BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth Headphone Review
This is an amateur’s review of the BÖHM wireless bluetooth headphones. I’m no audiophile and I don’t have a trained ear. I don’t think vinyl sounds better than digital CD audio. I keep all my music as 196 bit MP4s and I am not able to hear many digital artifacts at that quality level. I do love headphones though. I own many different pairs but I most commonly use AKGs where I have a strong enough amp to power them, Audio-Technica M50s for daily use at work, and a pair of Shure E2 ear buds for walking around. I wanted to get a good pair of BlueTooth headphones that were light weight and comfortable. I also really wanted active noise canceling. A lot to ask for a single pair of headphones but if I can find them they may replace at least two of my daily headphones.
I knew the signal quality that BlueTooth can transmit would be a limiting factor so I saw no reason to spend $300+ on a “good” pair of BlueTooth headphones. After some reading I stumbled upon the BÖHM wireless bluetooth 4.0 headphones with active noise cancelation. They had almost 500 reviews on Amazon and an average rating of 4.5 stars. At $99 I just hit “buy now” and hoped for the best. Here’s what I found.
These BÖHM headphones are constructed with an aluminum frame covered with padded pleather for the headband and the ear cups. The speaker housing is made of a plastic that looks very much like sand blasted aluminum. The headband extends to size and the ear cups rotate just over 90° to lay flat in the provided hard shell case. With the ear cups folding flat, the case is thin enough to easily fit in a bag. I believe the build on these headphones is at least as good as my M50s. Honestly I think they look a little better too.
I had to fully extend the arms to fit my head so these may not fit someone with an abnormally large cranium. That said, these were more comfortable than I expected. The frame presses the cans firmly against your ears. Enough to keep them in place during normal wear and even light head-banging. I generally find over the ear headphones to be more comfortable but also less portable. It’s a trade off. Weighing in at only 5.75 ounces, these headphones aren’t cumbersome or heavy at all. The ear pads are soft and smooth. After four hours of wear they didn’t make my ears feel hot or sweaty.
All of the controls for these headphones are on the back side of the left ear. This makes them very comfortable to reach with your thumb. Cupping the ear piece with your hand puts your thumb directly on the power button. This is also used as play, pause and answer calls. Reaching up slightly you find the volume down / previous track button. raise your thumb again and you are on volume up / next track. Tapping these buttons switches tracks and long pressing on them changes the volume. The only other control is the noise canceling switch located on the face of the right ear cup.
I have two complaints with the controls. First off, there is no way to activate voice commands from the headphones. This seems like an over-site. Even $10 headphones usually have this feature. Secondly, since there is no visual indicator of the remaining battery, BÖHM opted to have the headphones beep to indicate that the battery is getting low. This wouldn’t be so bad but they start beeping after the battery reaches about 50%. That left me with annoying beeping for half my listening experience, before the batteries fully died. I think I would have rather had them die for no indicated reason than to have my music interrupted so frequently. If uninterrupted play is need for more than height hours this is a deal breaker.
In my personal testing I was able to play music, at half volume, for fifteen hours before the audio started to cut out. Obviously this time will fluctuate with changing volume levels but I found this to be more than satisfactory. With active noise canceling turned on, the battery life dropped down to about nine hours. That’s still enough to get you though a full day of flying on a single charge. After the batteries were depleted, it took about three hours to fully recharge them. There are plenty of BlueTooth headphones on the market with longer battery life but I think these have struck a good balance of battery life to size and weight.
The signal range is reported to be 33 feet. I assume that is with line of sight. Obviously walls should drastically cut into that distance. Leaving my phone at my desk, with a wall and a 27 inch iMac in the way, I was able to get just over 100 feet down the hallway before I heard any clicking or cutouts. That could speak more to the power of my iPhone’s BlueTooth transmitter but regardless I found it impressive. I can easily make it to the break room or bathroom without taking my phone with me. Keeping my phone in my pocket resulted in hours of uninterrupted audio playback. No signal noise or audio cutting out at all.
