The world’s most expensive full-size wireless active noise canceling headphones are tested today. And this is not even Apple’s famous AirPods Max toy, as you might think, since it is by no means impressive in sound quality and, accordingly, is not interesting to me. No, we will discuss a little more promising in this sense headphones from the Danish company Bang & Olufsen , released in honor of the 95th anniversary of the brand, well, called H95, so that no one would guess. Their price tag we have is $ 1000, for Bluetooth headphonesthat’s a hell of a lot.
What do we actually get – an overpayment for the image role of the model or a really ultimatum decision? Should people who are willing to pay once to use the device for a long time and with the maximum comfort, focus on BeoPlay H95?
I promise to tell you in detail about all the pros and cons of the new product, honestly evaluate the sound, make a comparison with competitors. The review will be serious, although I can hardly refrain from irony until the end, the model is still extremely boldly sneaking into the segment where classic wired full-sizes reigned before. Let’s see how she handles this challenge. To the point.
We have already unpacked top-end headphones more than once, so I knew roughly what to expect. But, perhaps, Bang & Olufsen headphones surprised me.
Opening an elegant cardboard box, we immediately find a sturdy aluminum case. It plays the role of a carrying case here, it looks impressive and mature, but is suitable only for those who do not need to save space in the bag.
That is, I suspect, to the majority of buyers of the subject. But for storing headphones at home – ideal in any case. In addition to the case, we get a Type-C charging wire, a 3.5 speaker cable, both in cloth braid, as well as an aircraft adapter and a microfiber cloth with a monogram so that the owner can take care of his musical beauty. The accessories are packed very neatly, with comfortable leather clips for the cables. Overall, the presentation is very charming.
Now let’s talk about the design of the model. BeoPlay H95 are closed, full-size headphones… Although I personally would rather call them overhead, they look sleek, thin and compact. Thanks to the foldable form factor, this premium piece is able to take up very little space. The exterior design here is modern, rather restrained, without additional showiness.
For this price, I probably expected more, the same Sennheiser Momentum M3 AEBTXL in style they were closer to me.
But the materials for the H95 are luxurious: soft sheep leather for the ear cushions, memory foam for their filler, cow leather for the headband, metal for the main structure. Unless there is a little plastic on the bowls. There are three color options for this model to choose from, black, gray, both are quite universal, golden ones are just beautiful.
The ear cushions, by the way, are removable, they are held by magnets. The arch of the headband is flexible and there is a delightfully smooth adjustment system that I liked. There are no complaints about the build quality, the mechanism is unlikely to loosen quickly, and this is good.
As for the wearing comfort, I can name a couple of comments. The earbuds are not the lightest, and the headband is solid and narrow, I would prefer it to be wider. On the other hand, the oval ear cushions securely cover the ear, providing excellent passive sound insulation, and the H95 itself is not massive enough to tire its weight.
So I conditionally put the five, I had no problems with the fit, but I draw your attention to the fact that it will not hurt to try on the model before buying.
Features and functionality
If you are looking for wireless headphones for fun, you will love the new B&O flagship. This model really does everything in order not to annoy the owner. And I understand why. Taking into account the cost, it must be a high-tech and absolutely universal tool that quickly adapts to any daily use case and copes with a variety of tasks.
The company did well. BeoPlay H95 can automatically connect to a familiar source, give you an instant and stable connection, there is no delay in playback. Multipoint for two devices is supported. Management here is combined, touch-button, and very original. We have a touch panel for play / pause, a headphone on / off slider, a physical button for calling the voice assistant, and two wheels for controlling the volume and noise reduction / transparency modes.
It was nice to control the sound with these metal discs, I would like other manufacturers to do something similar too. The model does not have voice prompts, but the proprietary Bang & Olufsen App is supported, through which you can set precise settings, play with the equalizer and update the firmware.
A little more specifically about the technical parameters. BeoPlay H95 uses 40 mm dynamic drivers with titanium diaphragm and neodymium magnets, as well as specially designed DSPs for digital signal processing. There is an adjustable active noise cancellation ANC, high quality and quite gentle in terms of the effect on sound.
The transparency mode is also well implemented, I have no complaints about it. For calls, H95s are quite convenient, there are four microphones each with its own noise reduction.
Bluetooth 5.1 version, AAC and aptX Adaptive codecs are supported. And here we dwell on my most important remark to these headphones.
How can there be no LDAC in a $ 1000 model? Let’s say this is not the only such example on the market, my SP2000 has also the maximum available codec is aptX HD. But Ultima is a premium audio player designed primarily for a wired connection, all Bluetooth functionality remains there simply as an add-on. But for BeoPlay H95, it is the basis. Okay, we’ll soon find out how the level of their drivers and electronic filling can compensate for the lack of digital stream transmitted via wireless.
In contrast to the big minus, I will name the big plus, which partly demonstrates the prioritization. The Bang & Olufsen flagship has an absolutely record autonomy – up to 38 hours on a single charge with ANC on and up to 50 hours without it. These headphones even beat Yamaha’s former favorites YH-E700A offering 35 hours of music with ANC enabled. Undoubtedly, the novelty is perfect for travel, it will not need to be charged too often.
