No one does it higher than Bowers & Wilkins for high-end headphones, and the Px8 isn’t only a great-sounding pair, however a pleasant expertise, with high-calibre audio, efficient noise cancellation, superb name high quality and very good wi-fi efficiency. It’s a terrific luxurious set of over-ears.
- Wonderful audio constancy
- Assured noise cancellation
- Sleek seems to be
- Large wi-fi efficiency
- Superb name high quality
- Imprecise put on sensors
B&W Music appOptions entry to companies comparable to Tidal and Qobuz
Carbon cone drivers40mm drivers positioned at an angle to fireplace audio to the ear
BluetoothHelps aptX Adaptive for constant wi-fi connectivity
It seems the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 headphones have been simply the starter to the primary course – with the primary being a chic dish within the type of the Px8.
The Px8 is B&W’s flagship pair the model believes will set the reference commonplace for efficiency and design for noise-cancelling headphones.
Heady phrases and a lofty declare for certain, however the Px7 S2 impressed, and the Px8 is seen as a step up in efficiency, noise cancellation and value (£599). With the promise of no-holds-barred efficiency, B&W is leaving few stones unturned in its pursuit of audio excellence. Do we’ve one other contender for the perfect headphones of 2022?
- Tight, grippy match
- Nice ergonomics
- Bodily buttons for operation
Aspect by aspect, the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 and Px8 share the same design language. The bulkiness of the unique Px7 has been weeded out, and regardless that the Px8 is 10g heavier, at 320g, it doesn’t really feel as cumbersome to put on.
The earcups tackle an oval form, which is alleged to help in presenting a extra pure soundstage. The form and end of the cast-aluminium arms look splendid, and the Nappa leather-based texture of the earcups provides to the premium really feel.
These headphones can be found in Black and Tan Leather-based variations, and the black colourway is paying homage to the styling on the Black Panther go well with. There are additionally special-edition variations, with Bond 007 (£699) and McLaren racing (£699) fashions.
The Px8 isn’t similar to the earlier launch, nonetheless, because the angle at which the earcups are tilted is completely different and the scarf is barely longer and wider in its dimensions. These slight adjustments add as much as a greater match, making these headphones really feel safer and tighter on my head than the Px7 S2 did.
The Px8 set is comfy sufficient to put on even when the padding on the earpads will not be precisely plush – like with the Grasp & Dynamic MW75. However the B&W headphones’ match is tighter, and they’re pliable sufficient of their cushioning towards the pinnacle. That clamping power is tight however not bothersome. I’ve worn these headphones for a lot of hours and by no means felt that the strain was an excessive amount of over prolonged intervals of wear and tear.
They’ll’t be collapsed inwards, however there’s a motive for that alternative, because it simplifies the design of arm linkages, which provides wind much less of an opportunity to have an effect on the noise-cancelling efficiency. That could be a regrettable loss for some when it comes to portability, but it surely’s a alternative that comes with advantages.
Once more, B&W has caught with bodily buttons, and there could also be a component of controversy for some when it comes to working these headphones. There’s a change for energy/Bluetooth pairing, the place a flick turns the headphones on, and an extra push and maintain sends the Px8 into its Bluetooth pairing mode.
Both aspect of the multi-function button (which covers playback/observe skipping) are quantity buttons, however some complained with the Px7 S2 that it was arduous to tell apart between them. I don’t purchase it, because the multi-function button has a special texture that makes it simpler to find.
On the left earcup, you’ll discover a single button for switching between noise cancelling and transparency modes –working the Px8 set is a straightforward expertise.
By way of journey, there’s a tough carry case that mirrors the Px7 S2 in measurement, with a compartment for cables. The Px8 has a USB-C cable for charging and a USB-C to three.5mm for wired playback. The one important distinction right here is that the zipper tag is constituted of fake leather-based. I’ve taken the headphones on a number of journeys throughout the UK, and the case has survived canine and the contents of my rucksack with only a few scrapes.
- Assured noise cancellation
- Resilient wi-fi connection
- Superb name high quality
By way of battery life, there’s no advance on both the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 or Px7 with its 30 hours. B&W has mentioned it’s pleased with the battery life and sees no want to increase it. As a substitute of prolonged battery life, the corporate has targeted on quick charging.
As a way of comparability, the equally priced M&D MW75 has 28 hours, whereas the AirPods Max has 20 hours. If you need extra, Sennheiser and Technics have headphones that may go for longer (and for much less cash), however the Px8 is aggressive inside its value bracket.
