some feedback on this aspect of the H7.
     
    The build quality and looks are quite high, PM3 level of quality in both regards. Actually, the H7 is better looking I think, but that is secondary to sound quality but still important. The comfort is quite good, I would say almost the same as the PM3. I have said this in other threads recently, but given just how good the quality of Bluetooth is, I can't imagine why I would ever, ever again consider wired headphones for portable. It makes no sense in the manner I use a portable, walking, crowded public transit, shopping etc.
     
    This is of course a very personal sound signature thing, but I would have to currently score the H7 as a solid 8.5 or 9 out of 10 on sound in the context of a portable. I'm just not hearing any weakness (I'm not saying there aren't any, but they certainly aren't obvious) overall it seems to be a nicely balanced and engaging headphone that still moves toward the contemporary sound camp that I like, bass emphasized, but not overblown bass that still remains articulate. This is of course very early on in my time with them, but I have already had at least 5 hours with them on and I have been using a wide variety of music so far and I'm very impressed. Maybe I shouldn't be, it isn't like B&O have no experiencing crafting decent quality affordable audio products.
     
    I know this isn't a common headphone on head-fi, but I would love to hear from others who have had a chance to hear the H7.
     
  2. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Shame these headphones aren't better known, they are extremely nice sounding. I'm surprised so few people seem to know about them or have heard them. I suspect quite a few people may not be aware of just how accomplished Bang & Oulfsen really are. Bummer, I was hoping to get input from others on the H7. Eventually I hope somebody comes along to my very lonely thread.
     
  3. cakebot
    Hello, lonely thread!  I recently purchased the H7 after trying them out at a B&O store in Barcelona.  When I first paired them to my phone and started listening, I thought, "Oh my...."  then I asked how much they were and again thought, "OH MY!"  But they are so good.  And comfortable.
     
    I was just at Mobile World Congress where LG debuted the new G5 smartphone with optional B&O DAC module.  I tried it out and it was great.  So I was already thinking, "Man, I wish I could get great sound out of my mobile device without needing to tether crap to it.  I should ditch my HTC M9 and get this new LG G5 + B&O DAC module."  Imagine how much THAT would cost (I still owe a few hundred on my HTC M9).  So, to me, with not having to get a new phone or carry a DAC around, it almost justified the price.  haha almost.  It was also my birthday a few days earlier!  Bam!  Done!
     
    Biased review:
    I've been incredibly happy with them for the first month.  Super comfy.  No wire is great.  Sound great.  The touch controls on the right ear are very handy.  There's not enough isolation that my co-workers complain that they can't get my attention (they suck on a plane though).  I agree with Sonic Defender that they feel like great quality headphones.  I charge them every few days and haven't killed the battery once after using them for a couple hours a day.  No idea how long they actually last!  I also agree with SD's review of the sound.  They definitely produce a more bass-rich experience than I'm used to, but they do it well (i have Shure SE535 IEM and AKG Q701s.  And I used to mix live audio for a living).  The rest of the range sounds nice as well.
     
    If anyone is considering Bluetooth and will use their cans a LOT, they should consider B&O H7.
     
  4. Sonic Defender Contributor
    @cakebot, so you went all in for the G5! I was really tempted to, but I settled for the G3. If you are using Bluetooth, you don't get to take advantage of the DAC/amp in the G5 which is why I didn't get the G5 as my goal is to avoid any wired headphone for portable. Still, I was really tempted by the G5, quite a sexy beast. Oh well, the humble G3 is all I need for now anyway. Glad somebody else has the H7.
     
    Macedoniahero, a reviewer here and elsewhere is likely going to be reviewing the H7 in the near future. If not, I'm going to send him my set to review. I think they are good enough that they deserve more attention. As I said, I was able to sell my PM3 and as much as I loved them, I do think the H7 has a better balanced sound with plenty of character to make it rich and engaging. Certainly the treble extension is as smooth but even more extended on the H7 than with the PM3. I actually feel the bass is cleaner. Do you find the bass decay is very fast? I think that is what helps keep the bass tidy even with bass intensive material. There are times I think the decay might be a tiny bit fast, but if that is the trade off for the control of bass it is a very reasonable trade off indeed.
     
  5. cakebot
    No, didn't get the LG G5.  It's not even released in the US until April.  With a bluetooth connection to my headphones, I just don't see the need to switch.
     
    Fun fact: I spotted what appeared to be the H7 or H8 headphones in the latest season of House of Cards on Netflix. :)
     
    Speaking of, I also got to try the H8.  Same general feel but on-ear instead of over-the-ear... but I dislike noise-cancelling features which is the big selling point of the H8.
     
  6. Therealdoug
    I've had these since November; think they were released in October. Quite surprised there are still very few reviews on them. It's like their marketing department didn't bother to send them out for review!

    I find it difficult to comment on the sound, but I can offer some likes and dislikes:

    Likes:
    - Battery life is excellent. Rated at 20 hours. I usually only use them for around 2 hours a day, so in reality I'll plug them in when they hit less than 50%. No anxiety about a dead battery.
    - On iOS, they show battery life to the nearest 10% in the Today drop down.
    - Very few connection drops. Seems to happen if I change tracks consecutively and quickly. Other than that, very reliable and good range.
    - For iOS, suports AAC over Bluetooth. For other devices, supports aptX low latency. I ended up getting an aptX low latency adapter for my PC and there's no audio lag when watching video.
    - Very comfortable. Weight could be lighter, but not an issue. No hard clamping force.

    Dislikes:
    - Passive isolation is quite poor. Although you may prefer this.
    - Volume could be louder
    - Touch controls quite difficult to use. No audible feedback when performing any actions.
    - No audible feedback when connecting or disconnecting devices. You have to check the device to see if the connection was made.
    - No Bluetooth multipoint
     
  7. Sonic Defender Contributor
    It isn't low latency, at least not according to the AptX site which only shows the H8 as LL. Maybe I'm wrong, I'll look on the box and see if it mentions LL or not. Yes, it could be louder, but it is decent and very clean power at least.
     
