Bang & Olufsen A8 Headphones Review

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When my wife drags me to the mall, I take the opportunity to visit our Apple Store. While the Gadgeteer Kid ‘tests’ the floor iMacs, I look around for review-worthy technology to potentially play with. During these times, I have fondled the Bang & Olufsen A8 Headphones (package) countless times…. Their unique high-tech look, quality metal construction and active design are really the draw for me. I have finally gotten my hands on a pair of the A8’s, I just hope they sound as good as they look ;).

The B&O A8’s have been on the market for a couple of years now. They are engineered to provide great sound for active users. I typically use my junkie old iPod earbuds to listen to music while running. The iPod earbuds sound fine enough for pounding pavement because I do not want to muck-up any of my high-end headphones with sweat or ickiness.  However, after using these B&O A8’s for a few weeks, I believe without a doubt I will use these as my main running headphones from now on.

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Package Contents

  • Bang & Olufsen A8 headphones
  • Foam earphone covers
  • User guide

Specifications

DESIGNER Anders Hermansen
DIMENSIONS 1.4″ x 2.3″ x 0.5″
WEIGHT 0.8 oz
FINISH Aluminum with black, white, green, orange, yellow
CORD 4 ft
PRINCIPLE Electro-dynamic speaker In-ear type
FREQ RANGE 50-20,000Hz

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The A8’s are constructed of aluminum and rubber/plastic and are very well made. Definitely better construction than the average plastic earbuds that come with all the mp3 players today. At round $160, the A8’s fall into the high end of the mid-range earphones.

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The A8’s cabling is slightly thicker (and less tangle prone) than most of the other earbuds I have tested. All of its connection points are nicely done as well.

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The A8’s are available in black, white, green, orange, and yellow. The aluminum parts are identical, B&O just switched out the rubber and plastic.

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Due to the A8’s hook over the ear design and three way adjust-ability,  they are extremely comfortable and stay where you put them. It is quick and easy to adjust them to fit your ears perfectly.

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There are three points of adjustment; the hook over the ear, the earbuds arm that slides down lengthening the distance of the bud from the hook, and the earbud arm that swings in and out from the plain of the hook and main shaft.

As you would expect from a $160 set of headphones, the B&O A8’s sound quality is excellent; a quantum level better than my usual running earbuds. They reproduce the sound spectrum very well, a great listening experience. A definite positive for me is that they are not too heavy handed in the bass department, reproducing music beautifully.

I really like the A8’s from Bang & Olufsen and as I said, I will continue to use them when I run and workout. They are a nicely made, great sounding, well engineered basic set of headphones without microphone or remote (although B&O has created, the EarSet 3, an equivalent with microphone) designed for the active user.

Update 3/28/10: Thanks to Vernon (see comments below) I have discovered I purchased a fake pair of earbuds. While I am a bit embarrassed, I still like them & they provide me rock solid use. I continue to exercise with them many times a week and they remain my main running earbuds.

 

Product Information

Price:$159
Manufacturer:Bang & Olufsen
Pros:
  • Very well made
  • Excellent build materials
  • Engineered for the active user
  • Three way adjust-ability
  • Great sounding/well balanced listening experience
Cons:
  • Somewhat expensive
Posted in: Audio, Video, TV Gear, Reviews

{ 20 comments… add one }

  • Way January 22, 2010, 4:56 am

    I actually beg to differ. Used to have a set but gave it away. The sound is bad in that it was all treble and no bass. When used with the iPod, the only equalizer setting that helped was “Treble Reducer” because “Bass Booster” did no help as there was no bass to begin with.

    In addition, the build only looks strong. I actually had the earphones snap at the L joint (Thus causing the earphones to freely swivel around the barrel) not once, but twice. The worst part was that after the second time, the B&O shop (In SG) wanted to blame me for breaking it (When all I did was use it to listen to music on the way to work, not even sports) and thus, void my warranty. Fortunately, after some debate, they agreed to repair it for me the second time (The first time was a replacement).