Bluetooth codec help extends from commonplace SBC to aptX Adaptive – the Px8 set arrived too early for aptX Lossless and the Snapdragon Sound platform. Connectivity with the aptX Adaptive codec has been totally spectacular: apart from just a few momentary blips, nothing has thrown the headphones off. Whether or not I’ve worn them at busy practice stations or in crowded areas in central London, they persist with their activity with admirable resilience.
Shifting on to name high quality, it’s one other space the place this pair impresses. They’re inferior to the Sony WH-1000XM5, however they’re among the many greatest I’ve used this 12 months, with my voice coming throughout clearly and background noises saved to a minimal.
The Bowers & Wilkins Music app has been up to date to stream music straight from apps, so you may management playback inside the app, as an alternative of leaping between completely different apps. These supported embrace Tidal, Qobuz, SoundCloud, Final.fm, TuneIn, Deezer and NTS.
There are icons and graphics for the noise-cancelling mode the headphones are in on the high of the display screen together with battery life. Soar to the part of the app that considerations gadgets (headphones or wi-fi audio system, such because the Zeppelin), and also you’ll discover the means to regulate the headphones’ EQ (treble and bass from -6dB to 6dB), handle connections and customise the Fast Motion button on the left earcup (Atmosphere Management (i.e., noise cancellation) and Voice Assistant).
New is the choice to vary the streaming high quality of the built-in apps from Diminished Information to Highest, and this may be modified for each cell and Wi-Fi connections.
Like with the Px7 S2, B&W has determined audio is its high precedence over noise cancellation, making the ANC highly effective sufficient to suppress sounds, however not on the expense of audio high quality. That doesn’t imply the Px8 is a pair of shrinking violets, although – removed from it.
It’s a discernible improve over the Px7 S2 regardless of using the identical microphone association (4 for ANC and two devoted to name high quality). I surmise this enhance is generally to do with how the Px8 suits: the seal across the ears is way tighter than on the S2 mannequin, blocking out extra noise with its passive isolating design.
With adaptive ANC on high of that, the quantity of noise that makes its means by way of is way decreased in contrast with the Px7 S2, and turning your head now not permits sounds to leak by way of. The Px8 set is efficient at suppressing noise on the underground and extra convincing than the MW75 was on Northern, Victoria, Jubilee and Central strains – hushing voices and managing wind noise to acceptable ranges.
With throngs of individuals, the Px8 headphones condense the loudness of the gang into a way more manageable sound – and it’s the same impact with site visitors. The efficiency will not be the eerie silence some pairs from Bose and Sony can handle, but it surely’s sturdy sufficient to usher in a way of calm wherever you might be.
The transparency mode is obvious, detailed and pure within the method it passes by way of sound – which is basically all you want from a transparency mode. Flick it on, and consciousness of what’s round you is heightened successfully. There’s solely somewhat noise to take care of, however not a lot that colors both what you’re listening to or distracts from the encompassing atmosphere.
The one situation – and it’s an odd one, I’ll admit – is that there are three modes supplied: noise cancellation, passthrough and off. I don’t suppose you actually need the “off” setting. In some methods, it brought on confusion for me, as I forgot it was even an choice, typically leaving the headphones within the off mode as an alternative of switching to noise cancellation.
The ultimate factor to say is the wear and tear sensor know-how. Beforehand with B&W headphones, there was a lag in detecting whether or not the headphones have been being worn, they usually wouldn’t instantly restart playback. That capriciousness appears to have been principally ironed out, though there are nonetheless moments the place the act of tilting your head induces essentially the most minor pause, and this occurred greater than I’d like on the Excessive setting – sufficient for me to show it off.
Sound High quality
- Punchy, authoritative bass
- Spacious soundstage
- Nice sense of management and definition
There’s the not-insignificant matter of the Bowers & Wilkins Px8’s audio efficiency to contemplate. Given we’re speaking a £200 distinction between this pair and the Px7 S2, that units sure expectations for the previous.
The headline specs are 40mm dynamic full-range carbon cone drive models, that are angled to fireplace sound in the direction of the ear for a extra constant time alignment and higher stereo picture. Alongside the brand new drive unit is a high-resolution 24-bit DSP (digital sign processor) that may play music at a better high quality. You’ll must subscribe to music companies comparable to Tidal and Qobuz to benefit from it.
What’s instantly obvious is that the Px8’s soundstage is greater, wider and extra expansive than the Px7 S2’s. In nearly all sides of audio, the Px8 is healthier than its sibling. With Tittle Tattle by Nubiyan Twist and Cherise, the soundstage is grown with a renewed sense of readability and element.
