Bow­ers & Wilkins PX

FOR De­tailed sound; im­pres­sive noise-can­celling; good bat­tery life; fine build AGAINST Noth­ing at this price

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Wireless Noise-cancelling Headphones -

ver since Bow­ers & Wilkins’ first head­phones ar­rived in 2009, the com­pany hasn’t looked back. These PXS – the com­pany’s first wire­less head­phones with built-in noisecancelling – are the lat­est in a long line. Con­structed pre­dom­i­nantly from light­weight alu­minium and us­ing what B&W calls a “bal­lis­tic ny­lon shell” to cover the outer earpads and the top of the head­band, the PXS feel solid yet por­ta­ble. Sub­tle de­tails, such as the way ca­bles run down chan­nels into each ear­piece, the smooth ro­ta­tion of the earpads, and even the tex­ture of the B&W lo­gos all give the im­pres­sion of a qual­ity prod­uct. The el­lip­ti­cal earpads are quite nar­row com­pared with those on some ri­vals, but once in place they cre­ate an ex­cel­lent seal from the out­side world. You can’t com­pletely fold them; in­stead, the earpads go flat so you can slide them into the carry pouch. Pull away the mag­netic pads and you get a bet­ter idea of the PX driver de­sign. They use a 40mm full-range driver, based on tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped for B&W’S high-end P9 Sig­na­ture head­phones. Like the P9s, the driv­ers in­side the PXS are an­gled to fire di­rectly into your ears. B&W claims this helps you get more of a tra­di­tional stereo im­age.

A right pair­ing

Pair­ing is achieved through the slider on the right ear­piece. A row of but­tons con­trols vol­ume and play­back. The mid­dle play/pause but­ton has a slight bump to help you feel your way around.

There is no au­to­matic test tone or mea­sure­ment-tak­ing as with the Sony WH-1000XM3’S, but fire up the B&W Head­phone app and you can fine-tune the PXS’ En­vi­ron­ment Fil­ters. La­belled Of­fice, City and Flight, each one tweaks the noise-can­celling and amount of ex­ter­nal au­dio al­lowed through. It’s sim­i­lar to the Sony app, but that switches modes au­to­mat­i­cally, de­pend­ing on your ac­tiv­ity, whereas the PXS’ re­quires a man­ual switch.

B&W has used prox­im­ity sen­sors to su­per­charge the PXS' user ex­pe­ri­ence. Lift the head­phones off your head and the mu­sic pauses au­to­mat­i­cally. Put them back on and the mu­sic kicks back in. Lift­ing one of the earpads pauses the mu­sic, which is ideal if you need to have a quick chat with a work col­league. It’s a smart and neatly ex­e­cuted fea­ture that helps the PXS stand out from the crowd.

Dif­fer­ent an­gle

With noise-can­celling, the B&WS do a great job of cut­ting out of­fice chat­ter and the drone of your daily com­mute. And for their trans­parency, de­tail and an even tonal bal­ance, you won’t be dis­ap­pointed ei­ther. It's an ap­peal­ing pre­sen­ta­tion, with mu­sic sound­ing as though it’s com­ing at you head-on rather from the sides, which seems to val­i­date the de­sign of those an­gled driv­ers.

The B&WS fol­low the melan­cholic melody of Linkin Park’s Leave Out All

The Rest with ex­pert pre­ci­sion. The shift from frag­ile and emo­tional verse to ex­plo­sive cho­rus is de­liv­ered with both fi­nesse and pur­pose. The big bass kick that hugs the track has a nice heft to it, with­out over­pow­er­ing the track, and the amount of punch and pre­ci­sion en­sure an im­pec­ca­ble sense of tim­ing.

The qual­ity of the PXS only en­hances B&W’S rep­u­ta­tion. Ex­cel­lent wire­less sound qual­ity, de­cent noise-can­celling and a re­ward­ing user ex­pe­ri­ence make the PXS a fan­tas­tic au­dio pack­age.

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