Cowin SE7 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
6.6
Mixed Usage
6.3
Neutral Sound
7.0
Commute/Travel
7.0
Sports/Fitness
6.8
Office
5.1
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
5.8
Phone Call
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Cowin SE7 are average, mixed usage, closed-back headphones. They have a new design that feels more high-end than the Cowin E7 and E7 Pro. They are also quite a bit more comfortable than these previous models. On the other hand, their audio reproduction is disappointing and feels boomy and cluttered, so they’ll be better suited for bass-heavy genres. Their ANC feature isn’t the best but will do a decent job at isolating out noise, especially if you’re playing audio. On the upside, they have a great wireless range and their latency is lower than the average pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Isolation 6.9
Microphone 5.6
Active Features 6.9
Connectivity 6.7
Pros
  • Comfortable and durable build.
  • Lower latency than average Bluetooth headphones.
Cons
  • Boomy and cluttered sound profile.
  • Sub-par ANC feature.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

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7.1

Design

The Cowin SE7 are an improvement in design from the previous E7 and E7 Pro. They have a matte finish that gives them a more high-end look and they don’t feel as cheaply made as the E7 Pro, which have thin plastic and a glossy finish. The Cowin SE7 are better-built, and the padding on the cups and headband is soft and comfortable. They won’t be the best headphones for sports, as they get quite hot, but if you don’t mind that they are fairly stable on the head. They are very lightweight and don’t put too much pressure, so you’ll be able to wear them for a while. You can also use the SE7 wired with the included 1/8” TRS audio cable.

Style

The Cowin SE7 have a more polished and high-end look than the Cowin E7 and E7 Pro. The cups have a matte coating and don’t have the same glossy finish and cheap plastic feel as the older models. They are also less bulky and don’t have the same circular design. They have a small metal circle for style on each cup, but other than that they are fairly low-profile. It seems Cowin went for a design that resembles the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II a bit. The SE7 come in different colors to suit your style: black, gold, purple, or dark green.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.6 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0.9 lbs

The new Cowin SE7 design is more comfortable than previous models like the E7. The cups and headband are well-padded and soft. These headphones are lightweight and don’t put too much pressure on your head, but still feel stable. However, the ear cups might be a bit small and uncomfortable for some people, especially if you have bigger ears. Nevertheless, most users should be able to wear these for a while before feeling ear soreness.

7.2 Controls
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
No
Additional Buttons : No

The control scheme of the SE7 is decent, but it has certain flaws. The physical buttons are very clicky and offer good feedback, but they aren’t the easiest to use. You get common functionalities like calling, music, and volume control, which is expected. You can also skip tracks, but the controls are inverted from what you usually see on headphones, meaning that holding volume down will skip tracks forward instead of backward. Also, you’ll have to hold their power button for several seconds to power them on. On the upside, you have a separate switch for enabling and disabling ANC. However, you’ll need to remember to switch both the ANC and the headphones off, or it will drain your battery.

6.3 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 6.1 C

Like most closed-back over-ears, the Cowin SE7 aren’t very breathable by design. They trap a decent amount of heat under the cups, which will make a noticeable difference in the ear temperature over time. Also, there is a warning in the manual that reminds you to take these off every 1-2 hrs in the summer heat. These headphones will make you sweat more than usual and won’t be ideal for working out.

6.1 Portability
L : 5.7 "
W : 5.6 "
H : 2.9 "
Volume : 93 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like most over-ears, the SE7 are not very portable headphones. They have a bulky design, but thankfully the cups swivel to lay flat, which makes them easier to slide in a bag. They also fold into a more compact format, and you can put these in their soft case, which doesn’t add too much bulk.

6.5 Case
Type : Soft case
L : 6.5 "
W : 7.5 "
H : 3.0 "
Volume : 146 Cu. Inches

The Cowin SE7 come with a soft case. This will protect the headphones from minor water exposure and scratches but won’t do much against significant impacts. It is slightly disappointing when compared to the E7 Pro hard case, but it is better than the original E7’s case.

7.5 Build Quality

The Cowin SE7 have a better build quality than other Cowin headphones. They don’t have the same glossy finish and flimsy plastic design that of the E7. The SE7 cups feel dense and solid enough to survive a few accidental drops without too much damage. The headband is reinforced with a thin metal sheet and is still flexible enough.

