In addition to the PX5, Bowers & Wilkins has also launched the PX7. The B&W PX7 are over-ear headphones and are currently the best headphones B&W has to offer. But isn’t the B&W PX7 just a PX5 with custom ear cushions? Or is PX7 with a higher price a step up in quality? We’re going to investigate that.
The ink of the review of the B&W PX5 has only just dried, and the review of the PX7 follows immediately. This has mainly to do with our curiosity. The B&W PX5 scored a full five stars. Is the PX7 even better? Does it deserve more than five stars? What we can tell right away is that the PX7 is not a PX5 on steroids. The PX7 is in a class of its own, namely that of wireless Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphones. The design is fundamentally different from that of the PX5. The B&W PX7 was launched on the market with dynamic intent, although its size is slightly larger than the PX5. But the PX7 is easy to carry. And for precisely the same conditions, read/bike/train/work.
- Very comfortable
- Excellent noise cancellation
- A fantastic set of features
- Minor flaws in the design
B&W PX7: More value for money
Let’s talk about the box for a moment. This is a unique collector’s item. The box states that there is a 40 mm driver in the headphones. But that is not correct because it contains a 43.6 mm driver. We hope this was a case of engineers versus marketing. That the engineers said at the last minute: “Let’s go with the best! We are sound engineers from B&W. We don’t take shit from marketing.” That would be great, engineers who don’t opt for maximum profit at the last minute, but ultimate sound.
The B&W PX7 is more than a flaw in the box. We see that the design is the same across the board. On the outside, we see the gray matter. There is also a blue fabric available. On the inside, we feel the same soft leather strap. We think this, and we also see this on the ear cushions. The ear cushions are more like a thick edge that should seal the ears from the environment.
The ear cushions on the PX7 are less filled than the PX5, and it’s logical because these are over-ear headphones. Furthermore, we see the exact turning mechanism for the left and right earcups. And the arm is also made of carbon fiber which is a solid and very light material. The units, ear cups, are also lined with fabric. The design has been worked out in detail. It looks sublime, and the whole exudes more elegance. Inside we find drivers with a diameter of and the PX7 has 768 kHz audio processing. Furthermore, the PX7 looks a lot like the PX5 because the buttons for the operation are also in the same place.
B&W PX7: Sound Quality
Headphones come in many shapes and sizes. Every copy sounds different from the competitor or even its big or small brother. This is something because we heard very clearly with the multitest In-Ear. This is also the case with the B&W PX7. For the listening area, we opted for music via Spotify and Soundcloud. But also High-res music from your own NAS. We chose Lavina Meijer – Passagio, The War On Drugs – Lost in the dream, which is some casual music.
Before we start listening, pairing with a Bluetooth device is necessary. The Bowers & Wilkins app is arguably the best way. This also ensures that if there are updates for the headphones, they can be easily installed. We start Lavina Meijer, a perfect benchmark for us. When testing the B&W PX5, we had an intrinsic experience. Not with the PX7. The sound is a bit strange for the first five seconds. It seems like a vacuum is being created, and once there is, we can listen. This is also confirmed if the left or right unit does not close properly or connect to the head. But when things go right, something special happens. Yes, we can feel the left and right units. We also feel the headband, but the sound goes beyond the headphones. The soundstage is wide and extensive. We hear how intensely Lavina Meijer’s fingertips slide along the strings of her harp. The B&W PX7 captures the emotion she puts into her music beautifully. The harmonious sounds are not directed inwards but play on our ears. And dance around us. The experience is more significant than with the PX5. There we had the feeling that our eardrums were being hugged. Here we get the feel of a hi-fi set that we wear on our head.
At The War On Drugs, we notice that the “Hifi” feeling is confirmed. In the song An Ocean In Between The Waves, the B&W PX7 completely absorbs our consciousness. We get lost in the music, which is appropriate for this album. The guitar playing forms a beautiful melody that can be heard all around us. It includes, as it were, a middle ring. The singing can be heard in the inner ring. The other instruments are placed in between or below it. It makes for a great musical experience. We certainly expected quality from the PX7, but reproduce the music so well and wirelessly too. That shows (and hears) how much development has been done in recent times.
