Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Headphones Overview: primo taste

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Cons

  • Noise canceling too directional

  • App lacking capability

  • Mic sounds boxy and far away

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones are supremely trendy and relaxed.

As evidenced via the “S2,” the Px7 S2 are the following evolution of the PX7 that had been firstly launched on the finish of 2019, with a most commonly beauty improve (the Carbon Version) in 2020. Bowers & Wilkins labored laborious to give a boost to upon the PX7 in any respect it would, and the corporate succeeded.

The Px7 S2 are slimmer than earlier fashions whilst protecting the design aesthetic the similar. They actually have a extra dynamic sound profile and higher noise canceling, regardless that the latter can not compete with height competition. That mentioned, for the ones after a trendy choice to the established order, the Px7 S2 make an enduring affect.

In regards to the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones lay on a wooden table with their button controls displayed.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

The button controls are simple to differentiate via really feel whilst you put on the Px7 S2 headphones.

Listed below are the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2’s major specifications:

  • Worth: $399
  • Battery lifestyles: 30 hours
  • Rapid charging: 7 hours playback in quarter-hour (2 hours for complete price)
  • Colours: Black, Blue, Grey
  • Ambient sound modes: Lively adaptive noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Audio system: 40mm bio cellulose motive force
  • Microphones: 2 microphones for calling, 4 microphones for ANC
  • Connectivity: USB-C Audio, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio formats: aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX, AAC, SBC
  • Mud/water resistance: No IP score
  • Passive operation: No (energy required for audio)
  • Weight: 307g
  • Extras: Put on detection sensor

The Px7 S2 glance remarkably very similar to the Px7 with woven material accents at the height of the headscarf and the outdoor of the ear cups. There are simplest 5 buttons throughout each ear cups which might be simple to tell apart via really feel (contact controls are nonetheless now not integrated). B&W has additionally executed away with the three.5mm plug, depending simplest on USB-C for stressed out audio and charging.

The ear cups can flip 90 levels in both route so that they fold flat to suit effectively of their fabric-lined hardshell case. A compartment inside of with a magnetic flap holds two 4-foot cables—a USB-C to three.5mm cable for stressed out listening and a USB-C cable for charging. The case has a flat height and is reasonably smaller than that of the Sony XM5, even if nonetheless wider and longer than the XM4 case via a bit of underneath an inch in each instructions.

What we love

Lengthy-term convenience

A hand squeezes the ear cup pad of the Px7 S2 above a wooden floor.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

The comfortable Px7 S2 pads really feel sumptuous.

Infrequently with higher-end headphones, firms focal point totally on sound, capability, and magnificence whilst convenience takes a backseat. Fortunately that isn’t the case with the Px7 S2. Whilst their signature stylish glance has simplest passed through minor tweaks, B&W has taken care in bettering the headphones’ long-term convenience. The design is slimmer and it’s simple to discover a cast have compatibility because of the ear cup swivel and telescoping.

There’s a fantastic stability between headache-inducing clamping pressure and sufficient steadiness to stay the headphones safe and sealed, and the Px7 S2 have controlled to trip that line. At 307g, they are 50g heavier than the Sony XM5 however 75g lighter than the Apple AirPods Max. I wore the Px7 S2’s for hours an afternoon whilst trying out, and the padding at the headscarf is comfortable sufficient that the burden by no means stressed the end of my head.

The earcups padding may be great and squishy, even if slightly more impregnable than the Sony XM5, which I to find to be essentially the most relaxed headphones on this value vary. The additional firmness does stay a pleasant seal, so long as you don’t put on glasses. When out dressed in sun shades, the pads weren’t in a position to totally seal across the temples, letting one of the vital outdoor global in. Fortunately the clamping pressure isn’t an excessive amount of that it uncomfortably drives the glasses into the pinnacle.

Outstanding vocal readability

A man stands on a balcony listening to music while wearing the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Px7 S2’s sound profile is thrilling and transparent, particularly within the vocal vary.

Bowers & Wilkins has additional advanced upon its present motive force era with the 40mm drivers and different parts within the Px7 S2 to scale back the distortion ranges from the PX7. Maximum fascinating is the placement of the drivers throughout the earcups. Taking inspiration from the flagship P9 Signature headphones, the drivers are toed in to raised line up with the middle of the ear. B&W says this improves tonal consistency and spatial placement.

The ones enhancements for sure come throughout with the Px7 S2. The entire sound stability is extra restrained and true to content material than the unique PX7, that have been each overly bassy and sizzly within the higher registers. Top-end frequencies for the most recent pair are thrilling and sparkly with out changing into piercing. They actually trip that fringe of being virtually an excessive amount of.

The place the Px7 S2 actually shine is midrange readability. Vocals and discussion are crystal transparent and provide with out being abrasive. The bass is extra tamed, however now and then—specifically with heavy bass tracks—it nonetheless attracts an excessive amount of consideration to itself and clouds that vocal readability.

With track specifically, the soundscape is extensive and deep. Tools inside of an orchestra have their very own particular house to fill that fits the place they take a seat on level. Even with tighter mixes, like “Screenwriter’s Blues” on Soul Coughing’s iconic Ruby Vroom, the other tools and sound occupy a definite position. The added LP scratch strikes out and in of Mike Doughty’s lyrics whilst other repetitive concepts fill the distance. That is one case, regardless that, the place boomy decrease frequencies just like the bass drum and upright bass can quilt the lyrics.

