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Bowers & Wilkins P7 vs PSB M4U 1

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have constantly been going back-and-forth over this decision for a week+ now and I am torn between these two headphones. I will be using these headphones unamped on a Galaxy S III with Poweramp (and other tweaks), and I listen to various kinds of music. I am looking for the best overall/all-around headphones based off of all of these factors (in no particular order): Sound Quality, Aesthetics, Build Quality, Portability, Comfort and Durability. I have numerous pluses and a few minuses for each headphone, but I just can't seem to make a firm decision. I had initially decided on the Bowers & Wilkins P7s, but now I am firmly back on the fence. I will say that my biggest issue with the PSB M4U 1s is the durability, more specifically, some people have reported that the plastic headband cracks pretty badly, sometimes after only a week or two of use. I read that PSB had corrected this issue like a year or so ago, but a user here on these forums just bought a pair a few weeks ago and he is having the plastic cracking issue as well. I submitted a support ticket to PSB asking about this issue, but I have yet to receive a reply. I don't want to constantly have to ship my headphones back for replacements, so that is probably my biggest concern with the PSB M4U 1s.

 

To further help everyone help me, I will list my pros and cons for each set of headphones below.

 

BOWERS & WILKINS P7

 

+ Great build quality

+ Great aesthetics (I really like how these look)

+ Very very good sound quality (just slightly behind the PSBs)

+ Seem to be very durable

+ Comfortable for longer listening sessions

+ Very easy to drive from a smartphone/iPod (22 ohms 111 dB sensitivity) 

 

- They are portable, but not as portable as the PSBs

- The removable cable is proprietary and you have to take the ear cup off in order to get to it

- The case that comes with these headphones does not protect as well as the case that comes with the PSBs

- $100.00 more than the PSBs

 

PSB M4U 1

 

+ Good build quality

+ Extremely good sound quality (universally well reviewed and considered "best in price range" for sound quality)

+ More portable than the P7s

+ No proprietary cables (so I can buy a good quality 3.5mm cable or easily have one custom-made)

+ Cable is extremely easy to remove

+ Comes with a nice, compact and protective hard case

+ Costs $100.00 less than P7s

 

- Questionable durability with the reported plastic cracking issue (this is a fairly big minus)

- While not bad or ugly, the aesthetics are not really to my taste (not a fan of the "Beats rip-off" look)

- May be harder to drive from a smartphone/iPod (32 ohms 102 dB sensitivity) 

- May not be as comfortable for longer listening sessions as the P7s 

 

Any help given is very much appreciated.

 

Thanks!


Edited by Illustrator76 - 1/1/14 at 1:31pm
post #2 of 18

I've heard both of them and I prefer the P7. They are more comfortable, feel stronger, look more classy, and sound better. After looking at your list, the P7 also comes with a case, and they also fold up. I wouldnt consider the M4U 1 to be more portable or sound better, but thats personal opinion. B&W is IMO a better brand, but I'm not sure if the P7 is worth the $400 you would pay for it. I think both of these headphones are overpriced! Have you tried looking at any other options?

post #3 of 18

And after reading your pros and cons again I see that you mentioned some of the things about the B&Ws that i had brought up, my bad.

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theriseoftroy View Post
 

I've heard both of them and I prefer the P7. They are more comfortable, feel stronger, look more classy, and sound better. After looking at your list, the P7 also comes with a case, and they also fold up. I wouldnt consider the M4U 1 to be more portable or sound better, but thats personal opinion. B&W is IMO a better brand, but I'm not sure if the P7 is worth the $400 you would pay for it. I think both of these headphones are overpriced! Have you tried looking at any other options?

 

Yeah, I had a list of headphones and I narrowed it down to these two. One thing that was important to me as well was a removable cable. A lot of the models that I found did not have removable cables. Another factor was being able to drive the headphones without an amp. Since I will be using my Galaxy S III for my music, I am not interested in having to connect an amp to my phone and have to mess around with all of that. I agree that the P7s are expensive, but I am willing to spend the extra $100.00 if the headphones are going to be durable and sound good as well. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind spending less money if I can get the same kind of features for less, but I just haven't found another pair of headphones that tick as many boxes as the P7s and M4U 1s do.

post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illustrator76 View Post
 

 

Yeah, I had a list of headphones and I narrowed it down to these two. One thing that was important to me as well was a removable cable. A lot of the models that I found did not have removable cables. Another factor was being able to drive the headphones without an amp. Since I will be using my Galaxy S III for my music, I am not interested in having to connect an amp to my phone and have to mess around with all of that. I agree that the P7s are expensive, but I am willing to spend the extra $100.00 if the headphones are going to be durable and sound good as well. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind spending less money if I can get the same kind of features for less, but I just haven't found another pair of headphones that tick as many boxes as the P7s and M4U 1s do.

