Hello everyone! I just registered for asking the pros a question but before I take from your wisdom I'd like to give you some amateur experiences I had with my p7.
Some months ago my last headphone broke. it was a sennheiser px200 which was pretty good for what it is but a little fragile. when I looked for a replacement I had a sony mdr-v55, a B&W P5, B&W C5, Sennheiser Momentum and Sony MDR-1R before coming home with the B&W P7.
The PX200 is a really nice headphone for the price point but it was the third of its kind I had because they easily tended to brake, at least when being used by me. At first I looked for something more stable and found the mdr-v55 after a very brief listening session. I remember it for being bassy and quite good at displaying voices. sadly it leaked sound like mad which is a no go when using public transport every day. as the cable was always a weak spot for the headphones I had I looked for something with an interchangeable cable.
After reading tests and spending about 2 weeks with everyday listening in electronic markets it came down to the Momentum. The Momentum over-ear was the only headphone I had listened to this point which stood out of the masses with its very warm and close voices. the sound was so so comfortable, it had a lot of bass but sadly it hurt after some time. when listening in the electronic markets I had them on for half an hour and everything was fine. with my own pair my right ear just touched the driver which was really irritating after a while. I tried it for a whole of 2 weeks but had to give up and give them back. I was really sad as they sounded great.
The time I was testing the Momentums at home there was a very good offer for the P5 and I couldn't resist testing them aswell. When the Momentums turned out to be not very comfortable I really hoped for the P5 to have a similar sound with better comfort. at this point I had already read the users opinions about those headphones which were mostly not very good. But nearly every magazine testing the P5 said those were really outstanding and really comfortable. My opinion is somewhere in between. They were okay and as far as I remember voices were displayed really good. but as soon as there was too much happening with different instruments, those headphones gave up and mashed everything together. the separation was not very good. It was not extremely annoying but the sound was nothing special, nothing you would be glad to pay a lot of money for. comfort was okay for me but honestly said I never wore them for longer periods. it was always an acoustic relief coming back to the Momentums.
So I gave back the Momentums and the P5 and was looking for something else. From some brief testing I knew and liked the MDR-1R but when I heard that there was an MDr-1RMK2 coming I wanted to wait and but this one. Everyone here will know it by now but the MDR-1R is the most comfortable can that ever touched my ears. Its sound was good but not spectacular. but it was good enough that I nearly bought it and would have been happy with it.
by this time I read about the P7. At first it didn't interest me because of my experience with the P7. but everyone trying it kept saying that it is totally different in sound. I really liked the materials and the idea of the P5 just not the sound. So I gave the P7 a chance when they became available about a month ago. when they first hit my ears I wasn't impressed. the headband was hard, the earpads could have been softer aswell. at this point I remembered the feel of the MDR-1R. for whatever reason I still payed 400 bucks just to be sure myself what the talk about this can was about.
coming home the first short listening was okay but not overwhelming. they were very bright sounding like nothing I have heard before. it first felt very harsh with a lot of very deep bass but nothing in between. I don't have a clue if burn in exists what it does or if everything is just in your mind but something worked. every day the sound became a little better and they were constantly "burning in" with music overnight. while I really liked the sound after a few days (with having days in between where I didn't like the sound at all) the comfort was an issue for me. the pressure around my ear was really high. keep in mind that I am an over ear virgin so this area is not used to pressure at all.
when hitting the two week mark (the point of no return for giving back the cans) I was really close to giving them back due to comfort. I am glad I didn't. Now the earpads feel softer, the pressure isn't as hard anymore and most times those are really comfortable and I can wear them for about three hours. The point where they start to hurt then is right on top of the head where the headband touches. this is okay, I can live with this after a longer period.
talking about the sound of the P7:
- clarity is really really good. the highs are really enjoyable without being harsh and disturbing most of the time. there is nothing comparable from the other cans I tested.
- voices do sound great but could be "closer" some times. does that make sense? due to the wider soundstage I feel voices are more away than with the Momentum for example. I guess, you can't have both.
- talking about soundstage. I never knew I would want a bigger one :) the only headphone with a little more soundstage was the mdr-1r but in overall sound it felt inferior to the momentum so I thought I don't need/like a big soundstage. having heard the P7 now I really appreciate somthing I would call a big soundstage. I never heard open headphones so please keep that illusion to me ;)
- bass: I feel that the bass is a little exaggerated which is really fine for me. there is very rare occasions where the bass could be too much, I really enjoy it.
- mids: this part developed most during burn-in. mids didn't have enough body for me. what I want to say is that some songs or passages just sounded to bright. this is gone now. everything is fine in this area. as already said voices could be a little closer sometimes but that doesn't mean they lack detail.
talking about the rest for the P7:
- leakage: I was expecting better here. when using with the iphone I can go up to about 80% of volume (which is quite loud but not earthshaking devestatingly loud) before people around me can hear the music. in a quiet room you can be about 2 meters away and still you have a chance guessing the song. female voices are better heard than men or acoustic stuff. in every day use people never asked me to turn the music down yet but maybe the heard it and didn't care.
- isolation: same as for the leakage. I expected more from such a big headphone. It will do but with the music off you can still talk to people without removing the headphones. while on the subway I can hear the sound of the closing doors while I have my music turned on at about 70%. it is not loud but I can hear it.
- transportation: the man's purse supplied for transport makes me feel a little like David Beckham :) it is okay but could be a tiny bit bigger for my taste.
don't keep me wrong, besides criticising a lot of points this is the best headphone I have heard so far. so far I didn't like bright headphones but now the highs are a joy and combined with the deep bass there is a great dynamic range in the sound. as much as I liked the Momentums, nearly everything is better in sound with these. as the P7 are more portable and more comfortable.
So much about my experience with these phones.