Best portable on-ears £300+, Awards 2013. The P7s aren’t just the pinnacle of B&W’s headphone range, they represent the height of headphone performance at this price levelWrite your own review
- Solid build quality
- Comfortable fit
- Good noise isolation
- Sensational detail and dynamics
- Rhythm-driven delivery
- They’re transparent enough to show up any poor, compressed recordings
The B&W P7 headphones are B&W's biggest and most expensive pair of headphones to date, sitting above the company’s smaller P3 and P5 cans. But where both of these models rest on your ears, the P7s have been designed to completely envelop them.
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Their large size (don’t worry, they’re not embarrassingly big) has allowed B&W to design a driver suspension more similar to that found in a conventional speaker. And, if you peel off the magnetic earpads, you can actually see the 4cm drive unit through the grilles.
B&W claims this new piece in the headphone puzzle has greater precision and control, and having spent some time in the P7’s company we find it hard to disagree.
After just the first few seconds of Public Enemy’s Harder Than You Think, you can sense these are hugely capable headphones. The horn sample bursts into life sounding pure and powerful, as does Chuck D and Flava Flav’s vocal sparring. The sense of impact and scale as the track powers along to the end is something to behold.
Calvin Harris’ Sweet Nothing takes the tempo up a notch, and the P7s just lap it up, crashing through the dynamic ceiling of less accomplished cans. The tune’s bassline sounds big and bold, and the subtle shifts in weight are only made audible by the P7’s attention to detail.
This level of insight does mean the B&Ws are also very revealing and not afraid to highlight weakness in the recordings and your rips. There’s little to the sound that gives away the fact these are a closed-back design.
The ear pads create a great seal and the level of comfort is excellent with the pads putting just enough pressure on the sides of your head to keep them stable and in situ.
The headphones come with two choices of cables, one with an in-line mic and control for Apple devices and another without. The 3.5mm end fits into your portable device, while 2.5mm jack feeds into a similarly sized socket under the left earpad.
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Given their size, it’s good to see B&W has still managed to get some degree of proper portability out of the P7s. They’re hinged, and fold inwards so you can store them away.
And, to keep them free from scuffs and scrapes, you’re provided with a fetching carry case complete with quilted pattern.
The P7s are an ambitious pair of headphones for B&W – they’ve gone big on design but even bigger on performance which puts them right up with the frontrunners for class-leading status.