I haven't gone back and forth from the P7 to the HE-400's (priced the same) yet since when I've had time to listen this week I've wanted to listen to my new P7's. The Lyr is probably overkill as these aren't hard to drive, and it has a ton of gain BUT they sound sweet went driven by the Lyr that's for sure...I've yet to have the volume above 10 o'clock. The P7's sound great from the Zdac's amp as well...I'll probably try them with my DAC1's amp this weekend. I'm willing to bet that they'd sound stellar with the Schiit Audio Modi and Magni stack as well.
As I was buying these I was thinking that they'd probably be returned since they'd probably sound very poor when compared to either the HE-400 or 500 BUT they do give you the added flexibility of using them as a portable headphone (and easier to drive) though I doubt I'll ever wear these outside the house or office. Well, once I'd played music through them for a few days (without listening to them beyond setting the volume level) I find them very impressive but I have to admit that I do have a bias for B&W gear. The speakers I use in my office system are most often a pair of B&W 805's or at times their CDM-1NT's. I have a lot faith in B&W when it comes to R&D, and I like that they manufactured their own drivers for the P7's, and they resemble speaker drivers rather than the typical Mylar headphone driver. Maybe that doesn't matter but it appears they got it "it" right nonetheless.
The P7's sound sweet to me, they image better than closed back can's that I've heard in the past, especially when driven by a good/decent DAC and headphone amp. My wife listened to them right out of the box (she couldn't care less about headphones) and the first thing she said (much to my surprise) was that she was hearing things from her music (her iPod/her music) that she'd never heard before and that it sounded like the music extended beyond the headphones. Its a rare thing when a non-audiophile/nutcase enjoys your new purchase so much that they want the same item for themselves. Now she wants a pair to take to work with her.
I've heard some say that the P7's sound bright, others say that the bass is loose, but I've yet to hear any of those issues...its possible I will once I've used them more with my Clip Zip. To me, to my ears (obviously you may find them to sound different) they sound like a nicely balanced, very detailed yet without any harshness in the treble with a very open and airy sound. I'm keeping mine. I've already registered them and have already started downloading 24 bit FLAC albums from Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound (they give you 3 free months). I've already downloaded about 5.5 GB (9 full albums) of music from their site...the site is worth a look and listen, and they add a couple albums each month.
I'll report back once I've heard the same albums back to back with both the P7's and the HE-400s'.
I should point out that another member told me that by simply plugging his P7's into the Lyr it blew up his headphones (with the volume all the way down and no music playing) . It is a VERY powerful amp, but I contacted Schiit Audio and inquired about using it with the P7's and they said that I "may" hear "some" tube noise, but other than that I should be perfectly fine as long as I'm careful with the volume control (ya gotta be careful with the Lyr all the time with most headphones). The very first time I plugged the B&W's into the Lyr I was getting a bit of noise in the right channel but I moved the tube just a hair and it went silent and from then on it sounded great with zero noise floor problems at all. I do buy what I've heard regarding the P7's sounding better when used with better gear. They seem to scale very well.
Sorry for any typo's...I typed this very quickly before calling it a day. I'l fix anything I screwed up later this evening...hopefully "some" of this made sense.
Edited by KLJTech - 1/24/14 at 2:37pm