The Bower & Wilkins P7 is a closed back, circumaural set of headphones that deliver pretty exciting sound at a questionable cost. They are pretty much flawlessly built, but the comfort factor leaves a little to be desired. You may be frequently adjusting and readjusting them, as the clamp force is tight, and they have a tendency to dig into various parts of your skull.
A lot of people commented on the recessed mid-range due to the treble being somewhat overdone. Opinions on bass are back and forth. Some love it, but others claim it’s a bit too boomy.
Either way, both frequencies contribute to a lost mid-range that isn’t quite defined.
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 phenomenal 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.
They are pretty versatile for all genres of music. They definitely aren’t neutral, and have a touch of warmth and color across the frequency spectrum. I didn’t come across people who flat out wouldn’t recommend it for a certain genre, although one guy said they aren’t really for bass heads.
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
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.
The P7’s are pretty forgiving in terms of sound source. They will play most anything well. They will do well with an amp/DAC combo also. One persons says don’t use less than a 320kbps file though.
One said that the sound is actually muddy in lower volumes as well as higher volumes.
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. 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.
One guy says that they aren’t actually made of real leather.
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.
Amazing build quality and decent sound, with a questionable fit and a somewhat recessed mid-range. The reviews really seem to be hit or miss.
Similarities & Differences
Both headphones have the same issue with discomfort over a short period of time.
Both have good sound isolation.
The Momentums are somewhat lacking the bass department compared to the P7’s.
The Momentums aren’t nearly as comfortable as the P7’s.
The Momentums aren’t as compact at the P7’s.
The P7’s have larger ear-cups.
The P7 has a better range with better dynamics. It has better detail and depth.
The P7’s soundstage is much better than the Momentum’s.
P7’s seem to do better with Rock, Jazz, R&B, and Pop.
The P7’s bass is more defined than the Momentum. The Momentum’s is a little thicker and sloppier and not as precise.
The P7’s treble is more accurate and refined than that of the Momentum.
The Momentum’s mid-range is fuller and richer than the P7’s, but not quite as clear.
The Momentum is warmer sounding than the P7.
The treble on the P7 is more natural and defined than the Momentum.
Given all that’s been said about the P7, I’m not sure I would purchase it at it’s current price. I would gladly shell out around $150 for it, anything more than that isn’t worth it. They are worth buying for the build quality, but not as far as comfort. Too many people complained about stiff ear-cups, small ear-cups, and discomfort after only a short period of time. The fact that they are prone to breaking down (as far as the sound going out) does turn me off quite a bit.
As for the Momentums? I don’t think I would purchase the original model, but I may invest in the upgraded one. Check out Sennheiser HD598 vs. Momentum for everything you need to know about them. For you, it depends on what you’re looking for. Given that both the P7 and Momentum are for casual listening enjoyment, I can deduce that you probably aren’t looking for a mixing headphone.
So what do I recommend for a fun experience?
For an open back, definitely the Beyerdynamic DT990’s. They sport a great bass response and sparkling highs. Do be aware that the mid-range is a bit recessed like that of the P7’s, but the comfort factor is out of this world, and the build quality is phenomenal as well. Not only that, but you also won’t be forking over an arm and leg. Interested in learning more? Check out my:
For a closed back, fun experience? The upgraded Momentum’s do fit the bill quite nicely, but they are more geared towards genres like Jazz, Classic Rock, Metal, and Acoustic. They are more of a neutral, audiophile type headphone. A better option is the V Moda Crossfade M100. It’s your typical bass head experience: Deep bass response, sparkling highs, recessed mid-range. However, it stands out from the Beats by Dre craze, and other similar headphones because of superior design, build, customization, soundstage, imaging, tonal balance, resolution and warranty. The M100’s also trump the Momentum’s as far as “fun” factor. Interested in learning more? Check out my official:
Stu is determined to provide the truth about all things audio, and strives to deliver excellent content to you the reader! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, attend church, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His attention to detail and perfectionist attitude are what allow him to excel, but it can be both a blessing and a hindrance at times.