We got our hands on Bowers and Wilkins first active noise cancelling headphone. Learn if the $399 headphone is for you in our “Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review, Wireless and Noise-Cancelling” article.
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review, Wireless and Noise-Cancelling
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review – Design & Build
Bowers & Wilkins PX headphone exudes a look of modern luxury with a minimal aesthetic and metal exposures. The earcups rotate on a really cool-looking hinge attached to an equally as cool-looking extender comprised of an exposed cable nestled in between two pieces of metal. The headband is made of high-quality leather – the same leather found on the ear cushions making any listening session truly luxe.
The frame was a bit heavier than I was anticipating. Taking into account the headphone is designed for commuting, it felt rather heavy on my head. It also applies a great deal of clamping pressure on the side of your head – at least for me. I wear glasses so I found this fit a little uncomfortable. This may not be the case for everyone. Possibly stretching the headphone over a few books may relax the frame a bit more.
As for the ear cushions, they are rather thin which also adds to the uncomfortable nature of the headphones for me. Other reviewers disagree, but I enjoy soft, cushiony ear cushions. While the Bowers and Wilkins PX headphone cushions are comprised of a superior grade of leather, it is rather firm. I’m sure with extended wear, the cushions will soften, but they are still thin and that’s not changing. Granted, thin earpads mean your ears are less as likely to overheat. This is never really an issue with me, so I’d prefer thicker, fluffier, cushions. Also, I feel the ANC headphones I’ve listened to with fluffier cushions have also provided better sound isolation. The cushions are also lacking in this regard due to their slender design. This leads me to the features section.
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review – Features
Noise-cancelling is a primary feature of this headphone. There is a button on the side of the right ear cup which allows you to turn the “environment filter” aka noise cancellation on and off. From your phone, you’ll have the option of choosing one of three presets of varying degrees of ambient noise and ANC. In order from least amount to the maximum amount of ANC, the presets are office, city, and flight. I like that there are three presets you can listen to, but I find it inconvenient that I’d have to access them through my phone in order to switch back and forth rather than using a button on the headphone. If there’s a way to do this and I just haven’t figured it out yet someone give me a holler. Anyway, the presets are pretty good. Flight is the strongest preset and it’s decent, but not as strong as what you’d find in Sony MDR-1000X or Sennheiser PXC 550. Though, I’ll say it’s pretty good for Bowers and Wilkins first ever ANC headphone.
Other features include a sensor that turns your music on and off when you take the headphones on and off your head. This sensor is too sensitive for me. It can be set at two different levels, but even at light sensitivity, it was shutting the headphones on and off every few seconds. Minor movements of your head are just too much for the headphone. I was very happy that this feature could be shut off allowing me to get a good listening session in.
Engaged in wireless and ANC mode, Bowers and Wilkins PX headphone is said to supply wearers with up to 22 hours of use. You can achieve up to 50 hours in a wired mode without ANC. The headphone is also equipped with aptX to provide CD-like quality. This leads me to sound.
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review – Sound
The sound of this headphone is pretty nice. It is balanced and full of detail. The overall sound is very smooth with the headphone effortlessly moving between the lows, mids, and highs. There’s a nice degree of separation in the music even though the headphone is both wireless and noise-cancelling. The audio doesn’t sound compact at all. However, I think the bass may take a small hit in exchange for a wide soundstage as it knocks, but not as hard and as I’d prefer. The PX does, in fact, pick up on a great deal of sub-bass, but the overall low end could use a bit more depth. The mids are accurate and light. It’s not thin, but somewhat of an airy sound. There’s a nice relaxed delivery to the mids. I like it. The highs also benefit from this relaxed and light delivery sparkling above the rest of the audio without becoming bright at all. It makes for a very pleasant listening experience.
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review – Specs
Frequency Response Range: 10Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 22 ohms
Drivers: 40 mm
Bowers and Wilkins PX Headphone Review – Overall Performance
This headphone is a great first ANC headphone from Bowers and Wilkins. The audio is absolutely beautiful and I like the ability to choose from different levels of ANC. However, I think it could be more accessible through the headphone rather than the mobile app since I don’t want to dig for my phone in my purse. Also, I personally don’t find the frame to be very comfortable for me to invest $399 in. I’d prefer the PXC 550 for its plushy ear cups and touch sensors for the same price. If you can spare $399 and are looking for an aesthetically pleasing-piece with good audio as well, this headphone may very well be for you. I just suggest trying them on first.
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