If you had asked me a week ago how Bowers & Wilkins could possibly improve upon its P5 and P3 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones, I would have told you, “Make an over-ear model.” As much as I love both the P5 and P3, on-ear headphones, by their very nature, sort of wear me out after a bit. Even the P3, which is about as comfortable an on-ear as I’ve ever worn. Over-ears aren’t merely more comfortable; they’re also more immersive, and usually boast larger drivers. So, really, B&W could have upped the cup size, slapped on a new name, and I would have been perfectly happy. As you may have already guessed, though, the P7 is so much more than a mere P3 or P5 all grown up.
True, the stylings are much the same. The P7 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphone draws much inspiration from the P5, with leather headband and ear pads (no word on whether or not that leather mooed or bah’d in its previous life), combined with the tidy folding earpieces of the P3. Like its predecessors, the P7 also includes a detachable cable (with remote and mic). A new dual-cavity ear cup design also improves comfort and noise isolation.
Here’s where things get really cool, though, and if you don’t mind, I’m just going to quote liberally from the press release, which says it succinctly:
With most headphones, sound quality is compromised by the way drive-units are designed. To save space, the diaphragm must perform the dual role of sound generator and suspension system. But for the P7 we have created a headphone driver that works more like the drive-unit in a hi-fi speaker, with a diaphragm focused purely on the job it’s supposed to do: generate sound.
The internal speaker baskets encasing the P7s’ drive-units are perforated with air vents covered with a resistive film. This unique design allows for precise control of the airflow from behind the drive-unit, resulting in a more uniform, piston-like movement. Plus, while the voice coil of most headphones are made from copper, the P7s’ voice coils are constructed from a lighter aluminum-copper compound. The decrease in weight means that the drive-unit can move more freely, improving high frequency dynamics.
Thankfully, you won’t have to wait long to hear the results for yourself. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphone will be available this month for $399.99.
Bowers & Wilkins