Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H2 Headphones – Plush Portability
- Impressive sound quality
- Stylish good looks
- Soft and pliable earpads
- No Storage Pouch
- Headband covering may get tired
We weren’t expecting anything which would impress us this much; Bang & Olufsen’s products were always to cater primarily for the full size hi-fi market and we were guilty of a touch of cynicism where a B&O headphone was concerned. We certainly stand corrected and they say pride comes before a fall; well now we’ve certainly fallen for the H2!
When the letters ‘B’ and ‘O’ come together the result is usually something that’s less than desirable, but put an ampersand (&) in between and things begin to seem rather more pleasant!
Bang & Olufsen is perhaps best known for its full-sized hi-fi equipment but has produced headphones for the past few years under its B&O PLAY moniker; currently it has an full-sized over-ear model in the H6, the In-Ear H3 and for an on-ear it has brought out the new H2.
Things are kept simple as is B&O’s usual brief; we have the headphones themselves, a cable and a generous 3 year warranty (2 if you don’t register the product online with B&O).
The cable features a 3-button arrangement for use with smartphones and iPhones, though functionality may be limited depending on software.
The earpads are have a very well made and opulent cushioning quality like the KEF M500; good thing too, because at first the headband is very unremitting and springy leading to a lot of clamping power. This should clear up after a couple of days of use.
The fabric covering the headband and the outward-facing part of the earcups is a light beige/manilla colour, leading to some concerns about how they might look after some months’ use. Fortunately darker colours are available if this is a worry. It’s a look sported by the Sennheiser Urbanite range; could this be a new trend?
Tested with an Astell&Kern AK120, the H2 really impresses!
Bass is at the same time voluminous and well controlled; voluminous in the area it occupies within the soundstage. It seems to come from all around! It’s there in quantity as well; giving a definite heavy foot to proceedings, but without damaging the floor.
Midrange is just as big in terms of its depth and width – there’s lots of space in there and the wearer gets a real treat in terms of vocals,details and reverb. They can stray towards peakiness at points but this is heavily dependent on the music and the wearer. B&O have got a nice balance here.
Treble is toned down making for a warm presentation overall, and one which really works for most genres. Details and harmonics are complemented without sacrificing listening comfort.
Soundstage and separation are very good also; hard panned instruments leap out and vie for attention from the shoulders, along with subtle details not usually encountered with on-ear portables.
With the BeoPlay (B&O Play) H2, Bang & Olufsen stake their claim in the portable headphone market. It’s often attacked as trading on a well-known name rather than great products, but we beg to differ. Having tried the H2 we recognise a B&O headphone by any other name would smell as sweet!