Howdy friend and Welcome aboard!!
Before we get into the Bowers and Wilkins P5 vs. P7 comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this review
For this article, I will outline the P5, and then compare it to the P7 towards the end! 🙂
- Video Review
- Amp/DAC requirements
- Who these headphones benefit?
- Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Similarities & Differences
- Final Word
Bowers & Wilkins P5 (Original model)
- Type: Closed back. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
- Material: Steel, Sheep Leather
- Fit: Supra-Aural (On-Ear)
- Impedance: 26 Ohms. What is Headphone Impedance?
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 20,000kHz
- Sensitivity: 115dB
- Diaphragm: Mylar – 1.6 in.
- Magnet Material: Neodymium
- Weight: 6.88 oz.
- Included Accessories: 2.5mm jack adapter, wired remote control with microphone
Overall, like the P7’s, these are a little overpriced, and may not be worth the asking price. The build however is pretty fantastic, but other than that they really fall short in a myriad of ways.
While Bowers & Wilkins are pretty much famous for their outstanding home speaker line, their headphones kind of pale in comparison, at least sound wise. This isn’t a headphone to scoff at in the looks or build quality department. It seems as though B&W took a little too much time carefully crafting these Paris Hilton type cans. They’re all looks and not much substance. Heh. Man okay I’ll stop. But there’s more later. 😉
* = unanimous
- Good build quality. Real high quality leather is used for the ear-pads. This is pretty much unanimous.*
- Transparent, with glassy highs and a tight responsive bass.
- Elegant. They look good. But like a hot woman with no personality, I just can’t get with it. Lol.
- Decent sound isolation.
- They don’t boost any frequencies. They sound pretty natural overall.
- The chord is detachable and replaceable.
* = Unanimous
- Poor build and design/uncomfortable. They cause pain on your ears.*
- Chord shorting out/connector snapped/bad chord in general.*
- Muddy sound/lacking clarity, especially in vocals.
- Bass has no texture or body.
- The overall sound is flat, and dull. More on that later.
You don’t really need an amp with these. How to choose a headphone amp!
Who these headphones benefit?
- Big band
- String instruments
- Death Metal
- Skype calls
Bands that got some positive mention:
- Pink Floyd
- Chemical Brothers
- Ghostland Observatory
- Black Keys
- Talking Heads
- Black Eyed Peas
- Gram Parsons
- Led Zeppelin
- David Bowie
- Lana Del Rey
- Merle Haggard
- Owl City
Not as good for:
Thoughts from Stu’s notepad
- Be aware of the re-certified versions. They aren’t up to pair with the originals. They do not come with warranty information, a carrying case and accessory cables, nor do they have the good packaging of the original. They also do not sound like the original model either. The are tinny and harsh, and just all around the opposite of what you would expect. So don’t purchase from Mindless Entertainment (Kind of ironic no?).
- Another remedy for the headphones is to unplug the wire inside the earpiece and re-configure it’s position. This seems to fix a lot of the sound quality issues that people were having.
- They may need a break in period to sound their best. This is sort of typical of all headphones, although some people say it’s a myth. In my experience, burn in can definitely help, even if it’s simply just a placebo effect. Around 200 hours is a good benchmark.
- As mentioned in the Cons section, the P5’s sound like they’re just going through the motions, sort of like the 2016-2017 NC State Wolfpack Basketball Team. Lol. It’s just a real mediocre effort all around. To some, they’re everything you don’t want as far as sound is concerned: they’re distant, muddled, and sound sort of like an AM radio.
- The treble may become tinny/sibilant, or tend to roll off. What does Sibilant mean?
- One of the biggest complaints was the wire. Well, you can replace it.
- The inline controls don’t work with Zune.
- While the majority of peeps didn’t like the comfort factor, there were a handful of people who did.
Great build, decent sound isolation, poor comfort, poor/thin cable. The sound is debatable. It’s neutral and pretty balanced overall, but many find it lacking/boring/dull, etc. I would say that many of the bad reviews could be due to the fact that those people got a counterfeit version. If you do plan on purchasing these, buy from amazon directly, and do not use the “more buying choices” feature.
Similarities & Differences
- They have a similar build, feel and overall look.
- They’re made from the same materials.
- The P5’s are a little lighter.
- The P7 is an Over-Ear headphone while the P5 is On-Ear. The ear-cups on the P5 are flat, while the P7’s are contoured.
- Both headphones include a remote and mic cable for use with compatible iPhones, iPads and iPods and a universal cable for other devices.
- Overall Sound. The P7 is more involving, and immerses you more in the music. There’s better instrument separation and clarity with the P7.
In my opinion, neither are worth the price. I just can’t justify spending that much money on a headphone that sounds muffled and warm. When I first put the P7’s on, I was totally confused. “This is the sound I used to prefer?” It’s like our ears get so accustomed to a certain type of signature, that when they finally hear what’s correct, it’s a shock. What I mean of course is a crisp, analytical sound that still comes across as enjoyable. The P7’s and P5’s are too warm and muddy. There’s very little instrument separation in my eyes, and the various pieces tend to blur together, which really left a sour taste in my mouth.
Add to that the comfort factor which is very hit and miss, and you get a very disappointed consumer. I had to take off the P7’s after less than an hour, and in my book that’s unacceptable if the sound isn’t good. If the sound is exemplary, I will suffer through. But I can’t with these.
So my recommendation is a headphone that has stood the test of time. Like these two, it has a balanced sound signature but remains very exciting. It’s comfortable, durable, and boasts a stunning price to performance ratio. You’re not going to be forking over your arm and leg for this one. It’s the best closed back solution at it’s price bar none, and competes with pretty much everything out there, including my beloved HD600.
In my opinion, it’s the benchmark for closed back headphones, and it’s name is the Sony MDR V6. Interested in an in depth discussion about it?
CHECK OUT MY OFFICIAL SONY MDR V6 REVIEW!!
Well that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this Bowers and Wilkins P5 vs. P7 comparison.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
Which of these tickles YOUR pickle? I would love to hear from you. Until next time..
All the best and God bless,
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