Expert review of the Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature
- The sound is dynamic, lively and realistic.
- Thanks to the wide frequency range from 2 to 30,000 Hertz, very low tones are audible.
- You can replace the ear pads.
- 3 different audio cables are included.
- The operation in the cable is optimized for Apple and does not work with Android.
- The soft cover offers little protection.
In the box is a protective cover, manual, 6.3 millimeter adapter and three audio cables. 2 cables are universal and therefore do not have a remote control. One universal cable has a normal length of 1.2 meters and the other is suitable for home use with a length of 5 meters. The third audio cable has a remote control that switches between music tracks and accepts telephone calls. I find it disappointing that the protective cover is soft. A hard case had better protection, which is desirable with such a pricey headphones.
The sound, part I: high and low tones
I had expected a balanced sound, but during the test I noticed that low tones clearly have the upper hand on the P9. The frequency range is from 2 to 30,000 Hertz. With most headphones, the lower limit is 20 instead of 2. Because of this, very low tones are not always audible. This is the case with the P9. Even extremely low tones are displayed and still tight and defined as well. High, normally sharp tones such as the voice of Adele and the trumpet of Kyteman appear less high and shrill than I am used to from other headphones. Personally, I like this, because very high tones sound less annoying. In classical music, I find the high sound of stringed instruments less disturbing than normal. Despite the fact that the high tones are less prominent, they sound full of detail.
The sound, part II: dynamics and stereo image
As far as the dynamic range is concerned, the P9 stands head and shoulders above other headphones that I've tested. Transitions from intimate intros to bombastic refrains come out well. This gives the music a lot of charge. The stereo image also leaves a big impression on me. When I listen to a live album from Amy Winehouse, I feel like I am present at the concert. The music wanders from the left auricle to the right and back to the left again. While the music sounds from the left auricle, I hear someone on the right coughing as if he is really sitting next to me. Perhaps this has to do with the drivers that lie flat at an angle of 15 degrees instead of flat. The goal: to create a natural listening experience. As far as I am concerned, a successful mission. Bowers & Wilkins himself indicates that the sound will sound even better if the headphones are played for 50 hours.
Materials and wearing comfort
The headband and ear cushions are made of durable leather type Saffiano. You can detach the ear cushions and replace them if they are worn out. The metal housing gives the Bowers and Wilkins headphones a luxurious look and the necessary firmness. He feels solid, but also heavy and stiff at the same time. The headphones weighs 415 grams a lot more than the average headphones. In comparison, the Bowers & Wilkins P7 weighs 290 grams. The P9 feels both heavy in your hands and on your head. The pillows pinch, so I got pain in my ears after 2 hours. Bowers & Wilkins itself indicates that the headset will sit more comfortable after long use, because the memory foam will form to the contours of your head.
Of the 3 supplied cables, 1 cable has a remote control. This switches between numbers, you determine the volume and you accept incoming calls. Thanks to the internal microphone, you call hands-free. The 3 button remote is optimized for Apple and unfortunately does not work with Android. So you can only use it fully with your iPhone, iPad or iPod. To disconnect the cable, first loosen the left ear pad from the shell. This is easy. I have the feeling that the cable is less likely to be pulled out due to this construction and is less likely to be damaged.
Is the Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature worth your money? In terms of sound 100%. It sounds dynamic, lively and realistic. The bass is very present, which I find pleasant. The P9 is made of high quality materials, such as Saffiano leather and metal. However, these durable materials do not necessarily benefit the wearing comfort. With a weight of 415 grams the headphones are heavy. He also feels stiff. You are constantly aware that you are wearing headphones. However, I am pleased with the number of audio cables that are included. Certainly a cable of 5 meters is a pleasant addition because an extension cable becomes redundant. Finally, you can enjoy the B & W P9 for a long time thanks to the replaceable ear cushions. All in all, the P9 is a high-quality hi-fi headphones that are mainly made for short listening sessions at home.