Going fully Wireless IEMs. Too soon? Or are we there yet?
Apr 21, 2021 at 9:52 AM Post #32,131 of 62,044
TWS choices...

KEF Mu3 (200€) maybe but would have to listen. I like the descriptions I’ve read

M&D MW08 (300€) the “probable” choice, but expensive

Noble Falcon Pro (330€) have read high praise, but VERY expensive

Grado GT220 (260€) I like the quality. But they definitely lack in “extra features”

Between these and the MT’s I own, what is your take? How do they compare? Are the others much better that they justify their price jump over the MT?

I prefer sound quality, and this trait is definitely the most important, but also like to have extra features, like Ambient/ANC, Qi, decent battery, good secure fit, nice easy controls (if buttons they must be soft or displaced like the M&D). I don’t care much for codecs as I’m on an iPhone (mostly) or an iPad. I listen to most genres on Spotify and Tidal (hi-fi).
It’s my firm belief that any headphone (or speaker) should play well any genre (the meaning of high fidelity) and that EQ should only be corrective if needed. But our ears are free and taste plays a big role.

Should I stay put or risk it? Which ones, any of these or any others?... too many questions. Thanks.

I'll do the NFP comparison; others can comment on the Grado, M&D (won't assume the MW07 GO and MW08 are sonically the same), and KEF.

The NFP has the potential to knock your socks off in sound and, since you're running iOS won't have to deal with the codec issues I did. Where the MT has a very robust midbass, there's barely any perceivable bloom on the NFP to notice. Slight difference in tuning choices; it's what you'll tend to find with V-shaped material. Trick is realizing that those types of signatures need compensation via EQ if you're planning to crank them up often; in that case, I would suggest that it's required, not just needed. Wish I could give you a bigger thumb rule than that, but seems like a lot of that energy is between 6k and 8k and the in-app EQ is pretty responsive and knocking those down a little bit.

Did I mention they're one of the few pairs I have where the stock tips do just fine, by the way? Those E-Pro horns are great.

Can I press you, or anyone else, on a thorough comparison between the MT and the other few I mentioned?

If I can’t wait long enough for LE Audio and LC3, I want the possibility of a step up in SQ, if the step up in price justifies it.

The must-have extras besides a good secure fit are ANC and Ambient modes. The nice-to-haves are decent battery and Qi charging.

The reason I wrote “probable” next to the MW08 is because of their “displaced” buttons. I could do without touch controls (although I still somewhat like it) but I probably couldn’t stand for in-line buttons (my recent experience with the Tevi made sure I don’t want to uncomfortably push the buds inside).

Other recommendations are more than welcome. Thanks again.
 
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Apr 21, 2021 at 10:38 AM Post #32,132 of 62,044
I was about to pull the trigger on the PI7. I have the MW08 en route which would probably have to be returned but man that battery life is garbage and that's best case scenario at medium volume. Reminds me of the original MW07 which promised "up to 3.5 hours" but in reality got like 2 and thats before degradation sets in. That really can't happen in 2021. I don't mind paying big bucks for the best but I am pausing on this until I see more information. Also the black ones appear to be sold out? The white and gold is too much bling for me. It appears aptx adaptive requires certain hardware and is not cross compatible with an aptx enabled phone? that's a bummer as well.

Edit- whelp the sickness got the best of me. Black became available so I ordered. I'm here to be the guinea pig for everyone. I'd say there's a 50/50 chance that I'll keep them but curiosity got the cat for sure. The battery life is likely a deal breaker ultimately. Not even usable for a short domestic flight.
 
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Apr 21, 2021 at 10:57 AM Post #32,133 of 62,044
"With Bowers & Wilkins’ new PI7 truly wireless earbuds, you can enjoy what is arguably a more comfortable way to block out the endless whine of a plane’s engines, while still enjoying a seat-back entertainment system. The USB-C port on the bottom of the PI7's wireless charging case also accept a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter cable, meaning it can be plugged into nearly any device in existence that has a headphone jack, and the sound will be wirelessly streamed to the earbuds."

This is a wonderful feature for those who travel often - like I did pre-pandemic. I hope other manufacturers begin adding this feature.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:00 AM Post #32,134 of 62,044
Help me understand this:

"B&W has also included an excellent feature that means high-quality audio is more accessible than ever if you're using the PI7. It comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a 3.5mm-to-USB-C cable in the box. You can use either of these to plug the PI7's case into a computer or analogue audio source, effectively as a wireless adapter. The case will then send sound to the headphones over aptX LL (so: CD-quality audio).


This is a great feature not just for convenience (use them with your Nintendo Switch! Or with plane entertainment systems!), but also for improving the quality of wireless audio from something like a MacBook Air, if you have high-quality files or use a hi-fi-friendly streaming service."

If I am reading this correctly, you can use the case as a bridge to stream hi res files (i.e. no need for Aptx Adaptive). The author references a macbook or an analogue source but why couldn't I just use this on an iPhoneor any android phone with a headphone jack? Couldn't I go USB-C to USB-C and stream Qobuz? Would that get me high res files? If so, that's pretty cool. What am I missing? It' may not be an ideal on the go setup but it seems useful for sure.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:04 AM Post #32,135 of 62,044
Help me understand this:

"B&W has also included an excellent feature that means high-quality audio is more accessible than ever if you're using the PI7. It comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable and a 3.5mm-to-USB-C cable in the box. You can use either of these to plug the PI7's case into a computer or analogue audio source, effectively as a wireless adapter. The case will then send sound to the headphones over aptX LL (so: CD-quality audio).


