You would be forgiven if you hadn’t heard of Bowers & Wilkins, a high-end audio brand less famous for mainstream products than it is for premium equipment.
Like, US$60k premium.
However, B&W does indeed offer a range of quality products that fall in a more affordable price range. We spent a fortnight with the company’s PX noise-cancelling wireless headphones to see how they measure up against the competition.
Specifications and price
- From A$549
- Wireless (Bluetooth) listening
- Noise cancelling
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- ~20 hours wireless listening time (advertised 22)
- Available in soft gold or space grey
These headphones exude luxury. Every component, from the study metal headband to the reinforced cable, feels solid and is unlikely to break anytime soon.
The earcups are designed to encompass your entire ear so they can be worn for longer listening sessions. While the earcups are finished with a soft leather, they aren’t particularly plush, resulting in a firmer feel against your head. I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortable, just not up there with the best.
But boy, do these headphones look good. We tried out the soft gold version and they are without a doubt some of the best-looking headphones on the market.
Sound is always a subjective experience. Sure, there are clear-cut circumstances when it’s fair to say a pair of headphones has poor sound, but things get murky when you get to high-end audio. What sounds warm and pleasing to the ear for one listener may sound completely overblown and muddy to another.
Nevertheless, I do not like the sound of PXs. They lack the excitement and dynamism of something like the Bose QC 35 II or the Sennheiser Momentums – both similar priced. The sound was too ‘flat’ for my liking and they lacked the oomph I was looking for, especially when listening to house and R’n’B tracks.
However, this could be a blessing in disguise for listeners who prefer a more balanced and detailed listening experience. For example, handing the headphones to my wife, she loved the extra clarity and high-end detail in rock and acoustic tracks. I still preferred the warmth of my Bose pair for these genres, although I can understand why some may find it distracting and ‘inaccurate’.
In terms of noise cancellation, the PXs are on-par with similarly priced headsets. Outside sounds are noticeably quieter and the level of cancellation can be adjusted to suit your preference using the B&W app.
My advice? Try before you buy. Give them a listen with the genres you like and see how they sound to you.
The PXs are a tricky proposition. The widely praised Bose QC 35 II’s are $50 cheaper, more comfortable and offer crowd-pleasing sound, while the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless delivers head-pounding bass for $699.
The PXs sit in a niche for listeners who want a balanced, high-quality sounding pair of headphones without ‘artificially’ added bass.