BeoPlay H7: presentation
Although the BeoPlay H7 is similar on many levels to the H8, it stands out from its big brother by boasting bigger earpieces and forgoing an active noise reduction system. While the H8 was a supra-aural model, the BeoPlay H7 is a set of circumaural headphones. It is fitted with two 1.5″ wideband drivers which offer a frequency response ranging from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. The Bluetooth 4.2 receiver, although more energy-consuming, is compatible with SBC, AAC and apt-X codecs.
Bluetooth compatibility is thus universal as the most efficient transmission methods for Android (apt-X) and Apple (AAC) smartphones are handled.
The BeoPlay H7 integrates an omnidirectional microphone to allow phone calls, while a touch interface is situated on the right earcup. The rechargeable battery is removable and can last up to 20 hours in Bluetooth mode (amplifier and receiver activated). The mini-jack input can be used to connect the BeoPlay H7 to a headphone amplifier (smartphone, DAC, etc.). The headphones even come with a mini-jack to mini-jack cable for this purpose, as well as a micro-USB cable to recharge the battery and a soft case for transportation.
BeoPlay H7: ergonomics
Designed by Jakob Wagner, the BeoPlay H7 is a beautiful set of headphones boasting round and smooth lines. The leather used for the earpieces is very soft and encases a pleasantly supple memory-foam padding. The pressure applied to the head (and not the ears) is light and we quickly forget we?re wearing headphones when listening to the BeoPlay H7 at home. When on the move, a slight inertia can be felt and some background noise caused by interference can be heard at low volume, especially when walking at a faster pace. The touch interface requires some getting used to but feels quite natural after some time. Moving your finger clockwise or counterclockwise turns the volume up or down, tapping the earpiece starts playback or pauses the current track and swiping your finger from back to front skips the song.
BeoPlay H7: test conditions
We listened to the BeoPlay H7 headphones using a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro smartphone along with the Encore mDSD DAC/headphone amplifier. The audio files we listened to were in FLAC format and converted to SBC format for wireless playback.
BeoPlay H7: listening impressions
The BeoPlay H7 delivers a rather colored sound, with a bump in the medium at around 1 kHz and an emphasis on the treble at around 10 kHz, which brings a lot of clarity to the listening experience. This coloration is probably intended by B&O as this set of headphones is primarily destined to be used on public transport and in the street. Yet, the bass range is generous and offers lively lows and punchy infrabass. The high end of the spectrum is slightly covered by the medium range. This type of balance may become a bit tiring over a long period of time. The coloration added by these headphones is such that changing your source (smartphone, Encore mDSD) barely affects the sound.
The nominal impedance and the sensitivity of the BeoPlay H7 are not indicated by Bang & Olufsen, but it is very likely that these values range around 32 Ohms and 105 dB, based on how easy these headphones are to power..
A real surprise. Once the Bluetooth connection is activated, the tonal balance is not quite the same. The emphasis on the medium range is less noticeable and the treble therefore has much more room to breath. Clearly, the BeoPlay H7 headphones? balance is improved and the sound is therefore less tiring while clear and generous in the higher end of the spectrum. An equalizer has obviously been applied to the combination the integrated amplifier/Bluetooth receiver. The high-lows lose a little bit of density and energy to favor stronger infrabass (below 60 Hz, down to 30 Hz). The BeoPlay H7 does not beat around the bush and some tracks can definitely deliver a thunderous sound. Yet, unlike the H8, the result is never caricatural.
The sound volume is very high and the amplifier remains strong, even at full power.
Audio spectrum restitution (wire and wireless connection)
Even though we are immersed in a very pleasant sound, the audible emphasis on the medium-high range inevitably compresses the spectrum. The BeoPlay H7 is rarely able to convey the true depth of recordings. The stereo effect, for its part, is properly accomplished.
BeoPlay H7: conclusions
What we liked
- The elegant design and the quality of the materials used
- The comfort
- The punchy bass range
- The beneficial audio equalization provided by the integrated amplifier (via Bluetooth)
- The passive sound insulation
- Easy-to-power headphones with a powerful, integrated amplifier
We would have liked
- A more even restitution of the sound spectrum
- A more extended low-medium range
- A (much) more controlled medium range (for cable connection)
A lot of energy, a solid and deep bass range and an enjoyable wireless listening experience, despite the lack of balance between the various ranges, a good passive sound insulation from external noises, a very comfortable set of headphones, this is what we can say about the BeoPlay H7.