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