It used to be that spending time on an indoor trainer was akin to some kind of torture. Modern trainer programs and the trainers themselves have improved on that, but one thing that has always made those training sessions more tolerable is music. Whatever your taste in tunes, the right song can make pushing through that painful block just a little easier. The team at Rapha is no stranger to putting in their time on the trainer, so they just partnered with Bang & Olufsen to make it easier than ever motivate (or distract) yourself on your next training session.
Earlier this year, Bang & Olufsen introduced the third generation of their Beoplay E8 Sport headphones. Notably, they included the addition of IP-57 certified waterproofing which is necessary if you’re going to be wearing these while dripping with sweat on your stationary bike. Not only are the sweat proof, but the should be fine to rinse off after a workout to keep them fresh.
Features wise, it doesn’t look like much has changed for the Limited Edition Rapha version of the Beoplay E8, though there are of course changes to the look. Pink accent rings encircle tasteful Rapha and B&O logos on the two wireless ear buds, and the top of the recharging case features an embossed Rapha + B&O logo.
That case has a built-in 450 mAh battery which when combined with the 60 mAh battery in each ear bud, should add up to roughly 30 hours of playback at “moderate” volume. Note that this isn’t a continuous 30 hours of playback though. You’ll get about 7 hours before you’ll need to pop the ear buds back into the magnetic case to recharge. In terms of recharging times, 20 minutes is said to give about 1.5 hours of playback, and the earphones should charge in about 2.5 hours, while the case will charge in about 2 hours with the included USB-C plug.
TL;DR? Basically, you get 7 hours of playback out of the earphones, with an additional three charges stored up in the case without needing to plug in.
There’s also Qi wireless charging pad available separately from B&O ($125, in various colors) that’s compatible with the charging case. With the pad, it’s said to take about 2.5h to charge the case fully.
In the box, you’ll find a number of additional fit pieces so they’ll actually stay in your ears. You’ll find four different silicone ear tips (XS, S, M, L), three sizes of silicone ear fins (S, M, L), and one medium set of their Comply tips which use a viscoelastic memory foam for a more secure fit. Small or Large Comply tips are also available separately.
Personally, I always struggle with in-ear headphones since I have small ears, and small ear canals. That made me very happy when I found that the XS silicone tips and the large wings actually worked with my tiny ear holes.
When putting them in, you sort of twist each bud forward so that the wing ‘locks’ into place under the cartilage of your ear. The resulting hold is surprisingly strong. I’m not sure I could recommend using a pair of $350 earphones while riding out in the real world, but with these you probably could.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to block out the sounds of everything around you – so there’s options. Say you’re jogging out on the road and you want to keep one ear open to hear everything (as you should). With the Beoplay, that’s possible – but only with the right earphone. Since they’re paired, and the right is the one that connects to your phone, only the right one can be used without the other in close contact. Want to use just the left earphone? That’s possible, but you’ll have to keep the right one close by, like in your pocket.
But what if you have both of the earphones in and you want to hear more of what’s around you? A simple tap of your finger on the left earphone activates Transparency mode. When engaged, the earphones amplify the external sound and turn down the music so you can hear what’s going on without having to hit pause. If you do need to hit pause though, a tap of the right earphone will pause and play your music. Well, most of your music. While testing these I was streaming live radio from the WWOZ app and the tap would pause the music, but it wouldn’t restart it. In that case, I had to reopen the app and hit play.
Speaking of apps, the B&O app to control the Beoplay E8 headphones offers a lot of control to the sound quality. For a pair of wireless sport earphones, the E8s have extremely impressive sound that can be customized to your preferences. In addition to the five stock settings (and one custom) including one specifically for podcasts, you can custom tune each setting by dragging the dot in the equalizer. You can also control the level of Transparency from none, to fully on without any music when you tap the left bud.
B&O states that these offer “passive noise cancellation” which is a fancy way to say that the tight fit of the headphone in your ear isolates external noise. These do not have any actual noise cancelling tech, and I would say that compared to other in-ear passive noise cancelling headphones that I’ve used, these don’t do a great job of blocking out very loud sounds – like say, a leaf blower. But they do offer much better sound quality than many in-ear headphones that I’ve used, so there are trade-offs.
As usual, these will be produced in limited quantities and will be available first to RCC members starting today. The public launch will be next Monday, when you’ll be able to purchase them from Rapha or from Bang & Olufsen for $350. That’s a lot for a pair of earphones meant for workouts, but for the audiophile who also spends a lot of time exercising (and digs Rapha style), these are hard to beat.