The Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H7 Wireless Headphones

A few years ago I added the very clean sounding BeoPlay H6 headphones to my Comparative Thread of Portable Headphones on Head-Fi.org (http://www.head-fi.org/t/672743/comparisons-28-of-the-top-closed-portable-headphones-around) and was very impressed with not just their comfort and build quality, but also their very open and clean sound. Well, the folks at Bang & Olufsen were back at it and have recently released the new H7. This is the Bluetooth wireless version of the over-ear H6s. With the impending release of the new iPhone 7 with a rumored loss of the headphone jack, I’m thinking the popularity of wireless headphones will only continue to grow as folks looking for portable headphones to play with their iPhones will be looking to “future proof” their audio investment. That’s where products like the BeoPlay H7s come into play: they have their own internal amplifier and digital-to-analog converter already contained within the headphone. As well, this only simplifies the audiophile’s life as we typically look to get the most out of our mobile phones with external amplifications and DACs (like the Chord Mojo). With these components already being “under one roof” within the headphones, users can get better performance (in theory that is) and not have to lug around a separate portable amplifier/DAC combination unit.

The build quality of the BeoPlay H7s is very much reminiscent of the previous wired H6 headphones. They are very handsomely put together with a mix of leather, metal and plastic that yields a luxurious finish that is also incredibly light and comfortable. Charging them up was quite simple as they come with a standard micro-USB cable and after plugged in for a few hours on my work laptop, they were fully charged and ready to rumble. The H7s are slightly heavier (by only 50g; 280g vs. 230g) than the H6s (most likely due to the on-board amplification and digital-to-analog circuitry) and once on my head, it was very difficult to tell them apart. I would rate the comfort of both headphones as outstanding and they could be worn for several hours without any fatigue in comfort. The leather finished headband makes the styling quite unique and stand out. So for those looking for a great sounding pair of portable headphones that also look great, the BeoPlay H7s certainly would fit that bill in my opinion. They are offered in several different color options too to suite to one’s taste. The review pair that I received were made in the Limited Edition “Cenere Grey” and look quite fetching. They also come in a “Natural Tan” and “Black” options. All three look great and it’s a bonus to have these options. While I’m not overly concerned with the “fashion” side of headphones, as these are primarily designed to be portable, I can see that many potential buyers could be swayed by their appearance.

The BeoPlay H7s do also include a detachable headphone cable (terminated with a standard 3.5mm stereo headphone plug) should your batteries die out on you before you can recharge them. Included the box:

BeoPlay H7 wireless Bluetooth Headphones (battery included)

Audio Cable terminated with standard 3.5mm stereo termination

USB to micro USB cable for charging and updating

Carrying Pouch

Quick Start Guide

The full specifications for the H7s are:

Dimensions197 x 225 x 40 mm
Weight280 g
MaterialsAluminum, Leather, Fabric, Polymer
Available ColoursBlack, Natural, Cenere Grey (Limited Ed.)
FeaturesAluminum touch interface on right ear cup
SpeakersElectro-dynmamic 40mm driver
MicrophoneOne electret type, Omni Directional
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1 – AptX LL-AAC codecs
Connections1.2 m cable with 3.5 mm mini-jack 0.25m USB to micro-USB cable for charging
BatteryReplaceable and rechargeable Lithium-ion battery Capacity 770mAh Rated up to 20 hours with Bluetooth Charging Time: 2.5 hours (approximately)

For the purposes of this review, I used my iPhone 6 and Astell & Kern AK240SS portable DAP, my wife’s Samsung Galaxy S5 and my iPad Pro 9.7” to put the H7s through their “wireless” paces.

Setting up the BeoPlay H7 with all of my various test devices was a cinch. I simply turned Bluetooth on my selected device and picked the H7s, a few seconds later I was off to the “audio races”. The comfort of the H7s is definitely above average. They virtually feel identical on my head as their predecessors (the wired H6 headphones); so that’s a very good thing as I would rate them among the most comfortable pair of portable headphones I’ve used. As well, the controls on the ear-cup are very useful for pausing music, increasing/decreasing volume and moving tracks forward or back. Not only do they work quite well, they feel intuitive and therefore easy to remember. The H7’s ability to isolate out exterior noise was good, though not class-leading. They are certainly good enough to take with you on the go, but some other headphones like the PSB M4U or NAD M50s do isolate out external noise a bit better. But this was definitely not a deal breaker for me.

