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Bowers & Wilkin Pi7 S2 Lightning Review: Kneecapped Premium Audio


Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is model that hardly needs any introduction, notably to audiophiles. When the Abbey Road affiliate first entered the TWS earbuds ecosphere in 2021 with its Pi7 and Pi5, followers have been ecstatic about these shrunk-down selections. Fast ahead quite a few years, the model launched the 2nd interval of its earbuds. Unsurprisingly, there are some enhancements to be discovered nonetheless on the equal time, the model furthermore appears to have taken quite a few steps as soon as extra in a number of areas.

What Is It?

The Pi7 S2 are, as its namesake signifies, the 2nd interval of B&W’s higher-end TWS earbuds, nonetheless to be truthful, not tons has modified by way of design and sort. It nonetheless retains its oval sort with flat contact sensors on the extreme of every earbud.

Internally, there’s a 9.2mm dynamic drive unit in every earbud, and each hook up with units by way of Bluetooth 5.0, which is somewhat little bit of dated nonetheless on the plus side, they do help Qualcomm’s AptX expertise and codec, together with AAC and SBC. That being talked about, solely the Pi7 S2 helps AptX Adaptive.

Is It Any Good?

Onboard controls are roughly the equal as correctly: tapping as shortly as on every earbud performs and pauses regardless of you’re listening to, whereas tapping twice will skip tracks, and thrice will repeat or return to the earlier monitor. Long-pressing the left side will flip Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) on or off, whereas performing the equal motion on the correct earbud will convey up your cell gadget’s voice assistant.

Another distinctive attribute that the Pi7 S2 comes with is Wireless Audio Retransmission, which is principally a elaborate strategy of claiming that the accent is able to serving as an exterior wi-fi connector to the earbuds, the place Bluetooth connectivity merely just isn’t an probability. This permits the earbuds for use to tune into an in-flight leisure system’s audio, permitting you to forego these bog-standard headphones that airways sometimes present you.

Circling as soon as extra to the ANC operate of the Pi7 S2, the attribute really blocks out the overwhelming majority of noise, nonetheless as quickly as additional, it isn’t as full and remoted because of the Sony WF-1000M4. I nonetheless get sound leaks from the ground and when nothing is being carried out, these leaks are audible sufficient that I can often make out what people are saying.

The Sound Quality. Talk To Me.

If there’s one subject to be talked about concerning the Pi7 S2, it’s that it’s a very well-balanced pair of earbuds. Vocals are crisp and clear, and songs Stephen Sanchez’s Until I Found You and See The Light really mission by. Highs present no indicators of breaking, whereas the timbre and richness of the mids really actually really feel open and unrestricted. These have been evident in tracks equal to Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts’ Digging My Potato, the place each the pitches of the harmonica and the bass drum contained in the background is maybe discerned and don’t drown each other out.

The cherry on this Sundae generally known as the Pi7 S2, not decrease than for me, are the lows which are produced. Not solely are they deep, nonetheless they do what I describe good bass in earbuds to do: to reverberate and vibrate the as soon as extra of my cranium, and under no circumstances a full-on assault on my eardrums. On that phrase, the sound staging with these earbuds are practically second to none, and I would make out each instrument, sound, and aural half that’s current in songs equal to Florence + The Machines’ Free and Stacey Kent’s Venus de Milo, or any monitor from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.


The Bad Stuff. Tell Me.

But whereas the Pi7 S2 can boast a well-balanced sound profile, it’s, sadly, lacking some key decisions that ought to really be there. Honestly, it’s perplexing that these decisions and capabilities are absent from these earbuds on account of quite a few its rivals’ personal selections ship out with entry to them.

One such attribute is an equaliser, or lack thereof for the Pi7 S2. Again, it’s just a bit disappointing to see that this audio tweak isn’t current, notably since utterly totally different earbuds similar to the Klipsch T5 II and Sony WF-1000XM4 all have entry to their very private equaliser, affording purchasers the pliability to tweak and alter the pitches in talked about earbuds, accordingly. Another lacking or should I say, misplaced attribute is the ambient sound operate, or as a result of it is generally known as contained in the case of the Pi7 S2, Passthrough. It’s a operate that you just simply uncover in most audio merchandise that help ANC and often carry out the go-between for enabling and disabling noise cancellation. The solely means you may activate the Passthrough is by way of the B&W app nonetheless barely extra irritating is that it stays on, regardless of ANC being on or off.

The largest flaw of the Pi7 S2, although, is its asking value. Off the shelf, these earbuds will set you as soon as extra RM2499, which is considerably pricier and better than its worldwide SRP of US$399 (~RM1817). The battery life is one totally different space that fails to impress me at 5 hours, with a further 16 hours from the casing. It’s far from the additional excessive endurance I’ve skilled from utterly totally different earbuds, nonetheless on condition that Sony’s WF-1000XM4s are in a position to clock in eight hours with ANC on, and the truth that these worth higher than double these earbuds, I really was anticipating extra.

Should I Buy It?

The B&W Pi7 S2 isn’t a pair of TWS earbuds that I can merely counsel to anybody, save perhaps the hardcore fan of the model or a bonafide audiophile. Firstly, at RM2499, they’re not low-cost and actually, I can merely counsel a handful of varied producers which are merely nearly practically pretty much as good at half the value, and with extra dynamic administration and entry to an equaliser. That, and less-than-stellar battery life really kneecaps these earbuds.

Having talked about that, I can say that so far as out-of-the-box effectivity go, the Pi7 S2 is nice in its present nonetheless that’s practically all that these earbuds have going for it. If you’re able to look earlier its flaws and likewise you’ve obtained some disposable earnings to spare, then as I’ve talked about beforehand, have at them.

Now resides in the United Kingdom and continues to share their insights and experiences with their audience through their YouTube channel and social media presence.

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