Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones Review & Comments

Discussion in 'Headphones, Earphones & Portable Music' started by Ed Selley, Jan 18, 2018.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. berkeley384

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      I've read many reviews on these headphones, but no other review rates the noise cancelling performance to be in the same league as the QC35 or the Sony headphones.

      Most if not all other reviews consider these headphones to be considerably heavier than the QC35 or the Sony making them less comfortable for long periods of time.

      My gut feel is that this review is biased towards B&W as they are considered to be a "proper" audio company where as Bose is an unpopular choice on these forums
       
    3. daveb975

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      I have a pair of these and the Bose QC35, and this would be my opinion of the comparison:

      Sound quality with ANC off: B&W beats Bose easily.

      ANC: Bose beats B&W easily. None of the three ANC settings on the B&W are as effective as the Bose for loud background noise. The only situations that this can be a positive are:

      1. The more powerful ANC on the Bose can give a bit of a claustrophobic feeling which isn't really there on the B&W.

      2. When on the Tube, the banging of the doors 'confuses' the ANC on both sets and the ANC turns on and off quickly which gives a very strange sensation. This is less pronounced on the B&W because the ANC is less powerful.

      Sound quality with ANC on: Bose wins for me, but more marginally. On the B&W, the two most powerful ANC modes take too much away from the sound quality and this is much less noticeable on the Bose, meaning that the Bose SQ overtakes the B&W in these modes.

      Comfort. The B&W are heavier and feel better constructed. The Bose are amongst the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn.

      Other. The wear sensor on the B&W really adds to the convenience of a wireless headphone for me. When I get on the train in the morning, I just put them on my head and the music starts exactly where it left off and when I get to the office it stops automatically when I remove them. The bluetooth codec on the B&W is also more advancec, but I haven't really tried it yet.

      Overall, I am keeping both, but the B&Ws will get 99% of the use whilst the Bose will be used for air travel only. I have actually taken to using the B&W on the tube with the ANC off because the overall sound is still better even though not much of background noise is blocked.

      It is definitely worth trying both pairs, and the Sony 1000X are supposed to be excellent as well.
       
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    4. berkeley384

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      Great Post! Really good comparison - Thank you.
       
    5. gadget man

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      Interesting post above but unfortunately i had the bose for one day then returned. Great sound,excellent comfort but one huge issue, the bluetooth is crap sound cutting out with both my tv and phone, works ok on ipad and macbook so maybe good for apple products.

      i have a cheap pair of bluetooth earphone for when i cycle and never loose connection these cost £25. Bose £300 mmm a problem here.
       
    6. daveb975

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      I have heard similar complaints with the Bose. It has never been an issue for me, but then I have only used them with Apple iPhones.

      The only bluetooth issues I have had with either pair was disconnects in very busy areas. I work in Canary Wharf, and when queuing for the Tube there you can often see about ten people using QC35s and quite a lot with other BT headphones, so I suppose it is to be expected. As soon as I am out of the station it is a solid connection again.

      The B&W have been marginally better than the Bose in this regard, but I haven't worn the Bose for a while, so there might be later firmware to improve this.
       
    7. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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      Trying to expand on the thinking behind the scoring here, there is (for me at least), more to noise cancelling than sheer dB cut. With the Bose and to a lesser extent the Sony, the noise reduction is impressive and considerable but I am very conscious of this being generated by the headphone. I can't so much hear this as feel it- particularly in the inner ear and I find it distracting and, if used for an extended period, a little unpleasant. I rate the PX and the Sennheiser PXC-550 highly because their processing feels much obtrusive when in use. This also has a knock on effect when being used for audio at the same time. As already noted by others, I think the Bluetooth implementation of this and the PXC-550 is years ahead of the Bose and better than the Sony too.

      The review samples were used for my trip to CES and back this year and I found them to be extremely effective on a real Dreamliner rather than a facsimile of one.
       
    8. Soundizer

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      Flagship Phones have progressed to Bluetooth 5.0 which has atleast 3 x the range of Bluetooth 4.

