When you’re getting replacement headphones for your iPhone, Bang and Olufsen probably aren’t your first port of call. If you’re speccing a loft apartment or minimalist exhibition space, maybe. But not for in-ear headphones.
But believe it or not, B&O was one of the first manufacturers to create an earhook design, partnering an in-ear driver with a hoop that keeps them firmly attached to head. It’s recently re-launched with some fancy colourways to complement the A8’s mecha-chic aluminium construction.
Not just a pretty fascia
Dismissing the A8s as mere objects of lust is the height of foolishness, though. Yes, they look divine with their piston-action ear fit system and brushed aluminium highlights, but they have the performance to match it all.
Sure, they’re no lightweights – that substantial construction means they’re about twice as heavy as Creative’s Aurvana Airs – but the range of adjustability means they never get uncomfortable. The buds are a good size, too: not too big or small.
For open-backed designs the A8s manage to block out an impressive level of background noise. Train tracks and traffic still encroach on sound, but much less than with typical earbuds and without the intrusiveness of sound isolators.
Designed to deliver
When you’ve messed around and got a good fit for your ears, you’ll be greeted with seriously impressive sound. Every element of the audible spectrum is well represented, from crisp, detailed but smooth highs to gutsy lows. Vocals and instruments are clearly defined and natural-sounding.
Over-ear designs and more expensive in-ears can conjure superior dynamics while the A8s tend to dull transitions from quiet to loud, but at this price it’s a minor concern. Regardless, they’re a thoroughly entertaining listen.
So, ignore the fact that they’re built by a notoriously pricey design-oriented brand. The A8s are great-sounding, beautifully built headphones and, amazingly, they won’t break the bank.