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British manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins includes into the PX series of wireless noise-canceling headphones two fantastic-sounding devices - PX5 and the flagship model PX7. The novelty can play music for up to 30 hours without recharging and supports Qualcomm's latest technology - aptX Adaptive, which can dynamically adapt the audio compression parameters to the content being played and listening conditions.
Aside from the technical commentary, Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is a high-quality over-ear wireless headphone with active noise cancelling. It’s the top-of-the-line wireless model of the renewed PX line. It embodies a stylish corporate design, a superb manufacturing quality featuring only high-quality materials. Among the apparent aspects of the modern flagship, PX7’s hallmarks resemble a beautiful sound reproduction, plenty of functionality, and long-lasting comfort.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 ANC Headphones Review
1. Overview - not finished
Type: Over-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones | Bluetooth: 4.0 | Battery: 30 Hours | Charging: 4 Hours | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 45 mm | Weight: 385g
A large, elegant, and heavy box includes a case with a solid frame. Finally, the case’s size is not too large, for transportation, it will be convenient, except that the weight is a little bit felt. Along with the B&W PX7 headphones, a 1.2 m cable for wired connection, USB Type-C charging, and user manual is included.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are very aesthetically designed. They’re impressive out of the box and demonstrate good workmanship. The elliptical ear cups don the manufacturer’s metal logo. The feeling of solidity from the predominant metal and leather (sheepskin specially imported from New Zealand because of its excellent sweat absorbing properties) is well-preserved in PX7, as with all Bowers & Wilkins headphones.
It’s quite evident that Bowers & Wilkins PX7 embody a fashionable design, which, first of all, carries no ergonomic concerns. PX7 was harmoniously and carefully engineered, integrating all features to work seamlessly. Therefore, the headphones, keeping their quite characteristic shape and small dimensions, can accommodate various ear morphologies without any difficulty. The earcups’ construction is made of carbon and plastic parts covered in a thick layer of nylon. They’re more prominent and have acquired an oval shape. Nevertheless, the fit remains comfortable as with the previous PX headphone models.
Although the headphone’s pressure on the head is noticeable, the headsets can be worn for several hours until experiencing first signs of discomfort. Consequently, in terms of comfort, the headphones at their worst still have a chance to present themselves positively. We’re impressed by the balance between manufacturing quality and comfort that the manufacturer has attained.
Noteworthy is that the headphones turn off if removed from your head. Also, they pause your music when you hang them around your neck or take one cup away from your ear. Playback resumes automatically when you put the headphone back on your head.
The B&W PX7 has real buttons instead of touch-sensors. To connect the headphones to the smartphone for the first time, slide the on/off control on the right earcup and hold it until the headphones are in pairing mode. The mechanical buttons control music playback and conversations. Adjust the volume, start/pause music, and accept/end phone calls. On the left earcup is a button responsible for the switch between the individual noise-canceling modes. There are three operating modes for the noise reduction device, which can be turned off: High, Low, and Auto. The automatic adjustment usually requires a few seconds to adjust to the surrounding noise level, though it works well afterward.
All adjustments and audio management are made with physical buttons located on the right and left earcups, with settings followed by a female voice announcement.
Compared to its predecessor and other competing products, the most exciting addition is integrating Qualcomm’s new Bluetooth standard aptX-Adaptive. This Bluetooth codec combines the advantages of aptX-HD and aptX-LL (Low Latency). AptX-Adaptive offers a higher bit rate of the aptX HD, whereas aptX LL synchronizes the signal between video and audio signal the best.
The PX7 works for 30 hours with wireless noise on. The quick-charge function supplies the headset with 5 hours of playtime in just 15 minutes.
Via the Micro USB Type-C charging cable, PX7 is fully charged in less than an hour. The USB connection can also digitally connect the headphones to a PC/laptop or smartphone and thus circumvent the D/A conversion of the source devices. The headphones can also be operated in analog mode using the 1.2 m long 3.5-millimeter analog cable. However, the headphones require enough battery power.
B&W has its own Android and iPhone app, “Bowers & Wilkins Headphones,” for their Bluetooth ANC headphones. The app can be used to update the headphones’ software, fine-tune the noise suppression, manage the connected Bluetooth devices, turn off the sensors in the cups, or turn on/off the transparency mode. The transparency mode can also be turned on by pressing and holding the button on the left cup. Within the app, you can also see the battery level of Bowers & Wilkins PX7.
For noise-canceling, the B&W PX7 has four microphones, which record the external sound for the most effective noise suppression possible to counteract interference during music enjoyment. Two additional microphones are used for an uninterrupted headset function while telephoning in the cVc2 standard (Clear Voice Communication V2) from Qualcomm.
Active noise cancellation performs fantastically. There are three levels of intensity and a transparent mode where you can hear all external sounds, Adaptive Noise Reduction System, which adjusts to the noise level around you.
As with conventional active noise-canceling earphones, Bowers & Wilkins’ latest model also has a consistently low background noise level in quiet environments. However, it is immediately masked by the music being played with moderate volume and cannot be heard. Among the three noise-reduction modes, at the lower and middle levels, the inevitable negative impact on sound quality is almost imperceptible, and at the highest level, it is moderate. The difference between wired and wireless is already more noticeable. The sound is, however, well-rendered – especially if you use aptX HD.
Most frequencies in the low and medium bands are entirely suppressed. The trebles and upper mid-range, on the other hand, only seem a bit softer but can still be perceived.
The headphone’s frequency range is from 10 Hz to 30 kHz, whereas the low impedance of 20 ohms allows you to safely listen with your smartphone. The PX7’s music is reproduced by drivers of 43 mm in diameter, the biggest drivers Bowers & Wilkins put in their headphones, even bigger than the flagship wired P9 Signature, which is equipped with 40mm drivers.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 has a somewhat dark sound signature, a lot of bass, and thanks to the 43mm drivers tilted slightly, the headphones ensure that the sound is properly received by the ear. These drivers are created specifically for the PX7, as they write on the official website: “Created and tuned by the same engineering team behind the 800 Series Diamond speakers used at Abbey Road Studios.”
The Bowers&Wilkins PX7 headphones convey a rhythmic pattern with plenty of basses that, on the same note, sounds quite organic. The control is not inadequate, as far as it is possible here. Thanks to the voluminous bass, you’ll also enjoy a broad soundstage. We believe that PX7’s audio presentation will be appreciated by bass lovers. Its accentuated punchy low frequencies, along with the modestly calibrated midbass, will attract the listener.
The design of the PX7 is definitely modern and beautiful, with a colorful combination of grey and black makes the headphones as versatile as possible. The overall design adds to the premium feel that we expected from B&W.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7’s noise reduction works and blocks violently surround noises in the lower and mid-range. Our favorite Bluetooth codecs, aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, and AAC, are supported here. No addition of LDAC has taken place, unfortunately. Still, with aptX Adaptive, you can expect the minimum signal delay.
B&W makes no compromise with PX7. The wireless headphones offer maximum distinguishing aesthetics, minimalism, ease-of-use, and comfort. Accompanied by various fantastic aspects, we’re though faced with an uncomfortable asking price of around $400.
Some users might be conscious of PX7’s price tag. Though, with certainty, we can say that the difference in sound between PX7 and its predecessors and other noise-canceling competitors is huge. The headphones are larger than PX5 and more intuitive. They might not be as comfortable as Bose QC 35 II but can raise to the Bose 700’s finesse and sound performance level. All in all, Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones are perfect for frequent travelers and traditional corporate businessmen who want to enjoy a proper hi-fi system on the go.