Sadly, the bass EQ adjustment within the B&W Track app isn’t centered sufficient to deal with that bloat, as a substitute dipping sounds beneath the bass drum. It additionally robs the full sound of a few frame and heft.

Total, regardless that, the Px7 S2’s listening revel in is top-notch and sound copy around the spectrum is delightfully attractive.

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones lying flat on a wooden table.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

Each ear cups twist 90 levels in both route permitting the Px7 S2 headphones to put flat.

What we don’t like

Noise canceling doesn’t measure up

With their sumptuous really feel, trendy glance, and bold sound, the Px7 S2 are poised to sign up for the Sony XM5 and Apple Airpods Max as top-tier headphones possible choices, and in many ways they meet or surpass the ones fashions. I desire the Px7’s styling and their case is slightly smaller than the XM5 and way more protecting than the Airpods Max. Sadly, noise canceling functions don’t measure up and stay them from that lofty pedestal.

Whilst the noise canceling has advanced over the unique Px7, its general efficiency nonetheless doesn’t fit what Sony, Apple, and Bose had been in a position to perform. They’re very best with low-end droning sounds, akin to air conditioners or plane engines, even if with much less attenuation than competition, however they don’t do a lot to chop out dialog or the upper frequencies like passing tire noise.

Maximum irritating, regardless that, is how directional the efficiency is. When the sound is correct in entrance of me, the efficiency is very best (specifically for the ones low drones), however because the sound strikes round or I flip my head the ANC attenuation adjustments, letting in additional sound. This phenomenon isn’t unparalleled, even if it generally plagues more economical headphones and is one thing that doesn’t occur with the Sony XM5.

It’s most blatant strolling down the road with site visitors whizzing via, listening to other frequencies pepper out and in as vehicles go. As a substitute of setting apart me from the converting global round me, it known as my consideration to it, albeit at a decrease quantity than with noise canceling off.

The cases for the Sony WH-1000XM4, B&W Px7 S2, and Sony WH-1000XM5 next to one another on a wooden table.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2’s case falls between the Sony XM4 and XM5 with regards to measurement.

App capability is restricted

The Px7 S2 use the similar Bowers & Wilkins Track app as different B&W merchandise, however the app is extra restricted with headphones. With the exception of instrument control choices (toggling auto standby, a put on sensor, or renaming how the headphones display on your product listing), there are simplest 3 useful adjustments that may be made.

B&W has added tone changes for a 6dB spice up or lower to treble and bass. It’s a welcome boost, however too simplified for any fine-tuning to the sound profile, and the bass adjustment didn’t goal the frequencies that afflicted me maximum.

In the meantime, noise canceling has been oversimplified. Now it’s simply on, off, or transparency mode (categorized as passthrough), the place up to now there have been other depth ranges to noise canceling. There’s additionally a toggle for the short motion button (situated at the again of the left earcup) to select both noise canceling keep an eye on or voice assistant keep an eye on.

Bowers & Wilkins has plans to extend the app’s capability one day, akin to including built-in track app keep an eye on, but if that would possibly occur is unknown. Plus, that doesn’t deal with the minimum EQ settings which might be out of step with the contest. For comparability, Sony’s app is extra tough, with a five-band EQ and variable noise canceling, amongst different helpful options that B&W doesn’t supply. The possible is there, however the PX7 S2 don’t compete but with what’s lately to be had available on the market.

Microphone continues to be improper

Building used to be put into bettering the decision microphone high quality via updating the microphone placement and voice seize era. Whilst it’s higher in comparison to the PX7, my voice nonetheless sounds boxy and a bit of far away.

When outdoor, passing site visitors is inaudible to the opposite facet of the decision. Wind noise is most commonly saved at bay, however that’s because of competitive proscribing that kicks in as soon as the wind begins and will clip talking as neatly. Because the wind adjustments depth, the limiter has a difficult time constantly getting rid of the noise. As a substitute, you listen blips of wind when it hits its peaks. The implementation is extra distracting than useful.

A person pictured in profile wear the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones outdoors with bird feeders and trees in the background.

Credit score: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are extremely relaxed to put on for lengthy sessions of time.

Will have to you purchase the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2?

Sure, if their styling speaks to you

The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 are superb headphones that do many stuff actually neatly. They’re relaxed over lengthy sessions of time because of comfortable padding, their sound is thrilling and tasty with superb vocal readability, they usually’re extremely trendy.

Taken on their very own, the Px7 S2 are a right away advice. However there are top-notch headphones to be had for identical pricing that outdo them. Out of the field, I desire the sound of the Px7 S2 over the Sony WH-1000XM5, however with Sony’s app I will dial in an EQ this is completely suited for my listening personal tastes. Sony’s noise canceling may be significantly better than the Px7 S2 (as is Apple’s within the AirPods Max, regardless that for $100 extra). Or even lower-priced cans just like the top-rated Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose’s QC45 get you higher ANC.

The Px7 S2 win-out on seems—palms down, personally. The slimmer form, the woven material main points, and the silver accents give them a glance that’s each upscale and sublime. They aren’t the normal selection for high-end wi-fi headphones, however they for sure are lovely they usually ship superb sound high quality.

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Costs had been correct on the time this newsletter used to be revealed however might alternate over the years.

Meet the tester

John Higgins

John Higgins

Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video


@johntmhiggins

John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. Up to now he is had bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, House Theater Overview, T3, Sound & Imaginative and prescient, and House Theater Mag.

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