Want: Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay H6

I was down at the Apple Store yesterday morning to see about the iPhone 6 Plus (more on that, later)

They had the usual spread of headphones available to demo: your Beats, Bose, and Bowers & Wilkins. Then my eyes caught sight of something I hadn’t seen before.

The distinctive B&O lettering begged a closer look at this pair

b&o beoplay h6 cup

I put them on after an approving nod at their generous use of leather throughout

b&o beoplay h6 leather

b&o beoplay h6 leather detail

Bang and Olufsen apparently takes the leather treatment very seriously

The solid cowhide leather on the headphones comes from New Zealand where the cows roam in controlled pastures. Only the highest quality hides are selected. Each leather product is completely natural and the leather is dyed with a tanning process that provides colours in rich and warm tones.

The B&O BeoPlay H6 feature memory foam around-ear cups dressed in lambskin. They were quite comfortable to wear, and the closed-back design provided welcome isolation from the din of new Mac owners and Apple geniuses to my immediate left.

My listening was limited to the music that was preloaded onto the iPod Touch in front of me. I found “Starlight” by Muse and “Bad Blood” by Bastille. The sound signature of the H6 was refreshing – it doesn’t have the boosted bass featured in many of today’s fashion headphones.

I walked away from the Apple Store to attend to other errands, but made a note to investigate the BeoPlay H6 further. They certainly made a good first impression.

User reviews on Amazon.com as well as Head-Fi.org are generally positive. Users laud the H6 for its comfortable fit and great sound. I especially enjoyed reading KimBongUn420’s detailed review of the BeoPlay H6 on Amazon.com:

I am not exaggerating when I say that I have NEVER heard a closed-back headphone with a soundstage that was as expansive and encompassing as the stage produced by the H6. Nothing else I have listened to even comes close. It is incredibly accurate and fully convincing. There are many high-end open back headphones that cannot reproduce the soundstage that the H6 does; I would put it at least on par with the Beyer DT990. The P5 attempts to match the soundstage, and the P7 comes a bit closer, but there’s still a rather large gap between the stage that the P7 can produce and the one that the H6 reproduces so brilliantly.

The H6 is a very flat, neutral headphone; there are no noticeable frequency spikes and the mid and treble is evenly reproduced along the frequency spectrum. They are precise and accurately reproduce music. If you are looking for a headphone with “character” in the sound then I suggest looking elsewhere, but if you are looking for precise, true sound, the H6 excels. Trebles are beautiful, but not overly bright, and the mid is powerful and evenly distributed. I have often had the experience of re-listening to songs in my library several times because the H6 draws out tones or sounds in the song that I have not been able to hear with other headphones. It truly sounds like you have a front-row seat for the artist with every single genre. I’ve thrown classical (which is simply incredible on the H6), jazz, rock, soul, EDM, pop, and many more genres at the H6 and it has been able to faithfully reproduce every instrument, voice, and sound.

If high-fidelity reproduction of the source is important to you, the BeoPlay H6 warrant your consideration. I’d love to run an A/B test of these headphones against my Sennheiser HD 650.

B&O BeoPlay H6 Technical Specifications

40 mm custom designed drivers with a neodymium magnet in a closed headphone design
Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 22,000 kHz
Impedance: 30 ohms
Other Features: Foldable, With Remote and Mic, Sound Isolating
Form Factor: Over Ear
Cable Length: 4.1 ft./1.25 m

I could only find one source offering a frequency response curve of the B&O BeoPlay H6 (InnerFidelity)

Note on the remote: the three-button remote on the BeoPlay H6 is designed to work with Apple devices. Extended functionality won’t work with Android phones.

The B&O BeoPlay H6 are offered in natural brown and black leather, as well as several Special Edition colors. From left to right: Blue Stone, Graphite Blush, and Bronzed Hazel.

b&o beoplay h6 special editions

The B&O BeoPlay H6 list at $399 and are available to purchase direct from Bang and Olufsen and Amazon.com

Links to Amazon.com for all current color offerings of the BeoPlay H6:

BeoPlay H6 Black
BeoPlay H6 Natural Leather
BeoPlay H6 Blue Stone
BeoPlay H6 Graphite Blush
BeoPlay H6 Bronzed Hazel