    For the price paid on the A8, I think there are other much better earphones in the market (e.g. Apple in-ear, Bose in-ear, Ultimate Ears, etc). :o)

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  • Dave Rees January 22, 2010, 9:57 am

    Way,

    Interesting and thanks for sharing your experience. I still really enjoy using them for my runs. They remain rock solid and improved listening over the stock iPod earbuds (for me @ least).

    Dave

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  • Alix January 22, 2010, 10:52 am

    I’ve had a pair for over a year now and really like them. The sound quality is better than the standard Apple earbuds and, importantly, they stay in my ears while walking. They have lasted just fine, although I am somewhat careful with them. I appreciate the not artificially heavy bass. I have not really tried to boost the bass much it so can’t comment on that.

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  • Vernon March 28, 2010, 5:26 am

    Sorry to inform you, but you have bought a fake one. Check out the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZMKFHYAY7U .

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  • Dave Rees March 28, 2010, 10:06 am

    @ Vernon, you know I checked several of these fake vs real videos on the B&O earbuds (prior to doing the review) and (obviously) thought I was reviewing a real pair. But sadly I believe you are correct and the set I have are fake. That said, my fake set have been holding up very well and been providing me great sound during my workouts. I am planning on using them today on my run…..

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  • Mike April 26, 2010, 12:35 pm

    These headphones are legendary! I have had my pair for 3 years, happily exceeded the 2 year warrenty period without and faults to them. They still provide a high quality level of sound, and have never crackled when playing music on MAX from my laptop which would otherwise rip my ipod headphones apart.

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  • innosteam May 7, 2010, 12:38 pm

    I belive your B&O A8 not fake. Because I see clips from the other Match your.
    And link below Both are fake
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZMKFHYAY7U

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  • cam November 6, 2010, 8:56 pm

    Hi, yes your headphones ARE fake, the way you can easily tell is by the case. the case on real A8’s is a perfect semi-circle, the ones you have pictured is like an oval shape.

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  • Filo November 30, 2010, 6:50 am

    Had these earphones for almost 4years now.. great item. Friend bought the bose at the same time I bought mine (from airport duty free) but quality is not even closely comparable. Unfortunately still cant see the poor bass as a plus. They are however amazing at the high end of the spectrum – whitney houston (“Always love you”) is a truly sharp treble-fest..really amazing. On the market for another pair now as unfortunately after 3years of heavy use (no, havent been too careful) tinkers started appearing on the left speaker and cable started wearing out (now stuck w tape which doesnt really do justice to the looks).

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  • Jimmy April 24, 2011, 10:05 pm

    your headphone are different with the original from bang&olufsen, the rubber between the headset and the wire are a bit shorter than the original, the metal hinge where bang&olufsen logo are thinner, and the wire where is lead from the headset speaker to the earloop if you look closer you’ll be able to tell the cooper color inside not aluminum.

    P.S. But it look very real :)

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  • Owen May 10, 2011, 11:44 pm

    I doubt if it is a fake as they did change certain parts like the splitter areas to fit… so prob urs is original..

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  • pedro July 6, 2011, 6:40 pm

    i bought my A8 today and i was a bit dissapointed at the beggining cause my MD was out of batery and i turned it into my xperia sony ericsson phone!the bass did not exist..but the i felt a very clear sound at the same time! when i got home i turned it into my MD player..and the music was other. with the equalizer i got the bass that was missing and the earphones played like no other that i had. i also tried it on my mini hi fi yamaha piano craft…and i couldn´t believe the sound of it!it was amazing. in the end i think the we can listen all kinds of music but the sound quality depends of the source. B&O A8 sound is just a great sound

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  • Gary in NYC September 14, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Based on the case and the instruction manual, I’d say these were fake. However… the headphones themselves seem to be correct. B&O redesigned the cord splitter to a “Y” shape piece, and some of the fakes have this. Also, many of the fakes have either the arm stoppers (ends) missing or in silver.

