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Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wired Over Ear Headphones, Black
- With P7, we have created a headphone driver that works more like the drive unit in a hi-fi speaker, with a diaphragm focused purely on the job it's supposed to do: generate sound. Which means a drive unit with a more precise, controlled movement. Connectivity Technology: Wired
- P7's ear pads feature a dual cavity cushion design that helps the pads mold to the contours of the wearer's head. This design maintains a consistent volume of air between the drive unit and the surface of the ear at both sides of the head.
- Not only is stereo imaging enhanced, but the sound is optimized for every listener. Frequency range-10Hz to 20kHz
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From the manufacturer
The new standard for portable sound quality. From Bowers & Wilkins, British makers of award-winning speakers since 1966, found in the world's best studios, including Abbey Road.
Best possible portable sound
Every element of P7 has been designed to raise the bar for portable Hi-Fi sound. The very best components, finest materials and impeccable build quality together offer uncompromising performance and luxurious comfort. The result is truly immersive.
Hi-Fi drive units
The most important element of P7 performance is its new driver – designed less like traditional headphones, more like a hi-fi speaker. The result is performance with wonderful space, balance and clarity across the frequency range, and amazing precision.
P7 is crafted from aluminum and supple sheep’s leather, for maximum comfort, durability and noise isolation. Ultra-soft cushioning makes them very easy on the ears and keeps out external noise. You'll forget the headphones, and the world around you, and just feel the music.
P7 leather pads completely enclose the ears to keep a consistent volume of air around drive units, enhancing stereo imaging. They also deliver a more comfortable fit and block outside noise for truly immersive audio.
Fold up and go
P7 is designed to be at home on the move. Solid metal hinges on each side, above the ear cups, create a foldable form factor. Stored safely in its quilted case, P7 is surprisingly portable.
Detachable ear pads
P7 ear pads are held in place with magnets. So you can easily detach them to change the cable, or replace them if they get damaged. Why buy new headphones if all you need is a new set of pads?
|P7||P5 Series 2||P3 Series 2||C5 Series 2|
|Drive Units||2 x 40mm||2 x 40mm||2 x 30mm||2 x 9.2mm|
|Frequency range||10Hz to 20kHz||10Hz to 20kHz||10Hz to 20kHz||10Hz to 20kHz|
|Inputs||3.5mm stereo mini jack (on cable), 2.5mm mini jack (on Headphone)||3.5mm stereo mini jack (CTIA 4-pole)||3.5mm stereo mini jack (on cable), 2.5mm mini jack (on Headphone)||3.5mm stereo mini jack|
|Finish||Real leather and metal||Real leather and metal||Custom fabric and aluminium||Black|
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|Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||MSB Daily||1st Avenue SuperStore||1st Avenue SuperStore||Turntable Lab||Amazon.com||Hi-Fi Heaven-net|
|Item Dimensions||9.2 x 7.6 x 5.2 in||6.89 x 2.95 x 7.87 in||2.87 x 7.09 x 8.7 in||8.46 x 16.73 x 9.84 in||11.42 x 6.69 x 8.66 in||7.48 x 3.78 x 9.92 in|
|Item Weight||2.31 lbs||0.79 lb||—||10.78 lbs||—||1.69 lbs|
|Additional Features||Hi-Fi inspired drive unit design||Motion-sensitive Play/Pause/Stand-by||Fold flat feature, dynamic drivers||microphone-feature||Angled drivers for realistic sound||noise-cancellation|
With P7, everything is designed to allow you to lose yourself in music. Bass is tight, vocals are precisely defined, and there's a wonderful sense of space, balance and clarity across the whole frequency range. At the same time, the over-ear design and snugly-fitting ear pads ensure you become completely immersed in your listening. Because when you're hearing sound this good, you don't want anything to interrupt your enjoyment.
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If you are looking for an audiophile-grade wireless headphone: Sorry, the P7 Wireless is *not* it. In terms of sound quality, the P7 Wireless achieves at best an 8/10 among closed headphones. Making things worse is the Bluetooth quirks: (i) small pauses/hiccups are common due to signal interference, and (ii) every Bluetooth headphone I have tried has an audible hiss(*) when the player transmits "silence" to the headphone.
However, as of the end of 2016, I have not heard any wireless headphone that I would agree to label as audiophile-grade anyway. So if you need a wireless headphone in 2017 and if you specifically do not need active noise cancellation (ANC), I recommend the P7 Wireless: to my ears, P7 Wireless confidently blows away the wireless offerings I have tried from Beoplay, Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, Plantronics, and Beats. I think the fact that B&W decided not to touch ANC and instead focused on achieving high audio quality is the trick here. For this achievement, B&W gets my high praise: they give me the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day there will be an audiophile-grade wireless headphone!
