The PX7 Carbon Version headphone from audio titan Bowers & Wilkins is a distinct model of the PX7 headphone the corporate offered in past due 2019. It options the similar carbon-fiber building, however with a brand new end. We didn’t have a possibility to check the unique PX7, so we welcomed the danger to present this new version an in-depth concentrate.
Those top rate energetic noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones elevate over the similar 43.6mm drivers, 30-hour battery lifestyles, and tool options for a listing value of $400. Are they definitely worth the $50 bump over Sony’s WH-1000XM4 (when Sony’s cans aren’t on sale, this is)? Sony’s providing is our present height select for ANC headphones, however the PX7 are extra relaxed to put on, and so they ship extra correct audio replica. Their upper record value, alternatively, will also be attributed most commonly to luxurious.
This assessment is a part of TechHive’s protection of the most efficient headphones, the place you’ll in finding critiques of competing merchandise, plus a purchaser’s information to the options you must believe when purchasing for this kind of product.
Top rate have compatibility and end
From a design standpoint, the PX7 Carbon Version provides just a little extra magnificence to the unique PX7. The unique House Gray and Silver finishes glance subtle and vintage, however the brand new fashion’s Carbon end, blended with the diamond-cut detailing across the B&W brand plates at the ear cups, take the design up a notch—for some other people. I in finding it to be somewhat too flashy, and the band of textured cloth round every ear cup has a tendency to collect particulate particles, which isn’t tremendous clean to wipe away. However the ones are about the one facets of this headphone that I’m now not in love with.
Dressed in the PX7 for lengthy listening classes is an implausible enjoy. They’re smaller and lighter than Sony’s WH-1000XM4, but their ear cups are even deeper, and their memory-foam ear cups compress much less. This led to a decent seal round my ears with out striking any power on my outer ears or the perimeters of my head, permitting me to fail to remember I used to be dressed in them even after hours of listening.
Urgent a unmarried easy-to-locate button at the left-hand ear cup cycles throughout the quite a lot of noise cancellation modes. There are virtually too many buttons at the right-hand, although. You’ll discover a sliding energy transfer that doubles because the Bluetooth pairing cause, plus 3 regulate buttons that have a tendency to blur in combination beneath your fingertip.
There are two buttons for adjusting quantity up and down, however the only within the heart plays a bunch of duties, beginning with play/pause (one press), observe ahead (two presses), and former observe (3 presses). This similar button is additionally used for answering, muting, finishing, toggling between two telephone calls, and merging two calls—all relying on how time and again you push the button. I by no means were given utterly pleased with it or its location.
There’s a USB-C port for charging the headphone’s battery, and an LED indicator experiences the battery stage (inexperienced, amber, or pink). B&W says you must be expecting 30 hours of battery lifestyles, however my enjoy used to be simply wanting that mark (listening with energetic noise cancellation at its easiest environment 80 p.c of the time). A rapid-charge function yields 5 hours of listening with only a 15-minute fee—and you’ll be able to concentrate to song whilst charging if you happen to plug the USB cable into a pc (the headphone will perform as a USB audio system).
When you’ve got a favourite outboard DAC, you’ll be able to plug the headphone into it the usage of a three.5mm analog audio cable, however the headphone’s battery will wish to be charged. All this falls just about what Sony gives at the WH-1000XM4, so B&W has not anything at the festival on that ranking.
A correct listening enjoy
Even earlier than I underwent formal audio-engineering coaching, I used to be conscious about the shade many house audio corporations follow to their tools, each to distinguish their merchandise from the contest and/or—in all too many circumstances—to idiot customers into believing they’re listening to a greater product than what they’re if truth be told purchasing.
