Bowers & Wilkins PX8 headphones overview – When you need to have the most effective of the whole lot

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REVIEW – Typically, you simply must have the perfect of one thing, whether or not that one thing is a automotive, boat, audio system, or perhaps a pair of headphones. So long as there are music-loving individuals who demand and might have the most effective, there shall be others more than pleased to fill that need. British audio firm Bowers & Wilkins has an extended historical past of offering the most effective in audio system—house, automotive, and private. 

It’s private listening that’s the topic of this overview—the Bowers & Wilkins PX8, is presumably probably the most luxurious headphone obtainable right this moment.  

What’s it?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX8 is an over-ear headphone that’s each ridiculously well-made and cozy. There’s no faux right here—it’s all metallic and leather-based. There are two coloration choices: Black and Tan. To my eye, the tan model is the richer-looking of the 2. 

The PX8 comes with a tough coloration matching cloth-covered case. The case is quite massive as a result of the headphone doesn’t fold. Together with the headphones, the case Has a magnetic pocket that holds the 2 included cables: USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to mini plug. It might appear that the choices are sparse, however nothing extra is absolutely wanted.

The development is leather-based on an aluminum body. The PX8 just isn’t a lightweight headphone, but it surely’s not too heavy, both. When worn, clamping energy is enough with out being too tight. There’s a lot proper in regards to the PX8. Every thing simply matches—my head, not less than.

There are numerous practical buttons on the ear cups. The left ear cup has what B&W calls the Customizable button (the B&W Music App calls this the Fast Motion button). It could actually each management Environmental or Voice Assistant. Since I’m not a fan of Apple’s Siri, I go away this button set to Environmental management. Extra on that later within the overview.

{Hardware} specs

  • Weight: 11.2 oz.
  • Bluetooth: aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX, AAC, SBC 
  • Audio system: 2 x 40mm dynamic carbon drivers
  • Mics: 4 x ANC, 2 x phone
  • Rechargeable battery: Lithium ion
  • Battery Life: 30 hours of play
  • Charging: quarter-hour for 7 hours of play
  • Colours: Black Leather-based, Tan/Silver leather-based

Design and options

B&W’s headphone historical past just isn’t almost so long as their speaker’s, but it surely’s nonetheless spectacular. The wired P5 I reviewed again in 2010 (there have been no first rate wi-fi headphones then) was a terrific compact on-ear headphone. I nonetheless have them. Since then, I’ve reviewed a number of extra B&W merchandise—Headphones: P3, P5 Sequence 1 and 2, P5 Wi-fi, P7; Earphones: C5, PI7; and Audio system: 607, T7, MM1, and Zeppelin. Due to these critiques, I’ve develop into conversant in what’s referred to as the B&W sound—a hotter and never too scientific strategy to audio. It’s the type of sound you’ll be able to hearken to all day and never really feel as in case your ears have been abused after hours of use. 

Consolation extends from the agency, however well-padded headband to the delicate Nappa leather-covered reminiscence foam ear cups. You actually can put on these all day with no consolation points. Plus, actual leather-based is much less susceptible to overheating the ears vs. fake leather-based. Even the metallic ear cup is partially lined in leather-based. It jogs my memory of the inside of an costly automotive.

The fitting ear cup on the PX8 comprises a lot of the practical buttons. At first, they could appear complicated, however they’re simply realized as a result of they really make sense. The buttons sit on the ear cup’s rim, so they’re straightforward to find out by really feel. The underside three buttons management Quantity up/down and telephone name settle for and disconnect with the center button controlling play/pause. This button sports activities etched strains making it straightforward to tell apart from the others. Its easy ergonomic design like this that makes the distinction in consumer expertise. The highest button on the fitting ear cup has a mixture On/off/Pairing button. A small mild signifies if the facility is on or off.

The left ear cup homes what B&W calls the “Fast Motion” button. It may be programmed by way of the B&W headphones app to carry out both switching noise modes (surroundings management) or Voice Assistant (Siri, Alexa, Google).

The ear cups swivel flat, however the headphones don’t fold, making them much less handy to hold. The ear cups might be eliminated for substitute if mandatory.

Through the years, wi-fi headphones have progressed in sound high quality. The PX8 makes use of Bluetooth 5.2 codec which has each prolonged vary and much-improved audio. The vary is rated at over 260 yards—virtually the size of a soccer area. That’s an enormous enchancment to the older Bluetooth vary of 30-50 ft. The 5.2 makes use of the LC3 codec—high-quality, low-power audio. This implies much less battery drain plus higher sound—an enormous deal for us Apple customers since Apple has by no means supported Bluetooth AptX. Observe that you need to have an iPhone 14 for full Bluetooth 5.2 functionality with 5.2 gadgets, just like the PX8.

