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Good: Build quality
Bad: The price
Comment: I'm an engineer, it looks good feels good and sounds good. The engineering is masked by the good looks but don't be deceived the design is superb, unlike the popular alternative beginning with B and I own two sets of them you can feel the strength, sat on a set of Bose and they just fell apart, I don't advocate doing that but hey ho it happens then try to get Bose to fix them :-(
Good: Very comfy, good sound quality at first.
Bad: Appalling durability.
Comment: I've been through THREE pairs of these and each time they've started to fall apart within a month.
First pair was for Christmas, left cup's audio connection got severed some how. I could jiggle it about a bit and get small bursts of sound, sent it in for repairs and got a new unit. Second pair started to grow mold in the cups from leaving it next to my laptop's air vent occasionally. Third's bass has blown after VERY careful use for about a month or so.
For the cash these cost you'd be better off getting something that'll last.
Good: Superb Clarity, Very Comfortable, Stylish and Well Built, Built-in iPod/iPhone Volume Control/Mic
Bad: Leak quite a bit of noise
Comment: I was attracted to the B&W P5s by their style. I previously owned a pair of Shure SE535 in-ear monitors and after spotting these in the Apple store at Covent Garden I had to have a listen. After spending as-near-as-makes-no-difference an hour comparing these to the Shures I decided to buy these.
The noise isolation on the Shure SE535s was better, but you should expect that from a pair of memory foam ear canal earphones. For headphones the noise isolation on these is great! When walking a busy London high street at a medium volume most background noise is gone. On the underground you do have to push the volume a little higher. One thing B&W quote is that these headphones offer very good noise cancellation whilst 'preserving your sense of place', which sounds a bit like marketing mumbo jumbo. But I have to say I agree. When I used to wear my Shure earphones they would block out everything, and that becomes quite disorientating. I was forever bumping into people getting off of the underground because I just didn't know they were there unless I could see them. The P5s leave a small amount of background noise so you can maintain spacial awareness.
Also just quickly, it is worth mentioning I spent a lot of time trialling the Bose QC15 headphones as well, which have active noise cancellation. They filtered out a tiny but more noise then the B&Ws, however at the cost of sound quality. Bose are a great audio company but the B&Ws sound just that bit more real and precise.
Well being fortunate enough to test these against Shure SE535s and Bose QC15s gave me a good yardstick. With all 3 the sound is well rounded and clear. You can pick out an instrument or a kick drum or cymbal and just focus on it because they are clear.
The B&W P5s just had that edge, they were slightly punchier in the lows, without being tiresome like artificially produced bass of Skullcandys and some Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. It is responsive and clear, whilst preserving the ability to listen for hours (if you have that sort of time). The mids and highs are very balanced in my opinion. Others think the treble has been rolled back, but I think it is fine and much like the bass it offers the ability to listen for a long time without becoming to sharp and hurting your ears.
Rock music sounds nice and rich, with bright guitars and a strong bass guitar and drum performance. I listen to a lot of this as I play guitar myself. I will now happily listen to music that falls out of my taste because it sounds so good. Songs such as 'Enter Sandman' by Metallica really shows off the performance of these headphones. Another good test is 'Under the Bridge' by the Red Hot Chilis.
R'n'B has a nice rich bass. Most of these songs are generically bass heavy and if that's your flavour maybe the Beats by Dr. Dre are for you, after all they are design for this genre exactly. I rarely listen to R'n'B but when I do it sounds strong with the B&W P5s. A recommended song here would be 'Confessions Part II' by Usher.
If Dance, Techno or House is your game once again clarity in the highs and mids as well as rich, punchy bass comes through. I tend to enjoy this music when I'm out in nightclubs but rarely listen to it in my spare time. A fantastic test song for house is 'City in Florida' by Deadmau5. It sounds great!.
On a final note, my girlfriend had a go with these when I brought them home. She is the average iPod earphones user. She wouldn't give them back to me for the rest of the night and told me she could listen to songs she'd heard 1000s of times and hear bits she'd never noticed before.
The last test song you NEED to try, recommended by us both is 'A Man Comes Around' by Johnny Cash. His voice is amazingly clear, it is like he is in the room. The acoustic guitar sounds gorgeously bright and you can hear every stroke of the plectrum.
Comfort & Style
Like I mentioned the style is what drew me to try these headphones out, well.. that and B&Ws reputation.They feel so well built, with no plastic in sight. All you see is high quality leather and metal.
I think if you left them laying around and sat on them they would survive, at £250 I hope like myself, you will take more care of them.
The earpads are memory foam and are super comfortable. I can (and have) listened for hours with these. I expected my ears to get very hot and this isn't the case. Maybe the leather allow them to breathe? I don't know I won't get into that. If you live in warmer climates they may become hot but no complaints from me in the UK.
Comment: I've tried alot of headphones including the whole Bose range (My bose over ears and on ears were much more bassy than P5s , But these are just amazing... So so so defined and yes the bass is rather dominant but is of insignificance compared with the Monster Beats Collection - They define bass dominant all over again!(Of which i have owned)
The P5's are stylish and not as 'funky' or 'cool' let's say in the play ground with the big boys that do not know one thing about headphones , but these are beautiful sound wise( through and through all genres), and reflect this beauty in their iconic image.
Good: Audio Quality
Bad: They sound so good, they bring out the worse of the i-Pod sound engine!
Comment: Basically I've given up on i-Pods and every thing else to do with their sound engine. Why, well, apart from their over 'boosty' ' farty' bass, it was a nightmare buying the right head gear. These Phones will boost/fart your Apple Product (I Own an i-Touch). For now, I invested in a high grade Sony Walkman X Series. I've some how been given the chance to re discover Audiophile quality with these beasts at the highest Bit Rate even more so with Un-Compressed Music. Well worth every Penny! I own some Bose 'over the ear' phones which too are quite astonishing for half the price of the B&W! .... I do question why B&W designed these phones around a poor sound engine as that of the Apple i-Pod & Touch. Their Zepplin Rocks ( I owe one ), but this baffles me? This product is better fitted for high end audio performance engines. :) ....?
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