Stainless steel, brushed aluminum, and sheepskin leather come together to form Bowers & Wilkins' top set of headphones, the over-ear P7's.
We've mentioned in pervious reviews - Bowers & Wilkins, or B&W as they're generally referred to, have been around since 1966 making high-end audio equipment. Back then, it was John Bowers and his buddy Roy Wilkins, handcrafting speakers in the back of an electronics shop. They're a British company, based in Worthing, England (West Sussex) - and really, if you aren't already familiar with B&W, you probably aren't an audio enthusiast.
In the Box
B&W's packaging is satin black, featuring a photo of the P7 headphones, silver lettering, and a tab to hang the box at the retail store. Inside, foam and a molded seat for the P7s hold everything in place. There is a manual, and a leather carrying case for the headphones. The case features a stitched pattern and a magnetic closing lid with the Bowers & Wilkins name stamped on it. The P7s fit well, although additional pieces such as the 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter (included) could easily fall out - the case isn't sealed.
The headphones come with a cable attached with iPod controls and a microphone built in, and in the box is a separate cable without those controls and mic.
Superb quality is synonymous with the Bowers & Wilkins name. The P7s don't disappoint, with soft genuine sheepskin leather wrapped around stainless steel and brushed aluminum accents. They feel hefty in the hand, but were the most comfortable headphones I've used in a long while. These are over-ear headphones - and the dual-cavity cushions in the cans allow for a fit which you barely notice is on your ears. I wore these on a long plane flight without needing to remove them once - a first for me.
There's a noticeable attention to detail in the P7's design. The materials are top notch, and perfectly crafted. At $400 you expect that from a pair of headphones, and B&W delivers. No plastic or vinyl here.
The P7 headphones are easy to bring anywhere. They fold up into a crescent, and fit easily and quickly in the included leather carrying bag. I tossed it in my carry-on and had no issues at all. The folding action is simple and makes sense. I've had issues with other headphones trying to fold this way or that, but the P7s seem to know where to go and fold first time, every time. A little thing, but an appreciated one.
B&W touts the P7 drivers as "speaker inspired." The brushed steel grate certainly lends to that idea, and the sound matches the rest of the headphones - brilliant and well thought-out. I love over-ear headphones for their ability to fully put you in the music you're listening to, and the clarity and immersion from the P7s is great.
Bass is full and punchy, vocals sound crystal clear, and the whole frequency range mixes cleanly. I hear things in songs I don't hear in other sets of headphones - small nuances lost in lesser systems.
Really, the P7s are an incredible listening experience.
Price / Conclusion
You can pick up the P7 headphones at Apple.com for $399.95, although their shipping states 2-3 weeks. These are definitely audiophile quality, and you pay for it.
We don't have a set of P7s to give away, but Bowers & Wilkins has provided us with a set of their $299.95 P5 mobile headphones to give away (see our previous review of the P5s here)! Use the widget below to get entries into the raffle giveaway!
We're giving the P7 a 5 leaves rating. Easy portability, incredible sound, and great comfort make them a brilliant headliner to Bowers & Wilkins' headphones line.