They will be loved forever.
I’ve had the privilege of being an intern at Definitive for the past two summers. The first summer, I sat down in the Bellevue showroom to listen to Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Hereon a pair of Wilson Audio Alexia Series-2 loudspeakers. It was my first experience with performance audio, and it’s currently on my list of Top 10 Coolest Life Experiences.
While I can’t afford a $60,000 pair of speakers on a college student’s budget, my listening experience was forever changed. Like so many before me, I’d caught the hi-fi bug. Performance audio is now a regular part of my daily life thanks to this year’s gift of a pair of Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless Headphones.
My PX headphones arrived at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday after a long day working on a photoshoot for Definitive’s new Vinyl of the Month program (check it out, it’s super cool). I rushed to Definitive’s Corporate Office to pick them up, and I couldn’t even make it out of the parking lot before opening the box and trying them on!
I’ve had them for two months now, and I’m still in love. As a busy college student, these headphones allow me to tune out the noise and focus on my schoolwork anywhere on campus. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel with them, which has made the airplane ride so much more pleasant.
One of my favorite features in the PX headphones is the wear sensor. When you lift one of the ear cups or take your headphones off entirely, the headphones will pause your music. If you leave them around your neck or on the table for a few minutes, the PX will go into a power saving mode. Putting them back on your head turns them back on and automatically resumes your music. You can turn this feature off in the Bowers & Wilkins app if you choose to, and control playback with the buttons on the back of the right ear cup. I’ve listened on both settings and preferred having the feature on because of the power saving mode and using the buttons to pause the music takes about a second for the music to stop playing.
The playback buttons are nicely designed for ease of use. The play/pause button is in between the volume controls and conveniently located right where my thumb naturally goes when I reach up to move my headphones. There is also a button to switch between noise canceling levels, allowing you to adapt to your environment quickly.
I was surprised the wireless range of my PX headphones. I could leave my phone upstairs while I made dinner in the kitchen and have absolutely no problems with the playback. While I can only compare the Bluetooth range to the first edition of the Apple Watch, I was pretty impressed.
How Do They Travel?
I took my headphones on my trip to Denver in September, and my headphones performed to the best of my expectations. At the touch of the button, I was able to switch between “city” to “flight” noise levels without having to dig out my phone or pause my music. This was quite helpful, because I happened to be sitting next to the engines, and without my headphones, it bordered on painful. I simply put on my headphones, and barely noticed the background noise.
The PX headphones also have incredible battery life. I arrived at SEA-TAC with about 50% battery and by the time I got to Denver they hadn’t even dropped below 40% after being in constant use.
Where Do The PX Headphones Shine?
Live recordings (Listen to: Florence + the Machine’sCosmic Love – MTV Unplugged). Maybe it’s because I’ve only listened to live recordings on $12 earbuds that I purchase from the UW bookstore (I have an unfortunate habit of sending them through the laundry), but I’ve always found live recordings to be lacking. The vocals felt pitchy and drowned out the rest of the instruments. It turns out I was just listening to them wrong.
Or The Lumineers’ Slow It Down. One of the things I’ve loved so much about this song over the years is how unpolished the song feels. The vocals were always so much louder than the guitar that just stumbled along, coming in and out. Listening to this song that I’ve known for years on the PX headphones was just a completely different experience. The song sounds so much more like a cohesive piece – you can hear the layers of the instruments. What really blows my mind is the complexity has been there the whole time, I just couldn’t hear it with my $12 headphones.
But there’s a downside, right?
There’s a break-in period. The PX headphones are a little on the heavy side, so it took about a week for me to get used to the weight. For shorter listening sessions it wasn’t a problem, and I found that wearing a hat while I listened helped take the pressure off my head those first few days.
I also wear glasses, which interfere with the seal around my ears a bit. Because the PX headphones clamp down fairly hard, this causes me some discomfort after about three hours.
The one thing I wish for? I’d love it if B&W came out with a hard protective case. Currently, the PX headphones come with a cloth travel bag and I get nervous about packing them around with a lot of stuff.
So What’s The tl;dr?
At home, on the go, doesn’t matter. Once you own the Bowers & Wilkins PX Headphones, you will find yourself listening to music more than ever before. The tl;dr is pretty simple – buy the PX and you’ll love them.
And when you find yourself looking for great music – check out this Spotify playlist I made for you.
A special thanks to Definitive for a wonderful experience and for letting me being part of an industry that continuously leaves me feeling slightly awestruck. Mostly, thank you for being so welcoming and helping me discover the world of performance audio. My listening (thankfully!) will never be the same. 🙂
University of Washington
Graduating Class of 2020