And yet if you are looking for ANC, which is much appreciated on airplanes (and to a good extent, buses), I cannot recommend the P7 Wireless. It's passive noise cancellation is not effective. For air travel, go with Beoplay H9 if you absolutely care about hearing the last bit of detail when you are on an airplane; or, if you just want to tune out and relax, pretty much anything that features ANC. Don't let the "Bose has best ANC" claim fool you: airplane engine noise is predictable and in the low frequency range, and even "average" ANC goes a long way. To my ears, the H9 is way more than adequate to cut down on engine noise and yet it preserves most of the audio quality. It's unrealistic to expect much more than H9's ANC and yet the "upgrade" to Bose will yield much less engaging music (will post my H9 review once I am done writing it).
(*) The hiss can be annoying and you can force it to appear as follows: set the phone to vibrate only (zero playback volume) while interacting with the phone. On Android, the OS will transmit "silence" to the headphone and you will hear the hiss.
This is a review for the 2016 *wireless* version of B&W P7, which I bought here after reviewing a unit (see the "verified purchase" badge on this review). Note that the P7 Wireless sounds quite different, and in a good way, when compared to the wired version, which was released quite a while ago.
In this review, if I do not specifically name the connection (wireless vs. wired), you can assume it is wireless on a Nexus 5X ("just" Bluetooth), and in one case I will comment on the minute difference when I use it with aptX on my 2013 MacBook Pro. I believe the wireless connection is what most people who buy the P7 Wireless would be using anyway, but I will also comment on how the P7 Wireless performs slightly better in the wired mode.
- "Almost-great" sound in wireless mode, and great sound in wired mode when used with audio devices that do *not* boost the bass: The treble on the P7 Wireless is rolled off a little bit, but it also means less hearing fatigue in longer sessions. I would say the sound signature on the P7 Wireless is rich and mildly forward. (Search for "describing sound a glossary".) The mid on the P7 Wireless is great for a closed headphone in wireless mode---I have not heard better among all the wireless headphones I have tried. Once wired, it is also very well-done---in the no-external-amp-allowed situation, I find it only beaten by Beoplay H6 2nd gen. (I still need to get an AudioQuest NightOwl, but from my experience with AQ's NightHawk, which has all kinds of cup-induced distortion, I won't hold my breath on the NightOwl.) Overall, as picky as I am on headphones, I really have no complaints in the treble and the mid on the P7 Wireless, especially given this price point.
- Long battery life: In my tests, I often hit 15 hours before the power LED turns red.
- aptX: In my case, I often use the P7 Wireless with my MacBook Pro (MBP) when I am in my office. However, the P7 Wireless sounds "great enough" on my Nexus 5X even with "just Bluetooth" (so-called Subband Coding, or SBC). To tell you the truth, unless in critical listening situations (silence + concentration + A/B testing in close successions), it's hard to appreciate the difference between the two. Yes, the aptX has better resolution afforded by the higher bandwidth and so the instruments can sound more realistic, but I also need to pay a lot of attention to appreciate this, which is not what I do in office. (And here is a real kicker: a 95% realistic voice may sound _less_ engaging than one that is only 90% realistic... many of our ears like exaggeration and we call that "emotion". In my experience, aptX shines most with classical instruments like violin, and only if you have a good idea on how the instruments sound in real life.)
- In wired mode, the P7 Wireless is in my opinion what the original P7 should have been. It features a richer presentation when compared to the Beoplay H6 2nd gen once the difference in volume level has been equalized (the H6 2nd gen is quite a bit less efficient in comparison). However, the P7 Wireless in wired mode is not a good performer at lower volume because, at low volume, a rich-sounding headphone also sounds too recessed to my taste. In wired mode straight from my MBP, I still prefer the BeoPlay H6 2nd gen a bit more due to its apparent clarity at lower volume and its comfort (except for the wire and the microphonics induced by the wire).
- Multi-pairing. When you power up the P7 Wireless, it will connect to the prime device automatically. But if you have paired it with other devices before, you can initiate connection from the devices and the P7 Wireless will play along. For me, the prime is my Nexus 5X and my secondaries are my computers.
- In wireless mode, the bass often bleeds into the mid and feels uncontrolled on bass-heavy songs. It's OK for a consumer-grade headphone, but this *alone* rules the P7 Wireless out for audiophile-grade. In wired mode, it depends on the dac-amp pair of course. To give you an idea, on my MBP, the bass is very good already, but I have heard way better with proper amps. However, I think it is fair to say that most people who buy the P7 Wireless only care about the wireless quality, and for that, again, bass bleed can get heavy, which unfortunately destroys the lower-mid too often for my music choices.
(And if you insist on using the P7 Wireless with higher-end gears, which I really don't think is the point of this headphone: On the Chord Mojo, the base improves from very good on the MBP to great. There is not much difference elsewhere, except for Mojo projecting its musicality as usual when compared with other solid-state dac/amps. But once on the Chord Mojo, I prefer the H6 2nd gen even in sound signature, let alone the additional comfort afforded by the H6. I have also tried the P7 Wireless on an Woo Audio WA8. No, tubes are rarely good for rich-sounding headphones anyway since the tubes "round" the sound and are generally poor matches for the P7 Wireless because it is a rich-sounding headphone to begin with.)