First up I used my personal iPhone 6. For this session I used both saved Apple lossless music and music streamed via Tidal (also lossless recordings). Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” is a particular favourite album of mine. This was a great story of a relatively new band out of Montreal hitting it big with the Grammy Award winning Album of the Year. The BeoPlay H7s did a wonderful job conveying the dynamic energy of the bad. There are more than the standard four in a rock band (guitar, bass guitar, drums and rhythm guitar) with Arcade Fire and due to this complexity, some of the portable headphones that I’ve tried through the years failed to properly distinguish between the xylophone, fiddles, clarinets, trombones, etc… The H7s were among the very best in this sub $600 price category of portable headphones in this regard. Their ability to portray outstanding instrumental separation and distinctiveness was outstandingly good. Never once did I feel that two or more players were being blurred together. Instead each player was right there in my mind’s eye and all I had to do is focus on the instrument. The vocals on Modern Man were equally impressive. The H7s offer a very balanced and neutral presentation and as a result, the singer never has to take a back seat to either the bass player or cymbals. The mid frequencies are upfront, clear and in almost perfect proportion to the lower and upper octaves. Finally, the sound stage that the H7s cast is also among the very best in this sub $600 market space.

Most closed portable headphones here tend to sound “closed in” and in turn the music tends to seem to come from inside your head. The H7’s have an outstanding ability to portray the expansiveness of a recording and all of those minute audio clues are indeed captured by the H7’s drivers and transferred to your ears. I was very glad to hear that The Suburbs sounded as BIG as they did when played through the H7s and this expansive sound typically only came with open-backed headphones costing significantly more money.

Next up was an old standard of mine. Not only is this well renowned album (especially among audiophiles and jazz enthusiasts) always on my regular playlists, it is very much one of the gold standard test tracks that I use to evaluate gear. Jazz at the Pawnshop has been around since 1976 and recorded in Stockholm, Sweden of all places. But this isn’t your Ikea brand of jazz by any means. This is one seriously ground breaking recording that also is one of truly the best sounding albums of all time. There is a lot going on in that pawnshop with not just the performers but the background audience really does make it seem that you have been transported back 40 years and are there too. Through my HD800S Sennheiser headphones, this is truly an experience and I have to say that the BeoPlay H7’s had their road cut out for them as this was a very high mark. For this album I used both the lossless version on Tidal and my DSD version played through my Astell & Kern AK240SS portable DAP (via Bluetooth). Right off the bat as the performers started to warm up and the audience chatter filled my ears, I could tell that the H7s would most certainly be up for this challenging recording. I was indeed transported back to Stockholm in 1976. The ability of the H7’s to dissect each player and never smear two (or more) musicians together was most certainly apparent with the H7s. As portable, on-the-go headphones go, the BeoPlay H7s were one of the very best (like their predecessor wired H6s) I’ve come across for both instrumental separation and sound staging. The sense of air and space; particularly for a closed pair of headphones, was simply outstanding. They sounded very much like a pair of open backed headphones in this way and I was really impressed with their performance.

So coming in at $449 US ($579 Cdn), the BeoPlay H7s are a bit more than most portable full sized Bluetooth headphones. But for that extra $100-200 dollars you really get a wonderfully constructed, comfortable pair of cans that give you audiophile quality sound without the bulk or inconvenience of having a cable get in the way of things. They sound delightful, though I wouldn’t recommend them to typical “bass-heads” as instead you’ll get a much more balanced presentation throughout the audio spectrum and much closer to what the artist or studio engineer intended. I do wish that the folks at Bang & Olufsen would include a more sturdy carrying case for these headphones, but the supplied pouch does the job for the most part. Overall I was very impressed with what I heard and give these a very high recommendation!

