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Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones Preview

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B&W P7

B&W P7

Summary

  • Product Name: P7
  • Manufacturer: B&W
  • Review Date: September 28, 2013 01:34
  • MSRP: $399.99
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now

Model: P7

  • Technical features: Dynamic driver, Nylon damped diaphragm, CCAW coil, Dual cavity cushion, Absorbing wadding, Changeable ear cushions, Detachable cable, Folding (hinged) design
  • Description: Circum aural headphone
  • Drive units: 2x 40mm
  • Impedance: 22 ohms
  • Frequency range: 10Hz to 20kHz
  • Distortion (THD): <0.3% (1KHz/10mW)
  • Max. input power: 50mW
  • Sensitivity: 111dB/V at 1kHz
  • Inputs: 3.5mm stereo mini jack (on cable), 2.5mm mini jack (on Headphone)
  • Height: 192mm folded out, 130mm folded in
  • Width: 190mm
  • Depth: 70mm
  • Cable length: 1.2m
  • Weight: 290g
  • Finish: Real leather and metal

Bowers & Wilkins showed the P7 Mobile Hi-Fi headphones at CEDIA 2013 today. The P7s has new drive unit technology and Bowers & Wilkins famed attention to detail mean that the P7s offer a giant leap forward in sound quality. At the same time, the over-ear design and snugly fitting ear pads allow you to listen without unwanted interruptions.

The all-encompassing ear cushions not only provide noise isolation and high levels of comfort, their dual-cavity construction helps the pads mold to the contours of the wearer's head. This design maintains a consistent volume of air between the drive unit and the surface of the ear at both sides of the head. Not only is stereo imaging enhanced - the sound is optimized for every listener.

As with all Bowers & Wilkins headphones, no corners were cut in terms of the P7s' build quality and choice of materials. Moving parts are constructed from brushed and stainless steel, as is the ingenious folding mechanism. The logo plates are crafted from brushed aluminum. The headband and ear pads are encased in luxuriously soft leather, making them a delight to wear even for long listening sessions. The P7s also features a detachable remote-control- and-microphone cable.

p7_1

Technology

With most headphones, sound quality is compromised by the way drive-units are designed. To save space, the diaphragm must perform the dual role of sound generator and suspension system. But for the P7 B&W have created a headphone driver that works more like the drive-unit in a hi-fi speaker, with a diaphragm focused purely on the job it's supposed to do: generate sound.

The internal speaker baskets encasing the P7s' drive-units are perforated with air vents covered with a resistive film. This unique design allows for precise control of the airflow from behind the drive-unit, resulting in a more uniform, piston-like movement. Plus, while the voice coil of most headphones are made from copper, the P7s' voice coils are constructed from a lighter aluminum-copper compound. The decrease in weight means that the drive-unit can move more freely, improving high frequency dynamics.

The P7's speaker baffle plates are constructed from a polymer material that has been heavily braced and tuned to make it very rigid and inert. This limits any resonances that might color the sound of the headphones. Finally, damping material inside the speaker enclosure helps control and dampens internal reflections, further reducing coloration and distortion. All of this means a drive-unit with a more precise, controlled movement, capable of producing outstanding levels of performance. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones are available in September, priced at $399.99

On Site Reaction

B&W had a great little setup where you could plug your phone or portable player via 3.5mm cable and test all their headphones. With some quick A/B testing, it was clear that the extra money you spend on the P7's clearly will give you better sound quality over the other B&W offerings. The P7s were very comfortable and the earcups completely covered our ears. They didn't press too hard on the head and the headband seemed very comfortable. We're looking forward to getting a pair in for review. 

For more information, please contact www.bowers-wilkins.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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