The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 could have what it takes to dethrone the Sony WH-1000XM5

Bowers & Wilkins has revealed that it will be launching an all-new flagship headphone later this year that it says is its “most advanced noise-canceling headphone to date.” In the meantime, the British audio company has updated its popular PX7 noise-canceling headphone with the PX7 S2 on sale today (June 29).

Although we’ll be waiting a bit for their successors, the PX7 headphones have been a mainstay of our best over-ear headphones and best audiophile headphones since their launch in 2019. We loved their sound, but the all-new S2 uses upgraded custom-designed 1.7-inch (43.6mm) drive units housed in more rectangular earcups than the PX7’s oval-shaped ones. 

The all-new drive units have been repositioned and angled inside each earcup to ensure the full range of frequencies arrive at the ear at exactly the same time, which Bowers & Wilkins says results in a more immersive soundstage. 

The headphones are touted as being lighter (although the new specs claim they’re 10.8 ounces, which means they’re not significantly lighter than the model they replace) and slimmer too, with improved memory foam to encapsulate and cushion your ears for high levels of comfort no matter how long you are listening. They also support wear detection too.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 in blue and gold showing side profile on a grey background

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

B&W Music app control

Device and control integration have been upgraded and the PX7 S2 are the first of the company’s headphones to be supported by the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, offering improved connectivity, adjustable EQ, noise-canceling transparency mode, as well as showing battery charge levels.

Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity remains the same as before, offering support for SBC, AAC, and aptX Adaptive codecs — a dynamically adjustable audio codec designed to deliver robust high-quality wireless audio up to 24-bit hi-res. That’s not up to the same standards as Sony’s LDAC codec support, but the PX7 S2 does come with a 3.5mm audio jack cable for audiophile listening, and there’s USB-C charging port and cable too.

There are physical controls on each earcup and touch assistant control is also provided. Battery life remains the same at 30 hours, which is still pretty respectable, but Bowers & Wilkins doesn’t say whether this is with ANC enabled or without — by comparison Sony claims up to 40 hours overall (30 hours with ANC enabled). A 15-minute quick recharge of the PX7 S2 is said to achieve up to seven hours of playback time. 

As with its predecessor, the S2s are not sweat or water resistance rated, which means they’re not suitable as a sports headphone, and the PX7 S2s are entirely in keeping with the high-quality listening virtues as the company’s hi-fi speakers and music systems.  

On sale now for $399 / £379 / €429 from the Bowers & Wilkins website (opens in new tab) and select dealers, the PX7 S2 are available in three finishes, including blue with a gold trim, black with silver trim, and a gray version. 

Bowers & Wilkins PX8 flagship to launch later in 2022

Bowers & Wilkins plans to launch a new flagship ANC headphone called the PX8 later this year — most likely to be around September the company says. 

Details are thin at the moment, except to say that the press release says to expect a “no-holds-barred ‘reference-level’ wireless model will take Bowers & Wilkins headphones to all-new levels of premium design, luxurious materials and audio performance.” Pricing looks likely to be $549 / £499 / €599 when it arrives, but we’ll bring you further news on this exciting introduction to the company’s expanding headphone range as soon as we receive it. 

There’s a lot of heat around over-ear noise-canceling headphones right now following the launch of the Sony WH-1000XM5 ($399), and eagerly-anticipated AirPods Max that are expected to coincide with the Apple September event. So the arrival of a next-gen Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 (also priced at $399) will only make the job of choosing between one of our best over-ear headphones even harder. 

Watch this space.

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