On Soundcloud, we listen to a few episodes of The Boom Room. Here we are treated to the best choice in techno and house music. This is music that is on the other end of the spectrum. But excellent to hear how the PX7 handles this. The advantage of Soundcloud is that the quality is higher than on Spotify. And the B&W PX7 immediately shows that. The rendering of the low sounds like a creamy dessert after a four-course dinner. With a mix of Carl Cox, it becomes a party. The B&W shows here that he indeed has muscles and blows through it nicely. Few other brands can play classical at a high level one minute, then switch to a techno mix and the bass tones out in different layers.
B&W PX7: compare with your competition, and place in the market
Before we can say whether the B&W PX7 is good, we have to look at the competition. Only then can we make a sound judgment. So we grabbed two other headphones. A Dali IO 6 and a Bose NC 700. All three models are similar in price. Although we have to say that there are always good deals to be scored around the holidays. When we compare the headphones, several things stand out. Because this is not a multi-test, but we keep it compact with a review of the B&W PX7. In the comparison, we listened to the active noise canceling (ANC) and the “musical” performance. What we also found very important is the wearing comfort.
Bose has had headphones with ANC for years. The picture with these headphones is that mainly many business travelers use the Bose. This image is also quite suitable. The ANC on the Bose NC 700 is unprecedented, which is excellent if you regularly sit on the plane or train. There is, however, a slight downside. When the ANC was working its magic at the highest level, we experienced a strain on the ear, making sense given the technology. But the level of ANC at the Bose is by far the best. But in further comparison with the B&W PX7, we notice that the Bose mainly has to rely on the name. The construction feels less solid than that of the B&W PX7. The music on the Bose is also very neutral, almost flat, and without emotion. B&W scores points here. We no longer hear anything from the environment with the authentic B& W-sound and a light ANC. The comparison clearly shows that Bose has set all its sights on ANC.
If we include the Dali IO-6, the differences are more nuanced. The PX7 and the IO-6 are more evenly matched. The Dali IO-6 scores a point better on ANC and wearing comfort. Only the fit of the PX7 fits better on the head. There is also little difference in musical performance. Both stay true to their name and treat the listener to their authentic sound. This will be a personal taste in many cases, but we hear that the B&W is just a bit more firmly in its shoes. The music is just that little bit better. It can be compared with just that extra scoop of gravy on the kale.
B&W PX7: software for your update
Before we finish the review, we want to share something. During the review, we experienced something crazy. As soon as we walked out of the house with music and the WiFi connection dropped, we occasionally heard a pop or crack. This was strange because it wasn’t every time. But the B&W PX7 is full of technology, such as the wearing sensor. In addition, there is simply software running on the headphones, and you can improve that software. This was also the case during the test.
The B&W app warned us that a software update was available. The new software is downloaded and installed on the PX7 via the app. After that, not a single pop or crack was heard. The quality of the ANC has also improved. This just shows how far we have come in terms of technology and how much is still possible. For a product such as the B&W PX7, it has a long “economical” lifespan. The software can constantly be improved and can easily be put on the headphones. As a user, we are thus assured of listening pleasure at the highest wireless level.
B&W PX7: final verdict
The B&W PX7 has treated us to many hours of wireless hi-fi listening pleasure. Because that’s the level we’re talking about. Hi-fi level and that it can be wireless is exceptional. Before the review, we already had expectations of the PX7, and they have all been fulfilled. So we have nothing to criticize about the PX7. It’s a pair of headphones that you could easily order over the internet, without fitting or listening.
Yet there is one but. It competes. In addition to the Dali and Bose with which we compared the PX7, there are other brands. When it comes to ANC, which is the focal point of the purchase, Bose is a better choice. But then you might as well buy earplugs because they are also cheaper. We were also delighted with Dali. Then it quickly comes down to taste-oriented hearing. But if you’re a fan of the B&W sound or know what B&W sounds like, then this is the best choice out there. A five-star score is more than deserved here.
B&W PX7: conclusion
B&W also puts in an excellent performance with the PX7. That we have reached this level of wireless listening is phenomenal. The B&W PX7 continues to score well in a comparison with Bose and Dali. The B&W PX7 are headphones that will provide listening pleasure for many years to come.