If you’ve been in the shop lately, you probably noticed that we have an admirable selection of headphones. There are many brands and models to choose from including over the ear, in-ear. There are high-fidelity planar magnetic designs, and advanced noise cancelling wireless. We also have dedicated headphone amplifiers to drive some of them, and DAC’s to enhance the sound.

In future posts we’ll be discussing some of the benefits and features in the models we carry, but today we are going to share some unique features of one of our best selling in-ear models ideal for travelers.

The Bowers & Wilkins PI7

In-ear headphones are a marvel of design, packing power, sound clarity, and many advanced functions inside a tiny package that fits right inside your ears. Their small size and internal batteries make them ideal for enjoying music and other entertainment when traveling.

If you own a smartphone a pair of in-ear headphones probably came with the device. They probably produce mediocre sound and offer little to no functionality.

The Bowers and Wilkins PI7 is one of the best examples of a premiere loudspeaker manufacturer translating their years of success and technological advances into portable sound. If you want accurate sound reproduction, long battery life, and a great user experience there is no better choice than the PI7.

Phenomenal Sound

The rated frequency response is 10Hz to 20kHz (no tolerance given). There are two drivers inside each earbud: A 9.2mm drive unit and a high-frequency, balanced-armature driver. If you’re unfamiliar with that technology, a balanced-armature architecture relies on an electrical signal to vibrate a small reed or paddle thousands of times per second. The reed is balanced between two magnets, hence the name. Armature drivers are small and light and similar to a multi-driver loudspeaker design, can be tuned to handle a different range of frequencies.

There is a dedicated amplifier on each of the four total drive units in the earbuds ensuring exceptional control, superlative dynamics and deep, accurate bass.

Tapping the side of each earbud performs specific functions:

  • Pressing and holding your finger on the left-hand earbud for one second will toggle noise cancelling and give you a distinctive tone to confirm.
  • Pressing and holding the right-hand bud for one second will activate your smart device’s voice assistant.
  • With music playing, a single tap toggles play/pause, a double tap advances to the next track, and a triple tap goes to the previous track.
  • During a phone call, the function switches to an answer/hang-up toggle. Volume control is handled by the source device.
Bowers PI7 with case

Many Ways to Stay Connected

The most common way for travelers to connect the PI7 to their handheld device is with Bluetooth 5.0. Every modern device supports this simple connection method.

The PI7’s enjoys broad codec support, including SBC, AAC, and Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec. Apple’s AAC codec delivers audio in 16-bit resolution and a 44kHz sampling rate. Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive codec supports wireless high-res music playback to your PI7 at up to 24-bit resolution and 48kHz sampling rates from sources that support the codec. AptX Adaptive is backward compatible with aptX Classic and aptX HD.

Stunning Music Reproduction

Musical presentation is nothing short of amazing, unusually so for a pair of true wireless headphones. Music playback is rich, dynamic, detailed, and engaging. PI7 headphones create a defined, layered soundstage with instruments and vocals placed firmly in space and time.

The PI7 beautifully renders voices and instruments. Bass lines are deep and tight, with vocals cleanly presented and layered in front of the instrumental soundstage.

Like Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers, expect accurate and transparent sound, with excellent treble and midrange representation with a controlled bass. Some headphone manufacturers seem to like extra boost, which often tends to bass bloat. Not so with the PI7.

Then, there is the case

Many in-ear headphones offer integrated battery that transforms the case from merely storage and protection to charging station. When you store the PI7’s they recharge; when you get home your plug in to charge the case and the PI7’s (the ProCase supports both USB-C and wireless charging). This innovation allows for longer playing times, especially good for those coast-to-coast flights.

So, what makes the Bowers & Wilkins case extra smart? It can operate as a wireless transmitter for any external audio source using either of the included cables. This is a brilliant innovation and it works wonderfully! Simply connect the 3.5mm to USB-C cable to an in-flight entertainment system, your gaming console, your computer, or even a high-end audio system and the audio world is streaming at your fingertips.

Flying internationally? We borrowed this image from a user on a Bowers & Wilkins Social group, where the PI7 ProCase is plugged into the audio jack on an airplane entertainment screen. Make the Boeing 777 your entertainment source. And given you’ll enjoy up to four hours on a charge (plus four additional re-charges from the ProCase) you’ll have music and entertainment for the entire trip.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the audio quality transmitted by the case. I expected it to sound flat and hollow like a tin can. Instead, I was met with a richness and warmth that allowed me to enjoy an in-flight movie more than I have before.”

Since the case is a Bluetooth transmitter so you can use your earbuds on any device that uses a 3.5mm jack.

Active and Adaptive Noise Cancellation

The PI7 uses three microphones on each earpiece for phone calls and for adaptive noise cancellation. The mics monitor, analyze, and adapt their noise cancelling signals and make adjustments according to your surroundings.

To access the noise cancelling features, you’ll want to install the mobile app for iOS or Android. The app provides a full range of noise-cancellation features as well as transparency mode (ambient pass-through), basic battery info, Bluetooth connections, soundscapes, and other settings.

Some of the benefits include:

  • A warm, detailed, audiophile sound you don’t find in many true wireless headphones
  • Balanced-armature drivers, plus dedicated amps for each driver
  • AptX Adaptive codec for 24-bit/48kHz streaming
  • Ingenious relay streaming from 3.5mm analog or USB digital sources
  • The Bowers & Wilkins noise cancelling doesn’t significantly impact the audio quality
  • Plus, the noise cancelling offers a ambient pass-through feature

The PI7 is available in matte white or charcoal finishes; both have matte gold accents. Unlike the smooth, glossy finish of other brands, the matte finish on the Pi7 ProCase ensures it won’t slip out of your hands. And the ear buds are secured magnetically so they won’t fall out.

The PI7 is a true wireless in-ear headphone that doesn’t compromise sound quality for convenience. If you are a serious music lover, someone who travels, or just want to up your in-ear game, stop in the shop and let us show you the Bowers & Wilkins PI7 headphones.

PI7 case in flight
PI7 case in flight

The Bowers & Wilkins PI7 and it's case are incredibly useful in flight. Image Credit: Mona via Bowers Group on Facebook. 🙂