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Bowers & Wilkins P7 - over the ear headphones - Page 35

post #511 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwu View Post

Man you've got me having second thoughts because I do like my P5 a lot. I know I am going to miss my P5 but I can only keep one, and after auditioning P7, I so wanna get it.

If I could, I would love to keep both of them wink.gif

Don't panic. The P7 makes beautiful sounds but isn't for me at the moment. Here are my reasons.


First of all I should admit to being a great fan of the P5, P3 and C5s, all of which I own, as well as possessing Sennheiser HD25, AKG Q701 and various vintage Sennheisers.

I was hoping the P7 would build on the strengths of my 2 year old P5 but after a week of auditioning I still preferred the involving sound of the P5.

I first heard the P7 in London's Oxford Street. I spent half a day in Selfridges and John Lewis where P7, P5 and P3 sat side by side and I could use my iPhone as the source. I listened to material by Jesca Hoop, Regina Spektor, Daughter and PIL (all of whom I have heard live this year) together with material from Gorillaz, Lady Gaga and Dave Stewart.

The in shop experience was disappointing. Selfridges used a weird amplification system which the assistant couldn't adjust sufficiently to get a decent sound. In John Lewis I could plug in directly. The P5 and P3 sounded as I expected but the P7 sound seemed to have something missing. I nearly bought a pair of Sennheiser Monumentum's though!

Nevertheless I badly wanted a P7 to complete my set of B&W phones and hoping that the background noise, or lack of burn-in had been a problem I ordered a pair online to check out at home. I no longer work for a living so I was able to listen to them a lot and burn them in when I wasn't listening. They do sound excellent both through an iPhone 5 and my PC playing 24 bit material through JRiver and an Asus Essence sound card with built in head amplifier. Note: the P7 does not benefit from extra amplification but it is a must have for the Q701.

So on to my reasons for returning them.

1. I was hoping for a P5 Mark II with improved sound and better sound insulation (for my wife's benefit) whereas the P7 is quite different and more akin to my Q701.
2. The P5 (the original Concert For One) does indeed give a good representation of the live acts I have heard this year.
3. If, for example, I am surfing the web then as soon as I start listening to the P5 my body starts to move involuntarily. Either my head nods or my foot taps. In contrast I realised I could listen to the P7 for ages without really noticing what was playing.
4. I couldn't work out when I would use them rather than one of my other sets.

So under the UK's Distance Selling Regulations my week was up, the P7 went back and the £330 is now back in my bank account. That does not mean I won't spring for another set once I have thought about it for a while.

Ian

DECEMBER UPDATE: Please see my post dated 6 December. Second pair I bought sound amazing.
Edited by xeroian - 12/6/13 at 5:05am
post #512 of 1172

I won't argue with you preferring the P5 over the P7, as I said before you like what you like.  However, I do take issue with your statement that "the P7 does not benefit from extra amplification", as I feel that needs better clarification for those reading this thread.  

 

The P7 doesn't NEED extra amplification, and it's such an efficient headphone that it doesn't really benefit from MORE power (so extra volume alone isn't really needed).  However, it's a revealing enough headphone that BETTER power and DAC upstream is very noticeable in this headphone, moreso than something like the Sennheiser Momentum.  So when I tested with the Fiio E17 I found that I got more volume, but not necessarily an improvement in sound quality - with this headphone and with the Momentum the sound out of my iPod Classic was just as good as the Fiio except on a couple or really low recordings where the extra volume on the Fiio helped.  With my RSA amp, and especially now with my new Theorem 720 DAC/Amp, there's a definite improvement in sound quality.  With the Momentum the difference isn't nearly as drastic because it's a more laid back and congested headphone, and if the Momentum were still my primary portable headphone I'd have a hard time justifying my purchase of the Theorem.  The P7 is more revealing though and the difference on this headphone is night and day.

 

​So my point is that the P7 is very nice in that it scales up fairly well with better gear.

post #513 of 1172

Being somewhat dwelved into sound psychology and understanding very well my own listening habits in what brings satisfaction because I can see some similarities there with being involved with the music, foot tapping etc.

I think this is the reason you might enjoy P5 more than P7, is because the P5 is a more in-your-face sound, the mids are more forward (because the highs are rolled-off) and most part of the music comes from the mids so the midrange mostly decides how the soundstage is portrayed (front-row experience vs back-row/further back kind of experience). I also happen to enjoy a more forward presentation, so I need a decently forward midrange (or warmness) to the sound. Why? Because like you said, it makes me more involved with the music and there's higher chance I start foot-tapping/nodding/singing along etc. For me personally it's important to get involved with the music, it's what brings the most satisfaction. Some1 could say it like it's what brings the "soul" to the music.

Typical audiophiles seem to get enjoyment from "analyzing" sound, there a larger more withdrawn sound is usually beneficial in order to get impressive soundstage, good instrument separation etc, everything that aids to percieved increase in detail retrieval. A neutral timbre (= mids vs highs balance) is preferred in that case, possibly slight U-shape can be beneficial even like P7 is as it can increase soundstage spaciousness (I'm sure most people will say P7 have massive soundstage for a closed headphone where also a small part of it is the reason due to the non-forward midrange). With midrange I'm mostly talking lower-mids to upper-mids range or 300 - 2000 Hz range roughly, especially the around 400 - 800Hz range is important for you to be reasonably forward to get that lush/warm thick midrange which makes you involved with the music.

