Bowers & Wilkins PX – Review

Bowers & Wilkins PX

Bowers & Wilkins PX

| Over-Ear | Bluetooth | Adaptive ANC | 40 mm Driver | 



 


🎧 We are reviewing the Bowers & Wilkins PX, the flagship Bluetooth headphone from the brand.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX features 40 mm angled dynamic drivers, a three-phased active noise cancelling system, built-in sensors, Bluetooth connection with aptX HD, SBC, AAC codecs and high-quality construction materials.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX has a logical aesthetic and design style with all their on-ear and over-ear headphones, including the Bowers & Wilkins P5 wireless, Bowers & Wilkins P7 and Bowers & Wilkins P3 series 2. The form factor presents curvy forms and the overall design will greet owners with classy, executive-business looks.

The cups of the Bowers & Wilkins PX have a metal back plate and ballistic nylon around – the brand is famous for their quality materials and robust construction, and the PX are no exception. Worth to note that the cups have an oval-shape and are not as large as many other full-sized headphones, yet the PX can be safely considered an over-ear headphone with a circumaural fit.

Bowers & Wilkins is a brand specialized in premium speakers, headphones and car audio. The Bowers & Wilkins PX is part of their catalog that includes special products such as the:

To be more precise, the brand is responsible for the car audio in high-class cars such as the McLaren Senna, 720S, 570GT, 570S and 540C; Maserati Levante, Quattroporte, Ghibli; BMW 7 Series, 6 Series GT and 5 Series and some Volvo cars.

The headband of the Bowers & Wilkins PX is solidly built with an all-metal construction and a leather + nylon finish; the headband can be smoothly stretched with stepless adjustments.

Despite being a wireless headphone, the Bowers & Wilkins PX can also be used wired through it’s 3.5mm connector and/or through the USB Type-C connection.

You can buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX in:

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Bowers & Wilkins PX Review

Tests & Scores

AF

Advanced Features

The Bowers & Wilkins PX offers advanced features such as:

  • Three-phase ANC
  • Voice Pass-Through – external sounds are enabled to be clearly heard
  • Environmental Filter – noise cancellation
  • Proximity Sensors
  • Advanced and customizable ANC modes and intensity
  • Detachable/replaceable pads with magnetic attaching system (system that can be found on the HARMAN KARDON NC, Marshall Monitor and on the Bowers & Wilkins P7, Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless, Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2, etc.)
  • Angled drivers
  • Wireless and wired mode operation
  • 6x microphones: 4x mics for ANC (2x feedforward mics and 2x feedback mics) + 2x mics for phone calls (CVC2)
  • aptX-HD Bluetooth at 24-bit
  • Up-sampling of audio up to 768Hz
  • 6 dedicated buttons/controls
  • Auto-stop playback
  • Proprietary mobile devices app to take full control of ANC and sensors settings
  • OTA firmware upgrades

The built-in sensors allow them to automatically turn on when you put them on and to enter in stand-by mode when you take them off. Moreover, the sensors will auto-pause the music when you lift one earcup or wear them around the neck


OC

Operation & Control

On the back edge of the right cup you will find all the control buttons (in order from top to bottom): volume +, play/pause, volume -, Environmental filter (ANC), Power/Bluetooth.

Middle Button:

  • A single press: Play, Pause music
  • 2x press: Skip to next song
  • 3x press: Previous song
  • 4 second press and hold while turned ON: Power off
  • Turned ON and while in standby with no music or call: 1 second press and hold activates Siri or voice commands.