7.0 Stability

These over-ears are decently stable. They fit nicely on your head and apply enough pressure to stay in place, even when shaking your head. Their lightweight design doesn’t make them slide off when tilting your head forward or backward and should be stable enough for running. They are also wireless, which means you don’t have to worry about the headphones getting yanked off because the cable got hooked on something.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
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Sound

They have a boomy bass that lacks thump and rumble, and their mid-range is overemphasized which makes the vocals and lead instruments sound thick and cluttered. Also, their treble is fairly underemphasized, and high frequencies will lack detail and presence. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy music and will not be ideal for vocal-centric genres.

We also noticed a big difference in bass delivery when the noise-canceling feature was turned on. The bass seemed to drop when ANC was working, and the drop is quite noticeable. Since they provide only average isolation, some may prefer not to use the ANC since it negatively affects the audio quality.

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-4.55 db
Treble Amount
:
-7.64 db
7.2 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.56 dB

The frequency response of the SE7 is decently consistent. In the bass range, the maximum deviation measured across our five human subjects is about 3dB, which is subtle but noticeable. In the treble range, up to 10kHz, the maximum deviation measured across five re-seats was about 12dB, but mostly in a narrow range around 5kHz.

6.6 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
4.59 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
48.26 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-4.98 dB
Mid-Bass
:
1.05 dB
High-Bass
:
6.86 dB

The Cowin SE7 have okay bass performance. The low-frequency extension (LFE) of 48Hz and the 5dB underemphasis in low-bass indicates that these headphones will be light on the thump and rumble that is common to bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums, is within 1dB of our neutral target. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth, is over our neutral target by 7dB, which adds excess muddiness to the overall sound. We also noticed a significant drop in bass when using the ANC feature.

5.5 Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
5.94 dB
Low-Mid
:
8.29 dB
Mid-Mid
:
4.98 dB
High-Mid
:
2.97 dB

The mid-range of the Cowin SE7 is sub-par. Low-mid is overemphasized by more than 8dB. This is the continuation of the high-bass bump and makes vocals and lead instruments sound thick and cluttered. Mid-mid is also overemphasized by about 5dB, which brings the vocals forward in the mix. High-mid is also overemphasized, but slightly less. The 8dB tilt through the mid-range is going to favor the lower frequencies.

6.4 Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
4.79 dB
Low-Treble
:
-3.16 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-6.0 dB
High-Treble
:
-6.23 dB

The treble performance of the SE7 is average. The whole range is noticeably underemphasized, especially around 6KHz. This will have a negative effect on the detail and brightness of sibilances (S and T sounds). This will be most noticeable on vocals, lead instruments, and cymbals.

7.1 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.84 db
Dips
:
1.57 db
8.7 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.21
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.56
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.66
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
5.43

The imaging is great. The weighted group delay is at 0.21, which is very low. The GD graph also shows the group delay response is almost entirely below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass reproduction and a transparent treble. The jumps in group delay in low-bass won’t be very audible since they fall below the LFE of the headphones. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in amplitude, frequency, and phase response, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects (voices, instruments, video game effects) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and yours may perform differently.

5.2 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
5.39 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
5.6 dB
PRTF Distance
:
10.68 dB
Openness
:
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.3

The soundstage of the Cowin SE7 is sub-par. The graph suggests good pinna interaction/activation, but mediocre in distance and accuracy. So the soundstage may be perceived as unnatural and located inside the listener's head. Also, due to the closed-back design and active noise cancelation, their soundstage won't feel as open and spacious as open-back headphones.

6.5 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.865
WHD @ 100
:
0.332
6.9

Isolation

The Cowin SE7 are active noise-canceling headphones with a passable isolation performance. They don’t cancel enough ambient noise to use for regular commutes, but you can play your music at higher volumes to block more noise. They also do not leak as much as much as some of the other closed-back over-ears, which makes them an above-average option to use in quieter conditions.

It should be noted that turning their ANC feature ON has a negative effect on the overall sound quality and seems to result in a noticeable drop in bass.

6.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-16.86 dB
Bass
:
-7.54 dB
Mid
:
-10.59 dB
Treble
:
-32.45 dB

The Cowin SE7 have a sub-par isolation performance, which is disappointing for ANC headphones. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they isolate by about 8dB, which is average. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they achieved about 11dB of isolation, which is also average. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts, they reduce outside noise by about 32dB, which is good.