As a point of reference, my Bose SoundLink II BlueTooth speakers start to lose signal at around 15 feet. If there is a wall in the way they may only reach about 5 feet before the sound just starts cutting out. BlueTooth isn’t very useful if you have to keep your device closer than an average cord length to work.
I’ve only made a few quick phone calls using these headphones. The sound isolation makes it hard for me to hear my own voice and that makes me afraid that I’m speaking too loudly in public. That said, I was able to hear my caller very clearly and they seemed to be able to here me without having to raise my voice. The call volume was slightly lower than the volume of the music I was listening to but not enough to be troublesome.
This is where I’m going to fail you as a reviewer. I won’t describe the sound of these headphones as if it were a well aged wine. My ears just aren’t that refined. I can’t hear any of those subtle details that audiophiles describe. While testing these headphones I listed to rock, EDM, hiphop and a little classical music. I can tell you that the stereo separation is pronounced. I was very aware of which side an instrument was focused. I guess you could say that the sound stage is very wide. This was more noticeable in electronic music than rock or classical though that could be by sound design. Dance music isn’t usually engineered for headphone listening.
The highs are very crisp and sharp. The mid tones are mostly clean and pleasing but can get a bit muddy at times. The bass is surprisingly punchy and a bit exaggerated. With the popularity of bass heavy headphones, like Beats, I can see this being considered a positive attribute. They aren’t as bass heavy as Beats but they hit much harder than my M50s, which I consider to be closer to reference headphones. All in all I would describe the overall sound as fun. The mids are strong enough to make your rock music sound good and the bass is heavy enough that EDM and hip hop sound appropriately “thumpy.” For comparison, they don’t stand up to my M50s at all but they have some of the cleanest bluetooth sound I have heard.
When testing noise canceling, for comparison I tested the feature against a pair of Bose QC25s and the Beats Studio headphones. Since I didn’t have any flights scheduled for the near future, I haven’t been able to test the noise canceling on a plane but I did test it against car and road noise, a crowded shopping mall, an industrial air conditioner unit, and Bose own noise canceling demo booth. How through is that?
Let my start with simple passive isolation. These headphones provide a surprising amount of isolation. With no music playing I can barely hear my office mate talking directly to me. I can still hear some background sounds but I didn’t expect on ear headphones to close out the outside world as well as these do.
When enabled, the active noise canceling changes the sound of music noticeably. The overall volume is decreased so you may need to turn it up slightly to compensate. The mid tones are more subdued and the bass is slightly less exaggerated. Everything feels a bit flat and even. Some may prefer that sound but I think it takes the character out of the headphones.
While riding in a car the ANC removed almost all of the road and wind noise. All I could hear was my music. Arriving at the local Target, I turned my music off again. The passive isolation blocked out some of the people noise but turning on ANC didn’t really change the sound that much but playing music blocked the rest. At the Bose ANC testing station I turned on my music and ANC to match the Bose setup. Again music completely masked the background noise of the kiosk. The result was close to that of the Beats Studio edition ANC but not as strong as the Bose. The industrial air conditioner sounded the most like an airplane engine and without music playing I was still able to hear a significant low rumble. That was almost completely eliminated by ANC once I started my music up. Again, the Beats faired about as well and the Bose were again better. In all these cases I found the the Beats and the BÖHM headphones seemed to be on par with one another. The Bose ANC seemed to be more effective but not by a great deal. Remember, this is a sub hundred dollar pair of headphones competing with $250+ headphones.
All in all I find the BÖHM headphones to be a very competent set of BlueTooth headphones. They are light weight, relatively comfortable, and do a good job of blocking out the outside world. If ANC and BlueTooth are the features you are looking for, I don’t think you can do better than these headphones, at this price. This is a solid product and I can see why it has such good ratings. The beeping is the only major detractor to them and though recharging every eight hours can alleviate that, I ended up returning them because I didn’t want to play a guessing game of “how long can I go before the beeping will start?” These are good headphones but they weren’t the headphones for me.
You can find the BÖHM headphones on sale at Amazon.