Bang & Olufsen is a premium Danish manufacturer of audio products, television sets, and phones. The company dates to 1925, when it was founded by Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen. Wanting to control the production process from start to finish, B&O started selling directly to consumers in the 1990s, instead of selling their exquisite products through retailers. This has allowed B&O to offer audiophile-grade products at much better prices than many of their competitors.
It’s important to be aware of the company’s history and mission if one wants to understand where the B&O Play H3 noise cancelling earbuds come from and what market segment they target. At around $200, the earbuds are far from cheap. However, once you finish reading this review and learn about their features and qualities, the price tag will seem perfectly adequate—we promise you.
Design and Build
The B&O Play H3 noise cancelling earbuds are crafted from a single block of aluminum, giving them both their excellent durability and their premium look and feel. If it wasn’t for the use of aluminum, it wouldn’t be possible to keep the weight at just 40 grams without sacrificing the longevity of the housing.
Such light weight construction makes long-term listening very comfortable. The listening comfort is further increased by B&O’s sound decision to include foam eartips in the box, along with several extra pair of replaceable silicone eartips.
The earbuds are powered by a 350 mAh battery, and you can expect up to 20 hours of playback time with the Active Noise Cancellation system turned on. The ANC system relies on a small microphone placed inside the earbud housing to record ambient noise, which is then analyzed and turned into anti-noise sound waves. This is exactly how Bose and other well-known manufacturers of noise cancelling headphones and earbuds combat noise, and B&O’s noise cancelling system is on par with the most effective ANC systems out there.
Many audiophile-grade earbuds are designed to work with a dedicated amplifier. Such earbuds work even without it, of course, but their sound quality noticeably suffers. The B&O Play H3 noise cancelling earbuds are different in this regard. During our testing, we’ve discovered that they sound the same with and without amplification. That’s a great news because a high-quality amplifier could easily double the price of the earbuds.
The sound signature of the B&O Play H3 is incredibly refined and full of lovely detail. Earbuds like this can be a double-edged sword because they make everything else sound dull and lifeless. Especially lows stand out with their aggressive delivery that never feels like it disrespects the original mix.
What’s in the Box?
The B&O Play H3 noise cancelling earbuds come with a single pair of T-200 Comply eartips, four pairs of silicone eartips, a flight adaptor, a USB to micro USB cable for charging and updating, a carrying pouch, and a quick start guide.