In-ear H3 are not a recent model of B & o Play, the test of their version active noise reduction (H3 ANC) has also been online on Digital for a while. But their popularity is such that we could not miss: at the dawn of the launch of H5, their elders, promising robustness, lightness and sound power, come to scroll on our test bench.
- Design worked, neat finish.
- Light, comfortable.
- Complete remote control.
- Sound rendering accurate and balanced enough …
- Absence of memory foam tips.
- Remote compatible only with iOS.
- Sibilance as soon as you push the volume
The design of the H3 is strictly identical to that of the H3 ANC. The stainless steel lines are crisp and smooth, both curved and sliced. We find the 26 perforations all around the acronym of the brand used to improve the acoustics of the headphones, but also – according to the brand – to lighten the chassis.
It’s good, light, they are, and robust too. These two points make H3 intras very pleasant to wear while giving them excellent resistance to bags, bags and falls that encounter any pair of headphones during his life. The connectors are also reinforced, at the frame and the jack mini-jack. It is regrettable, however, that the latter is not bent (higher risks of breakage when listening with a walkman / smartphone slipped into his pocket).
The remote, only compatible iOS, is complete and allows navigation between songs (pressing the center button to pause / play, two to move to the next song and three at the beginning of the previous track / song), activation of voice recognition (long press on central button), volume control and call management. A microphone is also in the game, which offers an excellent reproduction of our voice: once is not customary, the correspondents prefer even when using the H3 hands-free kit rather than the microphone of the phone itself – and the user himself better understands his interlocutor.
This is the accessories side that gives the change compared to their ANC version: the H3-tout-court are supplied with three pairs of tips of different sizes silicone. They introduce themselves with disconcerting ease into our auditory canal, and are maintained there almost as well, despite some regular repositioning necessary. Three silicone tips so … but no memory foam in sight. A detail which, as we will see later, has an unfortunate consequence on the quality of the sound reproduction.
The acoustic design of the H3 and H3 ANC being strictly the same, one would expect that the measurements are identical. And yet, it is not so.
You are often told to really take the time to choose your tips, sometimes even to wear different sizes left and right (it’s like feet, it does not necessarily the same size on both sides!), And it’s not for nothing. Indeed, the H3, if listened to in a very calm environment and without moving, deliver an appreciable sound performance.
In our lab, measurements are exactly made under these conditions. The sound reproduction is a reflection of the design of H3: net, clean and globally balanced. Let’s start with the bass, quite dynamic and precise. We can not say that they are on the front of the stage, however they do not miss the call – our traditional Unfinished Sympathy intro sweep is noticeable, but does not do it either. boxes. Below is the measurement of the 50 Hz square wave signals which betray a nicely reactive and rather healthy behavior of the H3 membranes.
The same goes for the rest of the spectrum: the sound is detailed and pleasantly precise. Voices in particular enjoy excellent definition and presence. At times, we even reach the sensation of perceiving the different layers of the mix, a feeling that only the great names can deliver. However, there is a lack of support from the lower midrange that would offer a better feeling of immersion. And precisely, let’s talk about this immersion.
Indeed, as soon as one begins to wriggle of the esgourde – to know to move simply or, even worse, to find oneself in a noisy environment – everything is spoiled. Indeed, the silicone tips are suitable for providing good comfort, but not to properly obstruct the ear canals. The first obvious consequence is an extremely weak, if not almost zero, isolation from the outside world. Note that this can be practical for many uses, and much less dangerous in urban areas. The second is a flagrant loss of sitting in the low half of the spectrum: ciao the low mids and basses!
These first two points generate a serious lack of immersion. The third, more insidious, consequence is that we then tend, after having repeatedly repositioned the intras in our ears, to put on stronger. Then appears a phenomenon whose H3 do not suffer at average volume: the sibilance. The peak of distortion that we see above is much less discreet, and highs can become aggressive. Here is how, with a simple choice of tips, you can significantly change the sound performance of a pair of intra-earphones.
The H3s honor their promise of robustness, lightness and elegance. The comfort and aesthetics are present, but an unfortunate choice of accessories tarnishes the soundboard: the lack of memory foam tips significantly alters the quality of sound reproduction in noisy environments.