Bass frequencies have extra definition and punch, the midrange is extra open, spacious and sharper. Cherise’s voice is pitched additional ahead, including to the depth of the stereo picture that’s extra pronounced than on the Px7 S2. These headphones provide a wonderful hear, however the Px8 ones are an audible development onwards.
However they’re additionally £200 dearer, and so they need to be higher. B&W says it has improved the high-frequency efficiency over the Px7 S2 and the unique Px7, and that stands up. With Immanuel Wilkins’ Grace and Mercy, the tinkling of the piano ivories is brighter than each of these headphones. The unique Px7’s treble efficiency feels relatively rolled off and dulled compared.
In contrast with a pair of cans inside the value vary – the M&D’s MW75 – the efficiency distinction is extra even. With excessive frequencies, the M&D has the sting – it’s barely brighter and extra distinctive, and the trailing edges of the piano are only a smidge clearer and resolved. The MW75 produces a good quantity of sign noise, which isn’t prevalent with the Px8. The latter is a clear, exact and dynamic pair of headphones – however so is the MW75, regardless of the noise. Bass in Straightforward Life’s Skeletons on each units is delivered with punch and tempo, however the Px8 ekes out extra depth with the decrease frequencies.
The Px8 – very similar to the Px7 S2 – exudes a thicker, steely strategy to audio. Maybe it’s the carbon dome drivers, however I hear just a few extra heft and solidity to the efficiency. “Tougher” isn’t an excellent phrase to explain this sense – “impactful” is a greater adjective.
The midrange is fed with plenty of element: female and male vocals are firmly outlined, planted in the course of the soundstage and enclosed inside their very own bracket of area that provides a tighter focus than some headphones which are vaguer and greater in how they deal with vocals. I desire the specificity and definition headphones such because the Px8 (and certainly the Sony WH-1000XM5) can present – even when they don’t sound fairly as massive.
Tonally, they’re neither too crisp – which may result in sibilance – nor too wealthy – which can lead to lopsided steadiness – discovering a candy and (principally) natural-sounding groove between the 2. The frequency vary comes throughout as a balanced, unified entire, and timing is preserved effectively.
Rhythmically, they persuade in speaking shifts in tempo (like with Tinie Tempah’s Merely Unstoppable (Sure Remix)), with out shedding their sense of definition or sliding in the direction of favoring vitality over element. No matter is performed, the Px8’s reserves of management maintain all the pieces in line.
This pair is a good hear, and much more so with a succesful music streaming service to feed them. Are these the perfect Bowers & Wilkins headphones but? Fairly presumably so. They’re definitely among the best-sounding cans I’ve heard this 12 months.
Do you have to purchase it?
For his or her large all-round efficiency: These headphones sound nice, the noise cancelling is improved from the Px7 S2, and the wi-fi efficiency is sort of faultless. The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 set has been carved from audio gold.
Your pockets can’t or gained’t settle for the value: These headphones are usually not reasonably priced by any means. A bunch of my buddies guessed they might value about £200. If you happen to suppose £599 is just a few hundred an excessive amount of, there are simply as ample alternate options, such because the Sony WH-1000XM5 and the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wi-fi.
Is the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 an ideal pair? No. Few headphones – if any – are. However its faults are few, and when it comes to its strategy, it admirably succeeds in delivering high-quality sound.
Some headphones could have the sting in some areas – with noise cancelling particularly – however on the subject of total element, readability and separation utilized to tracks, there aren’t many units from 2022 that may fairly match what the Px8 delivers.
Excessive-fidelity sound is on the core of those headphones’ id, however they’re additionally completed noise-cancellers. Their name high quality is up there with the perfect over-ears, they’re brilliantly trendy, and the wi-fi efficiency is just improbable.
They’re large all-rounders, and whereas the value will put some off from committing, those that can afford these will get excellent efficiency. It’s a well-deserved 5 stars for the Px8.
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We take a look at each set of headphones we assessment completely over an prolonged time frame. We use business commonplace exams to match options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to assessment a product.
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Examined with actual world use
The Px8 have a barely completely different design for the scarf and earcups, however the primary distinction is the drive models, the Px8 options 40mm Carbon Cone drivers in comparison with the Px7’s 40mm Beryllium drivers.
Bowers and Wilkins Px8
Bowers & Wilkins
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD, aptX Adaptive
40mm Carbon Cone
Qualcomm’s aptX codec can help larger high quality audio than Bluetooth alone.
ANC (Energetic Noise Cancellation) makes use of an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming on the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any undesirable exterior noises.