Since our recent round-up, we've been on the quest to find the Holy Grail of leather-covered headphones—and Bang & Olufsen's BeoPlay H6 headphones come pretty close to matching all of the requirements on our wishlist. We wouldn't expect anything less from the Danish pioneer of audio technology, whose high-end products (such as the BeoLab 18 sound column or BeoPlay A9 all-in-one stereo system) are renowned for their unique look since the 1920s. The BeoPlay H6 headphones are similarly bound to turn heads, as they combine carefully considered high-quality materials such as aluminum, cow leather and lambskin, for a minimal aesthetic. The headphones' elegant appearance complements the sound they produce: Intended to be "honest" and neutral, with no glitzy add-ons, playing back music the way the artist intended in the first place. They are a fresh alternative to the chunky, bass-boosting headphones that have been flooding the market lately.
While the BeoPlay H6 are full-sized, they're extremely light, weighing a mere 230 grams—making for greater portability and comfort. The latter is one of their best features, and Bang & Olufsen have invested much time in choosing the most effective combination of materials for maximum comfort. The ear-pads are made from memory foam and are lined with soft lambskin, cushioning—rather than adding pressure onto—the ears. Even after keeping the headphones on for several hours, they never felt tight or became bothersome—even while wearing glasses.
The headband is covered with cowhide leather from New Zealand, adding warmth and a natural touch, and will develop a patina over time. On the underside, there's padded texture fabric divided into sections to make sure the headphones stay on. Another simple yet extremely useful feature: Audio ports exist on both left and right sides, so you have the flexibility to choose which side to connect the detachable cable (which also has a microphone). If you have a friend with a pair of earbuds next to you, they can daisy chain into one of these ports so you can share music without needing an audio splitter.
As a closed-back pair of headphones, ambient sound is instantly reduced by the physical nature of the ear-pads that enclose the ears and allow you to jump into your own ocean of music—without feeling uneasy or synthetically quiet, as some noise-canceling headphones might. With a nearly flat frequency response, the sound is accurate and transparent, refusing to add any bias to the music. Whether you're listening to Antonin Dvořák's "New World Symphony" or Amy Winehouse's Frank, it's crisp and clear—and with the latter, we could even pick up distant trumpet overdubs on the track "Take The Box" previously missed on other headphones. Thus, the BeoPlay H6 are great for those who have a wide range of taste in music and lets you rediscover secrets buried within your favorite music. If your Most Played on Spotify looks more similar to the line-up at Ultra Music Festival, however, these headphones might take a little longer to get used to as they will reproduce the bass neutrally, with no extra boost.
Bang & Olufsen's BeoPlay H6 headphones are available online for $400.
Photos by Largetail