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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Headphones: Review

Can the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Headphones compete with the Focal Bathys and B&W Px8? In more ways than you might think.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless ANC Headphones in Brown

Denmark’s Bang & Olufsen is rapidly approaching its 100th anniversary, and over the past century, the company has certainly pushed the envelope from an industrial design perspective in many categories and created more than a few headlines.

Most audiophiles are probably unaware that the original factory in Strurer, Denmark, was burned to the ground towards the end of WW II because Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen refused to support the Nazis. The company wa forced to start again and for a number of years produced electric razors before they pivoted back into consumer electronics in the 1950s.

My earliest memories of Bang & Olufsen are centered around the B&O Beomaster 1900 Receiver; my uncle owned one and it looked nothing like the boxy rack components that I was accustomed to. It was Scandinavian minimalism at its finest and performed wonderfully.

Fast forward to 2023 and we find a very different Bang & Olufsen; the company has moved away from producing amplifiers, receivers, turntables, and CD players — and is now focused on active wireless loudspeakers, soundbars, TVs, portable Bluetooth loudspeakers, earbuds, and wireless headphones.

The focus on industrial design is still a big part of Bang & Olufsen’s branding and whilst some like to bemoan the high prices of the equipment — some audiophiles are seemingly fine with expensive large black boxes with 3-inch faceplates that fail to inspire visually and don’t necessarily perform as well as mid-tier high-end components either.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphones with Cable Accessories

Danish Delight

I reviewed the Beosound A1 2nd generation Bluetooth speaker last year and found it displayed the typical understated elegance that B&O has become known for.   

This time around, we are looking at the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 Wireless Headphones. The H95 is the current flagship of the B&O line with the Beoplay HX slotting in beneath it.    

The flagship H95 are $895 USD and that puts them up against award-winning models like the Mark Levinson No. 5909, Focal Bathys, and Bowers & Wilkin’s Px8.

Being “good” is not enough when the Bathys and Px8 are less expensive.  

The H95 is available in several color schemes with the packaging color-matched to the headphone inside. Current offerings are black, chestnut, and navy which offer both cup, headband, and ear pads in a single color and gold tone, grey mist, and lunar red that are two tone. 

The gold tone has white pads and a headband with gold colored metal surfaces, the gray mist is silver metal with gray accoutrements, and the lunar red again has gold metal with deep red/maroon pads and headband.  

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Our review pair was the chestnut color scheme and a nice departure from the black/white schemes more commonly seen in wireless headphones.

Opening the box reveals a square aluminum case again color-matched to the headphones. The box is a bit larger than some but is very robust and should protect your rather considerable when not in use. It also serves to store the cables and adapters in a hidden compartment in the upper portion of the case under where the headband rests. 

Bang & Olufsen H95 Cables in Compartment in Travel Case

Appearance

The kit comes with a cleaning cloth, charging cable, 3.5mm cable, and airline adapter in addition to the case and the headphones. The supplied cables are cloth covered and again match the headphones and even the airline adapter is made to match rather than use the stock black plastic model that often ships in other kits.  

Taking a closer look at the headphone itself, the cups, hinges, and gimbals are all made of anodized aluminum with extra material at high stress locations. Bang & Olufsen have built a rather robust headphone; the marketing materials don’t offer an accurate representation of the build quality.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphone Outer
Volume control ring

Another really interesting design feature that earns the H95 top marks is the volume control on the ear cups; Bang & Olufsen have moved away from the swipe/touch sensors that can be found on many wireless headphones and integrated a serrated ring instead that serves as the volume control.

The ring is also used to access various functions depending on which ring is rotated and in which direction. It’s a rather tactile and intuitive system that works better than many of the aforementioned swipe/touch setups.

The pads are lambskin leather which are almost perfectly color matched to the cups. The headband is cloth lined on the underside with matching leather on the outer band with memory foam added for comfort.  

The pads are easily removed via a magnetic closure with 2 alignment pins at 3 and 9 o’clock making replacement a snap when needed.

The stitching on the headband is exemplary and it’s very clear examining the quality of the materials, anodizing, construction quality, and the overall finishing that these headphones have undergone rather strict quality control. Bang & Olufsen went above and beyond with the H95 and we think the pricing is certainly justifiable.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphone Earcups Left
Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphone Earcups Right

Controls

The left cup has the wheel mentioned above that controls the ANC and Transparency/Ambient modes and a single button for voice assistants. Rotating the wheel clockwise increases ANC while rotating the wheel counterclockwise increases the transparency or ambient mode allowing more outside noise in. 