Gotcha. In which case I would recommend the P7 over the M4U.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theriseoftroy View Post
 

Gotcha. In which case I would recommend the P7 over the M4U.

 

Yeah, I was leaning in that direction, but those PSBs (for what they offer for the price) are pretty tempting.

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illustrator76 View Post
 

 

Yeah, I was leaning in that direction, but those PSBs (for what they offer for the price) are pretty tempting.

They are a good headphone for the price, they just felt low quality when I put them on. The B&W seems to offer a bit more of a balanced sound and better build quality. I felt like the M4Us were a better version of the beats studio.

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theriseoftroy View Post
 

They are a good headphone for the price, they just felt low quality when I put them on. The B&W seems to offer a bit more of a balanced sound and better build quality. I felt like the M4Us were a better version of the beats studio.

 

Yeah, my biggest concern is the low-quality build of the M4U 1s. I have read about a few too many physical issues here on these forums and I am worried that I will be making a warranty claim on them shortly after I get them. If I could verify that PSB had their build quality issues sorted out, then I may be willing to give the M4U 1s a chance based on the price-to-sound quality ratio. As it stands right now, the P7s may be the way that I end up going.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illustrator76 View Post
 

 

Yeah, my biggest concern is the low-quality build of the M4U 1s. I have read about a few too many physical issues here on these forums and I am worried that I will be making a warranty claim on them shortly after I get them. If I could verify that PSB had their build quality issues sorted out, then I may be willing to give the M4U 1s a chance based on the price-to-sound quality ratio. As it stands right now, the P7s may be the way that I end up going.

Yeah, I guess its just a matter of whether the sound is worth the extra $100. I know bot of these headphones are available at bust buy and many big name retailers. Maybe head over and see if the B&W is worth the extra $100 for the sound or if the M4U suits your needs! The best way to figure out what you want in this scenario is to go try them out side by side!

post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theriseoftroy View Post
 

Yeah, I guess its just a matter of whether the sound is worth the extra $100. I know bot of these headphones are available at bust buy and many big name retailers. Maybe head over and see if the B&W is worth the extra $100 for the sound or if the M4U suits your needs! The best way to figure out what you want in this scenario is to go try them out side by side!

 

Good point, but the extra $100.00 wouldn't be just for sound quality though. That extra $100.00 would also be covering aesthetics, durability, comfort and build quality. Since I would already be paying $300.00 for the PSBs, I figure I may as well pay a little extra to make sure that I have something that will last and not fall apart. If I pay $300.00 for something I will have to RMA a few times, I will probably start kicking myself wishing that I spent the extra $100.00 for a pair of headphones that is built better and offers more durability.


Edited by Illustrator76 - 1/1/14 at 9:08pm
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illustrator76 View Post
 

 

Good point, but the extra $100.00 wouldn't be just for sound quality though. That extra $100.00 would also be covering aesthetics, durability, comfort and build quality. Since I would already be paying $300.00 for the PSBs, I figure I may as well pay a little extra to make sure that I have something that will last and not fall apart. If I pay $300.00 for something I will have to RMA a few times, I will probably start kicking myself wishing that I spent the extra $100.00 for a pair of headphones that is built better and offers more durability.

Yeah you dont want to make the wrong choice although both offer different perks. Like I said, go try 'em out, you be glad you did. See if the extra $100 dollars is worth it or if the PSB's build quality is bearable.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theriseoftroy View Post
 

Yeah you dont want to make the wrong choice although both offer different perks. Like I said, go try 'em out, you be glad you did. See if the extra $100 dollars is worth it or if the PSB's build quality is bearable.

 

I don't think it matters at this point. PSB just sealed me getting the P7s with their shoddy reply to my support ticket. It's obvious that customer service rep didn't even fully read my question and she simply just copied and pasted a generic reply. Not only that, she didn't even offer to see about a warranty replacement for the defective headphones (that she thinks I own, but really don't). If that is how PSB operates then I will gladly stick with the Bowers & Wilkins P7s. The extra $100.00 will be worth it in my opinion.

 

MY CUSTOMER SUPPORT QUESTION

 

Hi,

I have read about numerous issues with the plastic on the PSB M4U 1 cracking badly after a month+ of use. Are any steps being taken to rectify this issue or possibly redesign the headphone? I had heard that this issue was supposed to be fixed quite a while ago, but people that have bought their headphones even as recently as a few weeks ago are still reporting the cracking issues. I am very interested in these headphones, but I want to make sure that the build quality issues have been fixed before purchasing them.

