Hey guys, I got the B&W P7 yesterday and just posted my thoughts in the P7 thread. Thought I'd post it here too.
So, I've been doing some more listening today, after I let the P7 burn in over night. I'll be mostly comparing these to the Momentum I already have (and sometimes to the Kef M500 which I had for a few days). All this listening was done through a FiiO E07K DAC hooked up to my laptop. All tracks I listened to were FLAC. Here are my impressions so far:
The P7 definitely has a wider soundstage than the Momentum. It almost appears like the wider soundstage provides more space for all the instruments to breathe, as instrumental separation is very well done here. By comparison, on the Momentum the instruments sound a bit more bunched up together which sometimes makes some instruments sound less clear. On one track I was listening to, there was this subtle piano in the background and on the P7 I could hear all the individual notes well, whereas on the Momentum a few of the notes blended together. So the detail retrieval of the P7 is very good. If I remember correctly, just as detailed as the M500 if not more.
Also, on some songs the vocals sound more separated from the instruments, or better said, the instruments sound more separated from the vocals, whereas on the Momentum I noticed that sometimes the vocals blend in with the instruments. This is also something I noticed when I was comparing the Momentum with the M500 a little while ago, the M500 was better able to separate the vocals from the instruments, although I think it's done better on the P7, as the quality of the vocals is of a similar level of the Momentum (which I really like), but the separation is more like the M500 (which I really like), so in this case it takes the best of those two headphones, in my very humble opinion :)
I can also a notice certain depth to the sound, a 3D space so to speak. I can place instruments to the back, front, above, below and of course left/right. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I think the P7 accomplishes this really well, I've already experienced a few songs differently than I have ever experienced them before. And speaking of depth and space, I think the P7 comes close to sounding like speakers, that big full sound that fills a room. I think it's mostly due to the wider soundstage and imaging. This was also something I noticed on the M500, that full speaker-like sound, whereas with the Momentum you don't really get that. Those sound just like a headphone, more intimate.
In terms of sound signature, it's overall closer to the Momentum than the M500, but with much less rolled-off treble. The M500 and Momentum sound distinctly different to my ears. I do think the mids of the P7 sound slightly nicer than the Momentum, the word luscious keeps coming to mind (and the Momentum already has great mids). There is also a bit more presence to the highs than there is with the Momentum, something which adds to that sense of space. As for the bass, I think the P7 has a very nice sub-bass, similar to the M500, but I also notice a slight mid-bass hump. This mid-bass hump was more apparent when I listend to them right out of the box, but I think a bit of burn-in has mellowed it out a bit. But there is a bit more 'oomph' to the bass compared to the Momentum, again similar to what the M500 achieves. And the bass sounds very well controlled, very tight. And it only really comes out when the recording calls for it. When it does come, it reaches nice and deep though (but perhaps not as deep as the M500 which really has excellent bass response). This bass signature might not be to everyone's taste though, but I certainly like it. I don't think the P7 is warmer than the Momentum, but because there is more oomph behind the bass it might seem that way.
Overall the sound is a bit more clean. By comparison, the Momentum sounds ever so slightly more grainy. And I keep being amazed at the detail retrieval, it's a very pleasant headphone to listen to. Also the attack of the instruments is very well done and there is a shorter decay than on the Momentum, which for me adds to that sence of pace and rhythm, I guess you could also call it agility (again something I also noticed on the M500). There is just more prat on the P7 vs. the Momentum, which I think also makes them sound more fun. I'd say, a very musical headphone. I'm really starting to like them.
And for me the comfort is better than the Momentum, the earcups are the right size for my ears on the P7. The Momentum is just too small for my ears so I'm probably going to sell those, as much as I like them otherwise. Comfort is very important to me.
For those of you who have ever heard real Bowers & Wilkins speakers, I have to say that the mids on the P7 sound very similar to the mids on their actual speaker line. That typical B&W sound produced by their kevlar mid drivers (the yellow speaker drivers you see on almost all their speakers).
You may have noticed that I compared it to the M500 a lot, in a positive way. Well, that's because I really liked the M500 and I think the P7 accomplishes a lot of what makes the M500 great, just with an overall sound signature that's a bit more similar to the Momentum. I didn't end up keeping the M500 because they just started to hurt my ears after a few hours of listening.
Anyway, will keep listening to this headphone over the weekend and will then post my final thoughts :)
Edited by starfly - 10/11/13 at 3:25am