Stereocheck Reviews:

PX7 S2e: Headphones with a distinct personality

The PX7 S2e is not considered a flagship model like the PX8, but rather an evolved version denoted by the letter “e”. According to the manufacturers, they have managed to achieve a sound...

The PX7 S2e is not considered a flagship model like the PX8, but rather an evolved version denoted by the letter “e”. According to the manufacturers, they have managed to achieve a sound quality that comes close to the flagship model. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to the flagship model, so I cannot make a direct comparison. However, I will do my best to provide a detailed description of the sound quality of these headphones. As always, let’s begin with the packaging.

Unpacking and packaging

The box for this brand is traditionally all white, reminiscent of an iPad box. It’s no surprise that the manufacturer is in the premium segment and pays great attention to packaging.

On the cover, the headphones are featured in the center, with the brand name at the top and the model name at the bottom left. The right side displays a description of the wireless headphones with noise-canceling capabilities. The brand name is also prominently displayed on the inner white box.

Inside, there is a high-quality hard case lined with fabric and equipped with a zipper. Alongside the headphones, the case contains all the necessary accessories. Beneath the case, there is a small envelope with documentation.

Upon opening the case, I initially wondered about the cables and charging options. However, upon closer inspection, I discovered a hidden compartment secured by magnets below the headphones, which contained two complete cables.

Complete set:

  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e headphones 
  • case for transportation
  • cable USB type C – USB type C – for recharging
  • cable USB type C – 3.5 mm Jack – for wired connection
  • user manual and warranty card

 

Specifications

Weight and size indicators :

  • weight 307 grams

Acoustic parameters :

  • frequency range: 10 Hz – 30 kHz
  • resistance: 33 ohms
  • speakers with a diameter of 40 mm
  • distortion factor <0.1% (1 kHz/10 mW)

Wireless connection :

  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • codecs: aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, SBC, AAC

Battery :

  • working time is about 30 hours
  • charging time 2 hours
  • 15 minutes of charging can provide up to 7 hours of operation

Features :

  • wired and wireless connection
  • 6 microphones, 3 in each cup. A total of 4 microphones are responsible for noise reduction, and 2 are used for communication.

 

Design and features

Let’s proceed to discuss the design of the headphones. They embody a classic and stylish minimalism, with no unnecessary elements. The headphones are primarily made of high-quality plastic, ensuring a sturdy design that doesn’t produce any creaking or cracking sounds. The fit is perfect, with the headband adjustment being smooth and pleasantly tight, preventing any loosening over time. The oval convex parts of the cups feature logos, while the cups themselves are covered with fabric, giving them an intriguing and unique appearance. The headband is also covered with the same fabric, providing a soft and comfortable feel. It’s worth noting that the headband is even softer than the ear cushions. The headband is made of eco-leather of exceptional quality, with no visible seams as they are cleverly concealed.

The cable that connects the speakers within the headphones is neatly concealed within the bracket and is also covered with fabric, maintaining a cohesive design. Another design element is the metal ring encircling the cups near the ear cushions. There are four color options available for selection: Anthracite-black (similar to the one I own), ocean blue, cloud gray (which leans towards white), and forest green (a light shade of green). It’s unfortunate that only the most popular color variations are available for review.

The ear pads possess a moderate level of softness and exhibit a memory effect. Additionally, they feature a convenient marking inside, with the letters L and R denoting the left and right sides respectively. This marking proves to be highly advantageous. While the ear pads offer ample space internally, it is advisable to measure one’s ears prior to purchase, particularly if they are larger in size. Furthermore, it is recommended to test the headphones for comfort and sound quality.

It is worth noting that the ear pads are crafted from leather and lack perforations, which may result in slight perspiration of the ears. However, the ear pads themselves do not exert any pressure on the head. Initially, during the first few hours of use, the head may experience fatigue after approximately 30 minutes of listening. This could be attributed to the slightly narrow headband or the angle of inclination of the ear pads in relation to it. Nevertheless, this effect diminishes after a few days of usage. The speakers are thoughtfully recessed at a sufficient depth and positioned at an angle to effectively concentrate the sound stream. This design feature is reminiscent of the exceptional Sennheiser headphones.