      I don’t think the P7X utilities Bluetooth 5.0.

      That APTX HD needs to be on both device and headphone. Hardly any devices currently send/transmit with APTX HD.
       
    9. mose72

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      Got mine a couple of days ago and I am really enjoying using them. I don't have any other headphones (apart from in-ear) so I cannot make any direct comparisons.

      Initial thoughts are that the music sounds great and deep. I can't hear my own typing when I am working at all. They are a little uncomfortable after a few hours.

      I thought the "music stopping" when you lifted it off would be a gimmick, but it is pretty handy and saves well on battery life.

      The google play reviews are poor for the app. I have not had an issue, downloaded it and updated the firmware with no problem. I had a play about with the settings and all seems to work ok.
       
    10. jimborae

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      Really? my LG V30 uses APTX-HD, which worked very well with the Sony WH-1000XM2. Also in Android Oreo i believe LDAC will also be standard.

      What I would really like to know is do these headphones connect to more than one device simultaneously i.e. to your PC & phone and then intelligently switch the audio. The Bose QC35's do but the Sony's do not and really all high end blue tooth headphones should do this these days.
       
    11. neilball

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      Well I’m nearly 2 months in and really liking the sound quality and comfort, but the wear-sensor is useless! I either get micro stutters when I move my head or complete pauses. If I lift the left ear cup and place it back the music will briefly restart and then pause again a second or two later. So my headphones are either faulty (with an overly sensitive sensor), or the whole design is flawed. I’ve raised a ticket with B&W support to see what they have to say.

      It’s not enough to make me want to return them, but disappointing that a key feature does not work for me.
       
    12. SBanga

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      Exactly this for me. The performance is amazing, although I only have the Beats Studio 3 Wireless, PSB M4U2 and Sennheiser iE8 in ear to compare them to. Love that they have some headroom volume wise too, as a lot of Bluetooth headphones are curtailed to preserve battery life.

      Only slight issues are the wear sensor and ANC not being as good as some of the big boys. However, passive isolation is great, therefore not an issue for me.

      Would love to know how you get on with your ticket @neilball
       
    13. neilball

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      Initial reply from B&W support talks about not firing the ear ups properly ie making sure my ears are fully inside the cup and not obscured by hair or by arms from glasses - none of these apply in my case. The other suggestion was to switch them on before putting them on as this allows the wear sensor to calibrate first. I will give this a try as I do generally switch them on while wearing. However I’m certain there have also been occasions where I’ve switched them on before wearing and the problems were the same.

      Once I’m certain of the results I’ll escalate the ticket.
       
    14. daveb975

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      It is disappointing to find that several are having issues with the wear sensor. As I mentioned in my brief review above, I find it an excellent feature.

      That said, I did have a few journeys in the early days of getting the PX where the wear sensor just wouldn't settle. Sometimes I'd get pauses in the music, other times I'd actually have to restart the headphones at the power switch and they would pair again. The next day, they'd be rock solid again.

      This was a while ago and I haven't had this type of problem at all lately. I leave mine on all the time, and I think the battery life is outstanding. I have recently got a new pair of IEMs, so have been using those daily, and left the PXs in a drawer for about two weeks in standby mode. When I got them out, I put them on and the music started straight away and they still had a good amount of battery life left.
       
    15. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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      Has the sensitivity adjustment in the app had any effect for people? The review sample is with a friend of mine in New Zealand at the moment (sorry B&W!) and she had to increase the sensitivity for it to work properly but it is doing so now she has.
       
    16. cronemeister

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      Massively for me. I've got mine set to more (doesn't make any difference to sound quality). I found if i moved my head a certain way, or yawned even that it would cut out on normal or less more times than not. I've had no trouble whatsoever since. I have the wear sensor on and the environmental filter off as I normally wear them in the house whilst at work (work from home) in the office.

