The Bowers & Wilkins P7 over-ear headphone, the new flagship from Bowers & Wilkins. Has speaker inspired driver-units, great design and comfort, yet still portable. Crafted from leather, stainless steel and brushed aluminium.
- Dynamic driver
- Nylon damped diaphragm
- CCAW coil
- Dual cavity cushion
- Absorbing wadding
- Changeable ear cushions
- Detachable cable
- Folding (hinged) design
Description: Circum aural headphone
Drive units: 2x Ø40mm
Impedance: 22 ohms
Frequency range: 10Hz to 20kHz
Distortion (THD): <0.3% (1KHz/10mW)
Max. input power: 50mW
Sensitivity: 111dB/V at 1kHz
Inputs: 3.5mm stereo mini jack (on cable) / 2.5mm mini jack (on Headphone)
Height: 192mm folded out, 130mm folded in
Cable length: 1.2m
Finish: Real leather and metal
|Bowers & Wilkins P7|
Bowers & Wilkins P7
- Average User Rating:
Recent User Reviews
"P7 Build quality, Physical Appearance, and Accurate Reproduction of sound leave no disappointment. "
Pros - Build quality, Accurate Sound, Comfort, Aesthetics, built in microphone
Cons - Case is kind of a waste, Cost
I was able to get these from a friend who used their employee discount, so ignore the price paid.
I would consider myself a rookie when it comes to headphones, but not sound quality.
My background: I am an absolute audio snob and have a great ear. I compete in sound quality competitions in MECA (Car Audio). I have been very sucessfull in competing and am known for having a great ear. I have auditioned a healthy amount of headphones.
I drive these using an Iphone 6+. I have tried them with a DAC/AMP combo, but they don't need it.
Build Quality: The build quality of these is remarkable. Once I got past the honeymoon phase, I ditched the carrying pouch and just toss these in my work bag. They have held up perfectly and are just as solid as the day I unboxed them. I am typically very gentle with my electronics, but I DON'T need to be with these. They are easy to clean, never tangle
Value: Although they are 399.99 on amazon, I would still consider these a good value, based on the build and sound quality. These will last me years and years of every day use. I use them in the office to make calls, and listen to music. I can wear them for 6+ hours without discomfort. They isolate noise very well, and contain sound the same. If you are willing to spend 399.99, I am not sure you can find anything that can compete.
Audio Quality: If you are looking for something that ACCURATELY reproduces the intended sound, they hit the marker. I listen to everything from EDM, Folk, Rock, you name it, I listen. The only place to potentially say these could be improved, would be the 25hz and lower range. The only thing that really gets that low is EDM, but these are sealed, and not open, so I can't really hold that against them. Everything else is super accurate, I really can't ask for anything more. I am ultra sensitive to sibilance, and these have NONE. I have not experienced any distortion with a good quality source and VERY high volumes. My idea of very high volume is 110db+
Design: I genuinely don't know if they could be better. The fold up small enough (for me). They are durable, pretty to look at, and sound great.
Comfort: As I previously mentioned under value - they are ultra comfortable. No complaints.
"Excellent for classical music"
Pros - Powerful, punchy sound makes the P7 a treat for use with classical music - nice warm tone - beautiful design - high quality construction
Cons - High price (but worth it!) - not 100% comfortable out of the box, at least for me
I paid 270 Euros for a used set of B&W P7, and I've compared it to the following headphones (in various price ranges):
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
NAD VISO HP50
Sennheiser Urbanite XL
To make a long story short:
I pretty much exclusively listen to classical music these days and on the B&W P7, strings and brass can have such an incredible amount of bite: Musical climaxes are delivered with tremendous force just like a real orchestra would and it sounds SO majestic - you really have to hear it to believe it. I literally just lie on my bed, smiling, every time I hear it!
Also the tone of the various instruments is spot on.
I've had a few headphones at home for demoing besides the B&W P7:
The Denon AH-MM400 has a beautiful neutral tone and everything is nicely integrated and balanced, however many people, including myself, will no doubt think that the MM400 is a "bass light" headphone. It also lacks punch, at least for use with classical music.
The NAD VISO HP50 has a highly musical and entertaining sound with a nice bass and I would probably have picked it if it wasn't because the headband was way too tight for my head. There was just no way I'd be able to expand the headband enough so they'd be a comfortable fit for me.
The PSB M4U2 has a big soundstage and good sound where everything is coherent and well integrated just as with the Denon's above. Furthermore the PSB is a flexible headphone because of the 3 different modes you can choose between on the headset: normal, amplified or noise cancelling. Normal mode sounds fine in itself, but the amplified mode will probably appeal to more people as it sort of enhances the sound, making things sound "sharper"/clearer while still maintaining a balanced sound. Again the headband was too tight for me however and besides I preferred the warmer sound of the B&W P7 and Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 to this.
That brings us to the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 (called M2 from now on), which were the headphones I first thought were the perfect choice for me.
The M2 has a warm, almost tender tone – it's sweetness is pure magic and it quickly becomes very, very addictive.
Switching back to the B&W P7 after listening to the M2 I couldn't help but noticing that some of the fun in listening to music (for lack of a better description) was now gone - and it's not like the P7 isn't entertaining to listen to, it certainly is. It just can't quite match the warmth of the M2.
However instruments do not have the same aggressive bite as with the B&W P7.
If you haven't actually heard the B&W P7, it's possible you will be content with the M2's sound/tone on aggressive passages in classical music - I know I was to begin with – in fact I got completely seduced by the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 However I ended up returning the M2 and buying a set of used B&W P7 because I quickly realized I simply could not enjoy classical music fully on the M2 – I missed the powerful, punchy sound of the P7.
