The first thing you notice about the Bowers and Wilkins P7 headphones is the amazing build quality and style these headphones have. Curiously, the audio cable is detachable but the plug is under one of the earcups, meaning a pulled cable may not come out right away. The black brushed aluminum ear cups, the intricate chrome ear-cup supports, premium fabric covers over the speakers themselves, and magnetically attached soft leather ear pads, soft leather headband, minimalist remote control, all of it exudes high quality and style. The headphones themselves are a bit on the large side, and don’t fold completely flat.
The sound quality is typical Bowers and Wilkins: natural. The treble is ever so slightly recessed but sounds great, very similar to my B&W 603 tower speakers. The midrange is natural and has good presence. The one complaint I have about the B&Ws is on bass response: in isolation the headphones go down to super low frequencies with no problem, but when paired with music it just feels like there’s not enough there for me. Even for classical music, for my interests there just isn’t enough bass. It doesn’t make the headphones bad, it just means that if you love bass these aren’t the headphones for you. The benefit is that even at maximum volume, these headphones don’t distort and clip, so your friends who like to hurt their ears won’t be able to destroy these. To be honest, most of B&Ws products have this trademark sound signature- you either love it or you don’t. The home theater speakers just tend to have much more bottom end just on sheer cone area.
The build quality and good music performance does come at a cost: these B&W P7s retail for just under $400. Are these the headphones for you? If you want a good set of headphones that are built better than most others on the market and value style and quality over outright bass performance, these are perfect. With magnetically attached ear-cups, a single sided cable with a remote and microphone, and good sound isolation, they are full of good features. If you don’t love upfront bass and do love good build quality and appreciate smooth detailed sound signature, the B&W P7s are a great choice.
Bowers & Wilkins was started in 1966 in Worthing, West Sussex in England. They’ve been making high-end speakers and headphones ever since, and have provided studio monitors for Abbey Road Studios since 1988.