Wireless noise-canceling headphones are on the minds of many consumers looking for a solid listening experience with minimal distractions. With the popularity of Bose and other brands, the space for more noise-canceling headphones becomes a more diverse market. I recently did a comparison between the Strauss and Wagner BT501 and the Cowin E7 Pro where I favored the former considerably. Now Cowin has released the SE7 and I’m excited to see whether it’s a considerable enhancement of past models or a confirmation of my doubts. Let’s see what the Cowin SE7 has to offer.
What You Get
The SE7 comes with few materials besides the bare necessities for an over-ear wireless headphone. Opening the box will reveal the egg-shaped case protecting the SE7 itself. You’ll also find a small drawstring pouch containing two cables, one micro USB for charging, and a 3.5mm TRS for a wired connection. Also included are a quarter-inch adapter and another adapter for airplanes, which is notable in how valuable noise-canceling headphones are on airplanes.
Look and Feel
Unlike the E7 Pro, the SE7 features quite a unique look comparatively. The earcup shape sticks out the most, as it sports a more oval shape rather than circular, they also appear sleeker and smaller. The finish of the E7s makes an appearance here, but it’s relegated to a small portion of the headphone rather than taking up the entire shell. This gives the SE7 a considerably more durable look than the flimsy look of the E7s, with a more dense plastic body. In terms of comfort, I found the SE7 quite pleasant in its fit. In my Strauss and Wagner comparison, I pointed out how the 501s presented a more weightless feel which luckily the SE7 has adopted. Walking around with them I never saw them as distracting, as the headband never put too much pressure on the top of my head, and the earpads fit around my outer ear with ease. An overall comfortable and stable fit for long listens.
Design and Features
In terms of functionality, you’ll find that the SE7 doesn’t exactly offer any rousing features, unlike any other noise-canceling headphone. Cowin keeps it pretty simple, with playback/volume controls, Bluetooth and noise-canceling switches. Each control on the headphones reacts well with limited delay, and pairing is seamless. The SE7 uses -32dB of noise reduction. It’ll get most of the job done but acts more as a dampener. Ambient sounds such as vents, or cars are mostly cut, but you’ll still hear some outside walla that may be unwanted.
A huge plus about the wireless aspect of the SE7 though is the upgrade to Bluetooth 5.0, a significant advancement that’s been made in similar products such as the Strauss and Wagner BT501. This means with the SE7, you’ll get a greater transmission distance without much loss in audio quality.
The SE7 boasts 30 hours of playback time at full battery, and 3.5 hours charge time. As I’ve mentioned, Cowin includes an eighth-inch cable with a quarter-inch adapter, so if the headphones die, you can use the attachable cable to keep listening (even while still using ANC).
I don’t consider a lot of wireless noise-canceling headphones to have the most expansive soundstages but in this area, the SE7 is particularly inferior. Spatial imaging is squished into the boxy nature of the sound field, and never fulfills any aural feeling of space. All the elements, whether that be instrumentation or vocals, become one sound in a sense, with limited space in between.
The lows that the SE7 produces act as the main event of this sound signature. There’s a considerable amount of thickness, and sub-bass feel that turns a focus on specific genres and an added power to others. Hip-hop beats sound alive and dominant, while the bass sections of more contemporary tracks take a more front-facing effect. Kick drums pound your eardrums and add an exciting presence to the low mids when listening to heavier rock tracks. These elements appear with a strong definition and make for a fun, and enjoyable sonic presence.
There’s a pretty obvious low mid focus that envelopes most of the mid-range bands, and it helps boost some genre-specific low-end elements, but the rest of this section is pretty lackluster. Vocal ranges are a tad muddy for my tastes, and they never appear to cut through well in mixes as the dominant low mids bleed into the fidelity of upper mids. I wouldn\n’t call the SE7 V-shape, as there is appreciably more mid-range in these cans than other consumer noise-canceling headphones, but they just come off as average.
This is where the sound signature suffers the most for me, as the high end comes off somewhat weak. There’s a noticeable roll-off in the more sibilant ranges, making certain details in an airy female vocal come off as dull. Certain fundamentals are missing that give instruments like crash cymbals their sizzle, or reverb tails in creating their space, making the overall response come off as thin.
Overall the Cowin SE7 is fairly inoffensive and could be a fun and exciting listen for listeners of some genres. The build quality is a massive improvement from the E7 Pro and is far better in its simplistic pairing, and playback response. But sound signature still isn’t as up to par as other wireless headphones are, such as the Strauss and Wagner BT501, and still has a lot of room for improvements.
Pros and Cons:
Pros: Build quality, comfort, functionality, low-end power
Cons: Thin highs, average mids, limited soundstage
Cowin SE7 available on Amazon
Alternatively, try Strauss & Wagner Active Noise Canceling Headphones
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