Howdy friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Bowers and Wilkins P7 review, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
Bowers & Wilkins P7
- Type: Closed back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones
- Fit: Circumaural (over ear). This is debatable, due to the fact that they will touch certain parts of your ears.
- Impedance: 22 ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Frequency response: 10 – 20,000 Hz
- Material: Aluminum, sheepskin leather, stainless steel
- Color: Black & Silver
- Weight: 290g
- Plug: 3.5mm
- Cable length: 1.2m
I really do like the P7, but one thing to note right off the bat is that they will get uncomfortable after a spell. They kind of have a tendency to dig into your dome piece. It gives me the urge to take them off after about 45 min – 1 hr.
Coming from cans like the HD600’s and HD25’s, I really had to get myself acclimated to the P7’s sound. It kind of feels boxed in at first, and I don’t know if that’s because the bass is a little overblown or not, but I really got a weird vibe with these right off the bat. The treble is a bit overdone as some people say, and I do agree that the mid-range can become a bit lost at times. A little recessed perhaps? As a whole, with certain tracks, there’s like this thin blanket of mud that covers the sound and I wish I could just take it off.
While the comfort factor is a bit iffy, the build is extremely solid and the headphones themselves exude pure elegance. This is pretty much unanimous across all of the reviews I’ve read plus my own experience. It’s a simple, no frills, no nonsense design that looks extremely classy. I would have no issues wearing these out in public. The chord is also a nice length for that as well.
- Will reveal details in tracks that you haven’t heard before.
- Ruggedly built. No plastic. Immaculate construction. Premium hand stitched leather headband.
- Folds nicely into a leather pouch.
- Deep bass, but can get muddy at times.
- Compact, great for travel. Cable is conducive to portable use.
- 1/4″ adapter included and 2 sets of cables.
- Soundstage is pretty good for a closed back model. What is Soundstage? The speaker like design of the ear-cups is very conducive to a theater setting.
- Live, dynamic sound.
- Bass is tight, present, and low, but sometimes a little boomy.
- Ear-cups are a little bit hard. Smaller than your average headset.
- Right speaker may go out. This is a somewhat common issue.
- The chord’s inline volume control may not work.
- Highs may become over-exaggerated or somewhat sibilant. What does sibilant mean?
They do not need an amp to sound good. How to choose a headphone amp!
Who these headphones benefit?
Endorsed for all of the following:
- Classic Rock.
- Jazz. Think John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.” Everything really comes to life.
- Progressive Rock.
I really love them with the above 3 genres, and feel like the excel best with those. With hip-hop it’s hit and miss. Because the bass tends to get kind of muddy, some nicely mixed/mastered tracks sound fine, others sound bloated as crap (like after you’ve just eaten at PF Changs). Lol.
The thing to take away from this is that they will sound decent with most genres, but not amazing.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- They do really well with Jazz I’ve noticed. The instrument separation and imaging is spot on.
- The volume control on the model I tried didn’t work. Something to keep in mind. This doesn’t necessarily apply to all though.
- While the sound is by no means perfect, they reveal a fairly nice amount of detail. I was impressed here. For as long as I’ve been listening to the song “Reelin’ in the Years” by Steely Dan, I could never quite make out that he was saying “Are you gathering up the tears?” It always sounded like “teas” to me. With the P7’s I can actually hear what he’s saying which is pretty cool. Lol. It’s subtle, but something to note. The song as a whole really just snaps, which goes along with the Consensus I’ve read from others: They provide more of an exciting, fun listening experience.
- They’re definitely not worth the price tag. I’m sorry. It’s just not happening. The asking price is way too much. They simply don’t measure up to other cans in that price range. I would probably pay around $150 max for the P7’s.
- They are definitely more forgiving of source quality than a headphone like the HD600.
- The headphone jack on this model is a bit unconventional, in that it rests underneath the ear-pad rather than sitting outside of it.
- Both of the ear-pads can be removed.
- Traditionally, headphones terminate in a 3.5mm jack. The P7 sports a 2.5mm one, which is angled appropriately. Both of the cables provided are of a high quality, built with a shielded cable and a gold plated 3.5mm connector coupled with a chrome plug. One cable contains an in-line remote/mic for phones. It has a play/pause/call, playback control, and Google NOW triggering.
- They will do well with an amp/DAC combo, but don’t need one. One person says don’t use less than a 320kbps file though. Admittedly, the files I listened to on Spotify did not make the 320kbps mark. The reality is that most music is around 192. Something to keep in mind.
- The smell of the leather pouch is off putting to some.
- As mentioned in the Cons section, there is an issue with the P7’s durability as far as sound going out. B&W will honor the warranty without question, but as soon as it ends, so does the service. One person made a good point in that if they have only been making headphones for a few years, why do they have so many pairs of refurbished models for sale?
- If you find that the bass is too much, the mod is to place small rectangular cloth strips in between the magnetically attached ear-pads and the base they connect to so that the seal between the pad and the rest of the headphone is broke and some bass can bleed away.
- Some say that the mid-range is actually a little recessed (held back by the highs or bass being too prominent).
- The comfort factor is a bit of a mixed bag here. Some say they are very comfy, others claim that they become bothersome after a couple of hours. The general consensus seems to be that they are a bit “stiff” and dig into various parts of your dome piece. The clamping force is a bit much.
- The sound does open up after about 200 hours, so perhaps they are judged too harshly upon first listen.
Gorgeous and well constructed, but ultimately uncomfortable. The sound is hit and miss. Bass is a bit overdone, as well as the treble. The mid-range is practically lost, but overall the sound can be exciting with certain genres. It’s definitely a fun listen.
Because I would never actually purchase the P7’s, I cannot recommend them today. While I did enjoy them, they’re simply not good enough to fork over that kind of money. There are simply too many issues.
That said, I will make a couple of awesome recommendations for you today based on the type of headphones that the P7’s are. For a fun, closed back listen, I really enjoy the Sennheiser HD25’s. They have an incredibly lively sound, and are basically indestructible while also being very lightweight. They also don’t cost an arm and a leg either! 🙂 Interested in learning all about them? Check out my in depth and informative:
For an open back headphone with an exciting sound signature, I think the Beyerdynamic DT990 fits the bill quite nicely. It has a V-shaped frequency response, which basically means hard hitting bass, bright treble, and a recessed mid-range. The difference is that the bass doesn’t become bloated like on the P7. Interested in learning more? Check out my:
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed my Bowers and Wilkins P7 Review.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Are you convinced that the P7’s aren’t quite worth it? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,