Volume UP Button:

  • A single press: Volume up by 1 level

Volume Down Button:

  • A single press: Volume down by 1 level

Volume Down Button:

  • A single press: Volume down by 1 level

Environment Filter Button:

  • A single press: Turn On/Off last environment filter setting

On/Off/Bluetooth Button/Switch:

  • Slide: Turn on
  • Slide and hold: Turn off
  • Press and hold: Set to pairing mode
  • Press: Connect to Bluetooth device
  • 2x press: Disconnect from all devices (Bluetooth)

Calls Commands:

  • Middle button press: Answer/end call
  • Middle button press and hold: Reject incoming call

LED Status Light: The Bowers & Wilkins PX has a small light indicator on the bottom of the right earcup. This light will change color and/or it’s blinking pattern to inform several different status of the devices such as: Green= battery charge above 50%, Yellow= battery charge above 30% and below 50%, Red= battery charge below 30%, Red blinking= Insufficient battery left, Blue flashing= pairing mode, White= Environment Filter On.

Charging: The Bowers & Wilkins PX gets charged through it’s USB Type-C connector, a full charge takes approx. 3 hours and can provide up to 29 hours of wireless use and 50 hours of wired use.

NOTE: The PX can be used in BT wireless or wired either through the 3.5mm connector or through the USB-C connector (for audio). Wired mode can be used through the 3.5mm connection of through the USB-C connection. The USB-C connection is also used for battery charging and firmware updates. During our tests we noticed that to use the PX through the USB-C connection you need to use the original USB-C cable bundled as when we tried it with other USB-C cables from other headphones they did not worked nor got recognized by our computers.

Also it is important to note that the USB-C connection only worked with the connection made to a USB port in a computer and not with a connection from the USB-C port (on the headphone) to a 3.5mm connection on the audio source (cable with USB-C to 3.5mm connection). Additionally, it has to be highlighted that any of the wired modes will work if the battery is depleted or if the PX is turned off, this means that the unit will not work in wired mode when the battery is discharged – the battery life in wired mode is 50hs (ANC turned off)

Bowers & Wilkins PX buttons
Bowers & Wilkins PX buttons
Bowers & Wilkins PX connectors
Bowers & Wilkins PX connectors

W

Weight

Bowers & Wilkins PX weight in Ounces and Bowers & Wilkins PX weight in grams.

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A

Accessories & Packaging

The Bowers & Wilkins PX unboxing results in: 1x 3.5mm audio cable, 1x USB Type-C cable (for audio, firmware updates and battery charging), 1x soft carrying pouch.

The unit and the accessories come inside a very nice and robust packaging that perfectly protects the headphone from any damage.

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B

Bass & Sub Bass

Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC Off

The Bowers & Wilkins PX bass is well-rounded with good mid-bass punch and deep sub-bass. Neither sub-bass nor mid-bass is overly boosted nor their sound becomes boomy, yet it is sufficiently energetic as to cover any music genre without falling short of punch or depth.

Do not expect a super bassy headphone and neither a thin and anemic sound, instead you will get a full sounding bass with fairly good balance.

Applying an EQ, their lower frequencies response can be pushed for crazy deep sub-bass and fairly punchier mid-bass.

gramophone-256608.5/10

Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC On

While using the Bowers & Wilkins PX in Bluetooth on + ANC on mode, bass gets enhanced with added mid-bass punch and upper bass, making their bass better tuned for listeners enjoying a touch of extra energy and a style that gets a bit less flat and more spicy.

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3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

With BT off (3.5mm wired) and ANC off, mid-bass and sub-bass get a bit more intense providing some additional amount of punch and depth in comparison to BT on + ANC on and a bass style very similar to BT On + ANC Off.

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USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

In USB wired + ANC off mode, their lower frequencies show punchy mid-bass but sound a bit bouncy while sub-bass exhibits loss of depth in comparison to BT on + ANC off mode.

gramophone-256607.75/10

Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

On this mode, their mid and upper bass gets boosted starting to get out of control and stepping over their sound signature.

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USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

Their bass becomes very alive and energetic but also less controlled, also mid-bass becomes punchier.

Expect a bass response inline with BT on + ANC on mode.