      To say I'm suitably impressed with them is a massive understatement. I have no point of reference as it's my first pair of wireless headphones and other than buying more than one set and using them to death one after the other to compare I found it hard to gauge what was the best option between these, Bose, Sony and the Kef Space One's I just went off other peoples reviews really. I also think they look way better than anything else on the market at the mo in this price bracket so that kinda made my mind up as well....i'm a right tart :)
       
    17. neilball

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      I tried putting the wear sensor back on yesterday and followed the advice to power them up before wearing them and had no dropouts or pauses over several hours of use! In fact I had sensitivity set to “More” initially and found they would not pause if I lifted an ear up, so changed sensitivity back to normal. They continued to work perfectly for the rest of the day :)

      So now I need to keep testing to see if this continues or was a fluke!
       
    18. berkeley384

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      Tried these on in John Lewis Yesterday, These are not comfortable headphones.

      Too heavy and too tight, ear cups and head band are too hard.

      I slept in an old pair of QC15's years back for 12 hours on flight back from Australia, couldn't have worn the PX for a third of that time.
       
    19. Barzo

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      Bought a pair of these earlier in the week. Have both B&W P7 wireless and Sony MDR1000X. Initial impressions are good. Beautifully made, and a sound signature that sits somewhere between the warmth of the P7 wireless and the Sony headphones. Great soundstage for closed back headphones. Hoping to test out noise cancelling on a long train journey this afternoon.
       
    20. Barzo

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      So, on train from London to Liverpool. ANC engaged in Flight Mode. Have to say ANC is less impressive at cutting noise than the Sony MDR1000x, but I don't get that pressure sensation with the B&Ws, so it's a bit of a draw there. Walking through the tube with ANC engaged was great. No thumping through the headphones from my footfall as there is on the Sonys. So far, so impressed, and finding the PXs a relatively comfortable wear. Not yet suffering from the hotspot on the top of my head.

      Must say, loving the sound quality of these. Yet to try them wired via USB-C or 3.5mm, but on Aptx-HD paired with a Sony XZ Premium as source, these sound magnificent. Beautifully clear and musical, and well balanced.
       
      Last edited: Feb 2, 2018
    21. neilball

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      Just reporting back to say that since following the advice from B&W to power on before wearing that I’ve not had any more issues with the wear sensor and drop outs/stutters. I’ve used them extensively for a couple of weeks in all kinds of situations and not had a single reoccurrence of the issue. So for me these are now perfect!
       
    22. Lezman

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      Glad to hear the comments on these are becoming less ‘inconsistent’ over the last few months - for the better. Picked a pair up at Heathrow for £290, pretty happy with that.
       
    23. Barzo

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      My advice is don't judge them out of the box. They definitely benefit from running in. Also, the clamping force definitely reduces, and I find them a firm, but comfortable fit. More comfortable, in fact, then the B&W P7 wireless, which did give me a hotspot on the top of my head. Really pleased with the PXs so far.
       
    24. Trollslayer

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      Agreed but it's about running in the user more than the headphones, hearing adjusts.
       
    25. Barzo

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      Agree to an extent. I've had lots of headphones in the past, but this is the first pair I've noted as sounding different after they've been played for a while. It could be that the seal has improved with the headband clamp lessening, which could make an audible difference. Or it could be, I have to concede, that you are correct and the variable is me. [emoji1]
       
      Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    26. swall101

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      Anyone know what the latest firmware upgrade gives v1.110? On the app and just upgraded but on B&W site still showing last version....
       
    27. swall101

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      I’ll answer my own question as B&W site now updated...

      PX Firmware Release History
       
    28. Stupid61

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      This is going to sound like an idiot question, but can anyone comment on in-call quality when these headphones are connected wirelessly? What's the experience for the party at the other end of the call?
       
    29. Lezman

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      I find them pretty good and have heard from colleagues that they are good quality to listen to my voice (but not quite as good as my 'proper headset' ). I do only use them at home for work, so in a quiet environment. Never used them out and about for calls.
       
    30. Stupid61

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      Thanks
       

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