You don't belong to those typical audiophiles who want best possible detail retrieval for maximum satisfaction, you want maximum feeling of being involved with the music, I'd advise you to look into reasonably forward midrange headphones (warm sounding) with non-emphasized highs range. You're the "LCD-2/3/X" kind of guy if money is no prob. :P


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 11/27/13 at 8:54am
post #514 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Being somewhat dwelved into sound psychology and understanding very well my own listening habits in what brings satisfaction because I can see some similarities there with being involved with the music, foot tapping etc.

.......Typical audiophiles seem to get enjoyment from "analyzing" sound, there a larger more withdrawn sound is usually beneficial in order to get impressive soundstage, good instrument separation etc, everything that aids to percieved increase in detail retrieval.

......With midrange I'm mostly talking lower-mids to upper-mids range or 300 - 2000 Hz range roughly, especially the around 400 - 800Hz range is important for you to be reasonably forward to get that lush/warm thick midrange which makes you involved with the music.

.......You don't belong to those typical audiophiles who want best possible detail retrieval for maximum satisfaction, you want maximum feeling of being involved with the music, I'd advise you to look into reasonably forward midrange headphones (warm sounding) with non-emphasized highs range. You're the "LCD-2/3/X" kind of guy if money is no prob. :P

Thank you for these quotes in particular. I agree with your conclusions and will investigate the 400-800Hz band as suggested.

I have auditioned the Audezes but not yet seriously considered them.

Also I agree 100% with the last sentence of your signature.

Ian
Edited by xeroian - 11/27/13 at 3:45pm
post #515 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by PolkManiac View Post


The P7 doesn't NEED extra amplification

Agreed. I think someone quoted Hi-fi Choice earlier which suggested swapping to the non-iPhone cable was worthwhile but amplification was not.

Ian
post #516 of 1172
Funny, because I totally disagree, a better amp yields much more difference than the cable swap...
post #517 of 1172

OK, six days ago I picked up the P7s. I've been running music through them constantly. I've also been doing extensive a/b comparisons with my only other cans (Beyer DT990 and DT1350). These are AGGRESSIVE headphones. They consistently offer more dynamism than either of the Beyers, IMO. Check out Ginger Baker's drums on the Cream at Albert Hall blu-ray. However, there is one problem that manifests itself when I'm listening to these. There seems to be a particular point in the treble frequency where a "spike" exists. There will be a specific guitar note, for example, where the treble becomes unpleasantly "peaky". When I replay the passage using the 1350s, I can hear where the note is indeed suddenly forward, or emphasized, but on those cans, it doesn't quite go over the top like the P7s. I guess when everything is so vivid, you get...extra vivid peaks. Everything else is great. I've got about seven more days to decide about keeping these. It's a bit frustrating. In just about every case, my comparisons favor the P7s over the DT1350s. They just seem to be more "alive". But with that, comes occasional harshness. I guess I can throw a little bit of EQ in the mix. I've been doing my comparisons sans any EQ. Generally, I prefer the sound and comfort of the 990s, but it's nice to have another option, particularly when I want more punch. BTW, "burn-in" doesn't seem to have affected the treble. I was hoping it might smooth it out a bit.

post #518 of 1172
Treble is the one area that can take an extremely long time to change (if ever) as it requires the least amount of movement from the driver so physical break is very gradual at best. But I have heard changes in that area on a lot of headphones. Also don't forget about brain burn in which will also take place the more you use the headphone.
post #519 of 1172

I find it strange that such a good number of folks think the P7 is bright. I don't think it's bright at all, and I'm super sensitive to that stuff.

post #520 of 1172

Yea, I've definitely got the "brain burn-in" going on. :D I have grown more fond of the SQ since I first heard them. I always experience that with any audio gear (audio in the car, for example). Our brains are like Silly Putty, adapting to new things. But I'm not sure I can get used to those occasional treble zingers I mentioned. And I hate to EQ the upper end. I love the sparkle, but not the zingers. :/

post #521 of 1172
P7 best style can I have heard. Very consumer sound. Nothing about being analytical. There are other cans for that. P7 been perfect commuting partner. And agree it responds well to Dac and amp
post #522 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lan647 View Post
 

I find it strange that such a good number of folks think the P7 is bright. I don't think it's bright at all, and I'm super sensitive to that stuff.

Could also be recording dependent. I'm listening to some Police right now (and I know this recording is bright) and my HD800s are not letting me forget about it. But most of their early stuff was recorded this way. 

post #523 of 1172

Since I have a pretty high opinion of the Momentum, that is a significant statement.  I don't yet want to comment on the audible differences, but I will as soon as I get some more time to compare.

3NnmYM

post #524 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidenaiyoues View Post
 

Since I have a pretty high opinion of the Momentum, that is a significant statement.  I don't yet want to comment on the audible differences, but I will as soon as I get some more time to compare.

3NnmYM

I'd recommend listening to tracks that you're very familiar with and know through and through. I don't find the P7s "bright", but you might? :o Also play around with the headphone placement on your head...that can also have an effect. 

post #525 of 1172
Quote:
Originally Posted by dweaver View Post

Treble is the one area that can take an extremely long time to change (if ever) as it requires the least amount of movement from the driver so physical break is very gradual at best. But I have heard changes in that area on a lot of headphones. Also don't forget about brain burn in which will also take place the more you use the headphone.

If that doesn't work, there's always hearing loss :atsmile:

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