    The real test would be in the feel and sound. If the “piston” action of the stems is firm and fluid, and the sound is very good, then it’s likely you have real ones that were just paired up with a fake case and manual.

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  • Sandra T February 9, 2012, 5:29 pm

    The wire connections shredded after 2 years. They quite literally fell apart. B&O doesn’t stand behind them. So, unless you put them in the case after every use, expect to have them for only 2 years.

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  • Chia March 14, 2012, 1:06 pm

    I initially bought a pair of fake ones off eBay thinking they were real. Didn’t like the sound at all as it did not sound any different than those which came with iPhone.
    I then bought an original pair from a B&O retail shop and boy was I amazed at the clear difference in sound quality! Unfortunately lost them after 3 years! I now have a pair Bose in ears.. And I can tell all of you that it does not compare!
    To me, the B&O is like no other headphones I’ve ever come across thus far! Sound quality and clarity is leaps and bounds above the rest!

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  • stuart March 18, 2012, 9:28 am

    Im currently on my second pair of A8’s. Although i can’t fault the sound, i have had the same fault with both pairs, first the small plastic screw holding the rubber ear pieces on snapped and then after a while a loose connection developed in the cable near the jack. I didn’t want to argue at the store about blame as they were about 2 years old so i paid £50 to have them repaired, i got a refurbished set back and within a week the plastic crews had snapped again and within 2 months the jack has a loose wire again, pretty disappointing for a £100 pair of headphones, I’m not particularly rough with my gear and despite having numerous cheap pairs I’ve never had problems with loose connections over time.

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  • Samuel June 2, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Anyone who claims that the A8 headphones deliver inferior sound is either full of sh*t, has tin ears, or has bought a fake set. The A8 gives superb crystal clear sound at any volume–no mush! HOWEVER, I agree that the A8 headphones are VERY fragile and expensive to repair. Furthermore, the only authorized B&O dealer in my city is notorious for over-charging customers and giving surly service.

    17
  • Bonno July 19, 2012, 8:06 pm

    I bought a paid when i wondered in by mistake to a B&O in West Palm beach in 2008. The guy in the suit came up to me and started waffling on, i saw a price for some music system at 80,000 usd so though ahh time to leave. Then i saw sme headfones, i spent about 170usd before that point on failed gym head fones, apples fell out during a work out, Body glove did not have the sound quality then creative all tho some how stuck in my eye, i would develop sweat then it would trickle down into my eye and the sounds would fail and i would have to dry them quickly and carry on. Really annoying with rowing. So back to B&O i saw them 160usd i seem to recall and with the exchance rate at the time i was like ooo 80quid expensive but worth a shot because everything the salesman was saying about them was what i needed to hear.

    After about a 2 years of AMAZING use i went one day for a run in the rain and one of the headfones failed. I spoke to Chichester B&O about after a bit of fun getting a sales receipt long since gone from date of purchase, i actually managed to emIl the USA shop and get the recept as they had it on file Amazing(a bit like apple n that aspect) so with thatnin hand i sent them in and i got back the same pair repaired. That was 2 years ago.

    Now just this evening they completely failed and now i am out of warranty i hope they will do a discount off of a new pair or repair the ones i have at cost. I actually managed to crush both head phone speakers to the point that the wires were hanging out. Seems the case before the speaker fails first. I used a bit of glue and pushed them back together and off i went. That was 1 year ago.

    Overall 5 stars out of 5. I will update as to what happens when i get back to england in 2 weeks

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  • Bonno July 19, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Ha i forgot to proof read my message, its actually quite funny. “Stuck in my eye” being a highlight tweak it for me please

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  • Patrick March 27, 2013, 7:37 am

    Have had mine for ten years now. Taken them around the planet many times. Jungle in Thailand, New York, Paris, and use them almost daily in Sydney. I often get lazy and don’t use the case. Fallen asleep on planes with them in. Ten stars out of five. Superb sound. Excessive bass is for people who don’t understand music. B&O is for people who do. The price is cheap when you consider the quality of life it buys and how long they last with normal real life use.

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