Review: Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones


We recently had the opportunity to review a pair of the finest headphones on the market – well, according to Bowers & Wilkins that is. In order to determine the reliability and sound quality of the product in question, we took the liberty of developing our very own in-house test. BUT THIS WAS NO ORDINARY TEST. In true Ransom Note fashion we took the opportunity to use innovation and ingenuity, and here's what we came up with (pay attention at the back); we've collated a small series of reviews. Each review is based upon another member of the office playing music through the bluetooth connection to a colleague.  We even forced them on guest editor Ivan Smagghe so we could get an opinion from someone who might actually have a clue. The music may be questionable (let's face it, we're childish idjuts; it was always going to be) but the performance of the headphones may not, simple as that. So how did the Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones perform?

Ivan Smagghe

I like Autechre to test headphones. As I said the other day, it's like putting your head in the fridge instead of the oven. Autechre is very white, but they also like hip hop. Those P7 headphones are black, and so flattering that I did not shoot myself when the white straight kick came through the grime. Headphones are also about "immersion" as the "I put my Nagra microphone to my chest" dub track proved. I could almost hear something that was not in the track. That's how good they are except that the thing was in the track.

P7s are flattering (if you have an E with them on, you could head nod to terrible trance build-ups) but also accurate: classical music before Debussy is unlistenable. And you can spot a sub-bass ripped from YouTube compared to an audiophile quality file.

The P7s don't forgive. I don't either. I'm the Editor.

Kieran Delaney

Cosmo played me ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ by Whitney Houston – a song about how Whitney Houston wants to not only dance with someone, but how that person also needs to actually be in love with her. Me, personally, I really do love her. I once got caught by a busload of people singing to her music in my car. It’s such a shame she died when all she really wanted was a bath. Did you know she sang backing vocals on 'I’m Every Woman' by Chaka Khan? She was only 15. Very talented woman.

The song sounded good and the headphones were nice.

Alasdair King

Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it will necessarily sound good. Bowers & Wilkins headphones look like something straight off the set of Men In Black and that’s pretty damn cool, but do they sound good? Well, to put it simply, the proof is in the pudding. Depth in sound can be hard to find in headphones, however these deliver with energy and punch. As for clarity there is little to fault, the definition in sound is crisp and yet soft at the same time.  Finally, in regard to long term listening comfort they are light, and flexible. Highly recommended.

Malcolm Fernandes

Dexter had made it his goal to play me the lowest quality music through the highest quality headphones I have ever used (that is not a tall order though, I always buy shit headphones). Little does he know, Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, Darude, Basshunter and a 10hr looping tune that is clearly designed for Guantanamo sleep deprivation, sound SO GOOD in these headphones, the annoying element he was trying so desperately to force upon me was totally removed. Thoroughly enjoyed all the tracks, buy these headphones to turn rubbish music into sonic masterpieces.

Matt Wickings

Despite what could be described as the worst audio selection anyone could be subjected to over a ten minute period, with a trio of low quality happy hardcore mp3s beamed over from my idiot colleague's laptop, the headphones did as best a job as possible to make the experience ok. They fitted snugly on my larger than average head. The bluetooth connection was solid, and the headphones themselves gave the donk real clarity. They look sexy as well.

Dexter Marley

What can I say about these headphones apart from brilliant. Despite my boss aggressively assaulting my eardrums with not just one awful song but five at the same time. The musical hell that was being forced upon me did not dampen my view that these headphones are great. Even though my sprit has been crushed in the process.

Cosmo Godfree

Struck with the opening chords of Beethoven's Fifth, I wrongly assumed – given the nature of this sick experiment – that the track would soon reveal itself to be that appalling disco version. But no, instead I got some lovely uplifting classical music to brighten my day, Until, that is, Malcolm dropped some punishing happy hardcore over the top. Now I was truly flying on the wings of love. New layers kept being added to this sickly mix, each more infuriating than the last as we moved through experimental jazz-funk, industrial chamber choir, and of course Enya.

Despite the punishment which had already been inflicted, apparently that wasn't enough – the most testing moment came towards the end, when Malcolm turned the volume up to brutal levels. Even the new Skepta album, immediately recognisable even while buried deep beneath various layers of sonic filth, wasn't enough to cheer my mood. And then! – just when I had given up all hope of enjoying the test, everything dropped out to reveal 'Functions on the Low'. For all of three seconds. Then anticlimactic silence. Sincerely, f*ck you. Oh yeah, the headphones were excellent and I can't wait to use them to listen to some songs I actually like, ONE AT A TIME.

Ian McQuaid

I am a grumpy arsehole who insists on actually trying to work in the office, so I refused to listen to any nonsense. Instead Wil played me the new ambient album that's coming soon on Ransom Note Records which sounded as superb as ever. Good job from the headphones all round. Idk, this whole review is reading like we'll say anything to cop a free pair of headphones, which is essentially true, but these things are still very comfy and they sound dope. On the downside they're pretty massive so you've got to be comfortable walking around and letting the world know that YES I LOVE MUSIC, but seeing as we all do, that's just dandy. 

Cop the Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones HERE.

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