Review : Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins - P7 Headphones

We’re slowly working our way through the headphone world sampling some of the best cans out there to try and find that perfect pair. The Bowers & Wilkins team sent their top tier P7 headphones over in a bid to quell our search for audio perfection… we gotta say that we’re pretty happy with what we heard!

Lets chat about the unboxing then quickly… When you lift up the matt black box lid your nostrils are instantly seduced by a rich leather smell similar to what it must be like when you step into that brand new ‘rrari! The headphones are presented to you in a cushioned cradle with the components all snuggly supported but still visible at first glance. The quality and effort in the design of these headphones is recognisable from the offset. The beautifully curved aluminium folding hinges that connect the leather clad cups to the leather headband almost gleam at you in amongst all the black.

Here’s a slowmo, close cropped 360 video that’s probably been designed to make you salivate…

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So they look the business thats for sure… (I almost feel like I should be making an effort myself and putting on a suit to listen to these?!) but what do they sound like?

With a large slice of House cued up the first thing that you notice is the amount of space in the sound. The bass drops, percussion and vocal snippets all shine brightly on their own without any interference or muddiness that you get from cheap headphones. Here’s some nerd speak for why that is :

“With most headphones, sound quality is compromised by the way drive units are designed. To save space, the diaphragm must perform the dual role of sound generator and suspension system. But with P7 we have created a headphone driver that works more like the drive unit in a hi-fi speaker, with a diaphragm focussed purely on the job it’s supposed to do: generate sound.

Because these are over ear cups they not only provide noise isolation and comfort, but help to maintain a consistent volume of air between the drive unit and your ears. This means that the stereo imaging is enhanced whilst being optimised for every listener.”

So there you have it! As with all top end headphones there’s a bunch of features that you can expect as standard like a mic and volume controller for your smart phone… interchangeable cables and connectors too plus a plush leather travelling case that’s got cross stitched detailing and magnetic fastening.

Now what’s it going to cost for all this high end quality?

They come in at £329.99 on B&W website.

So that means you’re not going to have these as your travelling headphones or your DJ pair in case you smash them up accidentally. However if you’re desk bound most days at work like me then I would say you should definitely consider these for a luxurious splurge.

You can easily find a way of rationalising it to yourself… here’s some help: They’re comfy, they sound incredible and they’re about as good looking a pair of headphones you’re likely to find out there.

Is our search for the perfect headphones finally over?

www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk

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Review : Oval Space Music with Pantha Du Prince, Lawrence

Oval Space, one of the more recent additions to London’s nightlife scene played host to a Dial Records all-nighter, Hamburg’s longstanding deep house label. Founders Carsten Jost and Lawrence were joined by long-time associate and headline act, Pantha Du Prince.

Lawrence, John Roberts and Carsten Jost all brought their own twist on the sounds that have become synonymous with Dial. Jost in particular had the crowd swaying with a very solid deep house set whilst Lawrence’s calm, melodic sound mix mixed in with just enough up tempo to really cement the Dial sound.

However, it was headliner Henrik Weber aka Pantha Du Prince who really knocked things up a level. The wonderful blend of shimmering, softening house that hit the heights when 2010’s Black Noise landed was mixed perfectly with thumping techno. This was showcased no better than when “Behind The Stars” and “Bohemian Forest” dropped, causing raptures from the crowd. Before that, “A Nomad’s Retreat” did a very nice job at setting the tone at what we could expect from Pantha. Whilst I thought he would be good, I didn’t expect him to be that good. The talent to get a crowd pumping to often dark, haunting music was wonderful to hear and without the imagery associated with his sound, it was an even tougher task but Pantha did it to perfection.

Special mention to Oval Space; with the traditional ‘nightclub’ in London seemingly becoming a thing of the past, many promoters have been going for the tried and tested warehouse/car park for hosting nights. With Oval Space, whilst at its very core it has the warehouse feel, it was refreshing to be at a venue that actually felt like a club as well. The venue has gained a very solid reputation in a short space of time and their ability to bring some of the most forward thinking electronic artists to the capital should be applauded. Already on the horizon is a London debut from Ten Walls and the annual summer party from secretsundaze.

Review by Sam Keefe
Oval Space photo by Kerry Fitzgerald

Check out the extremely nerdy mini documentary in collabo with Ableton about Pantha Du Prince.

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Review: Sonos Play:1 Wireless Speakers

I think these Sonos Play:1 wireless speakers might just be the coolest things I’ve ever reviewed on the site so far! As soon as I saw these I knew I had to get a pair and fiddle with them until I got tired or went deaf.

Lets start at the beginning though… Wireless connectivity with speakers has always been a distant dream but then the world started owning an iPod/iPhone and subsequently an iPod/iPhone dock but there was always an obvious annoying problem in that you had to leave your iPod/iPhone cradled in your speaker. Well now things are changing and these last few months I’ve seen an endless horde of new wireless speaker systems hitting the market.