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Peter Pialis

By day, I’m a husband, father and professional engineer. But by night, I’m an audiophile and music junkie. Many say that music is food for the soul and nothing works better for me than Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Rush and Miles Davis. For the past 25 years I’ve been on an audio journey that continues to this day.

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REPLY
  • The_Grudge2
  • 2017-08-27 14:21:00
  • No, I'm very experienced with such things, it just isn't that loud a headphone period. It has adequate volume, but that is it. This isn't an unheard of opinion, I have read comments about the H7 being too quiet from other owners as well. Not sure why people find this hard to accept? I listen louder than most people, so it is all relative. What I consider moderate you might think is loud. If you want to hear loud try the P7 wireless or the WS99BT, both can get louder than the H7. The H7 is a gorgeous sound signature, and this review here was written by Peter because I recommended that he review the H7 as I was so impressed with it so I'm not knocking it at all. Still love the H7, just need more power for my listening habits.
  • Reply


  • id
  • 2017-08-27 12:26:00
  • So you have maxed the volume on the headphones as well? Depending on the bluetooth source, you might have two seperate volume controls that do not affect each other, meaning that you can max the volume on the source and still might increase the volume by the touch controls on the headphones. By default I think the volume wasn't maxed on the headphones, if I remember correctly. It might a bit hard to use before you get the hang of it as the only indicator it works is volume either increasing or decreasing without any dedicated auditory or visual cues.
  • Reply


  • The_Grudge2
  • 2017-08-22 11:52:00
  • Nope, not loud enough for me anyway, and my hearing is still quite good. I do listen quite loud typically as compared to others, that I admit. I ALWAYS had the H7 at full volume with even contemporary music and it was just a hair too quiet for my preference, but certainly adequate. With older, quieter material, not a chance was it loud enough for me. I suspect for many if not most listeners the H7 will be fine, but for those who like fairly loud playback levels they may be slightly disappointed. By way of contrast the B&W P7 wireless and Audio Technica WS99BT both went substantially louder and I never played either of those at full volume. This really isn't a knock on the H7, just a design reality and again, I think most people will not have an issue with the volume it can achieve.
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  • stephanHK
  • 2017-08-22 07:51:00
  • The volume of the Beoplay H7 is more then enough, if you play it on half of the volume it's more then enough... you can also tweak the sound with the Beoplay-App for the H4,H7,H8 & H9, put way more bass in the headphone... add so much bass you feel the pressure release bij the speaker (windy ears) :)
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  • Howard
  • 2017-04-06 03:03:00
  • I did a comparison of them in 2 different shops. Also amongst the mix were the B&W P7 (not the wireless unfortunately), P5 Series 2 (not wireless either), Sennheiser HD 4.50 BT. B&O's own H4 and H9. The below would be my short note. In the first shop: B&W P5 S2 - Very muffled compared to the P7. Not even part of my consideration right away. B&W P7 - Warmer and heavier in bass. A touch better in attacks than the H7. But I find too warm and bass heavy for my taste. Vocal is also a little reserved B&O H7 - More musical and better focal. More airy on older tracks with background static white noise. Attack isn’t as sharp or deep as the P7. But the musicality and the soundstage is much better. I find this to be a more neutral rendering. In the second shop: Momentum Wireless 2 On-the-ear - Distortion to moderately deep bass. Otherwise good midrange and quite musical when compared to the B&W B&O H4 - Weak midrange. A little muffled. Clear vocals and good bass attacks. The feeling is that things got pushed toward both ends but the midrange is missing. Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear - Neutral, but attacks are weaker. Still fairly musical Sennheiser HD 4.50 - Neutral, similar to the Momentum Wireless 2. Just a tad reserved and a tad weak on bass compared to the Momentum Wireless 2 B&O H7 - Most musical tested. A touch bright but largely neutral. Attack and bass is a little weaker than the H4 but better than all the others. B&O H9 - Noise Cancel feels stronger than the Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear. But this is very warm sounding. I would say warmer than the B&W P7. Price tag also off putting… I actually walked in with bias towards the Momentum Wireless 2 Over-the-ear. But in the end, I picked the H7.~ The only downside I see for the H7 is the lack of noise cancellation, and actually is the bulkiest between the B&W and the Sennheisser. But sound quality-wise, I think it’s the best of the wireless. The only one I didn’t audition is the new Sony which is getting all the rave online these days. Hope this helps whoever that reads this~
  • Reply


