Bowers & Wilkins P5 Headphones
Photo by: Todd Mushaw
The P5 have won the coveted European Imaging and Sound Association’s “Bet Product” award for 2011/2012.
Original post 7.9.2010
I went to the Apple store to a buy a case for my Macbook Pro. They were out of stock. On my way out, a very stylish and sleek looking pair of headphones caught my eye. I walked over and picked them up. I saw that they were made by Bowers & Wilkins. I’ve always been a fan of B&Ws products for their superlative quality and design standards. I own their Zeppelin iPod dock. It sounds fantastic, looks like a work of art and never fails to garner comments and compliments. I could immediately see that the headphones that I held were crafted with the same attention to detail. They’re constructed of a combination of stainless steel, brushed metal and what I later learned was genuine New Zealand sheep’s leather. When I put them on, I was astonished how comfortable they were. My ears tend to fatigue quickly whether wearing earbuds, closed-cup or over-the-ear designs, so next to sound quality, comfort is of prime importance to me. I could see myself wearing these comfortably for an extended period. So far they’ve passed the design and build quality test with flying colors. Now if only they sound as good as they look then Apple can chalk up another impulse buy.
I pressed play on the iPod that the P5s were connected to and was immediately underwhelmed by what I was hearing. The bass seemed over hyped and the high-end lacking. I dashed over to the nearest available computer to see what the bloggers had to say about them. I saw a few negative, but I essentially read one glowing review after another. Audio is a very subjective thing. What sounds good to one listener may sound like ass-cheese to another. I don’t consider myself an audiophile, but I would say that my standards are probably a bit higher than the average consumer’s. Most of the audio products that I buy are used as tools in audio production so I demand a bit more from them. I really wanted to like these headphones so I decided to buy them anyway to try them out in a more familiar environment.
After listening to a few familiar sources like Air, Jay-Z and Michael Jackson on a better playback system, I’ve determined that these are a balanced and high-quality set of headphones . I wouldn’t say they’re the best I’ve heard; in fact I prefer, or maybe I’m just more used to the sound of my trusty and less expensive AKG K240 for their flat openness. $300 is a lot of money to spend on headphones, however you’d be hard pressed to find a more stylish or well built pair for the price. The P5 is built to last. I know that 10 years from now I’ll still be sitting in Starbucks or on a plane composing or mixing music with them. Needless to say I’m keeping them. I’ll definitely stand out from all my friends that rock The Beats by Dre.
In the box you will find a very nice quilted carrying case that sports the B&W logo in stainless steel. The case is reminiscent of something made by Prada. Also a 1/4″ adapter and two different detachable cables. One is for an iPod connection with mic and volume control, the other is a standard 1/8″ jack. Once you register your new headphones, B&W grants 3 months free access to their exclusive Society of Sound web site where you can download audiophile grade recordings.
I would definitely recommend these.
Description: Mobile supra aural headphone with noise isolation
Drive units: 2x 40mm
Impedance: 26 ohms
Frequency range: 10Hz to 20kHz
Left/right tolerance: +/-1dB at 1kHz
Max. input power: 50mW
Distortion: @100dB – Less than 0.05% for 80-20kHz, less than 0.2% for 20-20kHz
Sensitivity: 115dB/V at 1kHz
Inputs: 3.5mm stereo mini jack (on cable), 2.5mm mini jack (on Headphone)
Finish: Real Leather and metal
Dimensions (WxHxD): 5.9 x 7.1 x 2.4 in./150 x 180 x 60 mm
Dimensions – folded flat (WxHxD): 5.9 x 7.1 x 1.4 in./150 x 180 x 35 mm
Weight: 6.9 oz./195g
Addendum August 19, 2011
Since a fair amount of people read this review, I wanted to add some additional notes after owning them for a year.
I would say that after a year, I’m still very pleased with my purchase of these. When they were new I was handling them with kid gloves, always careful to keep them in the case when traveling. Now I just sort of toss them in my bag before I leave out the door. They are holding up quite well to daily use.
The only negative comment I have is that the cable is too short and bit on the delicate side. One day I abruptly stood up with the P5′s on and violently yanked the cable from the plug. This action damaged the cable and caused an annoying short. The cable itself is somewhat of a specialty item and can’t picked up from your local Radio Shack. I emailed B&W about a replacement. I was fully prepared to pay for a new cable. However I’m pleased to say that they sent me a replacement free of charge. A+ for customer service.
I’ve since purchased an extension cable for my main listening station so I won’t have a repeat cable yanking event.
About the author
Mango Black is some dude who has for the last 10 years been involved in all sorts of crazy shi+ in the city of LA. Check me out on Instagram: @mangoblack