My only lament is there is not a visual cue or distinct audible tone for the center point where both ANC and Transparency are disabled and you have to look at the app to be certain. There are audible tones at the maximum setting in either direction but not at the center point which would have been helpful.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphone Toggle Switch
3 position switch on right earcup

On the right cup the H95 have a 3 position switch for on/off/pairing mode, the 3.5mm jack for auxiliary use and the USB Type-C port for charging or connected listening. 

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The right wheel controls volume with clockwise movement increasing volume.   The right cup is also touch sensitive and allows for play/pause with a tap or swiping forward or back for the next or previous track.    

Internals

The H95 sports Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity including both aptX adaptive and AAC support; there are also multi-point capabilities for pairing both a phone and DAP or laptop and phone.

This is a useful feature for those of us that prefer DAPs as it allows a call to cut-in and be answered without having to remove the headphone.

Manufacturers love to embellish when it comes to battery life, but Bang & Olufsen have pushed the envelope somewhat by utilizing a 1100mAh battery that provided some impressive results.

The published specifications claim that the H95 can deliver almost 40 hours of playtime with ANC engaged or slightly over 50 hours with it turned off.

3 rounds of testing provided results that exceeded both; one could listen to these for 5 days in the office (7 to 8 hours with ANC turned on) without requiring a recharge at moderate volume levels.

The most surprising aspect of this performance is that the H95 only weigh 330 grams and never felt heavy or uncomfortable during my commute each morning.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphone Earcups Rotated

The H95 uses custom 40mm drivers made with a titanium coated diaphragm for rigidity and neodymium magnets for added magnetic flux with a nominal impedance of 12 ohms and a sensitivity of 101.5db/mW. The electronics and amplifiers in the H95 are custom tuned to match the drivers input needs and provide the best possible sound quality.  

Testing/App

I decided to pair the H95 directly to my iPhone and Samsung smartphone and discovered that as long as the location services were turned on and set to “precise,” the H95 paired quickly and easily.

If location services are off, the H95 will still pair but the fast-pair and app do not work so those who might have privacy concerns should be aware that the app needs precise location to be enabled and allowed to function.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Headphone App Screenshot Connecting
Bang & Olufsen H95 Headphone App Screenshot Update
Bang & Olufsen H95 Headphone App Screenshot Mood

The app is fairly simple to use with a battery display, ANC / Transparency settings, the ability to turn auto standby on/off, and a quasi EQ that allows for tuning the sound via presets or a wheel design that allows the user to adjust the sound to be more or less bright, relaxed, energetic, or warm. 

The system works fairly well and allows for fairly precise adjustment but won’t make those looking for a parametric EQ happy.  

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Sound

Once setup and ready, I put the H95 through my normal review playlist without ANC or Transparency mode enabled. The first thing one notices is that H95 is not reference flat; even when the sound settings are set that way.

There is a mild bass lift that adds some warmth and weight to the low end and also gives the H95 a rather shallow “V” sonic signature.

Reducing the bass presence brings the H95 closer to a neutral tonal balance and the EQ proved to be rather useful in that regard.

The default sonic signature will appeal to those who listen to a lot of EDM or hip-hop and want to feel the low end response and are less concerned with definition or overall clarity.

Classic rock listeners can change the tonal balance by using the controls to engage the “brighter” setting; vocals were pushed slightly forward of the instrumentation and the presentation had a better sense of balance. The top end did not come across as strident or hard and there was enough detail to give female vocals some added presence.

Vocals are a strength of the H95; vocal harmonies were clear, detailed, and extremely well layered in the soundstage.

The H95 handle dynamics well; piano notes and strings are also delivered with the proper tonality. Strings exhibit the proper degree of decay and the H95 never struggle to deliver music with excellent pacing and resolution.

Closed-back ANC wireless headphones often struggle with soundstage depth and width and we were not expecting the H95 to deliver a very spacious sounding presentation; whilst not cavernous, the soundstage was surprisingly realistic with most recordings and that’s a big victory for these headphones.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphones on Stand

Noise Cancellation

After going through the playlist with the ANC disabled, I went back through it with the ANC set to the maximum setting while seated at a local restaurant that is usually loud enough that hearing polite conversation across the table can be tough.

