The Pi7 S2 has a good build quality and design. The case is slim and tall, while the earbuds are a little large, but they don’t feel heavy. They also weigh a gram less per ear than the previous model. I’ve seen mixed opinions on the fit, but for me they fit very well. Three pairs of sizes of earplugs are included, although some competitors offer more options.
I can control my enthusiasm for touch controls on earbuds, but B&W’s plugs are stable and responsive when you want to control music and switch noise cancelling modes.
B&W has improved antenna reception for more stable operation. The battery life in the earbuds themselves has increased from four to five hours with noise cancellation turned off, and the case provides three extra charges. Decent, but not as impressive as the best with eight to ten hours of battery life.
Bowers & Wilkins PI7 sweeps the floor with the competition.
The Pi7 S2 uses 9.2 mm dynamic drivers for low frequencies and balanced armature drivers for high frequencies, just like its predecessors. It also has six microphones for noise cancellation and calls, and it supports the same codecs as aptX Adaptive and AAC.
An ingenious feature that the Pi7 S2 shares with its predecessor is the ability to connect a wired audio source to the case, which then converts the audio to wireless and sends it to the connectors. Perfect for enjoying in-flight entertainment on a long flight.
The sound of Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2
There are no tonal balance adjustments in the Pi7 S2, you have to take what you can get. It’s a good thing the sound is so good out of the box. Attention by rapper Doja Cat has a rich bass that doesn’t struggle with the midrange, unlike the Sony WF-1000XM5 which needed some EQ settings. The sound is still slightly V-shaped, which means the midrange is a little muffled. This makes Doja Cat’s voice somewhat restrained, with the bass and treble more prominent. Nevertheless, the dynamics are impressive and the sound is warm and rich without being harsh.
Rufus Wainwright and Brandi Carlile’s rendition of the murder ballad Down in the Willow Garden sounds great. Good weight in the bass register and nice clarity and air up top. Again, the lower midrange is a little thin.
I noticed that active noise reduction changes the sound of the music in a negative direction, more than many others in the test. The bass becomes softer and also sounds more colored.
On the plugs themselves, you can toggle between noise cancellation and ambient sound, but you have to go into the app to turn it off completely. Remember to do this when you’re in a quiet environment, because that’s when your music is sure to sound its best.
Bowers & Wilkins has refined the Si7 a bit, and with the Si7 S2 we get a pair of fairly identical hearing aids. A gram lighter per hearing aid and a more stable wireless connection, but otherwise it’s pretty much the same. There’s nothing wrong with that, because we’ve actually had the Si7 as a reference for a very long time. But the world doesn’t stand still. Of course, what was best last year is still good now. First and foremost, it’s the EQ that’s missing, and the fact that the noise reduction reduces the sound quality a bit also drags it down a bit.