Accuracy in audio replica exists on a spectrum, with the tools that pros use clustered at one finish and residential audio tools unfold over the opposite. Skilled tools is designed to provide recordings exactly as they sounded within the studio—it doesn’t colour the sound in any respect. House audio tools is most often designed with the producer’s “signature” sound, emphasizing sure frequencies—regularly the ones on the decrease finish of the variety—on the expense of others. There’s not anything inherently unsuitable with any corporate’s signature sound, all that in reality issues is whether or not you as the consumer find it irresistible. You’re now not purchasing a device for paintings, in any case, you’re purchasing one thing to revel in.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon Version are a a lot more correct headphone than the Sony WH-1000XM4, so I’d put it a lot nearer to professional audio tools on that spectrum (now not that any audio skilled would use a noise-cancelling headphone for paintings). I think that’s why B&W didn’t come with user-adjustable EQ settings in its app. Right here once more, alternatively, you may believe that to be a lacking function.
As standard, I’ve my very own suite of songs I’m going via when trying out headphones. It become straight away transparent that I used to be being attentive to headphones that prioritize accuracy, a lot as my skilled blending headphones do. Most likely this shouldn’t come as a wonder, for the reason that similar design group constructed and tuned the 800 Collection Diamond loudspeakers recording engineers use at Abbey Street studios.
In any tournament, my song used to be offered as just about the standard of ultimate mixdowns as I’ve heard from a couple of noise-cancelling headphones. There have been no shrill or sharp transients on the top finish, low-end punch got here via easy and wealthy, and the mids weren’t muddy or overpowered within the combine. In a pinch, I’d even believe those headphones to do paintings—they’re as correct as they’re delightful.
At upper volumes, there’s a number of bass to push low-end-heavy genres like rap, however the top frequencies can flip shrill if driven too onerous. Vintage recordings from jazz legends come via crisp and transparent with minimum noise and with various separation between tools—even at decrease volumes. It used to be an actual deal with to concentrate to a couple of my favourite song at the PX7 Carbon Version, as I’m acquainted with listening to the constraints of lower-end hardware and/or overzealous processing. The shade that is provide is minimum and implemented sparingly.
Seamless noise cancellation, and a straightforward app
It’s onerous to compete with the Sony WH-1000XM4’s top-notch noise cancellation, however B&W will get very shut. I will be able to observe that the PX7’s stiffer reminiscence foam offered a tiny ruin within the seal whilst I used to be dressed in eyeglasses, which didn’t occur with the softer pads at the Sony’s ear cups.
The usage of Bowers & Wilkins’ app means that you can customise your noise-cancelling enjoy. High and low noise cancellation used to be moderately easy and did a superb activity with the use circumstances I offered. I’ve now not been on a aircraft or rode public transit for just about a yr now, so I did different checks of their position. The PX7 did nice with lower-end rumble whilst out of doors, and it used to be terrific towards the consistent fan noises coming from both my gaming PC or my white-noise device. This headphone would make a superb trip spouse. It fell somewhat at the back of the efficiency of Sony’s easiest ANC headphone when it got here to sharp transients and human speech, although, so it wouldn’t be my go-to possibility for an place of job atmosphere.
B&W’s ambient passthrough mode, which lets you pay attention sound out of your setting—equivalent to dialog or boarding calls—sounded extra herbal than the similar environment on Sony’s WH-1000XM4. You’ll alter the volume of ambient sound you wish to have to listen to the usage of a slider in every headphone’s spouse app. The most important bummer got here from B&W app’s Auto noise-cancelling environment, which defaulted to Low greater than I’d of appreciated. I discovered myself manually switching from Low to Top steadily.
Total, B&W’s app enjoy is way more effective than Sony’s, however that’s now not essentially a foul factor. B&W’s app does what it must do with out pushing a number of bells and whistles at you. Sony’s app can really feel find it irresistible’s tryiing to fasten you into different services and products. At the turn aspect, Bowers & Wilkins doesn’t be offering as many customization choices or further options in its tool. That stated, the app’s simplicity falls consistent with the remainder of the enjoy of the usage of the PX7, so I respect the corporate’s determination to standard design.
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon Version are a long way from being the costliest headphone TechHive has reviewed, however that doesn’t alternate the truth that its record value is $50 upper than Sony’s WH-1000XM4 (make that $122 at press time, since used to be providing a sale). And if you happen to like Sony’s signature sound, you’ll be happier with its noise-cancelling cans. If you happen to position upper price on correct audio replica and bespoke British design, however, the additional money might be neatly spent.