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Top-of-the-line Portable Headphones (Best for: Rock, Metal, Jazz, Electronic, and Pop)

A Review On: Bowers & Wilkins P7

Bowers & Wilkins P7

Rated # 112 in Over-Ear
See all 5 reviews
Recent Pricing:
Review Details:
Audio Quality
Comfort
Design
Value
Purchased on:
Price paid: $399.99
leadbythemelody
Posted · Updated · 10561 Views · 13 Comments

Pros: Very-detailed, Speed, Musicality, Beautiful/Unique Design, Build Quality, Folds up, Inline Volume Control.

Cons: Thin midrange, boosted treble, unnatural representation, Coloured-sound, Loosey-loose midbass, Isolation.

I did not like the B&W P5's b/c of their dark/bloated sound but the P7's changed everything! It may be because it's not an on-ear headphone like the P5's that "muffles" out the higher frequencies, I don't know. But regardless, these have an exciting and detailed sound that is very engaging. Some disadvantages the P7's face is its slightly thin midrange, boosted treble, and unnatural representation. The soundstage is great for a closed headphone but that means nothing because the presentation is very unnatural; and it sounds somewhat synthetic because of the boosted treble and flabby loose bass. I'll admit the P7's imaging is great, but the resolution and tonality is nothing special (just because you have boosted treble doesn't mean your gonna have a tonally accurate or a highly resolving headphone/speaker). If you want a portable headphone with a more accurate and natural representation along with a more connected bass and fuller-sounding midrange, get the PSB M4U 1's instead. If you want the best of both worlds, get the  FOCAL SPIRIT PROFESSIONAL HEADPHONES. All in all, these are still one of the best portable headphones currently available.

13 Comments:

Because price is totally indicative of sound quality. Totally. 
 
-_-
Thanks for the great review! These headphones check off a lot of boxes for me as I've looked for something portable that sounded great driven by iOS devices. They sound even better on my desktop rig as I've reported in the forums. I agree that the good looks of these headphones could get you mugged if you were in the wrong neighborhood. I'm dying to try these with Astell & Kern AK10. My Headroom TotalBithead works great, with my iPad and the P7's, but of course they this combo can't be used on the move.
i got these yesterday- have listened to them for about 5 hours total, a wide variety of music from Sequentia (medieval) to acoustic folk to electronic to hard rock. I'm not really good at writing detailed headphone reviews, so I won't try to. But- these are extraordinary headphones, straight out of an Iphone and Ipad. Much, much better than the M80's (which I like a lot). Obviously it's hard to compare closed fullsized headphones to IEM's, but I am hearing detail (and just amazing musicality) that I haven't heard with my UM3x, UM2, and Turbine Coppers. And they are gorgeous.
No problem Jazz1! These are probably my endgame headphones for Hi-Fi on-the-go, I don't think there is anything better :). And I bet the P7's will scale impressively when provided with a good desktop setup, I hope to try that someday!
That's actually a great snippet of what the P7's sound like. They do have amazing musicality and detail that are equal to top-of-the-line universal IEM's. I think I'm going to add "musicality" to the pro's. Thanks for your impressions :D
I'm digging deep into my AIFF files this Sunday. Wow is all I can say. They have inspired me to build a a ton of new playlists via iTunes. I amaze myself with my good taste in music ;). It isn't often that headphones make me dig this deep into my large library. Yeah, that these are that good. BTW I started out with Koss Pro4a's in the 70's ;) Maybe that disqualifies me ;)
You're not making any sense. You say they are your endgame headphone for hifi on the go, but in your review you write things like "slightly thin midrange", that the presentation is "very unnatural" and the sound "synthetic"? 
 
It's not that I don't respect your opinion, but make up your mind at least.. 
I'm not sure what "congested representation" means. They seem "uncongested" to me. I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep these. I also ordered the NAD Viso HP50s to compare. They sound good, but are sometimes very veiled after listening to the P7s. Having said that, sometimes the aggressive mid-treble of the P7s can be fatiguing to me (I'm surprised more people don't mention this...I guess it's just me). But the clarity cannot be denied.
You say that they have a "congested presentation" but "the soundstage is very good for a closed headphone," which is not going to make sense for most people. What do you mean by congested? Usually it means a crowded soundstage, which is obviously not true in the case of the P7.
I agree with most of your description of P7, but Spirit Pro is not that good.
 
I got both, Spirit Pro and P7.
 
I like Spirit Pro for neutral bass and mids. P7 do have more treble energy and sound loose compared with HD600, while Spirit Pro simply lack the treble for violin's or harpsichord's brightness. P7 also have better resolution than Spirit Pro even if I damped P7 in the front with some foam. Also Spirit Pro are not quite agile and lack a bit dynamics.
The dynamics improve with a dedicated amplifier. I agree that the P7's have slightly better imaging than the Spirit Pro's and resolve better with certain instruments because of its more pronounced treble response; but I still like the Spirit Pro's better for their smoother and more neutral response. Everything sounds connected and listening to music is more enjoyable for me. I guess it all comes down to personal preference and we all hear differently. But for the most part, what you said is fair.
I am using ODAC/HM901 with O2/SR71A/G109P, and wouldn't say Spirit Pro lacks dynamics, Spirit Pro plays pianos very well except for being a bit compressed at suddenly very loud moments.. but well what should I expect from a pair of £200 headphones? They also play vocal extremely well.
 
P7 on the other hand handle the dynamics better, or somehow better, but the timbre of piano is the least 'correct' among my Spirit Pro, DT250, HD600 and SigPro. P7 do not lack the quantity of bass but the 'weight' of piano, but they do a lot better with string quartets.
 
Despite of the treble energy, imaging may be related with earpads - around-ear vs on-ear thing I guess. Also what I hear is that P7 have less decay than Spirit Pro, which is what I mean by being agile.
 
Yes preference plays a big part - personally I consider Spirit Pro as a pair of reference headphones but also pretty much enjoy plug my slightly-v-shaped-hifi-ish P7 into dark-sounding-hifi-ish 901(with classic amp card), not very 'correct' though. By the way I like to listen rocks on Spirit Pro, kind of old school yet stylish (IMO) sound.
I completely agree with you. I was wondering how the P7's would sound with a warmer set-up. It sounds very interesting...
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