Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless Bluetooth Over-Ear Headphones Measurements

Measurements Passive

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Measurements Wireless

Click on graphs image to download .pdf for closer inspection.

Unless otherwise noted I will be discussing the measurements of the P7 in wired mode.

Raw frequency response plots show a headphone quite near the Harman Target. Bass boost amount at about 5dB over the minima at 400Hz is appropriate, but the broad emphasized hump reduces bass extension and bleeds slightly into the mid-range. I would characterize this as a minor flaw; not bothersome but aparent.

The gentle, ever-increasing rise from 400Hz to 2.8kHz is very close to the target curve and give vocals a natural balance. While the response above 2.8kHz does closely follow the Harman target response, I feel there should be a more rapid drop after 3kHz to about 8kHz and then a leveling. I find the P7 slightly too emphatic in this area. However, I would not call this a flaw, but rather simply part of its lively character.

30Hz square wave is slightly swayback and falls to the zero line by the end of the waveform indicating the slight lack of bass extension and the slightly loose sound heard in listening.

300Hz square wave has an initial peak that is slightly too elevated for my taste, but that peak is clean and distinct. The following waveform is fundamentally horizontal indicating good treble/upper-mid-range balance, but a bit too noisy, which may be the slight graininess I heard.

Comparing raw frequency response of wired to wireless modes, it's clear that there is a slight change in the bass profile with the wireless response having a bass boost that extends a bit farther into the midrange. 30Hz square wave response also shows the latter part of the waveform going below zero, which typically indicates greater phase shift in the lows. I did hear the wireless mode as having slightly more problematic bass response being a bit looser and intrusive on the mid-range, but I also found these flaws to be minor.

Impulse response initial transient is likewise clear and distinct. Subsequent undershoot is quite normal, but following noise, while at a relatively low level, does persist for longer than desirable. Again, this may contribute to the graininess heard, but I would say that I heard it as less than the measurements might indicate.

THD+noise plots show a very clean headphone with very low levels of distortion, with the exception of some bass distortion at 100dBspl. I would characterise this plot as quite a bit better than usual for a headphone of this type.

Impedance plot shows a nominally 25 Ohm headphone with a primary driver resonance at 40Hz. The resonant peak at 3kHz is likely engineered in to tune the response peak and cause it to fall after 3kHz.

Isolation is about average for an over-ear sealed headphone and measures -13dBspl broadband.

Needing 37mVrms to achieve 90dBspl at the ear, this headphone will be driven to solid listening levels by portable devices.

COMPANY INFO
Bowers&Wilkins
54 Concord Street
North Reading, MA
marketing@bwgroupusa.com
(978) 664 2870
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
gLer's picture

...to the wired P7? I've read reviews that it improves on it a bit, and others that claim they're virtually identical in character. One of your 'gripes' with the wired version were the non-memory-foam earpads. Are the P7W earpads different in this regard (being memory foam), in which case a straight swap of the P7 for P7W earpads should be a comfortable upgrade. On a different note, would love for you to test the new P9 flagship to read how it compares to the P7/P7W. Thanks for a brilliant and resourceful site!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Just checked it and the pads are swappable. They are different; the new pads have different acoustic damping structure on the pad plate.
gLer's picture

Thanks Tyll. Given your comments about the "stiff" P7 pads, do you think getting a set of P7 Wireless pads for the P7 would be an "upgrade" wither comfort wise or acoustically? Could the pads be influencing the performance of the headphones?

ScaryFatKidGT's picture

They changed the pads on all of the P7's awhile ago, the originals were very hard, think a leather wrapped steering wheel.

One thing is the newer ones don't have the crazy good treble I remember.... I wonder how the pads affect that?

music4life's picture

Thanks for the great comprehensive review as always Tyll. I wanted to suggest to you to review the Sony MDR 1000x. I've heard a lot of hype about it, including that it is superior to the QC35 wireless in both SQ and NC.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
They're on the way.
bogdanb's picture

I did ended up buying a second pair of NAD viso hp50 after a 1 year brake from the old one which broke.

bogdanb's picture

published the comment by misteke
any way, I have the new hp50, seems like they have made some changes to the packaging, and I really hope on the build quality (I hope this one will last me a long time).

I started however to feel like I need a good wireless one... so yeah, I'll be watching closely future reviews of wireless headphones.

Thank you!
(3 headphones bought based on your reviews, admittedly one twice :) ) 750 euros and counting!

Token Gesture's picture

I have the Sonys and love them. I consider them to be the best NC wireless option currently avaialable. Hope Tyll reviews them soon.

Jayhawklaw's picture

How do these compare with the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless? The P7s aren't on the WOF yet so I'm wondering if they'll knock of the Sennheisers or if not, which is the better sounding HP.

norb's picture

Hi Tyll, can you please tell us why the original P7 didn´t make it on the WoF and the wireless version does? Have B&W changed the tuning, too? (or just the memory foam pads?) Why did you back then say that the original P7 model had too much bass (and therefore did not make it into the WoF) but this one with the same bass problem does make it? Thanks for clarification.

BaggedMilk's picture

Tyll's preferences have changed a tad to prefer a bit more bass, and this is also a Bluetooth headphone. It's a different category altogether from the wired P7. The competition isn't as strong.

BaggedMilk's picture

You posted this review under the "on ear" section.

RPGWiZaRD's picture

One of the few wireless headphones which actually looks like it would be measuring better in wireless mode, very impressive frequency response imo for bluetooth.

lenbell's picture

Hello tyll... just purchased the bose quiet comfort recently based on your review... how would you compare or rank versus P7?

thubes's picture

I've found your site extremely helpful as I've been trying to research for my next headphone purchase. I have a pair of ATH EW9s that I've enjoyed for a couple of years. I love music, but am more interested in investing music dollars into saving for a setup at home than headphones (which I know is probably sacrilege here). I've recently changed jobs though and am in an office setting with lots of cubes around. I want to switch to a closed back over-ear to seal out some of the sound around me and not leak to my colleagues. It doesn't need to be a perfect seal as I'd like to not be oblivious when my boss calls my name. I won't use them walking around. It'll likely be home, office, starbucks, or travel and I don't care about noise cancelling. I'm going to be using spotify premium and either my iPhone 7 (stupid lack of jack) or work computer - which is nothing special.

The idea of wireless is really appealing from a usefulness standpoint and I've done a lot of research on the p7s. I've read some disconcerting reviews on Amazon on distortion after a couple of months that I hope are unfounded. I really want to enjoy my sound though even if critical listening is not the end goal. So I've considered giving up my wireless dream and getting the Meze Classics 99 possibly paired with a simple Fiio E10k out of my work computer. Couple of questions then because I can't find a comparison, how do the Meze sound compared to the Wireless P7s? Have you heard of reliability issues with the p7s? And, if my total budget is $300 to $400 are there others you would consider?

Would appreciate any advice you're willing to share.

Thanks.

Jayhawklaw's picture

Have the P7 wireless headphones been discontinued? They're available on Amazon, Crutchfield, at Best Buy, etc., BUT on B&W's website they are not to be found except for refurbished models in the "outlet" section. If you go to the website and click on the link/tab for headphones you get the new PX, the P9, the P5 wireless, the P3 and the C5. That's it. If you go to the section for wireless headphones you, predictably, see the new PX and the P5 wireless. No wired P7 or P7 wireless. It seems odd to discontinue a fairly new and well reviewed headphone, but there you go

Yreme's picture

I’m also hunting around for an answer to this question.

X