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  • [GIVEAWAY] Bowers and Wilkins P5 Headphones

    We've been looking at awesome audio equipment lately. Today's review is of a shining example of mobile hi-fi - the Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones.


    Bowers & Wilkins, or B&W as they're generally referred to, have been around since 1966 making high-end audio equipment. Back then, it was John Bowers and his buddy Roy Wilkins, handcrafting speakers in the back of an electronics shop. They're a British company, based in Worthing, England (West Sussex) - and really, if you aren't already familiar with B&W, you probably aren't an audio enthusiast.

    In the Box

    The box is a matte black with a photo of the headphones on it (B&W's clean design ethic starts at the box, finishes on the ear), and inside has the P5s as your first view, nestled in a black molded bit of packaging. Underneath, you're given a carrying bag (which was a little ritzy for my taste - kinda Louis Vuitton with a diamond-shaped design on it).

    There is also a 1/4 inch adapter and a separate cable which doesn't have the iPod/iPhone volume/mic inline. The default cable for the P5s does work as a mic, and has plus/minus buttons for volume - feel free to take a call on these. In our testing, calls sounded fine on both ends. Nothing to write home about - it's still talking with headphones - but good quality.


    Building off their knowledge of making the best of iPod/iPhone music (although, honestly, these are great for anything you're listening to), the makers of the Zeppelin Air dock (which we'll be taking a look at coming up next week) decided it was time to get into headphones as well.

    The P5s are brilliant pieces of design. A strong metal faceplate on the back keeps the sound in (and out), and the brushed metal compliments the black of the New Zealand sheep leather used through the device (what? yah, New Zealand sheep). Solid metal encased in more sheep leather makes up the headband, which was smooth to expand and contract. The earpieces are memory foam, again covered in sheep leather. I don't know what they feed the sheep in New Zealand, but they make very soft leather.

    Wearing the P5s was extremely comfortable. B&W advertises these headphones as being made so you can "listen longer" - and they delivered on that promise as well. While they're heavy enough you know they're quality, I never got that fatigue you get after a while of listening with some headphones. You know the feeling; after an hour or so you suddenly feel you have to keep adjusting your phones, or your ears are getting too warm, or too pressed against your head... just uncomfortable. The P5s were easy to wear for a full afternoon of testing, and sounded good the whole time.

    Two 40mm drivers deliver 50mW of sound with distortion below 1%.


    These are probably the best over-the-ear headphones I've personally used. I have a pair of Bose's QC3s which I'd previously used while flying, which do a great job of noise-canceling (and of hiding the battery necessary for that), but I loved the P5 sound even more.

    Accuracy of sound is the goal here - as with any high end audio. You won't hear bass maxed in your ears, nor "enhanced" treble. The P5s very clearly do a swell job of recreating the sound you would have heard in the studio, and thus are much easier to listen to for long periods of time.

    Noise isolation means you're hearing very little ambient noise - and are able to hear nuances in the recordings you probably missed with your old headphones (unless you've been rocking some top notch ear gear). These are not noise canceling - those are two different things. Noise canceling headphones need an external power source (battery) to generate a frequency which trick your ears and essentially cancel out a lot of mid-frequency sounds (airplane engines, ocean roar, etc). They also require you to have your volume very high to hear quiet passages of sound. Noise isolating (which the P5s are) basically seal off the ear from outside sound (some by being in-ear, these by forming to the ear with memory foam) and only allow a small amount of ambient sound in. The P5s are passively powered (by your device, not an external source), and give you much more clarity in the subtleties of your audio recordings. This also gives your ear less fatigue, making it easier to listen longer.


    If you use headphones a lot and dig high end sound, buy these headphones. That is all. They'll be my new in-flight pair, and marry a beautiful design ethic to incredible sound reproduction. All in a comfortable fit.

    They're $299 on Amazon.com (ok, so that's $300) - Bowers & Wilkins doesn't retail items on their own site.

    We're giving these a 4.5 leaves rating - one of our highest. Great job, B&W - these are some amazing headphones.

    Of course, we're also graced by B&W to be able to give away a pair of the P5s to a lucky reader. Leave a comment below, then grab some more entries to the giveaway through the various options in the widget below. We'll pick a winner on Tuesday!

    This article was originally published in forum thread: [GIVEAWAY] Bowers and Wilkins P5 Headphones started by Kyle Matthews View original post
    Comments 198 Comments
    1. burnsrbeef's Avatar
      burnsrbeef -
    1. NinjosX's Avatar
      NinjosX -
      My birthday was on March, 27. I turned 14. Been a fan of modmyi ever since I got my hands on an apple device. Recently, my dad has lost his job and i really want some headphones, but i don't wanna pressure him into to buying something we can't afford. If i win this it would really be great!! I still <3 modmyi either way. Go modymyi. And I think this product is underrated. Its gorgeous yet simple. One word. Elegant. . The sound quality must be off the chain!!
    1. f3nd3rmus1c's Avatar
      f3nd3rmus1c -
      Great pair of headphones!
    1. Kfchotwings's Avatar
      Kfchotwings -
      Oh what I would do for some headphones like these! As a broke college student I can barely afford some jvc gummy headphones. The sound quality, durability, and quality of gummy headphones is awful. Good quality headphones would help me get away from all of this college stress.
    1. Genex's Avatar
      Genex -
      Could definitely use a pair of these!
    1. bluesummer's Avatar
      bluesummer -
      Sweet.... Now give me those
    1. piercyc's Avatar
      piercyc -
      These would be sweet to use on my upcoming holiday in the Maldives. I think they'd go rather well with my sandals and straw hat
    1. X32izzle's Avatar
      X32izzle -
      looks interesting would love to see how these fit
    1. mergedown's Avatar
      mergedown -
      Looks sweet! I'm sure they sound sweet too!!!
    1. celeron's Avatar
      celeron -
    1. jose060789's Avatar
      jose060789 -
      Please let me win these headphones
      By the way, beats suck and are garbage.
    1. ReidWings's Avatar
      ReidWings -
      Looks nice, hope I win
    1. ZeRo-cOoL's Avatar
      ZeRo-cOoL -
      They look very good. I want one
    1. giantrobot's Avatar
      giantrobot -
      i love these. they sound fantastic!
    1. lalo619's Avatar
      lalo619 -
      i wanna um
    1. MadMoody's Avatar
      MadMoody -
      I need a replacement for my Beats!
    1. Spliff1's Avatar
      Spliff1 -
      Would love a pair of these, you cant beat british made products. I still have a pair of Rogers speakers which are over 20 years old and still sound great.
    1. hoooodini's Avatar
      hoooodini -
      very nice
    1. itaygue's Avatar
      itaygue -
      Wow it will be amazing. plzzzz
    1. aXcelion's Avatar
      aXcelion -
      really nice headphones, would love to rock these!!!