Bowers & Wilkins PX7 headphones review

hccbestbuybadgev3Mark Craven enjoys music on the move – and late-night movies on his sofa – with B&W's smart-looking and sonically superior PX7 headphones

Claiming the top spot in B&W's headphone stable is the PX7, which replace the previous PX. An active noise-cancelling design with high-spec Bluetooth hookup and some neat features, they're arguably worth every penny of their £350 ticket.

The styling and fit is suitably luxe. Colour options are limited to just Space Grey and Silver; both are classy and understated. The outer edges of the earcups and headband are dressed in a fabric wrap, while the arms are made from a woven carbon fibre composite that, says B&W, mimics 'the strength and agility of the fastest vehicles in the world.'

Okay, that sounds a bit OTT, but there's no doubting the look and comfort of these cans. The soft padded earcups and headband won't upset your noggin, and they're tight on your ears, but not too tight. The left and right cups have large L and R indicators on their inside, which is more useful than you might imagine.

Inside each cup sits a 43.6mm driver, the largest the company has ever used in its headphones.

The right cup has a USB input for charging the PX7's battery (rated at 30 hours), plus a power/Bluetooth switch, volume adjustment and a multi-function button for track cycling, etc. On the left is the noise-cancelling selector. Maybe I have clumsy fingers, but I didn't always find controlling these intuitive; it certainly takes a while to get used to how they operate.

B&W's noise-cancelling comes in three flavours – low, auto and high – and the difference between the two extremes is marked. Set to low, extraneous noise is still generally apparent, which might be useful for commuters trying to keep an ear out for a platform change. High, meanwhile, works as advertised, effectively eliminating all but the most honking environmental noises and creating a wonderful sense of intimacy between you and the PX7's sonics.

High, in fact, became my go-to default, preferring to simply lift an earcup when needing to hear something from out there in the real world. Doing this activates the headphones' sensor, pausing what you're listening to. It's a useful feature; an alternative is to hold down the PX7's noise-cancelling button for a couple of seconds, which practically mutes your source.

When It All Goes Right
Streaming from Tidal via a Moto G6 smartphone finds the B&W PX7s in good voice (although I was unable to sample the cans' aptX Adaptive codec compatibility).

The synthetic low-end elements of Chase and Status' All Goes Wrong sound phenomenally deep and purposeful, giving the track a largescale, symphonic feel. Yet the PX7s aren't only focused on bass bluster, like so many (more affordable) 'phones. Detail retrieval and soundstaging is excellent, conveying the track's playful production and multi-layered vocals. There's not a hint of treble harshness, either.

Stoned Soul Picnic by Laura Nyro, one of the more interesting mixes on Tidal's 360 Reality Audio playlist, is altogether more mellow, with gentle percussion and piano chords. Yet the PX7s deliver the pin-point soundstaging the format promises.

Used wirelessly with a Denon AVR-X1600H (the cans' hardshell carry case includes a cable if you every find yourself out of juice), these closed-back B&Ws seem tailor-made for movie replay. Their broad frequency range, precision and scale bring out the drama of Aquaman's ferocious soundmix, and they successfully run the gamut from powerful to delicate. Sat on my sofa, cable-free, I soon became immersed in the onscreen action, ears tickled by steered FX and centralised dialogue.

Overall, these are strikingly accomplished. Comfortable, lightweight, feature-packed and brilliant with movies and music. A must-audition if you want to cut the cord.

HCC Verdict


Price: £350

We say: Master the earcup controls and these headphones reward with a premium performance to match their smart design.

Overall: 5/5


Drivers: 2 x 43.6mm full-range
Design: Over-the-ear, closed-back
Frequency Response (Claimed): 10Hz-30kHz
Active Noise Cancelling: Yes
Bluetooth: Yes. v5.0 with aptX, aptX HD, aptX Classic and aptX Adaptive
Weight: 310g

Features: Lithium-ion battery (30 hours claimed with Active Noise Cancelling); 15-minute charge for 5 hours battery (claimed); USB charging port; 3.5mm connection; carry case; wear detection sensor; 3.5mm cable