As for comfort, the B&W P7 is not as comfortable "out of the box" as the M2, however from what I've been told you should be able to expand P7's headband a little. Then they will be fine for me.
I will receive the used P7 in the mail tomorrow according to plan.
If you're looking for a more neutral-sounding headphone than both the B&W P7 and Sennheiser Momentum 2.0, I can heartily recommend the Sennheiser HD 600 which I've been using every day since 2007. Just be aware that the HD 600 is an open headphone.
Anyway, I've used the B&W P7 plugged directly into my iPad Mini Retina but will probably hook it up to my computer setup which is this:
Optical out from pc's motherboard -> Cambridge 840C dac/cd player -> balanced out to Behringer HA4700 headphone amp.
Here are some photos:
(Above: black = B&W P7, brown = Sennheiser Momentum 2.0)
(Above: Sennheiser HD 600 and Behringer HA 4700 head amp)
(Above: Cambridge 840C on the floor - along with some cat toy )
I may expand this review later but for now, I hope this review was of use to you all.
Thanks for reading this.
"B&W P7's are exactly what I've been looking for. Comparison with Momentums and DT770's."
Pros - Build quality, looks, build quality, refined/controlled bass, build quality, great mids/vocals, build quality, not too harsh, and build quality
Cons - can feel a bit heavy, clamping is pretty tight when new, head band numbs my bald head without periodic breaks
That's right, I mentioned build quality as a "pro" 5 times. These things are sexy.
Until the P7's, I went back and forth between Senn Momentums and Beyer DT770Pro-80's. The reason I went back and forth so much is because they both had features I liked, but were lacking in other areas. They are basically polar opposite in many areas. In my quest to find the medium between them, I narrowed it down to a few sets, including the P7's. Since Best Buy carries them locally and have a no-questions-asked return policy, I went ahead and bought them. Needless to say, Best Buy will not see these returned.
Below is a quick Goldilocks analogy of my impressions. Mind you, I am not a trained audio technician. Everything below is purely subjective based on what my ears tell me, without any strict ABX tests, fancy lab equipment, or magic wands. Auditions were performed in this config: iPod classic (lossless ALAC) > Pure i20 digital dock > Modi 2 Uber > Magni 2 Uber > Headphones. I also did a fair bit of listening directly out of my Fiio X5.
Momentums: Emphasized and smooth, but lacking impact, and gets boomy in the midbass/midrange freqs (around 250-400 range).
DT770's: Great lower bass with decent control and impact, but rolls off quickly as you get into the midrange freqs, separating the bass from the rest of the presentation.
P7's: Heavy, controlled, good impact, not bloated or boomy, and finds a great balance into the mids. (Juuuuuuuust Right)
Momentums: Great mids. Lower mids are a bit overemphasized, but the rest of the spectrum is buttery smooth. Vocals are terrific.
DT770's: As soon as I find some, I'll let you know...
P7's: Very similar to the Momentums, ever-so-slightly more recessed, but better cohesion with the bass. Vocals are even better. (Juuuuuuuust Right)
Momentums: Man, treble falls off quickly in these headphones. No sparkle at all, leading to a very dark and airless signature.
DT770's: Not bad, but they get harsh quickly. Pretty sibilant depending on the recording.
P7's: Nice sparkle without getting harsh at all. Very balanced. (Juuuuuuuust Right.)
Momentums: Not much. These headphones have a very black/dark sound signature, which some find pleasantly intimate, but I find a bit claustrophobic.
DT770's: Not bad, definitely better than the momentums.
P7's: This might be the P7's strongest attribute. For a closed headphone (or any headphone I've listened with, for that matter), the soundstage is huge.
FIT AND COMFORT
I won't say much about the Momentums, other than for my ears, this category is their biggest weakness. The ear cups are simply too small for my (smaller than average) ears. I always find myself adjusting them, which is very annoying. In contrast, the DT770's are very comfortable, and are easy to use for hours at a time. The velour pads make for a very comfy fit. They're also pretty light for their size. Ear cups look large, but since they're circular in shape, they're actually a bit smaller from top-to-bottom of the ear as compared to the P7's. Speaking of the P7's, this is the one category where they didn't come out whole-heartedly on top. They are very comfortable, but clamping is pretty tight. Fear not though, the clamping will decrease over time. The sample set at Best Buy were much more loose. Also, I'm bald, and the P7's headband compression on the top of my head gets uncomfortable after a while. For those with hair, this probably isn't nearly as annoying. For me, I have to take a break and/or move the headband forward or backward from time to time. It'll hopefully get better with more break-in. The P7's are also the heaviest of the 3, though they don't feel "too" heavy. Just enough so that you feel like it's a solidly made product (which it is). Personally, the absolutely PERFECT fit of the ear cups more than make up for other fit issues. Even with the large ear cups of the DT770's, I found myself re-adjusting them because my ears still touched the top or bottom of the cups if not placed optimally. Also, the DT770's never made a perfect seal because of the shape of my jawline. The DT770's always gapped just a bit right where my jaw hinges. The P7's and their oval shape take care of that completely. The fit won't be this perfect for all ears, but if you have ears like mine, you'll be VERY happy. If you have a Best Buy Magnolia center nearby, drop by and try on both the Momentums and the P7's if you want to know for sure. Most Best Buy Magnolia centers carry them both in stock and available for audition (as of the date of this review, at least).
Are the P7's worth $399? You'll have to answer that for yourself. They're over $150 more than the Momentums or the DT770's (current Amazon pricing). For me, when you combine the superb build quality, stylish looks, fit, and superior sound quality (subjective, I know), the result is worth the price.
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