Best known for the impeccable attention to detail it lavishes on loudspeakers and, more recently, high-end headphones, Bowers & Wilkins brought its first true wireless headphones to market in 2021. The British audio mavens are now about to introduce their second-generation in-ear active noise-cancelling headphones. We haven’t heard them, yet, but we’re glad to see a minor tweak to their name: The Pi7 S2 replace the PI7, and the Pi5 S2 replace the PI5.
Updated March 28, 2023 to report that Bowers & Wilkins is now offering its Pi5 S2 earbuds in sage green, as shown in the image at the top of the page.
If you thought the original earbuds were named P17 and P15 respectively—as we first did—you’ll understand why B&W has changed the uppercase “I” in the original products to a lowercase “i.” The S2, of course, indicates a second-generation product. Here’s a link to our Bowers & Wilkins PI7 review from August, 2021.
Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins says both sets of new earbuds deliver the same quality of sound as their respective predecessors while squeezing out an additional hour of battery life—five hours, versus four in the originals. You’ll also get improved Bluetooth range: Up to 25 meters from the source. The Pi7 S2 support an additional feature, Wireless Audio Retransmission, that allows you to connect to an external audio source—an in-flight entertainment system, for example—and then wirelessly retransmit audio from that source to the earbuds, via the charging case.
This news story is part of TechHive’s in-depth coverage of the best noise-cancelling headphones.
The Pi7 S2 feature 9.2mm drivers plus balanced armature drivers, with each drive unit powered by a separate amplifier. The Pi5 S2 use a single 9.2mm driver in each unit. Three microphones in each Pi7 S2 are used for adaptive noise cancellation and phone calls (the Pi5 S2 has two mics in each bud).
Bowers & Wilkins
The new headphones can be fully integrated with B&W’s Music app for making EQ adjustments and tuning their active noise cancellation. Thanks to continued support for aptX Adaptive, Pi7 S2 users will be able to stream music in high-res (up to 24-bit/48kHz) from services including Qobuz and Tidal. The Pi5 S2 support the aptX codec and CD-quality streaming. A single-button user interface, summoned by touching a capacitive button on either earbud, can perform multiple functions, including sending smartphone voice commands to Siri or Google Assistant.
The $399 Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 S2 are available now in several new colors: Satin Black, Canvas White, and Midnight Blue. The $299 B&W Pi5 S2 are available now in Cloud Grey, Storm Grey, Spring Lilac and (soon) Sage Green.