Since the release of the original PX7 from Bowers & Wilkins, it has joined the ranks of the top over-ear Bluetooth headphones to look out for. Countless lists have been written putting the PX7 close to the top, lauded for its usability and sound quality. It’s been a few years since it has been introduced and like many popular wireless products, it is about time for an upgrade. B&W has recently released the PX7 S2, the next generation of the PX7. This new model is advertised to have improved features and a new design to compete with the latest brands. I’ve gotten a lot of time to test it out, so let’s see if the PX7 S2 can expand upon the standards the previous iteration set for itself.
What You Get
- Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 Wireless Headphones
- Carrying Case
- USB-C Charging Cable
- USB-C to 3.5mm Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- User Manual
Look and Feel
During its lifespan, the PX7 had a few different color editions, but the build of the headphones was still the same. For the PX7, Bowers and Wilkins have reimagined the design of the headphone and made it look more modern as a result. The pair I tested for this review also happens to be the blue variation, which I thought was the sleekest of the three colors you can get it in. The earcups have been given a squarer shape, which I felt cupped my ears more firmly. The pressure on your head gets reduced thanks to the excellent memory foam earpads and streamlined headband. This is without a doubt one of the nicest looking and most comfortable wireless headphones I have tried out.
The PX7 S2 utilizes a full-range 40mm driver with a low-distortion bio-cellulose diaphragm. In terms of volume, the PX7 S2 has an average output of gain, and I had the volume leveler on my iPhone almost set to max half of the time. It depended on the track of course, with the noise-canceling also coming into consideration. ANC helped with the amplitude, but it was most effective in completely wiping out low-end to low-mid noise. As I sat next to an AC unit with only ANC turned on with no music, I was only able to hear the top-end of the environmental air pushing out of the vent. With music playing, the PX7 S2’s ANC is completely isolating, offering great strength on the level of the best wireless headphone’s on the market today.
Bowers & Wilkins App
Like most modern wireless headphones, the PX7 S2 has a companion app with a few notable features. Here you can toggle ANC and ambient pass-through modes, and select which quick action you want to assign to the button on the left ear cup. You can also toggle the sensitivity of the wear sensor, where playback will pause when the headphones are removed. If you’re looking for an EQ, the app won’t have a graphic or parametric EQ like a lot of other headphone apps do. Instead, the Bowers and Wilkins app gives you levelers for bass and treble, acting like a gain for the two specific regions.
Bluetooth and Battery Life
The PX7 S2 uses a single aptX adaptive CODEC for its Bluetooth resolution. You get 30 hours of playtime and that includes ANC, and it has a quick 15-minute charge that provides five hours of use.
Much of the imaging that takes place inside the PX7 S2 is closed off and in-your-head. Although this is an interior headspace, the soundstage still sets itself apart by having good width and strong separation between sound elements. The PX7 S2 has a ton of spaciousness to offer in its traditionally structured stereo field, with instruments and vocals feeling like they are originating from their proper position in the mix. This showcases a sense of accuracy that isn’t heavily featured on a lot of Bluetooth headphones. What makes the PX7 S2 special is its ability to present the air between sound elements. Many wired closed and open-back headphones do this to better reveal the clarity of the music, and the PX7 S2 is the best wireless headphone I’ve heard that shares this quality.
Combining the standard timbre of the bass response with the extra boost you get from the tone control setting on the app, the lows here are extremely meaty. If you liked the tone of the bass on the last iteration of the PX7, then the S2 will impress you even more, with its crystal clear vibrations and substantial drive. bass notes are thick and enticing, and they benefit the frequency response greatly by adding lift without clouding the rest of the sound signature with extra resonance. This bass keeps to its region and performs its rich textures with exceptional grace. Bass instruments and effects feel alive and propel themselves forward with attentiveness and detail, while still separating themselves for the rest of the sound signature to shine.
While the midrange isn’t going to feature the strength in its tone as the bass, they also don’t recess too far down to form a v-shape. A lot of wireless headphones go for that type of response, as it maximizes the coloration of certain areas to instill a fun and upbeat sound signature, and the PX7 S2 does this without putting the musical performance in the background. The mids take on a solid shape that structures a good foundation for the instruments. They don’t quite have the gain to them that puts them on an equal level with the bass, but the mids are also allowed more room to breathe, highlighting the performances considerably.
This sound signature does a great job avoiding some of my pet peeves with wireless headphones sound signatures, one of them being the elimination of anything resembling treble extension or coloration. The S2 doesn’t exactly shower the timbre with brightness and sparkle, but there is a significant uptick in treble detail compared to most Bluetooth headphone sound signatures. It communicates high-end frequency content smoothly, but with enough spark to display its tone with sharper resolution. The amount of subtle twinkle to the highs here goes a long way in creating a much more dynamic sound signature with added flavor.
The Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2 is the upgrade to the PX7 that you’ve been waiting for. Everything about it has been improved, including ANC, bass depth, and soundstage. Its main design is also an enhancement that offers more comfortability and a more durable build overall. The app brings some good features and customization too, even if I would have preferred a full EQ. However, the bass and treble adjuster do their job well and add more to the already enticing sound signature that makes the PX7 S2 one of the best-sounding wireless headphones currently on the market.
The Bowers and Wilkins PX7 S2 is available at Audio46.