- Heavy: ~320g is substantial weight. You will feel you are wearing it and it will never "disappear". For me, 200g can "disappear" and that's why I love the Beoplay H6... but then it has a wire. :P Plus, the right ear cup on the P7 Wireless is a bit heavier than the left ear cup (probably because of the battery). You will feel it if you happen to, like me, tap (mildly shake) your head when you listen to music. Some other reviewers say this does not bother them and in fact they never noticed this until I pointed it out. (Did I say I am picky?)
- The leather earpads on the P7 Wireless can feel hot. I cannot imagine using this in the summer, even with reasonable (25 C / 77 F) air-conditioning. My face highly prefers cloth when it gets hot, but really summer is IEM season for me anyway. So no big deal.
- Difficult to switch between wireless and wired mode: you will need to take off the magnetically-attached foam padding on the left ear cup and then insert a *custom* cable. Fortunately, other than writing this review, I really don't plan on using the wired mode much on the P7 Wireless.
- No microphone when in the wired mode. The supplied cable is TRS and cannot carry microphone signal anyway.
- Bluetooth quirks. It *hangs* once already due to Bluetooth confusion. (Yes, this headphone has a reboot button. :P Go figure!)
- The on/off button is very small and, in my opinion, too easy to trigger. Basically, it is a spring-loaded slider button. The moment you slide it past about 70% it will toggle on/off.
Overall, the B&W P7 Wireless is what I would recommend for an office worker in late 2016. It blocks keyboard noise really well and offers great audio quality wirelessly. However, if you are contemplating air travel, then please know that the P7 Wireless cuts down the low-frequency noise only passively. I would not recommend it for air / bus travel based on my experience of trying them out in these situations.
P.S. For planes, I stick to my Bose QC20 anyway (it's an earphone, not a headphone and so it does not fit in this review). This is because I don't like any skull pressure on a flight and I found the QC20 the best solution on travel. (I have yet to try the QC30 earphone and so I cannot comment on it yet.)
P.P.S. When I tried the Sony MDR-1000X, I was on my Nexus 5X, which does not feature Sony's own LDAC mode. I look forward getting a LDAC-capable player to hear the full potential of Sony LDAC one day.
Build Quaility 9/10
After reading reviews and looking up YouTube videos my though was that the headphones would be built extremely sturdy, this is the case for the most part but the ear pieces are a tad on the lose side. The materials are top notch and give you that new leather smell. The headband is extremely sturdy. For the price I would not expect anything less for a closed pair of headphones. B&W did a great job and did not cut any corners by adding plastic to the build. The cords are nice, not as thick as I would like, but a large improvement from the P5s and their skinny cord.
Sound Quality 9.5/10 (Closed Headphones) 8.0 (Open and closed headphones)
-My personal suggested burn in time at 75% volume; 14hrs
Respectively, the B&W P7 are one of the best sounding closed pair of headphones, and the most portable in my collection of headphones. I end up using these the most now. While at home, I still prefer the openness of an open pair of Headphones, but I rarely listen to music at home (Maybe hour a night) compared to the B&W 7s where I listen up to 6 hours a day. Again, the sound is not flat, its not boring, it’s not neutral. It does emphasize the low end abit (Not as emphasized as the M100s, Nothing that horrible, the m100s are really only meant for electronic music in my opinion) and adds a sparkle not usually found in closed headphones. The treble is outstanding for a pair of closed headphones. I can say that the treble response is unrivaled till the $700 mark for closed headphones. In terms of Highs, mids, and lows;
Now little personal preference observations while listing;
These headphones do push the highs a little to much, not shrill sounding, but some of the more young, high pitched Japanese artists I listen to tend to leave an almost to shrill voice when singing highs. Of course this is only personal preference and a majority of listeners to not listen to Jrock with vocaloids like I do. When listing to vocals, they vocals do not stand out over the rest of the music if not intended that way but the artists. Some headphones position vocals to be the main focal point, these headphones push the vocals from the front a little bit. They vocals don’t get left behind or muffled by the rest of the music, it’s just that the head phones don’t emphasize the vocals.
These are in no way painful to use, I can personally use these headphones for about 4hrs before my ears need a break. The clamping is a little tight when you start using the headphones, over about 4 days, the clamp starts to release a little bit making it more comfortable over a larger period of time. The cups are not made out of the memory material typically found at this price point, but none the less thee headphones are comfortable and the ear pieces are soft.
Quality is a huge factor and these headphones are built very well. The ear cups are replaceable, but at a cost. $50 for another set of ear cups. The cable is replicable, which is nice, at $14 for a cable w/free shipping is an ok price, but the apple remote cable will cost an arm and a leg at $31.
Over all I would recommend these headphones for anyone looking for a fun pair of headphones that does well in all types of genres. These are the best closed headphones for under $500. The sennheiser momentums are cheaper, offer a more natural sound, but will kill your ears after 10 minutes if you have avg or larger ears. They are one of the major competitors of the B&W p7s, but they don’t offer as good of a sound, or quality as the B7W p7s. The p7s are a luxury item, made with luxury materials that give off the “Big money” look, so be careful when carrying around or wearing them in not so safe areas.
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