Bowers & Wilkins has been turning out the sort of speakers that get audiophiles frothing at the ears for donkeys years, but the British company has recently turned its attentions towards the world of portable audio.
Leather and aluminium
At £250 a pop the B&W P5s are not a cheap set of cans, but fortunately they don’t look or feel like some either. The band and earpads are made from soft leather and the earpieces’ outer plate is elegant brushed aluminium. Even the carry case (the P5s fold flat for portability) screams luxury.
They’re comfy too, fastening tightly over your cranium but not exerting too much pressure on your shell-likes. Specs-wearers might find the arms of their glasses get pushed a little too much into their head following extended wear, but in general the P5s feel great on the head whether you’re lounging at home or out and about.
‘Out and about’ is really the ideal environment for these cans. The snug fit shuts out external noise very effectively, while an included cable lets you control your iPod or iPhone and even take calls on the latter, pausing the tunes while you chat.
Most importantly, the P5s deal out some lovely audio. Treble is clear without being overly bright, while the bass is powerful but controlled and natural. That said, the mid-range could be clearer and when directly compared to the similarly-priced Denon AH-D2000s, there’s evidently less detail, clarity and crispness in the P5s’ sound.
The difference between the two is that the Denon AH-D2000s are a huge, hefty pair of cans that could only be used in the home. B&W has managed to squeeze some impressive sonic skills out of a comfy and compact set of headphones that are designed primarily for on-the-go use. But they’re not cheap, so we’d expect nothing less.