Monday, 23 October 2017

Quick note on Sony WH-1000XM2 and Bowers & Wilkins PX

Recently acquired both WH-1000XM2 and Bowers & Wilkins PX and this is a quick note to remind myself of my listening results and also to echo several somewhat negative reviews on B&W PX I've read online. The decisive factor for me to keep the 1000X and drop the PX is audio performance with ANC on.

Audio: With ANC off, both sound lovely Obviously the. With ANC on in flight mode, however, Sony wins easily. The 1000XM2 is considerably more dynamic, open, and rich, whereas PX sounds completely flat, muddy, and lack of clarity in details. ANC does ruin the PX's sound quality.

ANC: Easy win for 1000XM2, which is on par with Bose's ANC performance. PX is pretty good but not as excellent as the two leading competitors.

Design and build quality: The metal, real leather and honeycomb on the PX feel premium and well made. The L/R audio lines are beautifully inlaid in the grooves of the curved metal structure. It doesn't fold but comes with a quilted leather pouch. On 1000XM2, the cheap plastic makes it feel, well, cheap. Part of the headband is metal though. The XM2 folds at the plastic joints and seems prone to structural damage like its predecessor. It comes with a hard case—uglier, but better protection.

Features: 1000XM2 can function as a conventional headphone without needing external power when wired. PX, on the other hand, always requires power whether in wired or wireless mode, although USB C is a plus.

Verdict: I fell in love with the PX design instantly, and having to choose 1000X breaks my heart, but, the ears want to hear what the ears want to hear.

Reference: Audeze LCD-XC with crappy DAC/amp.

Test tracks: all at 16 bit / 44.1 kHz or 24 bit / 96 kHz
The Flower Kings - A King's Prayer
Opeth - The Lotus Eater
Radiohead - Subterranean Homesick Alien
Deathspell Omega - The Synarchy of Molten Bones

Thursday, 10 August 2017