Bowers & Wilkins PX
The new PX headphones from audio giant Bowers & Wilkins mark the company's first foray into the noise-canceling and wireless spaces. B&W's aim here was not only to encompass the benefits inherent to the noise-free headphone experience but to also incorporate some truly innovative features, class-leading audio performance, and the latest Bluetooth technology.
The new PX headphones have also been designed to enhance the overall user experience. The units feature an array of embedded sensors which are programmed to activate a variety of functions in response to user actions. Merely picking up the headphones will activate them and restart music playback. Conversely, putting the headphones down will switch them to standby automatically. Conversations or other activities can be resumed by lifting an ear cup or simply removing the headphones and placing them around the neck, actions that will pause playback automatically and then resume once the PXs are back on the ears.
At Bowers & Wilkins sound quality has always been of utmost priority and the PX features 40mm drive units that are derivatives of the ones used on the flagship P9 Signature headphones. The drive units have been angled in a similar way, a strategy that is said to expand the soundstage, with a driver suspension system preventing distortions while extending the low frequencies to further enhance music reproduction. B&W engineers went to great lengths to avoid the influence that noise-canceling circuitry can have on overall sound quality. The company has stated that listening tests were performed over thousands of hours in order to refine the NC circuitry to a level where it had no deleterious influence on PX's audio performance.
A comprehensive app has been designed to provide a host of functions including control over three dedicated adaptive noise-canceling modes (also allows firmware updates and technology improvements as they become available). A 'City' mode lets traffic noise through for road safety reasons - hearing an approaching car or bus - while 'Office' mode allows the user to engage in conversation with voices clearly coming through and 'Flight' mode aims to provide maximum blockage of ambient aircraft engine noise.
The features and technologies continue in the PX's in-built aptX Bluetooth which allows high-quality audio playback. The technology is capable of 24-bit/48kHz resolution playback while full digital audio is available via USB connection (768kHz upsampling is available too). The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are available in two finishes - Space Grey or Soft Gold - with aluminium enhancements and high-quality materials used throughout. Comfort was also a high priority for B&W with the headphones adopting elliptical ear cushions and a soft leather headband. The Bowers & Wilkins PX noise-canceling headphones are available at a retail price of $399. Info and photos by Bowers & Wilkins.