B&O H3 ANC IN-EAR
Paying £200 for a pair of in-ear headphones is no small ask, but then B&O isn’t exactly a company that concerns itself with budget. Like many B&O products, the H3s certainly don’t scrimp in the design stakes. Each earbud features a brushed aluminium outer casing with 29 precision-drilled holes that B&O says work as air vents for a more natural sound reproduction.
They feel pretty sturdy too, but not heavy. In fact they weigh just 40g and never feel cumbersome in your ears. The big dierence between the H3 ANC and the original H3s is the active noise cancellation, with a circular control unit built into the cable close to the jack. It’s a pretty chunky unit, but can easily be tucked away in a bag or pocket along with your device.
Fully charged, it will provide a quoted 20 hours of noise cancellation but it is very subtle indeed, dulling the noise around you rather than blocking it out.
We put the H3 ANCS through their paces with a blast of Dead Editors by Massive Attack. It’s a rich, full-bodied sound, the pulsing bassline packed with weight and authority that extends its solidity throughout the frequency range. The H3s are actually pretty well balanced, serving up a good level of detail and insight into the midrange that ensures instruments sound natural and lifelike.
Lenny Kravitz’s Frankenstein helps to emphasise the H3’s rm grip on timing and organisation too. Vocals could have a touch more expression to them, and drums could kick with more force. In fact, the whole presentation could do with more punch and articulation – it’s a touch too easy-going. With ANC on, there’s more excitement thanks to a boosted treble, but this does make for a less comfortable listen over long periods.
While the B&O H3s don’t quite get the balance between excitement and easy listening right, they do a ne job at giving enough in the way of detail, timing, weight and authority to make up for it. We’d like a bit more attack to their character, but it’s otherwise a commendable balance that works superbly across dierent tracks and genres, and well worth considering.
“Each earbud has 29 precision-drilled holes, working as air vents for more natural sound reproduction”