B&W PI7 S2 Review: Something Somewhere

I personally bought a pair of the original Bowers & Wilkins PI7 when it launched. I was so excited for it but I found it was plagued by lots of firmware bugs and issues for what I needed in a daily TWS at the time. I eventually sold it or returned it(can’t remember) and I just “dealt” with the OG Airpods Pro sound quality. Now we have a PI7 second gen or “S2”. The awesome people over at Audio 46 asked if I wanted to check out a set for a bit and I was excited to see how it performed this time around, especially with the wonderful Airpods Pro 2 existing. 

Quick shoutout to Rigo from Audio 46 for letting me borrow the PI7 S2 to both check out and review. While I always appreciate the chance to test and review products sent in from manufacturers or dealers, it never affects the rating of my reviews.

Looks and fit

The S2 version looks exactly the same as the original PI7. While I don’t have the original on hand, the headset and charging case down to the unboxing experience all gave a sense of deja vu. The shape of the PI7 shells are like most other TWS and rather unique. I actually have pretty good luck getting these into my ears and getting them to stay. This is a larger body with short nozzles so keep that in mind if you have issues with other TWS that adopt the same style of shell.

Passive Isolation and ANC/Transparency Mode

Passive isolation with the passthrough and ANC turned off is actually pretty good when a good seal is achieved. The ANC is pretty good but it’s not quite class leading at least to my ears. It’s good at keeping outside sounds to a minimum. The PI7 S2 does allow for adapted ANC which was fairly hit or miss for me so I just manually adjusted ANC as needed. Transparency mode or passthrough via the mics is pretty average at best but I appreciate they have something to let sound through. I find it's more of a mild passthrough and things still sound more muted and less natural with sound quality coming in from the outside world very artificial sounding. 

Packaging and accessories

Inside the smaller box we get the charging case with the PI7 S2 inside, under that we get user manuals, a set of their own tips and a charging cable as well as the USB-C to 3.5mm cable. I think the set of accessories is perfectly fine.


These final impressions were done with the standard bluetooth(AAC) connection to my iPhone 14 Pro Max. These impressions are what the PI7 S2 sounded like to my ears. This was also using the Stock large tips. Things like ear tip selection and bluetooth codec selection can produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

The PI7 has a very consumer oriented tuning. It’s extremely bass heavy with a neutral to soft midrange/treble. Let's get into it! The Bass has a very strong low end rumble and impact. It absolutely sounds over the top and while it does sound somewhat bloated at moments, it’s in the “acceptable” range of bass bloat given how close these get to being bass-head or “blam” territory TWS. The bass does bleed into the mids and there’s constantly a fight for attention which makes details on instruments somewhat dull and slow sounding. The vocals however are really on point and I find they sound detailed and fairly natural. There is a fight between mid-bass presence and vocals so it might be distracting depending on the music genre but overall, good vocal performance. The upper mids have a slight boost to give some extra perceived detail but it stays non fatiguing which is a plus for my tastes. The treble stays a little on the artificial and splashy side. The treble is constantly all over the place and sounds super recessed at times and then decently detailed with the splashy treble at other times. I do like this specific tuning for EDM music and even some rock music but this tuning isn’t meant for audiophiles that want neutral or neutral-warm/bright sound. This is definitely meant for consumers who prefer the industry standard of lots of bass and neutral everything else. I think bass-heads will dig this sound though quite a bit I find it fun for sure.


Staging isn’t bad here at all. I found it is fairly wide sounding but lacks a lot of depth. Wall of sound to my ears. Imaging is a little below average since trying to pick anything out in the swamp of bass during busy tracks can be challenging.

The Charging Case Features

The charging case is fairly tall but somewhat thin which at least keeps it looking slim in a pocket. The case has a good magnetic lid and the PI7 units latch into their charging housing really well. The case has some extra neat little features like the ability to do direct connection via an included USB-C to 3.5mm jack for a higher quality connection. I did test range on this function and it’s about the same as most LDAC connections so like arms length. Given the sound tuning, I didn’t see the point in trying to pick out sound differences between AAC, aptX Adaptive or their own wired case solution.

Personal gripes with the B&W PI7 S2

I will get into the sound gripes I have in the Airpods Pro 2 comparison section in a bit but my only real complaints are price and some of B&W app quirks. I’m under no delusion that this is a Bowers and Wilkins product which instantly demands a higher price point that people will be ok biting on. The biggest thing here is that B&W did clean up the original tuning of the PI7 but it’s still a bass heavy tuning that doesn’t quite match their claims of “High-resolution sound” or “Hear music and movies as the artist intended”. I would normally say this can be EQ’d via their app but I didn’t see a single option for EQ in their B&W Music app which is the only app they have that is allowed to connect to the PI7 S2.

TWS comparison

Apple Airpods Pro 2

The Airpods Pro 2 or APP2 improved the sound quality quite a bit over the original airpods(which I wasn’t a fan of). Both TWS units go for different tunings. The APP2 has a more balanced yet still punchy bass. The PI7’s bass sounds very intense in comparison. There is little to no bleed into the mids that sound more neutral on the APP2. The vocals on both are good but the APP2 has a more detailed and better balanced mids for both male and female vocals. The upper mids and treble are a little less splashy on the APP2 but the overall balance and details come through better on the APP2 over the PI7 S2 which in comparison sounds splashy and artificial at times. Staging on both is good but the imaging on the APP2 is way easier to follow in busy tracks. I think for those who have an iPhone, the choice is easy and I would personally pick the APP2 for an all rounder tuning.

Overall thoughts

I really like that they fixed all the connectivity and jankiness that the original PI7 had. If the Airpods Pro 2 didn’t exist I would probably recommend the PI7 S2. Since it does exist and outperforms the PI7 S2 in every way, I don’t recommend the B&W PI7 S2. Well… at least to anyone who can make the Airpods Pro 2 fit their ears well and are able to use it on an iPhone. For the hardcore Android people, I believe the bigger recommendations are things like Samsung's current high end TWS offerings When it comes to a more balanced and detailed sound. I suppose those who want a “higher end” bass-head TWS will probably love these. I do actually enjoy these quite a bit but I would never pick these over the Airpods Pro 2 when it comes to features, price and sound quality. I love B&W’s speakers and I have a few pairs in my home but their mobile offerings are still super hit or miss for my tastes. I do look forward to seeing if they can release something in the future that tries to compete more with the sound tuning of the Airpods Pro 2. Thanks for reading!

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