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The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Big, Big Sound

We review Bowers & Wilkin’s newest noise-canceling headphones.

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Chandler Bondurant

Brand: Bowers & Wilkins
Product: PX7 Noise-Canceling Headphones
Release Date: October 2019
Price: $399
From: amazon.com

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are the company’s new flagship noise-canceling headphones. They are essentially upgraded, redesigned versions of the B&W PX headphones, which we reviewed two years ago and loved for their industrial design and epic soundstage. The new models are lighter thanks to a carbon fiber design, and they now support USB-C fast charging. They cost the same, however, which is a fairly hefty $400 and puts them in the same price range as the new Bose Headphones 700.

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What We Like

There’s a lot to like about the Bowers & Wilkins PX7. They’re noticeably more comfortable to wear than the original PX headphones, thanks to their lighter design and more rounded earcup design. And they’re easier to control your music and the noise-cancellation because the physical buttons on the side of each earcup are more pronounced (and more clicky). On the left earcup, you can switch between four strengths of noise-cancellation (low, medium, high and off), with a subtle voice telling you which mode you’ve just switched to. On the right earcup, there are buttons to turn the volume up or down, as well as play/pause the music. There are optical sensors in the earcups so they’ll automatically play/pause when you put on and take off the headphones, just like AirPods.

The sound quality of the PX7 is, once again, the main reason to get these headphones — they sound exceptional. As was true with Bowers & Wilkins’s previous noise-canceling headphones, the PX7s create a very wide soundstage, more than any other noise-canceling headphones that I’ve tested. It feels like you’re in a concert hall listening to a live show, as you can hear all the instruments, where they were placed on the stage, and the vocals are crisp and clear.

According to Bowers & Wilkins, these are also the first headphones that support Qualcomm’s new Bluetooth aptX Adaptive technology, which allows them to wirelessly stream 24-bit/48kHz high-resolution audio with extremely low latency. So in addition to sounding excellent, the PX7s are designed to especially have zero lag, which is ideal for smartphone games and Netflix bingers.

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Watch Out For

Bowers and Wilkins’s newest noise-canceling headphones aren’t the most travel-friendly. They aren’t completely foldable like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, although they do fold flat, and the rigidness of the headband and the size of the earcups — they’re rather large — means that you probably are going to treat them on the precious side. There’s also no app to adjust the EQ settings, which a lot of people tend to like (few people want another app on their smartphone), but it means you can’t adjust the sound signature if you don’t like it. Finally, $400 is undoubtedly on the expensive side.

Other Options

If you love the design and sound of the PX7 but aren’t a big fan of over-ear headphones, the company actually makes an on-ear version of these noise-canceling headphones: the B&W PX5 ($299). They’re a $100 cheaper and almost as good as the PX7, although the noise-cancellation isn’t as impressive and they don’t sound quite as good (the PX7 have larger speaker drivers than the PX5).

In terms of the style, sound quality and price, the two obvious alternatives are Bose’s new noise-canceling headphones, the Headphones 700 ($399), and Sennheiser’s new noise-canceling headphones, the Momentum Wireless 3 ($400).

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Verdict

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7s are excellent noise-canceling headphones that prioritize sound quality over everything else, with maybe the company’s signature industrial design coming a close second. They might not be as travel-friendly as some of the more popular cans by Sony and Bose, but if you’re comfortable with the $400 price tag, these are some of our favorite noise-canceling headphones you can buy right now.

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Bowers & Wilkins provided this product for review.

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