I remember my first pair of quality headphones. Between semesters in music school, I scored a pair of Bowers and Wilkins P5 for $ 150 on Craigslist.
The P5 was the first headphones from the famous British hi-fi brand, and I worked them through to the end. I wore the leather over the magnetic ear cups while discovering my love of ’90s hip-hop, idolized Booker Little’s trumpet lines, and repeated the same songs over and over (and over) until ‘so that I can play them fair how my teachers wanted.
Years later, the PX7, the company’s latest headlamp noise canceling headphones, have become the pair I catch the most when planning to wander aimlessly in the Covid worm.
They’re light, comfortable, and sound fantastic, and they exude the same class as the original P5 model, but with more 21st century features. The PX7 isn’t brand new (they came out about a year ago), but they still compete pretty well with the best of sony, Apple and Bose. I think they’re overlooked by many, and Bowers & Wilkins clearly think so too: the company recently released this new Carbon Edition colourway to generate more general interest.
Classic design, modern features
The first thing you notice about the PX7 is how light it is. The rounded over-ears give off the same simple force of form as my old mostly metallic P5s, but they are now made from a chalky-looking woven carbon fiber. This gives them a sturdy, unplasticized feel that you don’t get from Bose or Sony models (despite their respectable build qualities).
That premium feel extends to the leather headband and fabric-wrapped ear cups, with slightly shimmering Bowers & Wilkins logos to let other well-heeled audio enthusiasts know that you taste better than your compatriots buying Bose.
Despite this hint of glitter, I actually find myself thinking of the PX7 – especially in this all-black “Carbon” colorway – as understated. I feel like I’m practically flashing a fatcat’s wallet when I wear the AirPods Pro or even Bose Noise Canceling 700 in my working-class neighborhood, but I never get that feeling when I wear the PX7.
Most of all, I like the way they work. Turn them on, pair them once, and you’re playing your music or podcasts in no time. They store up to eight devices in your arsenal, making it easy to switch between iPads, phones and computers.