Running without music is boring. Really, really boring.
I discovered this when I first began running. I would get bored of the activity within about five minutes of stepping out the door. Once I had purchased an armband and strapped on my phone, my whole running world changed. I was able to lose myself in the music, I had something to take my mind off the monotony of the run.
The Right Tool For The Task
Accessing music may have changed my attitude towards running, but not everything about it was great. I used the earphones that came with the phone, which sounded adequate but not amazing. They also started to degrade fairly quickly.
And then there was the cord. Anyone who has tried running with wired earbuds knows that pain. The cord never sits quite right.
The other main worry that I had with earbuds was that they decreased my awareness of my surroundings. I run early in the morning, often when it is completely dark. For my own safety, there are times when I need to be fully aware of my surroundings.
It was quickly becoming clear that standard earbuds were not the right tool for the job. Running was finally fun and it was in no small part due to the music in my ears. It was time to cut the cord and upgrade to something much better.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8
Bang & Olufsen know about sound. They have been creating some of the world’s best audio equipment for over 90 years! If anyone is going to make earphones that sound good, it’s B&O.
Actually, “sound good” is a massive understatement. The sound produced by these tiny marvels is outstanding. My music has been crisp and clear throughout every step of my running since I started using the Beoplay E8 earphones. It’s hard to describe the difference that a quality set of earbuds makes, but it’s almost as if you hear the song for the first time. All the beautiful subtleties of the music, the soft background instruments, the rawness of the vocals – it all comes through on perfectly balanced ear pieces like the E8.
I’m no audiophile, but for me the experience of hearing music like this was really refreshing. It added that extra little bit of enjoyment to my morning run. Even as I sit here and type this, I’m excited for my next 5 am run, simply because I’m looking forward to the pleasure of listening to music on the Beoplay E8 earphones.
For those who really want to perfect their listening experience, the mobile app allows for further tweaking through the Bang & Olufsen ToneTouch Equalizer. I had a little play with it, but ultimately I decided that I was happy with the way the Beoplay E8 earphones sounded straight out of the box.
As I mentioned, when I first started running, I didn’t wear headphones. That was because it was dark and I felt that I had to be fully aware of my surroundings. I knew I couldn’t easily be seen when crossing roads and driveways, so it was all on me to stay safe.
However, it was also terribly boring, so once I was familiar with my regular route, the music came out. It wasn’t too bad – my standard earbuds were hardly noise cancelling, so I could still hear a bit of what was happening around me.
The Beoplay E8 earphones are really effective at blocking out outside noise. That is great for allowing me to focus on my music, but not so good for enhancing my situational awareness while running. Thankfully, the Beoplay E8 has a trick up its sleeve – Transparency Mode. Transparency Mode is a customizable function that allows me to switch between blocking the world out and letting it in, with just a simple tap on the left earphone.
What that means is when I am running through parks and on footpaths, I can block out all of the sounds of the rest of the world and fully enjoy my music. When I approach danger zones – major roads, busy driveways to service stations etc. – I simply tap the left E8 and the outside noises come flooding in.
I have only been running a couple of times with these headphones, but the difference that makes is amazing. In particular, I have found the simple ability to hear if a car is accelerating or decelerating when approaching a pedestrian crossing invaluable. It allows me to make those split-second decisions about whether to stop and wait, or keep going. I can see how a function like that would not only be useful for running, but also for everyday use – especially for people who spend time in busy environments, like city streets.
There are plenty of “wireless” earphones out there. Except… they aren’t wireless. They might use Bluetooth to connect to the device, but they still have a wire running from one ear to the other. The Beoplay E8 earphones are at the cutting edge of wireless earphone technology. They are simply two tiny earbuds that sit comfortably inside your ears. No wires whatsoever join the two sides. It’s amazing, and so much more comfortable than having the wires jiggling about while running. I’m thrilled to have removed one of the most annoying aspects of running with earphones.
The Beoplay E8 earphones come with a small hard case (that is wrapped in luxurious leather), and that doubles as a charging dock. The E8 earphones can last up to four hours, and the case doubles as a charging station on the go, providing two extra charges for a total of up to 12 hours listening time. That means you’re not likely to run out power, even during the longest runs.
The earbuds of the Beoplay E8 earphones fit comfortably in my ear. They came with a range of different ear tips and it wasn’t hard to find ones that were perfect for me. I have run seven kilometres with the earphones remaining firmly in place the whole time. I never once felt like they were going to fall out, and within a few minutes I had (almost) forgotten they were even there. They are certainly a lot more comfortable than wired earbuds that constantly remind you of their presence through the ever-niggling cable.
As I said before, they are pretty great at blocking out the outside world, so when I run at the beach (where there are no cars to worry about), I can get lost in the music while I run. That greatly adds to my comfort and enjoyment of the experience.
Did you know that sweat is a massive killer of headphones? Most of them just aren’t up to the task of keeping out moisture, and water and electronics don’t mix! The Beoplay E8 earphones are splash and dust proof, which makes them ideal for exercise.
Being the clever chap I am, I have already put this claim to the test. On my very first run with the Beoplay E8 I was faced with a downpour about half way through. Most sensible people could have seen it coming (the normally busy footpath was almost deserted), but there I was, three and a half kilometres from my car, in the pouring rain.
I was a little nervous about the little premium buds sitting in my ears. After all, the rain was coming down hard. But I needn’t have worried at all, the E8 earphones didn’t miss a beat. In fact, they survived the whole ordeal much better than I did. I was sick for two days after – the earphones were as good as new.
While I don’t recommend running through a downpour to test out the water resistance of your new earphones, I can say I’m thoroughly impressed with their ability to survive some pretty tough conditions. It gives me confidence that the Beoplay E8 earphones will be a part of my fitness routine for a long time to come.
The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 earphones have made a positive impact on my comfort and enjoyment while exercising. They have removed the constant niggle of the wires, and markedly improved the quality of my listening experience. I very much enjoy running with them on. Stay tuned for a full review in a few weeks…
Disclosure – Bang & Olufsen provided Blog of Dad with the Beoplay E8 earphones free of charge, for the purpose of review and for ongoing use in my quest to become a fitter dad. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Beoplay E8 earphones. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.