Review: Bowers & Wilkins P7

Bowers & Wilkins | Over-Ear Headphones | $ 399.99

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Bowers & Wilkins (B&W for short) has been a company that markets to the highest end and highest markets.  From their line of Maserati Speakers, to their already known headphone line, they are known in the audio world.  The P7 represents B&W’s newest flagship model, placing it a tier above the already popular P5.  Unlike all their previous headphones, however, the P7 represents their first over-ear headphone.  This was a bold step forward that paid off as the P7 combines the beautiful aesthetics that are unique to Bowers & Wilkins, along with powerful audio that will suit consumer and audiophile alike.  

Specifications

Driver: 40 mm Dynamic
Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Sensitivity: 111 dB/V

In the Box

Bowers & Wilkins P7
Audio Cables (Audio Only, Mic’d Cable)
Carrying Case
¼” Adapter

InTheBox

Design

Bowers & Wilkins continues using a winning formula for design when it comes to headphones.  Their P7 quickly replicate that unique B&W headphone design.  Black leather surrounds the outer side of the housings with an ovular cutout where the Bowers & Wilkins name stands out with beautifully brushed aluminum.  The darker, black design of the headphones falls back while the silver accents draw the lines that aesthetically sculpt the headphones.  The P7 are simply a luxurious beauty.

Design1

Design: ★★★★

Audio

Bowers & Wilkins employs a warmer sound to the P7 that offers much warmth and lushness.  The sound is very inviting overall and is easy to listen to as it doesn’t fatigue in any way.  The bass offers good thickness and strong presence while the treble is detailed without being strident.

Driver

Starting from the lower-end of things, we find that the bass is a little on the thicker side of things with good presence.  As a result, the sub-bass texturing does have a nice solid feel to it, but also offers subtle fluidity.  A strong impact allows you to really feel each of the dense punches that come one by one.  This area of the bass walks the line of boomyness without ever becoming boomy.  The mid-bass may not be the tightest, but still can offer an ample punch.

As we move up into the midrange, we find that the lower midrange has a certain warmth to it that gives the P7 a relaxing sound.  In addition, the B&W also does a decent job with detailing in this area without ever becoming aggressive.  In the upper mids, the instruments do hold good clarity overall even with the warmer sound signature being the main focus.  Vocals hold a beautiful bit of lushness to them while the upper midrange vocals are strong, but could be a little stronger.

The treble actually does take a slight step back in quantity; again, this adds to the sound sig that B&W focused on.  This doesn’t, however, take away from the detailing that the treble has as a whole.  The lower treble has great presence as snare snaps can certainly be heard, but they don’t come across shrill or overbearing in anyway.  Although this takes away from the extension in the lower treble.  In the upper treble, we find that the headphones do extend into the upper ranges nicely.  Details are provided very nicely and separation is done beautifully.  Sparkles are soft, but still strong enough.

Audio: ★★★★½

Build

Bowers & Wilkins couple their P7 with a very nice semi-hard case that folds flat when not needed and unfolds open when storing the headphones.  The case itself looks very nice and magnetically closes shut.  While your P7 are not in use, the case will protect the headphones from environmental elements.

Case1

The housing on the B&W P7 is actually built very sturdily.  Removing the magnetically attached pad, you’ll find that the inner workings of the headphone housings are entirely made out of metal.  The leather finish on the exterior feels great in the hand while the black anodized aluminum core is built brilliantly.  The housings themselves feel very sturdy, however, the arms of the P7 aren’t.  Rather, they wiggle and feel a little bit loose to the touch (despite the fact that they actually aren’t).  The P3’s arms didn’t wiggle like this.

Housings2

The gorgeous, dual metal arms reach up into the headband of the P7 which is covered by the same luxuriously stitched leather.  Sandwiched between the two sheets of leather is the foam padding for the headband as well as the metal core of the band itself.  This design offers a good malleability as well as strength.  Overall, the headband is very strong and sturdy.

Headband1

Like with the P3, the cable attaches to the headphones inside the actual housing (underneath the pads).  Unlike the P3, this cable offers a thickness that seems perfect for mobile use.  It’s not too thick, but thick enough to feel firm and rigid.  It offers good flexibility while its thickness keeps it from tangling.  This is definitely one of the better cables I’ve seen on a pair of headphones.

Connecting the cable to the terminating headphone jack is a long strain relief.  It does a great job cutting slack off of the cable and preventing cable failure.  The jack, however, is not angled though, which is somewhat disappointing.  For build-quality’s sake, an angled jack would be much preferred to a straight one.  Regardless though, the jack has two layers, a metallic outer layer and a plastic inner.  Popping out of the plastic inner layer is a gold-plated headphone jack which resists corrosion.

Cable

Build: ★★★★½

Comfort

The padding used on the P7 is relatively soft for the most part.  The pads are spacious and supple.  This combination leads to pads that are actually very comfortable to place on your ears.  They also have a good thickness to them.  The padding on the headband is a little tougher, but with time, they break in nicely.  After about a week or two of use, I’ve found that I can easily go a couple hours without any discomfort whatsoever.

Pads

Comfort: ★★★★

Value

The Bowers & Wilkins P7 doesn’t come cheap, however; it’s priced at a stern 400 dollars.  At this price point, there are things that are a better overall value.  However, B&W’s unique stylings and a warm, but linear, sound is something that the majority of the competition doesn’t have.  Bowers & Wilkins does include a cable with a 3-button remote and mic if you’re running it off of a smartphone; they also include one that doesn’t if your source doesn’t support a TRRS setup.

RemoteMic

Value: ★★★★½

Final Thoughts

When Bowers & Wilkins announced that they were ready to release a pair of over-ear headphones, I was actually quite excited.  Comfort is extremely good with the P7, something many reviews complained about with their previous flagship, the P5.  Sound quality is strong while hard silver lines draw out the P7’s design.  Bowers & Wilkins shows that design, luxury, and sound quality can all come together to create a pair of amazing headphones.

I’d like to thank Bowers & Wilkins for the product sample.

Overall Score

★★★★½

Bowers & Wilkins P7

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