Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile HiFi Stereo HeadphonesManufacturer: Bowers & Wilkins
List Price: N/A
Street Price: $299.95
B&W P5 Headphones
Portable music players have been around since the 80’s. Back then it was the Walkman, today its an iPod or a cellphone. Regardless of what you use to listen to your music on the go you need headphones. And depending on the quality of how your music is encoded, headphones can have a major impact on what you hear. Today we are reviewing headphones that are designed with those who demand the highest quality sound in mind, the B&W P5 (Street Price $300)
B&W did a great job on the aesthetics front with a beautiful design. The headphones are solidly built and feel comfortable over your ears. The P5s do not have an active noise cancellation circuit but we noticed a considerable drop in outside noise while wearing them. And they did a great job keeping our music from leaking to the outside world as well.
The pads that go around the ear are made from the same material that’s used in memory foam mattresses. This helps the headphones form a tight comfortable seal around your ears. But due to the tight fit you may experience some sweating and after about an hour or so you may find that your ears start to hurt.
The ear pads are held on with magnets so if something were to happen to them they can easily be replaced. Removing the ear pad reveals a jack for the cable. The plug makes it easy to replace the cable should it fail over time. The cable comes with an in-line microphone and control for your iPhone.
The headphones come with two cables, one for the iPhone and a standard 3.5mm cable that can be used on any device. B&W also include a two prong airplane adapter. Do any airlines use those anymore? The travel case is nice and worthy of the $300 headphones.
The P5s did a great job with all our source material. Music with a strong bass did quite well. Podcasts sounded a bit bass heavy however. We did find that the P5s didn’t do as well with higher frequencies. We could barely hear the triangles in Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Pounding rock like Hole’s Violet had a lot of punch and the live version of Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me” put you in the concert!
Movies did really well too. Dialog was easy to understand and the noise isolation made it easy to hear at lower levels. One issue we have is that on airplanes the dialog can be hard to hear. With the P5s its easier to hear because the noise from outside is reduced. Effects are where the P5s shined. No other headphones we used have sounded as good with special effects.
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Posted by The HT Guys, March 10, 2011 9:59 PM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.