In September last year, during the presentation of new Bowers & Wilkins products, I had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Formation Flex speaker, as well as with the new PX7 and PX5 headphones. I have already written about Formation Flex, and in the last two weeks I had the opportunity to test a smaller model of top Bowers & Wilkins headphones, the PX5.
Bowers & Wilkins products are recognized by both sound and appearance. It is therefore difficult to confuse PX5 headphones with a product of another brand.
The PX5 is an over-ear headset, so it rests directly on the auricle. However, thanks to the appropriate design they allow you to enjoy music for many hours. To a large extent, this is due to the carbon fibre composite headband, which adapts very well to the size of your head. The band is covered with a nice to the touch fabric and natural goatskin. The last one is also lined with pillows. The carbon fiber of the headband and the curved fork, characteristic for Bowers & Wilkins headphones, harmonizes perfectly with the metal finish of the shell.
On the right edge there are buttons for playback control, call answering, on/off and pairing button, USB-C charging socket (it's good that manufacturers are moving away from the uncomfortable micro USB), mini jack for cable connection of headphones (included) and two microphone holes. On the edge of the left shell, on the other hand, there is a button activating various modes of active noise reduction system.
Thanks to Bluetooth 5.0, the headphones are able to store up to eight audio sources and automatically connect to the first one they detect or to the last one active. Pairing them is no problem. As is switching between devices.
The headphones detect when you take them off your head and pause playback. Playback is also pause at the moment of an incoming phone call. To receive it, press the key on the right shell.
The headphones can also be controlled via the dedicated Bowers & Wilkins Headphones application. You can use it to manage audio sources, noise reduction system modes and activate the device's firmware.
The built-in battery provides 25 hours of operation on a single charge. During the two-week tests I charged them every week. On the big plus, it is worth noting the quick charge function, which allows you to charge them in fifteen minutes enough to operate for another five hours.
The headphones are equipped with active noise reduction with an additional ambient-hear-through function, thanks to which the user is able to hear conversations and other sounds with actively cut off noise. In the Bowers & Wilkins Headphones app for iOS and Android you can set the intensity of ambient sound and noise reduction. PX5 offers three noise reduction modes: low, high and automatic. And so the low mode reduces the noise typical for offices or public places. The high noise reduction mode will be useful in an aircraft or bus. Automatic mode, on the other hand, adapts the reduction to the needs, mainly stopping the noise and background noise, without cutting the user off too much from the ambient noise. The ANC operating modes are selected with a button on the left shell.
I haven't had a chance to fly an airplane in the last two weeks, but I have tested it on a bus, train and car, as well as during tiring and noisy repairs behind the wall. In all cases, the system reduced the noise, noise, whirring of the vehicle's engine or drill, as well as the noise of conversations in public places to such an extent that they stopped being tiring and annoying.
The ANC in the PX5 has almost no effect on the sound generated by headphones, or at least I can't hear these differences. The reduction system itself does not generate any noise, buzzing, etc.
Bowers & Wilkins has got its users used to the fact that every product of this brand sounds great. It is no different in this case. The 35-millimeter speakers are responsible for sound generation. PX5 sounds warm and selective. Regardless of the musical genre and production, the bandwidth is balanced across its entire width, so that within the low, medium and high frequencies, each instrument is clear and dynamic, from double bass or bass guitars to percussion instruments (i.e. cymbals or plates). The music played in the PX5 is not only plastic, but also multidimensional with clearly defined plans. All the flavors from the background, which are not blurred by what is happening in the foreground, reach your ear. Thanks to their characteristics they are suitable for listening to music of virtually any genre.
Bowers & Wilkins PX5 headphones are a great choice for those looking for small earphones that look great, play very well and are comfortable and durable. Thanks to the active noise reduction system, which offers three modes of operation - low, high and automatic, although it is better to call it adaptive - they will allow you to enjoy the good sound of music not only at home, but also in the office or on the road. The latter mode in particular is a great solution where you still have to keep in touch with your surroundings and hear what's going on around you. On the way to work or home, for example, or on longer journeys, a quick charge will also be great, providing an extra five hours of work.
Illustrations: Bowers & Wilkins