8.0 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
33.3 dB

The leakage performance of the Cowin SE7 is good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 1kHz and 6kHz, which is a relatively narrow range. This results in a leakage that sounds fuller and more comprehensible than the leakage of in-ears and earbuds, but not as much as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 33dB SPL and peaks at 47dB SPL, which is just under the noise floor of most offices.

5.6

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The integrated microphone of the Cowin SE7 is sub-par. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin, noticeably muffled, and lacking in detail. In noisy situations, it will struggle to fully separate speech from background noise, even in moderately loud places like a busy street.

5.4 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
219.83 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
7.87 dB
HFE
:
3044.37 Hz
Weighted THD
:
6.79
Gain
:
16.99 dB

The integrated microphone of the SE7 has a sub-par performance. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 220Hz, indicating that speech recorded/transmitted with this mic will sound relatively thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3kHz results in speech that's noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. However, the recorded/transmitted speech would still be reasonably comprehensible in quiet environments, since that is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-3kHz range.

5.8 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
8.9 dB

The noise handling of the SE7's mic is sub-par. In our noise handling test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 9dB, which means they will mostly be suitable for quiet environments and will struggle to separate speech from background noise even in moderately loud environments.

6.9

Active Features

The Cowin SE7 have decent battery life, but what we measured was drastically lower than what was advertised. The 15 hours we measured will still be enough to last you a normal workday, and you can use them passively even if the battery is dead. Unfortunately, they don’t have any companion app to enhance your listening experience.

7.7 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
:
15.2 hrs
Additional Charges
:
0
Total Battery Life
:
15.2 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.8 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes
Charging Port : micro-USB

We’ve measured a 15-hour battery life, which is considerably lower than the advertised 22 hours (there is also mention of a 30-hour battery life, but we couldn’t figure out which number was the ‘real’ advertised battery life). According to the specs sheet, they can last up to 720h when they enter in their standby mode. Also, you can use them with the included audio cable, even if the battery is dead. You can also use the ANC feature when wired if there’s battery left.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

These headphones don’t have an app with customization options.

6.7

Connectivity

The Cowin SE7 are fairly straightforward Bluetooth headphones. They can be used with their included 1/8” TRS audio cable to receive audio from other devices, such as computers and consoles. When used wirelessly, they have great wireless range, and their latency is better than most Bluetooth headphones. They also support aptX, which might give you better overall performance if your audio source supports it.

7.1 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No
Line of Sight Range
:
169 ft
Default Latency
:
134 ms
aptX Latency
:
118 ms
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

These headphones support Bluetooth version 5.0, so you might get better wireless range and connection stability than what we’ve measured since our test bench only supports Bluetooth 4.2 for now. We do plan to upgrade this in the future. Unfortunately, they can’t connect to multiple devices simultaneously and don’t have NFC for quick pairing. However, their pairing procedure is simple, and we didn’t experience any issues.

The latency of the SE7 is better than most Bluetooth headphones that usually average around 200-220ms of delay. This means some people may not notice the delay as much. Also, they support aptX, which gives you even lower latency if your source supports it. This should still be too high for gaming, but you might not notice the delay as much when watching video content, especially that some devices and apps offer some sort of compensation.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.2 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

These headphones come with a 1/8” TRS cable that you can use to play audio on other devices such as consoles and PCs. You can use them wired even if the battery is dead.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A

The SE7 don’t have a base or a dock. If you’re interested in versatile headphones with one, we suggest looking at the SteelSeries Arctis 7.

In the box

  • Cowin SE7 headphones
  • 1/8” TRS audio cable
  • 1/4” adapter
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Airplane adapter
  • Small pouch for accessories
  • Carrying soft case
  • Manuals 

Compared to other Headphones

The Cowin SE7 are average, noise-canceling, over-ear headphones that set themselves apart from the previous Cowin headphones by their new, comfortable, and well-built design. However, they have a very boomy and cluttered audio reproduction, and their ANC feature doesn’t isolate much. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to use during your commute, check our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones and the best headphones, or if you don’t want to break the bank to get a good product, look at the best headphones under $100.

Cowin E7 Pro Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

If sound quality is the most important thing for you when choosing headphones, then the Cowin E7 Pro are a better option than the Cowin SE7 model. They won’t sound as boomy and cluttered, and won’t lack detail in the treble range. However, they might sound too sharp for some. They also have twice the SE7’s battery life. On the other hand, the SE7 are better-built and more comfortable headphones. This new design feels more high-end, doesn’t have a glossy finish that is fingerprint prone, and doesn’t feel flimsy.