The passive isolation of the H95 is good to begin with as they seal well and the leather helps prevent sound from leaking in either direction; ANC isn’t necessary at average noise levels and I had to find an above average location for my testing.   

What I found was that the ANC is rather effective with the ability to remove almost all low-frequency droning noises and dramatically reduce higher frequency noises. A few cut through like a baby screaming, but I have yet to find a headphone that can pass that test.

Overall, the ANC was a bit better than the Focal Bathys and came close to the class leading Sony WH-1000XM5. The other plus for the H95 is the use of maximum ANC didn’t cripple the treble as can sometimes be the case.

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The signature changed very little with turning ANC on/off. Transparency also worked as advertised, although I did have to turn it to its maximum setting to hear my wife talking to me with music at normal listening volumes, so be aware it may not be enough to avoid spousal discontent when engaged.

Bang & Olufsen H95 Wireless Headphones Package

Conclusion

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 offers a near bespoke level of build quality and design with impeccable materials, intuitive controls, and great sound. From an industrial design perspective, they are one of the best wireless headphones we have tested so far and they really do give the Px8 and Bathys a strong run for the money. Bang & Olufsen are charging more for these than their British and French counterparts — but the performance and build quality are certainly a strong reason to consider them genuine rivals.

Detail retrieval is excellent and we really like how responsive the H95 are to EQ; there are very few genres of music that they don’t reproduce well and listeners can modify the sonic signature to match their personal listening preferences.

ANC performance falls a bit short of the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Wireless Headphones, but the H95 manages to edge out the Focal Bathys and Mark Levinson No. 5909 and that’s a huge selling point to us.

The control app is not very sophisticated in comparison to its rivals, but it does manage to get the job done. Bang & Olufsen should add a more sophisticated EQ with a firmware update but it’s very useable.

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95 complicate things for the Px8 and Bathys from the perspective that they offer excellent ANC performance, superb build quality, and excellent sonic performance. They certainly deserve a spot in the top 5 wireless ANC headphones currently available and it really comes down to which tonal balance and presentation you prefer.

Music listeners have some great choices in 2023 in the wireless category and one really needs to consider the H95 before making a buying decision.

Where to buy: $899 at Amazon | bang-olufsen.com

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. ORT

    March 21, 2023 at 3:37 pm

    Hail and well met indeed, Sir Kevin of Minion! I shall give these B&O ‘phones a look and listen as I may well give myself one more present (never a “gift” for that word is German for poison, LOL!) and headphones are a possibility as I now have enough turntables to sate any normal being.

    But what is “normal”? 😉

    Unlike much of their stuff the Beoplay H95 look really cool instead of like “Forbidden Planet” meets Austin Powers as Cmdr. Spock, i.e., “Fascinating Baby”… The Siren call of the Bathys stunning looks and superb performance are made stronger by the current-but-soon-to-end 20% off and the close in name but not quite related B&H PX7 S2 in Blue-ish are ever stronger in their gravitational pull of both mine eyes and wallet.

    As always and in all ways your studied thoughts are much appreciated, brother!

    ORT

    • Ian White

      March 21, 2023 at 3:45 pm

      ORT,

      These are unusually great for B&O. The build quality and parts are fantastic.

      Like you, however, I gravitate to the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 that we just judged in the Headphone Shoot-out. I just really enjoyed them in every way. They are not as good socially in some areas as the Px8 or Bathys…but they just feel so great on your noggin.

      The Bathys are wonderful cans. I spent time with the designer in NYC a few weeks back and she’s so smart — we’re all very dumb in comparison. Just a joy to pick her brain and learn from her.

      best,

      Ian White

  2. Raphael Meillat

    March 26, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the review. Although I was expecting more depth from a sound comparison perspective. As for craftsmanship, I find these H95 quite flimsy and plasticky compared to both the Bathys and especially the Px8, which look so premium and strong. Given the higher price tag, I was expecting a better look and feel from B&O’s flagship.
    Like you though, I love the idea of tactile wheel to control volume and ANC intensity.
    Cheers,
    Raphael

  3. ORT

    March 29, 2023 at 11:27 pm

    Thank you Raphael for your thoughts on these ‘phones. I very much appreciate them. A former co-worker of mine shares the same name with. A good man too.

    Again, thank you!

    ORT

  4. Marius

    September 24, 2023 at 9:42 pm

    There’s a sound between transparency and ANC mode, not loud enough perhaps.

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