Bowers & Wilkins announces P9 Signature headphones

The venerable speaker maker's new flagship headphones pull out all the stops.

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The P9 Signature Headphones will have a free lightning cable in 2017 so you can use them with Apple's new iPhone 7.
The P9 Signature Headphones will have a free lightning cable in 2017 so you can use them with Apple’s new iPhone 7.

Bowers and Wilkins has certainly had a busy few months, releasing a wireless version of their P7 over-the-ear headphones, an updated version of their P3 portable on-ear headphones, and now the company has announced a brand new flagship headphone, the P9 Signature.

The $899 P9 Signature is the ultimate expression of headphone design and luxury from the venerable British speaker maker. B&W says that the engineering team at the Steyning Research Establishment in West Sussex, England conceived the P9 Signature.

Every single detail spec about this headphone is amazing. If you’re a discerning audiophile who wants the most from your music take note. The frequency range is astounding. It starts at a mind-numbing 2Hz and goes all the way up to 30kHz. The impedance is 22 ohms and sensitivity is 111dB/V making it easy to drive with a mobile device. However, in our experience with B&W headphones, you’ll notice a significant sonic improvement when you add an external headphone amplifier. The driver is a nylon damped cone with an acoustic coating.  The P9 Signature headphones feature a large surround diaphragm and CCAW coil with an external large pole magnet.

B&W says that the P9 Signature’s ear cups contain sophisticated acoustic cabinets optimized using Finite Element Analysis. This environment is optimized using  composites and aluminum.

The P9 Signature's headband and magnetic ear cups are crafted from the finest Italian Saffiano leather.

Another refined element is the P9 Signature’s headband, which decouples the ear cup. B&W says this stops unwanted vibration from transmitting between each ear cup and the headband. According to B&W, the isolation and removal of distortion is one of the reasons why the P9 Signature sounds so clear and open.

Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature headphones fold for easy travel.
Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature headphones fold for easy travel.

The drive unit in the P9 is completely new and designed by B&W’s engineers. In fact, some of the lessons B&W learned in developing the P9 influenced some of their design decisions for the P7 Wireless. The new drive unit in the P9 has a suspension system that enables it to provide high frequency precision as well as great bass.

Unlike B&W’s other headphones, the P9 Signature’s drivers are angled. The company says that this provides a more natural listening experience, shifting the stereo soundstage to the front, rather than to the side. The ear cups and headband are made from the finest Italian Saffiano leather by Scabrenta. B&W says a “stamping” technique gives the leather a distinctive cross-hatch finish. As with B&W’s other headphones, the ear cushions are magnetic and changeable as is the cable.

The P9's Alcantara carrying case is made in Italy of the high tech luxury material.
The P9’s Alcantara carrying case is made in Italy of the high tech luxury material.

Speaking of cable, the cable has an inline remote.  However, B&W says that they will be providing a free lightning cable early in 2017 to accommodate the new iPhone 7’s omission of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. [You can read our thoughts on Apple’s move to lightning cables].

Not to be outdone with its accessories, the carrying case is dressed in Alcantara, a high tech, luxury material, and 100% made in Italy.

The P9 Signature headphones are available immediately. You can order B&W’s new P9 Signature directly from the company’s web site.

 

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