  • krendel122
  • 2016-11-29 13:06:00
  • Is it Low Latency APTX support they have or regular one? I have a plan to use them with PS4 and it would be nice to have the smallest latency possible. Thanks.
  • Reply


  • Patrick
  • 2016-11-05 18:07:00
  • Hi Peter, first off, thanks for the detailed headphone reviews - they are fantastic! I've so far narrowed my choices down to the BeoPlay H7 or Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 wireless, and seeing as you seem to enjoy both of these, which one would you pick at the end of the day?
  • Reply


  • Murlgrrr
  • 2016-11-01 10:21:00
  • Hi Peter, trying to decide between the H6, H7 and H8, leaning towards the H7 however I really loved the sound of the H6. Does listening to music on the H7 wired dramatically change the sound quality - is it then identical to the H6? Did you compare the first or second generation H6? Thanks!
  • Reply


  • Headphone Junkie
  • 2016-09-19 11:29:00
  • Because I was comparing it to 128 on my phone which is quite a bit more lossy. My iPhone is loaded with as much music as possible and thus the most lossy.
  • Reply


  • ly121688
  • 2016-09-19 05:50:00
  • I don't understand why you're playing lossless audio and even dsd over bluetooth, it all gets sent via the aptx codec which is a form of lossy compression where only the lower frequencies have 16 bit quantization, the audio is divided into bands with higher frequencies bands having lower bit-depths. As a result the noise floor is unstable. It makes me wonder question the value of your judgement you really are if you're reporting excellent sound from your astell & kern playing dsd over bluetooth.
  • Reply


  • Tim Mai
  • 2016-08-05 09:32:00
  • Great review. Can you compare H6 which I have to H7 i.e. Sound, bass for pop, house and rap, wearability with glasses. Does H7 last 20 hours because other review said only 10 hours?!?
  • Reply


  • Peter P.
  • 2016-06-16 17:14:00
  • Glad you're enjoying them....I think the designers did a fantastic job with them!
  • Reply


  • Peter P.
  • 2016-06-16 17:13:00
  • Hi there: Yes, there is some play on the headband, but with my noggin I didn't really need to adjust them. I found them VERY comfortable for long listening sessions.
  • Reply


  • mangochutney
  • 2016-06-16 16:23:00
  • Hi Peter, I'm in the market for a pair of headphones right now, as my beloved Westone UM3X are slowly but steadily coming apart. I've read your reviews with great interest and would like to thank you for them. Earlier today I had the chance to try the H7 at a B&O retailer and during my 25 minutes of listening to my test playlist (all Apple Lossless, various genres, some songs with high dynamic range), I was properly impressed with the sound quality over Bluetooth and pleased with the sounding of the cans. There is one thing that made me sceptical, though, and the reason I didn't immediately shell out the money for them: I didn't find them immediately comfortable. Can you tell me whether the headband is bendable/adjustable at all? Thanks, Alex
  • Reply


  • The_Grudge2
  • 2016-05-16 18:04:00
  • Glad the H7 was that good Peter, and I agree completely. I had been raving about the H7 to Peter as I had made the transition from wired to wireless for portable use having gone from a PM3 with a balanced cable driven by an ONKYO DP-X1 to the H7 and my LG G3. I would strongly encourage anybody who is sick of wires as I was for portable use to take the chance and try better Bluetooth headphones like the H7. When I use the H7 wired at home driven with a nice iFi iDSD Micro it scales very well allowing me to play older, dynamic recordings at a volume that I prefer. That would be my main wish with the H7, a little more power from the amplifier, but keep in mind I listen rather loud as compared to anybody I have ever met so most people will be pleased with the power of the H7. I also like the slightly warm tonality of the DAC/amp in the H7.
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