Features :

  • The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e feature a 24-bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor) enhanced with experience from the flagship PX8 headphones, with 40mm drivers positioned at an angle inside each earcup for a truly focused and immersive listening experience.
  • ANC and crystal quality voice transmission. The headphones use a total of 6 microphones for excellent noise cancellation and communication. ANC prevents the penetration of extraneous noise from the environment and it does not spoil the quality when listening to music. Carefully positioned microphones at an angle will ensure excellent communication quality even in noisy environments.
  • the Bowers & Wilkins Music application, with which you can easily customize and control your headphones, stream your favorite songs from various streaming services.

 

Functional capabilities

Moving on to the features of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e, we have the noise reduction, transparency, and microphone modes. I can only compare it with my TWS Technics AZ60, but this is entirely inaccurate. To objectively assess the performance of these modes, I tested them while playing music on the speakers without any music playing in the headphones. Let’s begin with the noise reduction. Considering the excellent passive noise isolation and the snug fit of the ear cushions against the head, there is minimal sound leakage and external noises are barely audible. When the noise reduction is activated, low-frequency sounds and a significant portion of the mid-frequency spectrum are almost completely eliminated, rendering them inaudible. Once you start playing a track, you are completely detached from reality and fully immersed in the world of music.

The level of transparency in these headphones is not particularly high, as you can still strongly feel their presence on your head. However, the timbres are accurately conveyed and the electronic processing is barely noticeable. The microphones in these headphones are of excellent quality, recording voices cleanly with minimal distortion. While the timbres may be slightly flat, it is not a significant issue unless one is overly critical. When listening to my recorded voice through these headphones, it sounds clear, although it seems to emphasize high frequencies for some reason. This emphasis is not present when using other headphones. In comparison to the Technics AZ60, the timbres in these headphones sound flatter, resembling a “telephone” effect with noticeable electronic processing. Nonetheless, the microphones still perform well. An interesting feature is that when using these headphones for phone calls, you can hear yourself through the headphones’ microphones. Although not as clear as hearing with your own ears, it is still an improvement compared to not having this function.

Controls and application

To begin, let’s discuss the controls. The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e headphones do not feature touch panels; instead, all control functions are performed using physical buttons. It’s worth mentioning that charging is done through the USB type C connector located on the right cup. Additionally, you have the option to connect the headphones to a sound source using a wired connection, but keep in mind that the headphones need to be turned on for this to work, which will inevitably drain the battery. It’s important to note that the volume buttons will not function in this particular scenario.

Right cup :

  • the switch to turn on and off the headphones, also to activate the Bluetooth search mode (pull up to turn on, hold until the headphones are displayed in the list, or until the context menu appears, to turn off the headphones, turn the switch to the lower position)
  • next to the switch that shows the charge level during charging, and when the headphones are working, it lights up in white
  • below is the button responsible for increasing the volume when held or pressed once
  • below is a ribbed multifunction button, made specifically so as not to get confused. When playing/pause is pressed once – when listening to music, when talking on the phone, answer/end the conversation. Double-click to switch to the next track. With triple – to the beginning of the previous track or to the previous track.
  • the lower button is responsible for reducing the volume when held or when pressed once

Left cup :

  • button to activate noise reduction/transparency/off or voice assistant modes, this can be configured in the app

 

It remains to talk about the application. It’s called  Music Bowers & Wilkins , it’s available from both the AppStore and PlayMarket, and it’s free. Once paired with your phone, the headphones are easy to find, the app doesn’t need location activated.
On the main screen, we can see the charge level of the headphones from above, choose one of the three modes of operation: noise reduction/transparency/off. Below we can open music from the integrated streaming service.
Going to the settings opens wider opportunities, in addition to the above, they allow you to configure:

  • high frequency level with a step of 0.5 dB from -6 to +6 dB
  • so is the level of low frequencies
  • select the device to which to connect the headphones
  • setting the button (and what is on the left cup) we can assign to it either switching modes or activating the voice assistant)
  • automatic shutdown of headphones after 15 minutes of idle time
  • adjust the strength of the autoplay and pause sensor. If you choose “LOW”, they become very sensitive, if you take off the headphones, they immediately turn off the music, and when “HIGH” they do it with a little delay. Apparently, this is done so that, depending on the force of pressing the headphones to the head, different people do not experience a sudden false activation.
  • rename the headphones if you have several identical headphones in your environment so as not to get confused
  • and resetting the headphones if something suddenly goes wrong

 

Autonomy is an important aspect to consider when evaluating headphones. In this case, the manufacturer claims that these headphones can provide approximately 30 hours of continuous usage, which is not particularly impressive for headphones of this size and design. However, it is worth noting that the charging time is quite fast. If you don’t let the battery completely drain to 0%, charging from 30% to 100% takes just a little over an hour. Personally, I found it convenient to charge them through the USB connector on my computer.

