This article first appeared in the February 2017 issue of HWM.
Earlier last year, Beoplay, the more consumer-friendly arm of Bang & Olufsen, quietly updated its H6 over-ear headphones. From the outside, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference, as the design of the new second generation H6 headphones is unchanged from its predecessor. The only way to tell is from the subtle color changes in the driver cover cloth. It now matches the color of the aluminum finish on the ear cups.
That also means that the Beoplay H6 retains its portability and comfort. The ear cups swivel to fold flat, making it one of the most portable over-ear headphones. The lambskin leather ear pads feel soft on the skin and the clamping force is just right - tight enough to ensure that it doesn’t move about unintentionally and to provide enough isolation, but not so much that it hurts.
What has changed, however, is the sound. The first generation Beoplay H6 was not a terrible headphone by any means, but it did sound a little too polite and soft, especially in the bass department. The new second generation Beoplay H6 corrects this and is noticeably 'bassier'. Fortunately, the bass isn't overwhelming at all and is very well-judged. It is clean, punchy, and served up in just the right amounts. The end result is that the new second generation H6 is much more fun and engaging to listen to.
Beoplay has not messed about with the rest of the frequency spectrum either, and the second generation H6 retains its predecessor’s airiness and impressively smooth mid-range and competent treble performance.
Hook the new H6 headphones up to a headphone amplifier and its performance improves with better clarity and sharper, punchier bass. This means the H6’s performance is scalable and will sound even better if you have got the right equipment.
At S$449, the Beoplay H6 is a premium set of headphones, and it certainly has no shortage of competitors. Sony’s MDR-1A and Audio-Technica’s ATH-MSR7 are arguably just as stylish, portable, and good sounding, and are even more affordable to boot. However, the Beoplay H6 edges them in my books and sounds more impressive.
For more Beoplay headphone options and prices, check here.