The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are high-end wireless HiFi headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) from the well-known audio manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins. Designed for music lovers, this premium model aims to create the ultimate listening experience. The model is also versatile because you can use it to make calls or conduct a video conference. In September 2022, our fellow editor Thibault already reviewed the Px7 S2. You can still read his review on it.
The first thing you notice about the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is its clean, modern design. The headphones have a high-quality construction with soft leather, oval ear cushions and a lightweight frame for long-wearing comfort. The adjustable headband ensures a good fit for any head size. The oval ear cushions mold to the contours of the ear for optimum sound isolation.
The wireless connectivity is seamless and easy to set up. The Px8 supports Bluetooth 5.2 and can be connected to any compatible device. The connection is stable and the music transfer without interruptions. The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 uses aptX Adaptive wireless technology and powerful Digital Signal Processing to ensure excellent 24-bit high-resolution sound quality. The intuitive control panel on the side of the ear cup makes it easy to play, pause, adjust volume and answer phone calls
The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 has excellent active noise reduction technology that reduces distracting outside noise. Px8’s proprietary Bowers & Wilkins optimized noise reduction technology ensures excellent performance without affecting musicality. Six microphones work together to deliver the best results. Both for noise reduction and for clear telephone conversations. This means that the listener can fully concentrate on the music, without distractions. The ANC function is adjustable via the Bowers & Wilkins companion app, also known as the Bowers & Wilkins Music app, where you can also adjust the timbre and access other useful functions.
- Hybrid noise reduction;
- Ambient transit;
- Wear Detection Sensor;
- Bluetooth-audio – Bluetooth 5.2 met aptX Adaptive;
- USB -C opladen & audio-interface;
- Wearing style: Bluetooth wireless over-ear headphones;
- Bluetooth-codecs: aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX AAC + SBC;
- Bluetooth profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, BLE GATT (Generic Attribute Profile);
- Luidsprekers: 2 x ø 40 mm dynamische full-range custom carbon cone;
- Microphones: 4 microphones for ANC and 2 microphones for telephony;
- Distortion: < 0.1% (1 kHz/10 mW);
- Battery Type: Rechargeable Lithium-Ion;
- Battery life: 30 hours of playback with ANC;
- Charging: USB-C;Charging time: 2 hours full =>
- 15 min loading time for 7 hours playing time;
- Inputs: Bluetooth, USB-C Audio;Dimensions
- gen (carrying case): 189mm (w) x 63mm (d) x 233mm (h);
- Weight: 320 grams (without carrying case);
- Accessories in the box: 1.2 m USB-C to 3.5 mm stereo jack audio cable, 1.2 m USB-C to USB-C cable and carrying case.
I do the test on 3 different points.
- Connectivity: How easily do I connect to another device?
- Ease of use: How do I use the headphones, turn them up louder, start a phone call, …
- Sound and voice quality: How do I hear music and phone calls? How do you hear me?
Connecting to a phone or laptop happens almost automatically. Download the accompanying app and you can still change various settings. Connecting with 2 devices is also no problem! The app appears to be stable in use. The wearing detection ensures that the music stops when you take the headphones off and restarts when you put them back on. There are three sensitivity levels. It is good to test this out because strong movements sometimes cause the music to stop unexpectedly. The system works fine if you sit quietly and take off your headphones. If you are going to walk, it is best to turn off the carrying detection. On the positive side, the Px8’s structure has low resonance and handles vibrations from footsteps very well.
ease of operation
First and foremost: I like physical buttons. The Px8 doesn’t support swipe and tap gestures like many new wireless headphones. Instead, they have physical buttons for playback controls. Blessed! They work as they should and do not disturb.
There is wonderfully soft nappa leather on the headband, ear cups and ear cushions. This feels very nice. The Px8 comes in 2 colors: black and brown. They both look good. The arm construction of cast aluminum is beautifully finished and very precisely designed. However, unlike some rivals, all this premium luxury doesn’t add much to the weight (320 grams). This reasonable weight, together with the well-shaped headband and nicely designed oval ear cushions, results in pleasant comfort. Even with prolonged use.
Sound and voice quality
The sound quality of the Px8 is great. The sound is crystal clear, detailed and well balanced. The bass is rich and full, while the treble is just right. The adaptive and active noise reduction works flawlessly. The 2 built-in microphones for speech deliver perfect quality.
I have used the Px8 for both phone calls (via smartphone) and via PC for Teams and Zoom meetings. All my correspondents and people who took part in the various meetings confirmed to me that the speech quality was perfect.
But above all, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 are high-end HiFi headphones. The big difference with the Px7 is in the diaphragms that are made of biocellulose and resin on the Px7. With the Px8 these are made of woven carbon fiber. That is the same material used in the tweeter of the Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 speaker series. This makes the diaphragm both light and stiff. And you hear that!
You get the best possible sound via Bluetooth with the aptX adaptive codec. However, only the Android users have an advantage here, as the Apple users have to make do with AAC (sorry Apple). However, that is still better than the standard codec for Bluetooth (SBC).
The performance of the Px8 is better than competing but cheaper alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM5 or the new Sennheiser Momentum 4 in almost every area. There’s also more clarity and precision than the Apple AirPods Max.
When listening to ‘Endroll’ from the movie ‘The Last Emperor’, for which Ryuichi Sakamoto is responsible for the beautiful music and the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Dirk Brossé for the beautiful performance, you will hear the top quality of the Px8. The music sounds full and takes you along without any problem. The ANC also ensures that you do not perceive any disturbing noises from outside!
Then something classical: Symphony No.3, Op. 36 II by Henryk Górecki by the London Sinfonietta. This piece tolerates some volume to bring out Dawn Upshaw’s beautiful voice to its fullest. I’m slowly falling in love with these headphones… Beautiful! Then Coldplay, Always In My Head from their Ghost Stories CD in FLAC format. As with a previous test, Will Champion’s subtle percussion and rhythm work sounds crystal clear. What a blissful experience this Px8 is.
To conclude ‘Through the Night Mist’ from a recent CD by Vangelis Nocturne (2019). No better music for a headphone to demonstrate its full spectrum than the digital synthesizer tones of the recently deceased master.
The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is an excellent combination of incredible sound quality, high-quality construction and smart features. The price range of 699 euros may seem excessive to some. However, I can say hand on heart that the Px8 from Bowers & Wilkins is worth every penny. If superior clarity and depth are not so high on your wish list, another, cheaper model is of course a better option.
When you go for superior sound quality, there is no better wireless headphone in this price range. If you use it professionally, the excellent voice quality is a welcome extra that also makes it perfectly tax-deductible. And that also saves a sip on the drink!
- Hassle-free setup via Bluetooth 5.2
- Luxurious finish and comfortable use for a long time
- Exceptional audio fidelity and clarity in music reproduction & perfect wireless performance
- Perfect voice quality via the 2 built-in microphones
- Perfect wireless performance