Sleek, comfortable and beautifully balanced, Bowers & Wilkins’ P7 headphones are a pleasure to use. This British audio company has a huge reputation in delivering premium audio quality in an equally polished package, and the company’s first dive into over-ear headphones is another notch in B&W’s seasoned belt. The P7 fits into the B&W headphone line-up right at the top, sitting above the P3 and P5 on-ear headphones. Both of which have received positive reviews by Macworld Australia in the past; the P3s were handed a three-and-a-half mice rating in May
and the P5s were given an Ed’s Pick, five mice and won our headphone Group Test in June 2012
. While the P3s are available in four colours (red, blue, black or white) and the P5s come in black or ivory (white), the P7s are limited to a sleek black. Call this a limitation or not – some may wish for a coloured pair – but we love the minimalistic black and silver aesthetic. In terms of a physical footprint, the P7s occupy a 19.2 x 19 x 7cm space and weigh a reasonable 290g. Each cup is deeply padded and large enough to consume even the biggest of ears. The cups are held in place by magnets, enabling users to replace them if they are damaged and access the cable port in the left-hand cup to replace the cable.
Bowers & Wilkins includes two cables with the P7s, one with a three- button in-line remote and one without. The leather headband is adorned on both sides by distinctive, twisted metal bands that offer a reasonable amount of flexibility. The cups also fold inward, in the same manner as a pair of sunglasses, for portability when not in use and reducing the size of the headphones by 6.2cm. An accompanying carry bag offers further protection. While the look of the P7s is important, the real crunch is the audio and the B&W headphones are exceptional. Featuring two 40mm drivers, these headphones produce an even, layered response to a variety of music genres. The high-end range shines through in clear, distinctive tones; the mid-range offers a full-body sound and the low-end, bass range rises or shrinks to the background depending on the genre.
Dance tracks bring out a rewarding, powerful bass response while alternative and rock tracks receive a satisfactory, reduced bass. These headphones really are for the audiophile. And B&W thinks so too: with every purchase, the new P7 owner receives three months’ free membership to the Society of Sound, the company’s catalogue of lossless music.
In a little sidenote: make sure you have adjusted the equaliser in your music source, be it iTunes on a Mac or PC, Spotify on your iOS device or any of the myriad music applications. Matching the genre and style of music you are listening to with the equaliser can make a huge difference to the quality of audio output. Bottom line. Bowers & Wilkins has produced a beautiful pair of headphones. The P7s are comfortable to wear for long periods; boast clear, refined audio; and feature a useful in-line remote. These sit at the very top of the headphone food chain.