B&W unveils its first true wireless earbuds, the $400 PI7

midian182

Posts: 6,794   +61
Staff member
What just happened? UK audio company Bowers & Wilkins has released its first true wireless earbuds, and they look pretty special—a fact that is reflected in the price. The noise-canceling buds come with a slew of features, including a case that doubles as an audio transmitter.

B&W has unveiled the PI7 and PI5 wireless earbuds, which it says offer "all the sound quality that music lovers have come to expect from a Bowers & Wilkins product." The former pair is the premium version, costing $400, while the latter comes in at $249.

The PI7 features a six-microphone active noise-canceling system that works for phone calls and smart assistants. Each bud comes with a 9.2mm drive unit and a balanced armature tweeter, all with their own dedicated amplifier. The company says the sound they produce is "comparable to loudspeakers," with "exception control, superlative dynamics, and deep, accurate bass."

The buds use Qualcomm's AptX Adaptive standard that compresses audio at a variable bitrate based on how crowded the RF environment is. Users can also adjust the level of noise cancelation or select an ambient passthrough mode when they need to be more aware of the sounds around them.

Elsewhere, the buds have an IP54 dust and water resistance rating and offer four hours of battery life; the case can add 16 more hours via four complete cycles. Speaking of the case, its ability to work as an audio transmitter means you can plug it into a non-Bluetooth audio source, such as an old iPod or in-flight entertainment system, using the included 3.5mm to USB-C cable and it will transmit sound to the buds.

The cheaper PI5 buds use regular AptX, have four microphones, and their case doesn't appear to work as an audio transmitter.

B&W is late to the true wireless earbuds party, something its Director of Product Marketing, Andy Kerr, explains: "We don't pride ourself on being first but being the best. In each case we waited and watched the market. We chose to stay out of the market until we felt we could make a difference."

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Bullwinkle M

Posts: 485   +390
More of the "true wireless" nonsense, to imply all other wireless earbuds are fake. Unimaginative marketing crap.

Not really

Find me another decent earbud with actual AptX Low Latency support

https://www.trustedreviews.com/news/bowers-wilkins-pi7-pi5-wireless-earbuds-4132110

Battery Life is crap but we are finally starting to see actual Low Latency buds instead of the garbage marketed as Low Latency but not having actual Low Latency

AptX HD and 24bit support are irrelevant to me

I WANT LOW LATENCY

It's a start
 

Watzupken

Posts: 202   +181
Everyone just wants to come up with some form of True Wireless earbuds because Apple is so successful in selling earbuds with subpar sound (as compared to comparatively priced wired options) for luxury prices. But no matter how great the marketing sounds, the actual sound quality is basically limited by the wireless speed, and I honestly don't think its slowing people down from buying an AirPod or AirPod Pro.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 485   +390
Everyone just wants to come up with some form of True Wireless earbuds because Apple is so successful in selling earbuds with subpar sound (as compared to comparatively priced wired options) for luxury prices. But no matter how great the marketing sounds, the actual sound quality is basically limited by the wireless speed, and I honestly don't think its slowing people down from buying an AirPod or AirPod Pro.
"the actual sound quality is basically limited by the wireless speed"

You mean the speed of light?
Yeah, I hate that

I can walk faster than the speed of light .....
(when it's traveling in a Bose/Einstein condensate)
 
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Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,256   +1,386
TechSpot Elite
Everyone just wants to come up with some form of True Wireless earbuds because Apple is so successful in selling earbuds with subpar sound (as compared to comparatively priced wired options) for luxury prices. But no matter how great the marketing sounds, the actual sound quality is basically limited by the wireless speed, and I honestly don't think its slowing people down from buying an AirPod or AirPod Pro.
Well, it's not slowing the morons down anyway. Things like this stop me dead in my tracks. If I see a product that screams "consumerism" I'm immediately and permanently turned off of it. There's no reason to spend this kind of money when you can just buy a set of bluetooth earbuds for about $30CAD that will sound perfect.

People don't seem to realise that perfect digital sound reproduction was achieved in the 90s and these days, you can get perfect 7.1 Dolby surround from a tiny microchip that costs no more than $10 to make. It's the reason that sound cards are barely still a thing when they used to be considered mandatory components. Now, a little chip by RealTek or Crystal that's mounted on the motherboard gives you all the audio performance you could possibly want. These chips can also be mounted on small circuit boards for other applications like car, home and personal audio.

A simple AC'97 chip with only two output channels would be more than tiny enough for use in wireless earbuds and it would give perfect digital audio. The science has become simplicity.

Sound that used to be reserved for tiny Bose earbuds is now available at all price points. It's because there isn't a lot of money to be saved by making something inferior when perfection is already dirt cheap. These tech advancements have been across the board and that becomes very obvious when one considers that the "crappiest" Pyle subwoofers today sound as good or better as high-end MTX subs did back in the 90s.

These two videos are perfect examples of this:
 
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