A week with Onkyo H500BT

Hi-Res Universal Headphones Audi o …

Almost simultaneously with Bose SoundSport Free, on-ear headphones from the Japanese brand Onkyo came to me for a short time. The H500BT cannot be called a newcomer to our market, so I am not aiming to write a full review, I will try to outline the main points and describe my impressions.


  • 40mm high power neodymium drivers
  • Closed acoustic design
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (apt-X®, AAC)
  • NFC support
  • 7 – 40,000 Hz (via wire) / 7 – 23,500 Hz (Bluetooth)
  • Resistance – 16 Ohm
  • Sensitivity – 105 dB
  • The maximum number of paired devices is 4
  • The maximum number of simultaneously paired devices – 2
  • English voice prompts
  • Touchscreen control panel (for wireless playback)
  • Working time – 16 h
  • Dimensions: 195 x 200 x 80mm
  • Weight – 217 grams


The Japanese brand Onkyo has been part of the Gibson Innovations portfolio (a Gibson subsidiary) since 2012, as evidenced by the inlay in the box. The aforementioned division of a well-known manufacturer of musical instruments is engaged in the sale of audio equipment, so high-quality Onkyo equipment in the brand portfolio looks quite logical.

In the headphone line of the Japanese manufacturer, the H500BT takes the place of the flagship. The model is positioned as wireless, which, in my opinion, is not entirely fair, since the main capabilities of the headphones are revealed only with a wired connection. Particular emphasis is placed on suitability for outdoor use, we will focus on these two points in the story about sound.


The headphones are delivered in a cardboard white box, there is nothing remarkable about it, as well as the bundle. In the box you can find the headphones themselves, a charging cable, a proprietary 3.5 mm to 3.5 mm wire (in the white version of the headphones – white and gold, in the black – black and gold), a warranty card and instructions for the user. I would like to see a cover in the package bundle, somehow I do not want to throw not quite cheap headphones anywhere.

Ergonomics, appearance, control

By the way, about the case. For this model, it would be rather big, because the H500BT cannot be folded more compactly, the maximum is the ability to turn the ear pads. The rigidity of the structure, yes, but problems with carrying and storage can arise. The turning mechanism itself in my model creaks a little, but nothing critical. The headphones sit well on the head, do not press, soft ear pads made, according to the manufacturer, made of wear-resistant material, adhere to the ears quite reliably.

The design for adjusting the headphones to the head does not cause fear, everything is assembled firmly and works well. The design of the model is minimalist: a minimum of inscriptions, white plastic and gray metal. The white version looks good, and although the material of the ear pads is not easily soiled, the black color scheme is closer to me personally.

I don't really like the bundled wire because it clings to clothing even when passed under the jacket. I have to pull it up occasionally, adjusting the comfortable length. In addition, there is no remote control on it, which reduces outdoor use to the need to take the device out of the pocket and calls into question the positioning of the model ('outdoor'). I would have preferred a solution like in the H500M, but the manufacturer apparently has a different opinion.

The headphones are wirelessly controlled via the touch panel on the right earcup. It is worth swiping up / down in the center – and the volume increases / decreases; by touching the panel, you can pause playback or receive an incoming call. I would not call the control implementation intuitive; it takes a long time to get used to running your finger exactly in the middle of the earpiece, where the hole is located. Moreover, with a wired connection, the touch control does not work. Strange, but you can get used to it.

Otherwise, there are no questions about ergonomics: the fit can be called confident, the model is suitable for long-term listening, the ears do not hurt, the head does not spin. Of course, I would prefer the full-size version, I don't really want the people around to hear the music, because the H500BT has a good volume reserve.

Sound through Bluetooth and wire

With a wireless connection, NFC / Bluetooth is used, the connection is stable, there are no breaks. There is support for the AptX codec, which in itself animates the sound picture. The sound is very solid and clean, all the frequencies are in their place, the instruments do not 'fall into a mess' and do not obscure the voice, 'sand' and 'bubnezh' also did not notice. Of course, on the street and in a noisy place, the quality suffers, passive noise isolation is not enough in places, you have to use a volume reserve. 16 hours from one battery can be called a good result, but there is something to strive for.

Actually, the main thing that the model should be praised for is the sound through the wire. It is not for nothing that there is the Hi-Res logo Audi o on the wire and on the box. Not to say that the sound according to Bluetooth did not suit me with something, but I repeat: the headphones open as much as possible with a wired connection, giving out a frequency range of up to 40 kHz. This is quite enough for an inexperienced music lover without losing quality. Hi-Res assessment was carried out by playing Prime Test CD 1 and an album of one of your favorite bands in FLAC through the Onkyo HF branded player.

A week with Onkyo H500BT

I in no way pretend to be an audiophile, by and large, I have not paid much attention to such audio file formats before, partly due to the lack of intelligible playback technology. The ears got used to the sound of Hi-Res compositions in Onkyo H500BT through a wire very quickly, the difference between compressed streaming audio and recordings without loss of quality affects. If you appreciate this format and are ready to spend money on a good option for listening to your favorite albums outside the home, then you may well take a look at the Onkyo headphones. That's just not the fact that it is H500BT, there is a version of the H500M, which is distinguished by the absence of a wireless playback scenario, respectively, and touch control. But at the same time it is much more pleasant.

General impressions

Slightly blurred by the package bundle, the impressions were easily covered by a clean and rich sound. I believe that in this model, the acoustic characteristics allow not to do magic with equalization, giving out an honest and even, pleasant sound, which appeals to me. Headphones can be used in different scenarios, versatility is well developed. The price / quality ratio is difficult to assess, for 23 thousand the model has a number of competitors with different capabilities, but the sound is such a subjective category that it is better to listen to expensive headphones in advance before buying, preferably in scenarios in which they will be used.

So, to summarize: a good model, perhaps slightly overrated by sellers, with high-quality sound via Bluetooth and even cooler via the wire, universal use cases, meager bundle and not quite familiar, understandable and convenient touch controls for wireless playback . Would I recommend these headphones? Based on impressions and personal scenarios, yes, but with the proviso that for noisy places it is better to choose something with noise reduction.


The author thanks the Russian representative office of Onkyo (Facebook) for the headphones provided for the material.

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