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Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

M

Mids & Vocals

Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC Off

The mids of the Bowers & Wilkins PX are warm with a pinch of mid-bass bleed that gives a full-bodied and cozy feel to their overall mids but that it is not excessively strong as to add disturbing congestion or smash their lower mids.

Male vocals are relaxed but not very distant while their upper midrange is not forward nor aggressive but neither excessively recessed.

Their mids offer a friendly and cozy sound that, still, does not get muddy. Their mids can grant long lasting listening sessions without harsh peaks.

An EQ can noticeably reduce congestion on lower mids and male vocals adding up a cleaner and more alive sound while also squeezing crispness on their upper mids

gramophone-256608.25/10

Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC On

On BT on + ANC on mode, there is a noticeable increment of their warmth that also adds mid-bass bleed intensity, resulting in a more congested sound.

On the other hand, their upper midrange gets a bit crispier.

If you prefer warmer sound and fuller vocals but do not care much about the additional congestion (not extremely stronger), this mode will be your choice. Honestly, their mids in this mode is the kind of mids that many average consumers enjoy.

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3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

Mids sound nearly identical as on BT on + ANC off mode but with double the output power.

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Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

On USB wired + ANC off mode, there is nearly zero mid-bass bleed, very alive vocals that extend from their male vocals up to their female vocals and higher mids that sound crisp and clear but not harsh.

gramophone-256608.5/10

3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

While wired with it’s 3.5mm connection and with ANC on, their male vocals and general lower mids get dialed down but their mid-bass remains as strong as on 3.5mm + ANC off mode; resulting in a much more congested and warmer sound (but overdone) and showing loss in their upper midrange crispness.

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USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

On this mode, there is stronger mid-bass bleed with higher congestion on lower mids and an overall warmer sound.

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Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

H

Highs & Treble

Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC Off

The highs of the Bowers & Wilkins PX offer sufficient brightness and resolve a fair amount of detail for normal listening sessions.

Their highs have a darkish tint but are not overly rolled-off, at the same time their peaks never get piercing and almost-impossibly sibilant.

These are not a pair of headphones for trebleheads and audiophiles who look for very bright and highly-detailed highs but are a headphone that will be appreciated by listeners looking for a non-fatiguing sound that, still, can offer sufficient brightness and detail.

An EQ reveals a huge amount of additional detail and can push their highs into a bright sounding style. If done right, their highs can show a radical improvement in this audio range.

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Wireless – Bluetooth On – ANC On

The additional warming up of their sound signature and extra mid-bass added in this mode, also affects their highs, giving them a more congested and muddy sound with a significant loss of brightness and detail.

Like with their mids, this congestion is not extreme but it is noticeable.

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3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

On this mode, the sound style of the highs and treble follow the tendency of BT on + ANC off mode but with a, somewhat, warmer sound.

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Bowers & Wilkins PX headband
Bowers & Wilkins PX headband

USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC Off

In USB wired + ANC off mode, the Bowers & Wilkins PX showed good brightness and fair detail. Do not expect a super bright and forward sounding headphone but will still be far from being dark and lacking detail.

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3.5mm Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

As mentioned on the Bass & Sub-bass section, while used on this mode, their mid and upper bass get stronger, this also affect their highs. Their highs and treble will now transform into a dark sounding style with only a “brightish” tint and a signficantly congested sound.

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USB Wired – Bluetooth Off – ANC On

In USB wired + ANC on mode, their highs become congested and much darker than on USB +ANC off mode.

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Bowers & Wilkins PX metal plate
Bowers & Wilkins PX metal plate

SL

Sound Leak

The sound leaking out of the Bowers and Wilkins PX was somewhat lower than on many average headphones but are far from being totally inaudible – when you crank far up the volume.

Nonetheless, their leakage levels will never be an issue on normally noisy situations or daily commuting.

gramophone-256607.5/10

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SI

Sound Isolation

The passive sound isolation of the Bowers & Wilkins PX is impressive with an efficiency so strong that could even give the impression of having their noise cancelling turned on.

