Who says earphones can’t have style?
The Bang & Olufsen Earphones are in that elite category of B&O products. With high prices, B&O is often reserved for the few that enjoy form over function. These headphones though are more affordable than some of the other products made by B&O. And the temptation was just too much for me. So is this all for show or does it actually do what its suppose to do – sound good?
Just the name B&O tells you that it’s all about form. Looks are the key to these earphones. Strangers stare, women look, and geeks will stop you to ask what the hell that thing is on your ear. One guy asked if it was a new mic/speaker for the mobile phone. This is the earphone to have if you want to be seen. It looks good, and it feels even better on your ears.
So something this good looking and made by B&O can’t sound that good, right? Well, yes and no. Actually, the sound was much more impressive than I expected. I had a chance to test them out at the store before I purchased them. (A demo was available in June but it took me another 3 months on the “wait-list” to get the earphones.) The sound I heard at the store was extremely impressive. Cranked up the volume on their stereo, and I heard no distortion or any annoying “hiss”.
When I finally got them, I tried it on my home stereo, my Sony MD player, and my Sony MusicClip just to get a sense what the earphones sound like from different sources. They actually do sound very good. In many ways, they are very similar to the Sony Digital earphones that I have. They do a good job of trapping the music in your ear, so as to block out the outside noise (helps in a noise polluted place like Hong Kong) while also not letting the outside world know that you’ve got Britney Spears blaring.
The only thing I would criticize was the lack of bass when I cranked up the volume. I suspect B&O designed these for the sounds of Mozart and Celine Dion, not my Paul Van Dyk CD. But, as far as instruments and vocals are concerned, these earphones are one of the best I’ve heard.
However, sometimes form works against function. Much like headphones and even the Sony pseudo headphones/earphones, the B&O Earphones become uncomfortable when anyone tries to use them with glasses or sunglasses. Because the frames of the glasses/sunglasses rests on top of the earphone piece which then sits on your ear, they are a bit uncomfortable.
However, with minor adjustments, moving the piece around, you can actually get it quite comfortable so that you don’t notice it. However, you’ll have to keep readjusting everytime you take off and on your glasses/sunglasses. Overall though, this is a minor irritation.
At about US$75, these aren’t cheap. As far as earphones go, you can get a pair of Sony digital earphones for about US$40. I like the way these look though, and no one I have seen has a pair so you would definitely stand out. I definitely think that everyone should go out and buy a good set of earphones, given that the free ones you usually get with your CD/MD/MP3 player are usually the poorest sounding things. If you’ve got MONEY TO BURN, and only want just one pair, these are it.