One interesting feature is that these headphones can be quickly charged for up to 7 hours of listening time in just 15 minutes. Even if you divide that by two, you still get 3.5 hours, which can be sufficient for a full day of use.

It’s important to mention that the 30-hour work time is achievable at a volume level below 50%. If you prefer a higher volume level, you may need to turn it up to around 70% for a satisfying experience. Additionally, if you activate the noise reduction feature, the battery life may decrease to approximately 20 hours.

Sound

Let’s proceed to the most captivating section, which undoubtedly is the sound description. Once again, there won’t be any comparisons made as I don’t possess wireless full-size headphones, particularly within a similar price range and sound category. It is worth mentioning right away that even though these headphones can be used with a wire, the sound quality remains unchanged. This is because wired headphones still require activation, resulting in all sound passing through them being processed by the built-in processor. Hence, there is no need to purchase a DAC or any similar device for them. The wired connection serves as an additional means to connect to a sound source, especially for devices lacking a Bluetooth module, commonly found in stationary computers.

Prior to providing a detailed analysis of the sound quality, it is important to highlight the performance of the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e headphones. In order to maintain objectivity, I will describe the headphones without altering the high and low frequency settings in the application. However, it should be noted that these settings have a significant impact on the overall sound experience, allowing users to customize it according to their preferences.

The sound of the PX7 S2e strikes a delicate balance between warmth and massiveness, as well as emotionality and musicality. The low frequencies are noticeably emphasized, sometimes to a great extent. This characteristic will certainly appeal to individuals who appreciate when the bass frequencies dominate the sound spectrum, even to the point of being bass-heavy. By adjusting the low frequencies in the application, users can further enhance this aspect.

While the midrange takes a slightly more subdued position, it remains discernible. On the other hand, the high frequencies are accentuated, similar to the low frequencies, occasionally exhibiting an excess.

It is worth mentioning that it is difficult to provide specific details about the performance of these headphones across different genres. They are capable of playing a wide range of music genres, but there may be instances where certain tracks with excessive low or high frequencies are not concealed by the headphones, instead adding their own character to the sound.

Even instrumental music with clean vocals, whether sung by male or female artists, is reproduced exceptionally well. However, when it comes to rock music, the situation becomes more complex. In heavier compositions where multiple guitar parts and intricate sounds are present, the headphones may not transmit them with utmost clarity, resulting in a partial blending and an overemphasis on the highs.

On the other hand, electronic music is where the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e truly excel. If you enjoy listening to this genre, these headphones deliver a captivating and clean sound, devoid of any excessive weight or harshness.

Frequency details :
Low frequencies : powerful, meaty, but the impact is not fast, but soft and warm. Headphones can give roar and weight, sometimes with a margin and even with an excess, the question is not in the genre, but in the volume level and the track itself. Electronic music in them sounds incredibly cool, both new and old.
Midrange frequencies : have a good representation, the stage is not wide, but it is not limited by your head, still there is a little room to turn around, the depth is the same. Voices do not sound stiff, but as if they are not in the foreground, it is felt that electronic processing is present. There is a certain feeling of veiling, but in electronic music this effect is not noticeable, only on live vocals.
High frequencies: accented, this is done to emphasize details and add air. But in practice, sometimes there are too many of them, one track plays well, another not so well, perhaps due to accentuation of a certain frequency segment. But mainly they are what give air and scenes, a sense of reality and liveliness. Quiet sounds on the recording are readable well, there is no sand and sibilants.

Conclusion

Bowers & Wilkins has introduced headphones with a distinct personality. This is evident from the design itself. The controls are user-friendly and easy to adapt to. The functionality, including noise cancellation, transparency, and microphones, performs admirably. While the battery life is average, the fast charging feature mitigates any inconvenience. In terms of comfort, there was initially some discomfort after 30-40 minutes of use, but this issue disappeared after a few days of testing. The only remaining concern is that the ear cushions can cause sweating due to the lack of perforation and snug fit. As for the sound quality, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e headphones are far from dull. They offer ample bass and treble, although the mid-range can be slightly overpowering due to processor processing. The headphones are versatile across genres, with the sound quality varying depending on the track and signal processing by the processor.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e
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