The Active Noise Cancellation of the Bowers & Wilkins PX is a three-phase ANC system that the brand calls Environment Filter. This system includes noise-cancelling and voice pass-through technology with 3 main modes: office mode, city mode and flight mode. Each mode can be manually adjusted from Off to Natural and up to Amplified (through their in-app slider setting under the “Voice Pass-through” menu). Office mode: reduce background chat and office noises but have awareness of nearby discussions. City: reduce city chaotic noises but have awareness of your surrounding. Flight: Reduce cabin sounds and cancel engine noises.

We have tested every single ANC mode and each one in their 4 main settings: Default, Off, Natural, Amplified.

The tests revealed an incredibly efficient active noise cancellation, achieving a maximum ranging from -33dB to -31.2dB in all modes while set to OFF level – yet the cancellation across all the frequencies was different in each mode.

The most efficient noise cancellation across the whole spectrum were: City and Flight modes on the OFF setting (flight mode off and default are the same), these offered a whopping maximum of -32dB at @2K, -29.2dB @660Hz, -29.9dB @500Hz and [email protected] – jaw dropping performance regarding the amount of reduction and the consistent amount spread along the audio spectrum.

The Amplified setting is meant to boost certain frequencies to have a better awareness, the most extreme of the modes was Office mode (Amplified setting) which even boosted +5.7dB @660Hz, [email protected], for example.

Another surprising revelation was that comparing each mode at the same setting (Off, Natural, Amplified) did not presented the same noise reduction/amplification. Each one offers a specific combination of reduction/boosting to provide the best usability in the situation meant to be used (City= city use, Office= office use, Flight= flight use).

This means that users have at least 11 very different combinations of active noise cancelling + “amplification” – and countless in-between optional steps (due to the customizable in-between levels available with the slider, in-app)

Bowers & Wilkins PX Active Noise Cancelling Measurements:
• OFFICE OFF: [email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• OFFICE default: [email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• OFFICE Natural:+2db less reduction than default
• Office amplified: [email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]

• City Off:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• City default:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• City natural:+2db less reduction than default
• City amplified:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]

• Flight Off:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• Flight default: setting=off
• Flight natural:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]
• Flight amplified:[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]/[email protected]

gramophone-2566010/10

RELATED TO THIS: Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviews

Bowers & Wilkins PX cups
Bowers & Wilkins PX cups

C

Comfort

The Bowers and Wilkins PX has gained some notoriety for some comfort issues. Truly, we find their pads beautifully built with leather, good padding and deep cups but we understand where the complaints are coming from.

From a premium headphone that is priced at nearly $400, users might expect to get a better headband padding, their headband is very robust (all-metal structure) and nicely finished with fabric on the upper section and leather on the inner section that gets in contact with the head but the issue comes from the conservative amount of padding inside. This headband padding design, combined with the fact that it is a full-sized, over-ear headphone with a substantial weight can result in some fatigue on the upper head after long listening sessions.

Once again, we find that this is something to be criticized only according to it’s price range, if they were a cheaper priced headphone we would not had considered their headband padding to be an issue.

Another issue reported by some users were related to pairing, some quick fixes for common errors are: Be sure to turn on Bluetooth in your device and on the headphone (of course) but be also sure to activate the location setting in your device (in android), as the PX app requires them both to pair with the unit.

If having issues pairing to personal computers after several tries, you can remove the right earpad where you will see a “Restart” pin-hole button, press it to reset the unit and retry. If you still have issues with computers but are able to pair it to your smartphone, tablet, iPhone or iPad, open the app after pairing and go to the Reset option (in-app) and proceed to reset the headphone.

gramophone-256608.75/10

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Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

EQ

Response to Equalization

The response to EQ of the Bowers and Wilkins PX showed different results according to the mode being used.

The most efficient response was while used with Bluetooth turned on and ANC turned off, showing vast improvement overall with cleaner vocals and lower mids, brighter and more detailed highs.