Cowin E8 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Cowin E8 are better headphones than the Cowin SE7 model. They have a more neutral sound profile and won’t sound as boomy and cluttered as the SE7. Their isolation performance is noticeably better and their ANC does a good job at isolating against low-frequency noises like bus engine rumble. They also have a better battery life. On the other hand, the SE7 leak less and can fold in a more compact format. They also have lower latency and support the aptX codec, which means you won’t notice too much of delay when watching video content with these.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are better than the Cowin SE7 in pretty much every category. They are one of the most comfortable headphones we’ve reviewed so far, their ANC feature blocks an impressive amount of ambient noise, and they have a great audio reproduction. They have longer battery life and will be a more versatile pair of headphones than the Cowins. The Cowin have the edge in wireless range by a few feet, but they do have noticeably lower latency issues. They are also quite cheaper than the QC 35 II.

Mpow H5 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mpow H5 are better-sounding headphones than the Cowin SE7 and can also be connected simultaneously to two devices, which can be useful. Other than that, the two headphones are fairly similar in terms of controls and noise isolation. However, the Cowin seem to be a bit more comfortable, thanks to their soft padding. Their build quality seems a bit more durable, which explains their slightly more expensive price point. If sound is your biggest criteria, get the Mpow H5, but if durability and comfort are most important, the Cowin would still please most users, especially fans of bass-heavy music.

Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Space NC are better headphones than the Cowin SE7. Their ANC does a good job at isolating out background noise, making them more versatile for everyday casual use and especially for commuting. They also have an in-line microphone on their included audio cable which we expect to perform better than Bluetooth-integrated mics. On the other side, the Cowin might sound better for some, especially if you don’t use their lackluster ANC feature, which negatively affects their sound profile. They are also Bluetooth 5.0 compatible, which can give you better range and connection stability performance if your source supports it.

+ Show more
6.6 Mixed Usage

Average for mixed usage. They have a boomy and cluttered sound profile that won’t be ideal for a wide variety of music genres during critical listening, and their ANC feature is quite lackluster, which won’t be ideal for commuting. They are fairly lightweight and stable on the head for sports, but the over-ear design will trap a decent amount of heat. Their decent battery life will last you for a whole workday, but they don’t isolate a lot of ambient chatter, which would have been useful at the office. Also, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency may be slightly too high for watching videos, and their microphone won’t be great for online gaming.

6.3 Neutral Sound

Average for neutral listening. The Cowin SE7 have a boomy bass that lacks thump and rumble, and their mid-range is overemphasized which makes the vocals and lead instruments thick and cluttered. Also, their treble is fairly underemphasized, and high frequencies will lack detail and presence. We also noticed a significant drop in bass and overall sound quality when turning the ANC feature ON. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy music and will not be ideal for vocal-centric genres. On the upside, they are comfortable to wear for a while.

7.0 Commute/Travel

Okay for commuting. Their ANC feature isn’t the best, but it blocks an average amount of lower frequency noises like bus engine rumbles. You’ll also be able to mask more noise when playing audio. Thankfully, they are comfortable, so you’ll be able to wear these for a while, but they might get hot. Also, their bulky design won’t be very portable, but this shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you wear them around your neck thanks to the swiveling cups.

7.0 Sports/Fitness

Decent for sports. These headphones are lightweight, and their bass-oriented sound profile can be good for staying pumped during a workout. They apply a good amount of pressure on the head to stay stable, but side movements of the head will make them wiggle off. You’ll be able to jog with these, but you might sweat more than usual since they trap heat under the ear cups.

6.8 Office

Decent for the office. They block an okay amount of ambient chatter and reduce the noise of A/C systems well. Their battery life will also last you more than a full workday, which is good. Unfortunately, their microphone won’t be ideal to take business calls with, and they can’t connect to 2 devices simultaneously which would have been useful to switch between your phone and work computer.

5.1 Wireless Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. Their sound quality is boomy and will make video games sound thick. They are decently comfortable for long gaming sessions, but their latency is too high for gaming. They also have a sub-par microphone that won’t be ideal for online gaming with friends and teammates. Even if you don’t need a microphone for single player games, these headphones won’t be a great choice for this use.

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