 

PSB's REPLY

 

Thank you for contacting the PSB Speakers Support Centre.

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your M4U 1's cracking.

This issue has now been correct, please contact the dealer where you purchased the headphones for a replacement.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Kind regards,

Pam Anderson

 

EDIT: I sent a reply to this message to PSB and got another reply from them. They state that all warranty issues have to go through the dealer where you purchased the headphones from. If someone were to buy these headphones from a place like Best Buy and have them malfunction, I could see it being a nightmare trying to get them replaced. I personally do not care for this policy at all, and it has further solidified me sticking with the Bowers & Wilkins P7s. B&W's policy is that as long as you have proof of purchase or a receipt, you can contact/send your headphones to one of their national distributors for warranty repair or replacement if necessary. That process seems like it would be a bit smoother if I ever need to use it because it cuts out an unnecessary "middleman".


Edited by Illustrator76 - 1/2/14 at 10:08am
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Illustrator76 View Post
 

 

I don't think it matters at this point. PSB just sealed me getting the P7s with their shoddy reply to my support ticket. It's obvious that customer service rep didn't even fully read my question and she simply just copied and pasted a generic reply. Not only that, she didn't even offer to see about a warranty replacement for the defective headphones (that she thinks I own, but really don't). If that is how PSB operates then I will gladly stick with the Bowers & Wilkins P7s. The extra $100.00 will be worth it in my opinion.

 

MY CUSTOMER SUPPORT QUESTION

 

Hi,

I have read about numerous issues with the plastic on the PSB M4U 1 cracking badly after a month+ of use. Are any steps being taken to rectify this issue or possibly redesign the headphone? I had heard that this issue was supposed to be fixed quite a while ago, but people that have bought their headphones even as recently as a few weeks ago are still reporting the cracking issues. I am very interested in these headphones, but I want to make sure that the build quality issues have been fixed before purchasing them.

 

PSB's REPLY

 

Thank you for contacting the PSB Speakers Support Centre.

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your M4U 1's cracking.

This issue has now been correct, please contact the dealer where you purchased the headphones for a replacement.

Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Kind regards,

Pam Anderson

 

EDIT: I sent a reply to this message to PSB and got another reply from them. They state that all warranty issues have to go through the dealer where you purchased the headphones from. If someone were to buy these headphones from a place like Best Buy and have them malfunction, I could see it being a nightmare trying to get them replaced. I personally do not care for this policy at all, and it has further solidified me sticking with the Bowers & Wilkins P7s. B&W's policy is that as long as you have proof of purchase or a receipt, you can contact/send your headphones to one of their national distributors for warranty repair or replacement if necessary. That process seems like it would be a bit smoother if I ever need to use it because it cuts out an unnecessary "middleman".

Good thinking e-mailing them about the problem. I wouldn't be too concerned with PSB's service but it definitely is off-putting when they have some artificial response like that. At this point I would take the B&Ws over the PSBs. I know Bowers&Wilkins has great service and I can guarantee you wont be disappointed with the sound/build quality of the P7.

post #14 of 18

I wouldn't say that the PSB is much more portable than the P7. Both fold up, but neither is super tiny when folded up (like the v-moda M100 or kef M500).

 

The plug on the P7 isn't proprietary per se - it's a standard 2.5mm jack so you can create a custom cable for it. But the moulding of the plug just needs to be tiny enough to fit into that groove in the earcups, which may be an issue.

post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueangel2323 View Post
 

I wouldn't say that the PSB is much more portable than the P7. Both fold up, but neither is super tiny when folded up (like the v-moda M100 or kef M500).

 

The plug on the P7 isn't proprietary per se - it's a standard 2.5mm jack so you can create a custom cable for it. But the moulding of the plug just needs to be tiny enough to fit into that groove in the earcups, which may be an issue.

 

Yeah, by more portable I meant that the case for the PSBs was more portable for my needs I guess. I just don't care for the P7 case and I would much rather have the zip-up hard shell case like the PSBs come with. From what I understand the P7 case "does the job", but I am just not a fan of the fold-over magnetic enclosure and relative lack of sturdiness of the case. It is pretty hard to find an aftermarket hard case case to fit the P7s because of their size, so that kind of sucks.

 

For the cable I meant it is proprietary in that it isn't just a standard 2.5mm or 3.5mm jack with a barrel, it has that weird j-shaped molded jack that may prove extremely difficult to duplicate for a custom cable. Either way, those issue are things that I can look past in favor of the overall package that the P7s offer.

 

I can't wait to get my hands on these headphones now!

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