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Bang & Olufsen shows off first new headphones in 25 years

Lucas Mearian | June 24, 2013
The over-the-ear BeoPlay H6 headphones go for $400.

The H6s come with 40mm drivers and an acoustical range of 20Hz to 22kHz and can be daisy-chained to other headphones with built-in jacks on each side of the ear cups.

The main body of both the H3 ear buds and over-the-ear H6 headphones is made of milled aluminum. The BeoPlay H6s are covered in luxurious calf-skin leather and are available in tan and black.

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The BeoPlay H3 ear buds have 23 air vents in order to allow for more even air flow, helping to level out the bass

The B&O H3 ear buds are available in red, silver, and black. They come with 10.8mm drivers, a mini bass port and offer a 20Hz to 16kHz range. Designed by Jakob Wagner, the H3s have 23 air holes on each side to allow for ventilation. Pennington said the holes allow air to flow out more evenly, improving bass sound. Both headphones come with volume and channel controls on the connector wire, allowing a user to scan through a digital music player's list of songs.

How the H6s sound
I tried the H6s, but declined to stick the H3 ear buds in my ears as they were displayed on an open retail floor. I found the H6's sound to be better than the compared Beats, but overall, they were a bit underwhelming for the $400 price tag. When I shell out that kind of money, I expect to be wowed. I felt the audio was balanced, but not crisp and the technology did not offer enough instrument separation. The highs (or treble) were perhaps the best sounding, which lends these earphones to listening to jazz. But when I played some Led Zeppelin (When the Levee Breaks) I felt they short-changed John Bonham and his drums.

What I did like about them is that they are light, weighing just 8 ounces. They are beyond comfortable; you barely know you have them on.

The passive noise reduction design also works well, keeping outside sounds out. I like that the bass on these headphones is understated, offering the listener a more true-to-life listening experience. These days, too many headphone manufacturers employ the tactic of upping the bass artificially in order to fool consumers into believing they're getting superior sound quality. It doesn't. However, I felt the bass in the H6s was a bit too understated. I think there's a happy medium where you can still feel the beat, and frankly, I didn't.

Overall, B&O H6's provided a good quality sound reproduction. I can't say that I'd recommend them in terms of sound quality over Bose QuietComfort ($300) headphones, but the B&Os are definitely more stylish and comfortable.


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