These Sonos Play: 1 speakers are the first ones I’ve tinkered with and I was absolutely blown away by the quality and power of sound from these sleek little rounded cubes.
(I played with the Jambox travel wireless speakers by Jawbone – read that review here)
I received a pair of speakers along with a Sonos Bridge and placed each one in different areas of the house.
The speakers themselves are about 12cms wide and 16cms high and come in black and white versions. The black ones are much sexier in my opinion! Setting them up and connecting to the app for Mac or iPhone was easy enough and I had some crisp tracks rich in bass and clean highs playing in no time.

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The way the speakers work is by finding content on your computer or iPhone. Take your iTunes for example, you have to run it through the app. It takes a while on first set up for it to archive everything you’ve got and file it all away for you to pick and chose from either your computer or your iphone while you’re going about your business in your house.
If you are into streaming services then they’ve got you covered as well as you can hook up your Spotify or Napster accounts and just stream all your playlists or anything else you can find on there.

There’s lots of amazing features and well thought out design points… The speakers are humidity resistant so you can put a pair in the bathroom to properly get woken up in the morning. You can pair up these speakers with other Sonos products to build the ultimate surround sound system and generally create an amazing pad with music in every single room! You can pair a couple to create stereo sound… There’s controls on the individual speakers so you can skip a track if you don’t have your phone on you… For the full list of everything thats possible check the Sonos Play:1 website.

Right so its all amazing so far right… amazing sound and easy connection but there is still a pretty big sticking point… for me anyways. What if I don’t want to use the app to play some music? As you may know by now I do a lot of blogging and I need to be able to stream stuff off webpages, Soundcloud and YouTube constantly and as it stands this isn’t possible which is a bit of a downer.

The emerging ways people consume music aren’t being catered for fully just yet. Even with Spotify, Napster and a tonne of other services being integrated all the time you still have to run everything through the Sonos app which is unlikely to ever be as good as the original software for your service of choice… For example with Spotify its best if you continue to use the original app and make your playlists from there. In the Sonos app the Browse function isn’t available and you only get ‘New Releases’ and ‘Top Tracks’ which is usually filled with crap that people should really be avoiding.

The Sonos app itself could be a bit sexier too… it reminds us of an old blue iTunes. It does mean its easy to use I suppose but as the speakers are pretty nicely designed I’d like to see them complimented by an equally good looking app.

So overall if you own all your music in a nice convenient place such as iTunes or you know exactly what you want to put on via your streaming service of choice then you’re golden with these speakers… They sound incredible and I recommend getting a pair if you can afford the £169 price tag. (That’s each :/ , Go on its nearly Christmas…)

[UPDATE]
Sonos speakers have just introduced Shuffler.FM to their supported services which means with any luck you’ll be able to listen to SlothBoogie’s catalogue of blogged tracks at the touch of a button! Now if that’s not worth buying some for I don’t know what is?!

Buy a pair of Sonos Play:1 speakers with a free Bridge

http://www.sonos.com/

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Revolutions In Sound – Top 5 Reunion Pods

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30 pods, over 80 artists, 1 live stream to tune into.

Yes, Revolutions In Sound is back tonight, incorporating an eclectic combo of old and new club cultures on the London Eye, whilst revellers in the silent disco beneath listen in on the live stream…basically, it’s a good excuse to get off your tits on a Thursday night.

Pods such as Boiler Room, Warehouse Project and Fabric will no doubt be getting a lot of attention from the kids gaggin’ to get in with the brands.

 But what about the golden oldies that have helped these nights become what they are today? 

Here is my top 5…

1) Shoom with Danny Rampling, Mark Moore & Ilona Rampling – London’s Shoom was home to the Balaeric house nights that quickly became the home of acid house. Set up by Danny rampling, it lasted 3 years – stories have been told of the night that give you goosebumps. This is THE pioneering night for UK club culture.

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2) The Blitz Club with Steve Strange & Princess Julia – Did anybody watch Worried About The Boy? It was a documentary about Boy George and his rise to fame. The club featured was Blitz Club, Steve Strange’s notorious fashionista hangout, with gender-bending New Romantics blending super tacky glamour with the dark side of punk. It all happened between ’79 and ’81, and acted as a fingers up to the punk scene, playing Depeche Mode and Spandau Ballet tunes all night long.
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3) Fac51 The Hacienda with Todd Terry, Mike Pickering & Graeme Park – Does this even need a reason why it’s in the top 5? Unarguably the defining ‘northern club’ between ’82 and the early 90s. It was one of the first clubs to play house music from veterans Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, who are still DJing regularly now. They helped pioneer the acid house sound. Let’s hope the gangsters that shut it down don’t turn up…or DJ Sneak.

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4) Lost with Richie Hawtin and Steve Bicknell – This night became renowned for its Docklands warehouse parties in the 90s. A far cry from today’s saturated warehouse “raves”, it became an institution, with techno giant Dave Clarke playing there, along with Derrick May.

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5) Jive Turkey with Winston Hazel and Parrot – Back before house was house, Winston Hazel and Parrot were dropping imported Chicago grooves at the Sheffield club responsible for the ‘northern bleep sound’. It helped bring black and white people together in the mid 80s, a time when racial tension was rife. Parrot went on to curate the debut release on Warp Records.

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Listen to the live stream here: http://www.redbullrevolutionsinsound.com/

By Danny Ingham
@EdnaskiMusic