The least efficient response to EQ was seen while using it in wired 3.5mm mode with ANC turned on.

gramophone-256609.5/10

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SF

Size & Fit

Bowers & Wilkins PX size and Bowers & Wilkins PX fit.

Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Bowers & Wilkins PX

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Scores Scores

Bowers & Wilkins PX Scores

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App

App

Bowers & Wilkins has a proprietary app for smartphones and tablets that unleashes the true customization of the Bowers & Wilkins PX.

The app grants access to the full control of it’s three-phased active noise cancelling system, sensors sensitivity, control of proximity and wear sensor, precise battery level readings and firmware upgrades.


Frequency Response (raw)

Bowers & Wilkins PX Frequency Response Curve

Bowers & Wilkins PX frequency response curve
Bowers & Wilkins PX frequency response curve

Red= 3.5mm+ANC off; Green= 3.5mm + ANC on; Blue= USB + ANC off; Yellow= USB + ANC on; Acquamarine= Bluetooth + ANC on

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Bowers & Wilkins PX Technical Specifications

Specifications

Type Dynamic + Bluetooth
Driver Unit Angled 40mm
Sensitivity 110dB/mW
Disortion THD <00.3% (1kHz/10mW)
Impedance 22 ohms
Frequency Response 10-20,000Hz
Battery Life 22 hours BT+ANC

29 hours BT + ANC OFF

33 hours Wired + ANC

50 hours Wired + ANC off

Bluetooth codecs aptX HD, SBS, AAC
Battery 850mAh
Cord Length 0.8m
Plug USB-C, 3.5mm
Weight Approx. 335g
Supplied Accessories 3.5mm cable; USB Type C cable; soft pouch

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FAQ

Bowers & Wilkins PX FAQ

How many drivers does the Bowers & Wilkins PX have?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is a single driver headphone. Which means that the Bowers & Wilkins PX has 1 driver per side.

What type of headphone is the Bowers & Wilkins PX?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is an over-ear headphone.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is an open, semi-open or closed back headphone?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is a closed back headphone.

 Does the Bowers & Wilkins PX have a microphone?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX have a microphone and a remote.

What is the price of the Bowers & Wilkins PX?

You can check the most up-to-date price of the Bowers & Wilkins PX here.

Where can I buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX?

You can buy the Bowers & Wilkins PX at: Amazon

Which Bowers & Wilkins PX colors are available?

The colors available for the Bowers & Wilkins PX are: space gray, soft gold

What cable do the Bowers & Wilkins PX have?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX have a detachable, single-sided, round cable.

What cable connection does the Bowers & Wilkins PX have?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX cable connection has a 3.5mm mini stereo plug.

Are there replacement cables for the Bowers & Wilkins PX ?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX cables can be replaced with compatible 3.5mm replacement cables.

Are there upgrade cables for the Bowers & Wilkins PX ?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX uses 3.5mm cables which are very popular standard cables. You can buy any cable with a 3.5mm connector to upgrade the cable.

Does the Bowers & Wilkins PX have Bluetooth / The Bowers & Wilkins PX is a wireless headphone?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is a Bluetooth wireless headphone.

Is the Bowers & Wilkins PX compatible with Apple devices?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is fully compatible with Apple devices.

Is the Bowers & Wilkins PX compatible with Android devices?

The Bowers & Wilkins PX is fully compatible with Android devices.

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Photos

Bowers & Wilkins PX Photos

DISCLAIMER
We highly discourage anyone from trying to apply our testings to your own earphones, the risk of damaging or permanently breaking your iems is absolutely probable to happen. With our standardized equalization and amplification tests we push the limits of the earphones to the extreme. If anyway you decide to do so, we cannot be held responsible of the damage done to your equipment. Do it at your own risk.

Bowers & Wilkins PX

9

SCORE

9.0/10


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