This is a great feature not just for convenience (use them with your Nintendo Switch! Or with plane entertainment systems!), but also for improving the quality of wireless audio from something like a MacBook Air, if you have high-quality files or use a hi-fi-friendly streaming service."

If I am reading this correctly, you can use the case as a bridge to stream hi res files (i.e. no need for Aptx Adaptive). The author references a macbook or an analogue source but why couldn't I just use this on an iPhoneor any android phone with a headphone jack? Couldn't I go USB-C to USB-C and stream Qobuz? Would that get me high res files? If so, that's pretty cool. What am I missing? It' may not be an ideal on the go setup but it seems useful for sure.
I have no clue what codec/format/spec B&W will be using for the wireless audio through the case transfer. It might be a standard BT protocol it could be a proprietary one. I’m curious about lag though.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:05 AM Post #32,136 of 62,044
I was about to pull the trigger on the PI7. I have the MW08 en route which would probably have to be returned but man that battery life is garbage and that's best case scenario at medium volume. Reminds me of the original MW07 which promised "up to 3.5 hours" but in reality got like 2 and thats before degradation sets in. That really can't happen in 2021. I don't mind paying big bucks for the best but I am pausing on this until I see more information. Also the black ones appear to be sold out? The white and gold is too much bling for me. It appears aptx adaptive requires certain hardware and is not cross compatible with an aptx enabled phone? that's a bummer as well.

Edit- whelp the sickness got the best of me. Black became available so I ordered. I'm here to be the guinea pig for everyone. I'd say there's a 50/50 chance that I'll keep them but curiosity got the cat for sure. The battery life is likely a deal breaker ultimately. Not even usable for a short domestic flight.
The APTX can do APTX HD and connect to the charging case which will also do HD if source is good and within 10ft according to B&W support I talked with today.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:07 AM Post #32,137 of 62,044
I have no clue what codec/format/spec B&W will be using for the wireless audio through the case transfer. It might be a standard BT protocol it could be a proprietary one. I’m curious about lag though.
The article says the case uses Aptx LL to communicate with the headphones. So effectively, you can stream Hi Res over an iPhone if you use the case as a bridge unless I am misunderstanding. Seems like Cnet kind of missed the boat on this feature. It's more than an airplane adapter.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:09 AM Post #32,138 of 62,044
The APTX can do APTX HD and connect to the charging case which will also do HD if source is good and within 10ft according to B&W support I talked with today.
yeah, that's pretty awesome and has definitely upped my excitement level a bit. This means (I think) true hi res is achievable from basically any device if you use the case as the bridge. Not quite the same as on board AptxhD or LDAC but certainly innovative in the TWS space.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:42 AM Post #32,140 of 62,044
I'm surprised at my own self control today, decided to wait for more reviews of the PI5 and PI7 first before I even think of ordering. Don't want any nasty surprises like with the MT.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 11:52 AM Post #32,141 of 62,044
The product is definitely real since I got the press release. The 3.5mm pass through you talk about is designed for airplanes and other non-BT things. I don’t know exactly how it works but their description makes it seem like it plugs into the case and the case relays the audio through Bluetooth to the TWS. Feature only looks like it’s available on the PI7.
Agree, definitely real. Got emails to preorder today as well. Looks like some retailers previously jumped the gun when the product had not been officially released yet and had to pull the pages.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM Post #32,142 of 62,044
Yeah the battery life is pretty poor as far as today's standards go. They're gunning for all out sound quality in a TWS and there's only so much you can cram in I guess, hence the poor battery life. The one review I read seems to state these are the best sounding pair out there. Haven't seen a review of the PI5 - if anyone sees one can they link it here pls? I don't mind paying PI5 price if they sound decent, but perhaps not the PI7 retail price.
Good to see some aprX adaptive TWS and not just aptX, AAC or SBC (Android user here). My guess is that poor battery life is probably one of the reasons why we don't really see TWS with LDAC or many others with aptX HD or adaptive.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 12:14 PM Post #32,143 of 62,044
Since Aptx adaptive includes AptxHD does that mean this includes AptxHD as a standalone codec? Clear as mud.
Still has to be supported by the host device and it's weird. My phone can support all the codecs, but I can't make the NFP go into aptX HD. It's either Adaptive or normal.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 12:14 PM Post #32,144 of 62,044
Agree, definitely real. Got emails to preorder today as well. Looks like some retailers previously jumped the gun when the product had not been officially released yet and had to pull the pages.
If you order from B&W direct it appears to be available now? It doesn’t say it’s a preorder so I’m hoping for a quick shipment.
 
Apr 21, 2021 at 12:16 PM Post #32,145 of 62,044
Still has to be supported by the host device and it's weird. My phone can support all the codecs, but I can't make the NFP go into aptX HD. It's either Adaptive or normal.
Yeah okay that’s what I figured. So virtually no mainstream phone supports adaptive atm (one plus being the exception) but the bridge with the case will be fine for my intended use.
 

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