  8. jsb16hfi
    @Therealdoug, could you recommend something with better passive isolation, particularly something that's over/around ear with Bluetooth? I full expect IEMs to give better passive isolation, but I'm trying to avoid them. Thanks.
     
  9. Sonic Defender Contributor
    I found the Definitive Technology Symphony 1 fairly decent, but nothing blocks everything out, you need to be realistic. I take noisy buses everywhere and even when I have the volume up pretty loud at times I still hear the engines rev, but it definitely isn't problematic.
     
  10. jsb16hfi

    I'm starting to suspect that I'm not being very realistic [​IMG], in the sense that I'm looking for a single set of headphones to use in every environment (home where I need Bluetooth so I can walk around, but isolation isn't so important; work where good passive isolation is essential but I will generally be cabled to something; travel where Bluetooth would be nice but maybe not absolutely needed, where differences in sound signature may be lost in background, where portability is important, and where isolation just needs to be OK). But what I'm trying to get at with my question is what @Therealdoug's basis for comparison is: e.g., is their passive isolation poor compared to IEMs, which I would fully expect, or is it poor compared to some other headphone (which is potentially in my list), or is his comment an impression independent of any comparison. Alas, I'm looking for over/around ear, so the Symphony 1 is out of the competition.
     
    Essentially, my search is confined to over/around ear, closed-back Bluetooth headphones with AAC support. Within that, I'm looking for the best available passive isolation within that group (I'm actually more concerned what leaks out than what leaks in), and within that subset I'd like something with a more neutral sound signature. What I read about passive isolation of individual models is surprisingly inconsistent, so I'm trying to sort that out.
     
    The H7s are high on my list, and I'm also patiently awaiting @Giogio's review of the MW60's. The MW60's are an interesting case: there was an interview I read where the company were clearly true believers in passive isolation, so one would expect the MW60's to do well, but I found one review elsewhere saying that they didn't do so well in that regard. Rounding out the list are the Backbeat Pro (bass heavy, but haven't found anyone with bad things to say about their isolation) and the GC20s (from what you [@Sonic Defender] said, the H7s probably win over the GC20s: more neutral and not a substantive difference in isolation). Really there's not much else that makes the first cut: two Sonys (1ABT and XB950BT), but there seems to be consensus that their isolation is poor, and the Ziks (partly battery life, but I think this is really a symptom of what bothers me more about them: an overreliance on their app to do everything; though sometimes I wonder if I'm throwing them out too quickly).
     
    Hopefully I haven't wandered too far off topic here...
     
  11. Sonic Defender Contributor
    @jsb16hfi, no you are perfectly on topic. The H7 isolate decently, but I'm quite certain there is better isolation available. The GC20 sound signature I found very poor so even if it shut out everything else, I would still not be even remotely interested in it. Sad as I wanted to keep it, but I just couldn't like it. For me, I put isolation as secondary, but important. In a noisy environment, today in a food court the H7 was not able to shut out all the noise from the constant din of conversation, but when the music passages were loud it was good, but not perfect. If I thought I was always going to be in that noise level I might question the H7, but realistically that isn't the case so I just consider that a caveat. The sound signature is excellent, the quality of the Bluetooth in terms of stability and range is excellent, the build quality is excellent. When I factor those things into the equation, balanced against adequate to good isolation (at least to me) I think the H7 is a winner. Now it is more expensive than the WS99BT which I think is similar in terms of isolation, but I do slightly prefer the H7's signature, and the H7 plays really well when wired. If you can audition the H7 I think it is well worth it, but who knows what you will think. Can you get it via Amazon who have a great return policy?
     
  12. jsb16hfi
    I've never been entirely comfortable with the order-try-return method, though that seems commonly accepted here. But everything I'm interested in does seem to be available from Amazon, so maybe that is the way to go. Another possibility make a bit of a journey to an Apple store where I might be able to try out the H7 and the MW60, though I'm not sure whether that would be possible there (furthermore the nearest one is not particularly close, and I would have to find the time and bring someone along if I want to test sound leakage; I'm busy enough that this is a surprisingly difficult feat). But I'd also like to compare the others on my list, and that I can't do in one place. So I'm looking around for threads where people have tried out items on my list as a first pass, hoping to narrow things down more.
     
  13. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Reviewed the H7 here http://www.head-fi.org/products/beoplay-h7/reviews/15807
     
  14. metaplectic
    Thanks for the great review. Can you describe the level of amp hiss for the H7, as compared with say Sennheiser Urbanite XL, or any other top-SQ non-ANC wireless headphone?
     
  15. Sonic Defender Contributor
    I find the level of hiss to be quite low, certainly lower than the ATH WS99BT or even the XTZ Divine. The real problem is that some recordings themselves have a degree of hiss associated with the recording/mastering so there are times I hear that hiss. But when I put on a quiet recording with what I know is low hiss from other listening situations I do find the H7 performs quite well. I think there is inherently some hiss that is hard to escape as the amp and the dac are right beside the transducers, but I will again say that I think the H7 is quite a solid performer in this regard. I personally don't listen to a great amount of music with very quiet passages so I have not tested the H7 in that manner. I suspect for somebody who requires very silent headphones where hiss is concerned BT may not be the very best choice, but it does depend quite a bit on the material, and the users expectations. Thanks for the compliment on the review, I really do think the H7 signature is very good and completely fatigue free. Although not a Bluetooth feature, when driven wired from my iDSD Micro the H7 is very, very good sounding. Hard to believe it is only a 40mm driver.
     
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