Bang & Olufsen A8 Headphones

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Lightweight, stylish - Great imaging, bass response weak*

Mar 2, 2006 (Updated Mar 3, 2006)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Excellent audio imaging, lightweight, stylish design, handy cord extension

Cons:A bit uncomfortable after extended wear, high price, thin bass response

The Bottom Line: If you are going to spend $160, you can probably find earphones with better bass. However, for imaging and clarity alone these earphones are worth serious consideration.


I received these headphones as a gift. One of the best gifts I have ever received. I use the A8s with my video iPod exclusively. Almost all the music I listen to on the iPod is encoded in Apple's lossless format. I probably listen to music using these earphones on average five hours a day.

Sound:

Extremely open/light sound. The high end is crystal clear and provides respectable imaging for earphones. I listen to alot of live music and the A8s give you the sense of space and atmosphere--like you were there. I also use Sennheiser PX 200 headphones and they do not have nearly the accuracy or imaging of the A8s. Bear in mind, the accuracy of these earphones will also reveal substandard recordings, background noise and distortion. As most reviewers have mentioned, the bass response is lacking compared to other earphones/earbuds in this price range. However, to add a bit of perspective to this view--for instance as I write this I am listening to the Beatles' Let It Be at a low-medium level--I do not so much miss the bass as much as I react to the clarity of the overall sound even at lower volumes. What is lacking is the warmth and fullness of sound that you would expect from a HEADPHONES in this price range.

Comfort:

A8s are light-weight and well constructed. More comfortable than most earbud type earpieces I have used. However, after a couple of hours, I need to give my ears a rest from them. Because of their unique design they are a bit clumsy to store if you do not use the leather storage case that comes with them. The audio cord is somewhat short, but long enough to keep your portable player in any pocket of your clothing and still have the A8s in your ears. If you use them with your PC or home stereo, you will want to use the extension cord (36") that comes with the earphones.

* Special Note:

Inexpensive bass response solution:

I found a product called iBuds which are essentially silicon caps that fit over earbuds. These iBuds serve three functions: 1) they are a lot more comfortable to wear since the silicon material is extremely pliable and molds to your ear canal; 2) Since they fit in your ear canal snugly, they block out some external noise; and 3) They DRAMATICALLY improve the bass response on the A8 earphones.

To be fair there is a drawback, the iBuds were designed to fit over the iPod earbuds, which are slightly larger (wider) than the A8 earpiece. Consequently, the iBudscan slip off the A8 earpiece at times. This is not a major drawback in my opinion, especially when you consider that you receive three sets of the silicon iBud caps in each package(small/medium/large) and they go for under $10.00 (USD) a set. Check them out at http://www.mac-pro.com/s.nl/sc.5/category.185/it.A/id.2061/.f for more information.

P.S. The bass response is improved so much with the iBuds that I have to reset the EQ setting on my iPod to the "Treble Booster" preset to balance out the sound. Also, I CANNOT listen to the music at full volume with the iBud/A8 combination—it is simply too loud, painfully so.


Recommend this product? Yes


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