If you are looking for the best autonomy in wireless headphones, the question is solved for you. Let me remind you that you can also listen to music via cable, but their battery must be charged for this, which, in my opinion, is not entirely logical. But at least the sound quality will grow. By the way, about this …
The main testing was carried out on Astell & Kern A & Ultima SP2000, iBasso DX160 and iPhone 12 Pro.
Well, my invaluable readers, get ready for the culmination of this great roundup of the world’s most expensive Bluetooth headphones. How does BeoPlay H95 play?
What can I say about Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound?
You know, if they sounded really bad, oh, I would go over them in this article, given how many competitors they have with a more affordable price. But – the sound is not bad. For experienced audiophiles, it will not be impressive, the model is still massive, but ordinary music lovers should be delighted.
The presentation itself is warm, engaging and vibrant. Moderate bass and treble accents are combined with a detailed and neutral midrange that, surprisingly, hasn’t been pushed too far back. The second feature is a rather wide stage. The acoustic picture in no way feels squeezed, the positioning of the instruments in relation to each other is correct. The third characteristic is the emphasis on emotions. The model willingly picks up the mood of the composition, the expressiveness of the sound, speed and biting add drive. The handwriting is not overly flavorful, its energy does not slip into meaningless and tiresome fireworks, just the headphones enhance the musicality inherent in the track so that you want to listen to them longer.
The bass is punchy, punchy and fast. Their depth could be better, but the control pleases, the range does not go beyond what is permitted and avoids unnecessary hum. The mid is a little dry, while there is a pumping of the sub, the blow is strong and confident. However, low frequencies do not dominate the overall mix, and, accordingly, this model is unlikely to be interesting for bassheads. The variability of textures is basic, the decays are accelerated, but the relief is read more or less smoothly, and the roar of an electric guitar is transmitted harshly and clearly.
The mids are melodic, rich and balanced. Resolution and detail are not bad, I expected less. They won’t be able to compete with wired models in the same class, the H95, but I won’t even seriously demand this from them. The separation of instruments is reliable, micro-nuances are audible, there is an initial elaboration of the second plan. Of the minuses – on the midrange, I would like to add volume, they are perceived flat, the timbre palette lacks shades, and I would also prefer a more natural vocals. True, my strict criteria are of little use here, it’s wireless.
The treble is dedicated, warm and comfortable. They do not differ in particular length, although the lower part of the spectrum is transmitted softly and pleasantly, adequately showing themselves even on live music. But, I repeat, the treble is simplified here, connoisseurs of complex overtones should not rely on exorbitant technicality.
Let’s start with the predecessor of our hero – Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H9 3rd gen . I also reviewed these headphones, they, in general, left a positive impression, but I had questions about their cost. In my opinion, judging abstractly by the combination of price / quality, the new BeoPlay H95 is more profitable to buy.
The previous flagship in design and sound level is closer to the $ 400-500 segment, in which you can pick up analogues for it, but the premium H95 with its excellent compactness and unique autonomy actually close the question with the search for wireless headphones. But there is a certain overpayment for the status role of the device in both cases, keep this in mind.
About expensive audiophile Bluetooth-models Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless or HiFiMan Ananda-BT to speak in this section, I do not see the point. They sound significantly more mature, but their open design and lack of ANC put them outside the category of travel headphones. Accordingly, they and B&O will have a different audience.
The lineup of the well-known pantheon of wireless full-size with active noise reduction, which remain the bestsellers. Models from Sony, BOSE, Bowers & Wilkins, Shure, my favorites Dali IO-6 , Sennheiser Momentum M3 AEBTXL and so on. Is the new Bang & Olufsen player beating them? Yes, it gets around. Is it worth double or even triple the surcharge? Here everyone decides for himself. If you can afford it, I advise you not to save. But, if you’re on a budget, there are excellent options among the listed headphones.
And finally, the real competitor is the AirPods Max. Another extremely elite little thing, which, moreover, is in short supply. Here my conclusions are obvious. It makes sense to choose this model only for the sake of harmonious interaction with other Apple technology, if you live in this ecosystem. But in terms of sound, ease of transportation, autonomy, and functionality, BeoPlay H95 is much better. For example, you won’t be able to listen on the wire and charge the AirPods Max with a human Type-C cable. Well, whoever loves an apple will buy an apple, but in this fight I remain on the side of the Scandinavians. With my iPhone and B&O worked great.
If you are looking for the current flagship with Bluetooth, be sure to take a closer look at the hero of the review. Did the Bang & Olufsen model come out well, timed to coincide with the company’s nearly 100th anniversary? I think so. But, let’s be honest, it’s not in vain that BeoPlay H95 is positioned by the manufacturer as headphones for wealthy travelers.
Those for whom the price tag is not important will obviously not be disappointed, but for the rest there are many more budgetary, while also high-quality devices. The choice is yours.