This isn’t it, my good friend. The level of competition among ANC headphones in the $200 to $400 price range is simply too high to tolerate sound quality of this kind. Unless you’re seeking to make a fashion statement, you’d be better off searching elsewhere rather than at the Bowers & Wilkins PX7.
With fantastic alternatives such as the P7 and P9 Signature, Bowers & Wilkins has established itself as one of the most prestigious premium headphone manufacturers on the market in the past.
However, the company’s wireless capabilities have recently left something to be desired. Is the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 a pair of headphones that can help you get back on track? Our time with the PX7 lasted two weeks, and the answer, as is always the case, is: it’s difficult.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 active noise cancelling headphones, like the Apple AirPods Max, are one of a variety of active noise cancelling headphones geared at the more affluent customer who prefers a more attractive aesthetic than that provided by the more popular ANC headsets.
The backs of the ear cups are covered with a matte fabric and plastic that has been made to seem like unpolished metal, which is a refreshing change from the very lifeless black and bland aesthetics of the competition.
Each ear cup may be rotated up to 180 degrees at the point where the C-shaped yoke meets the band, which is made of the same fabric as the ear cups. The ear cups are removable (but with a leather underside where it rests on your head).
With so much flexibility in the band, when correctly fitted, the headphones themselves exert a significant clamping force, which might be irritating if you wear spectacles or have a very big head.
But it also means that the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is extremely unlikely to move around on your head, even if you are jostled a little while attempting to catch the bus or train.
Remember to adjust your fit if you feel even the slightest discomfort, because the higher-than-usual friction within the band keeps the headphones in place extremely well—which means that discomfort increases over time, rather than diminishes, as the band expands as a result of the force your head applies to it.
There are a number of buttons on the rear of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7, each of which performs a different purpose. However, you should be aware that there is a little latency delay between pushes, and if you’re eager, you may be able to outpace the presses at times.
In the case of the multi-function button, if you press it three times too rapidly, it will only register as one or two taps, doing the reverse of what you intended.
In terms of connectivity, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is one of the more adaptable active noise cancelling headphones available on the market.
Bowers & Wilkins appears to be expecting that its simplicity of use will be able to fulfil the demands of a greater number of listeners than its competitors, given the highly rare USB-C connection for audio (as opposed to merely power). Additionally, the headphones provide a 3.5mm audio jack as well as a wide selection of Bluetooth codecs for compatibility.
Alternatively, if you want to listen wirelessly, raise the slider on the back of the right ear cup and keep it there until the blue light begins to flash. This will put you in pairing mode, which will allow you to link your phone with the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 after it has finished. Push the slider to the lowest level when you’re ready to turn the headphones off completely.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 lasted 32 hours and 53 minutes when tested according to our usual technique. This is an outstanding performance for noise cancelling headphones, and it should be plenty to last you through any long-haul international travel without the need to recharge.
It should be noted that this result was obtained with the ANC turned on; therefore, if you turn off this function or set your volume to extremes, your mileage may vary. Even so, you can always rely on a 15-minute rapid charge to get a whooping 5 hours of playback time from your device.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 active noise cancelling headphones are an outstanding set of noise cancellers that perform a good job of disrupting low-end sounds with its active noise cancellation technology while also providing exceptional isolation.
Please keep in mind that a good seal is essential for this to work, which might be tricky depending on the size of your head and ears.
I don’t have open cab doors on either side of my head, but my pinna and skull are too close together, and the pads don’t give me enough room to breathe, which means my glasses damage the seal. You may find that these headphones may not isolate as effectively as they look on this chart if you have a bigger frame, as I do.
Shortly put, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 does not perform up to the standards that should be expected given the price tag it bears. However, it’s likely that some of the swings and bass overemphasis might be addressed with a software update. Until then, though, this is a dismal performance no matter how you look at it.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is incredibly bassy right out of the box, and it has some unusual regions of underemphasis that result in some bizarre-sounding music when you first turn it on.
It is very constant that the bass emphasis is 10dB higher than it should be, resulting in the sub-bass and bass sounding twice as loud as they would on headphones that were designed to fit the SoundGuys consumer curve.
Moreover, while that peak between 6-9kHz does a good job of making highs stand out in the noise of current pop mixes, it may make those sounds particularly unpleasant if you aren’t used to hearing this type of response.
Lows, midpoints, and peaks The fewer instruments that fight for your listeners’ attention in your song, the better it will sound—but that isn’t something that everyone’s music collection has in plenty. Punk, rock, and anything else with a lot of distortion on the guitars, for example, sound terrible on this system. PUP’s latest album, Totally Fine, is an excellent illustration of this, particularly the single “Totally Fine.”
All of the instruments blend together into a wall of noise that isn’t really enjoyable to listen to.Listening to Silk Sonic’s Grammy-winning album Silk Sonic while wearing these headphones around the workplace, numerous listeners complained about excessive bass, a lack of clarity, and even some artefacts in the cymbals on certain tracks.
While the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones are not a poor pair of headphones—in fact, they are outstanding at noise cancellation—they do not sound as good as any of its competitors, and they are priced somewhat higher than the headphones with which the PX7 is designed to compete.
Because there is no in-app EQ, you’ll have to make up with the out-of-the-box tuning, which isn’t very good. Audiophiles should go elsewhere unless they are ready to undertake some significant text file editing or have developed their own techniques of adjusting the sound of these headphones in conjunction with their mobile devices.
Because this product has been on the market for a few of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the price drops or if it goes on sale.
If the PX7 does not ask for $400 USD, you may conclude that the ANC is worth it at a price of somewhere between $200 and $300 USD instead; nevertheless, this still places it in the same price range as Sony’s products, which are still a bit more flexible and perform a little better overall.