B&W has designed the PX8 utilizing some newer options. The audio system are a brand new 40mm angled carbon cone design. These have two benefits. The carbon fiber utilized in audio system is stiffer. This stiffness each lowers distortion and improves musical readability. The audio system are additionally angled contained in the ear cup designed to keep up a constant distance relative to the listener’s ear. Once more, this helps enhance audio high quality. 

B&W didn’t cease there. The PX8 headphone incorporates a 24-bit high-resolution digital sign processing (DSP). 24-bit music streaming providers, resembling Tidal, Qobuz, or Deezer can now be accessed (with a subscription) within the new B&W Headphones app. If these music streaming names trigger your eyes to glaze over, don’t really feel dangerous. I don’t use them both. I stick to Apple Music as a result of it really works in my all-Apple ecosystem. It’s reasonably priced, it sounds fairly good, and I’m conversant in its interface. For these occasions I need to totally exploit the PX8’s capabilities with excessive res lossless audio, I’ll join the included USB cable to my laptop computer. That method, I’m assured to get Apple Lossless and Spatial Audio the place obtainable.

Lively noise canceling (ANC) is changing into an enormous take care of headphones and earphones with Apple and Bose setting the bar. Possibly Apple has a slight edge with their ANC, however until they’re in contrast side-by-side, it’s arduous to note. Nonetheless, ANC on the PX8 is kind of good. With ANC on and no music enjoying, I’ve bother listening to something. To my ears, ANC doesn’t appear to have an effect on music high quality. The one disconcerting facet whereas listening to music utilizing ANC is the whole silence between songs. It has an unreal high quality to it by being too quiet.

Together with ANC, there’s Go-through—which makes use of mics that allow you to hear the surroundings round you—and Off which disconnects ANC. There are separate EQ treble and bass controls inside the app. Although nothing particular, the EQ performs as anticipated. 

Auto standby powers down the PX8 if not used for quarter-hour. This may save on battery life. A put on sensor pauses audio when it detects if the headphone has been eliminated out of your head. There are settings for this characteristic, however the default setting works fantastic on my head, so i didn’t want to alter it.

Listening to the PX8 headphone makes my music sound so, so good. It’s all the time enjoyable to listen to particulars in songs that have been beforehand missed. With ANC on, I can nonetheless hear these particulars in a loud surroundings. 

My tastes are eclectic. I can hearken to Sinatra adopted by Abba adopted by Brian Eno. Every of those artists presents difficult areas in musical element. Though Frank Sinatra’s finest years have been within the 50s and 60s, his technical experience within the studio produced requirements that maintain up right this moment as a few of the best-recorded music—interval. Listening to him on the PX8 locations him in my head. It’s that exact. Stereo imaging is beautiful.

Talking of exact, Abba’s studio work is like an aural model of fantastic crystal. The tune hooks sound much more infectious listening with the PX8 headphone. You’ll be able to hear their vocal variations extra clearly than with most different headphones. 

Eno is one other animal. After leaving the British group Roxy Music, he went on to file some musically difficult albums in addition to produce different artists. His work with Speaking Heads and U2 is known. Nonetheless, his solo albums like “One other Day on Earth” and “Apollo” have yielded music that’s each accessible—and typically not. “An Ending (Ascent)” from “Apollo” is heartbreakingly stunning with its orchestral digital tones. The PX8 replicates a few of the larger frequency tones with none harshness I’ve heard with different headphones. “Bottomliners” from “One other Day on Earth” highlights Eno’s multi-tracked vocals giving this straightforward melody complexity. The PX8 means that you can hear separate vocals whereas nonetheless holding them collectively in a single refrain. Superb.

What I like

  • Luxurious
  • Stable construct high quality
  • ANC is absolutely good
  • Sound high quality is great
  • Snug for lengthy durations 

What I’d change

  • Costly
  • The app is simply okay

Last Ideas

Some individuals can’t spend $700 on a pair of headphones. I get that. And even when they may, some will by no means spend that a lot on headphones. I get that, too. Nonetheless, there are some who’ve the means and the need to personal one thing that helps make their music not solely sound nice however wraps them in consolation whereas doing it. That’s why headphones like Bowers & Wilkins’ PX8 exist. 

Observe that B&W presents each 007 and McClaren variations with distinctive colorways of the PX8.

Worth: $699.00
The place to purchase: Bowers & Wilkins and Amazon
Supply: The pattern of this product was offered by Bowers & Wilkins.

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