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On-Ear item created by jacksonchansf, May 31, 2012
Pros - warm, comfortable and stylish looking
Cons - too warm and only good for pop
I own Sennheiser HD600 and Fiio X3II. I love HD600 because it is comfortable and also works well for my classical music and vocal music. But it doesn't play well with any pop music on my iPhone. I got a decent portable amp. I have tried several different brand of amp. HD600 just doesn't play well with any pop music on iPhone w/wo amp. I'm always looking for a alternative headphone for pop music.
I bought B&W P3 for less than $200 from bestbuy because I have $120 rewards expires very soon. Bestbuy provides a testing setup for P3, P5 and P7. I plug in my iPhone to test all three of them. P3 has the warmest sound among all of them. But it is the only one that plays well with my pop music on my iPhone. In addition, the warm sound sometimes may have muffled feeling. But it doesn't last for long. Unlike classical music, all pop music only last for less than 5 minutes. So the muffled feeling is quite transient.
It is not as comfortable as HD 600. But it is acceptable for an hour wearing. It is very convenient to carry it around compared to HD600. What's more important is that it doesn't need an ugly amp for iPhone. My setup for HD600 only suits for desktop use.
The design of P3 is stylish. It comes with a sturdy case.
So if you need a portable headphone on the go and love to play some pop music occasionally, I'd recommend this.
Pros - It looks expensive. It looks nice. Sound? Bassy and mid-focused. Good for casual listening and nothing more.
Cons - Horrible, flimsy, creaking build. Terrible clarity, bass covers and muffles up the treble. Extremely uncomfortable.
I definitely won't be buying another Bowers & Wilkins product. That's for sure. After THIS headphone, no. I've had it with the fancy British design which achieves NOTHING in practicality.
The P3 is a small on-ear headphone, the cheapest of all B&W headphones (excluding the C5 Series 2, which is an in-ear headphone). It costs $199. It looks extremely nice, with soft-touch rubber and aluminium faceplates and chrome hinges.
Sound? Sound is, in my opinion, probably on par with a Beats product. Beats is probably even better. The sound on the P3 is a mess: muddy, unclear, but somewhat pleasant for casual listening. Yes, it has a good soundstage, yes it has good bass, but it's just like someone not putting their glasses on-->blurry, unclear. Extremely disappointed with sound on the P3. Terrible value for money.
Even if the sound was good enough for an average consumer, the design is horrible, the comfort is even worse. The design certainly looks appealing, what with the fancy chrome hinges and whatnot. However, when you touch it, it just reeks flimsyness. Extremely poor build. One of my ear cups makes a disgusting creaking sound whenever I press it. As for comfort, the two earcups sort of "eat" your ears like a hungry crocodile. No. Just no. Smaller ear cups=higher pressure exerted on ears. Design fail. Also small, thin headband also=higher pressure on top of head. Another design fail.
In conclusion, your $199 is better spent somewhere else. Bowers & Wilkins is a failure in both design and sound, at least for this product. I'm never buying a B&W product again.
Pros - Very comfortable, great bass I suppose if you're a hardcore basshead
Cons - Bloated, muffled sounding, flimsy build
A friend of mine has these, he received them as a gift from someone who purchased them for 200 dollars without any proper research first, which was probably a big mistake on their part. I've had quite extensive chances to listen to these and compare them to my V-Moda M-80s, and can honestly say that as far as closed-back on-ears for under 200 go, the sound on these doesn't come CLOSE to teh quality of the M-80s, and these cost 50 dollars more! The only way these beat the M-80s is in terms of comfort. . .the one thing I can say with the utmost positivity about the P3's is that they are SUPREMELY comfortable for a pair of on-ear cans. The fabric on the earpads is nice and soft and comfortable, and breathable to the extent that it doesn't make your ears hot and sweaty even outside in warm weather. Despite that, they provide quite good isolation for a pair of on-ears! Nice.
Now for the sort-of bad part, guys. These cans were a big miss on Bowers and Wilkins' part, in my opinion. There is a massive amount of bass-bloat. . .the bass, I will say, is almost completely lacking in distortion, unlike what you hear in most bass-bloated cans (eg. Beats or Skullcandy), but is simply overwhelming and drowns out the mids. The mids and highs DO have decent detail, but this is mostly hidden by the bass. Also, there is a strange somewhat "muffled" quality to the sound, which I suspect is due to the design/engineering of the earpads, perhaps the material used in them, combined with the overall bass-bloat. These have quite good soundstage and imaging for a pair of closed-back on-ears, but this is basically ruined, at least for me, by the loss of detail resolution due to bass-bloat. I would be happy to listen to these for Rap and Hip-Hop, but not for much else, really.
Finally, the build quality of these is seriously questionable. These cans retail for 200 dollars, and yet have a non-detachable, thin and flimsy cable which splits-off and connects to both ears rather than just one side. If a company is going to make a pair of headphones with a non-detachable cable (which is a pet peeve of mine, anyway) they should at least make the included cable nice and sturdy, but in this case, it seems only slightly better quality than what you get with someth8ing like stock Apple Earbuds that come with an iPod, which on a pair of 200 dollar cans is, in my opinion, unacceptable. The build of the rest of the cans is quite nice. . .metal frame, teh fabric earpads, reliable folding hinges. . .but is ruined by the flimsy cable. In fact, my friend, who certainly is not an audiophile and thus does not mind the bass-bloat on these at all, is wanting to get new cans now because the cable is shorting-out and has become temperamental, after only about eleven months of use! I think that for 200 dollars, Bowers and Wilkins could have put a lot more effort into the quality-control for teh build of these things.
Overall, I'd say you can do much better than these for the price that they go for, or really, can do much better than them for a little over HALF their price.
Pros - Punchy bass, good soundstage and 3D imaging, lovely vocals
Cons - Can seem muddy if your expectations are too high.... slightly recessed treble, price..
I thought I would share my first impressions and experience with this headphone. I will only concentrate on the sound part, since everyone knows how well built and comfortable they are (or can be... for me they are really comfortable).
First off, let me tell you that if you're expecting super audiophile grade quality, look elsewhere. My initial expectations may have been a little high myself especially since I'm used to listening to my home setup: Macbook Air > HRT MSII+ > Bellari HA540 > K702. This setup is just amazing and since this is my reference I can't lie... I was disappointed at first with the sound of the P3.
Initially I found the sound muffled and too warm, lacking in transparency and highs. I appreciate a warm sound, but this is quite warm with recessed treble. (BTW this is my university setup I am listening with: Macbook Air > HRT MSII+ > Bravo Audio V2 > P3. My even more portable setup will be the same, minus the Macbook and DAC to be replaced with a LOD and IPod.) But after listening a little more, I oddly started to appreciate the sound.. It's sweet and the vocals are amazing. The soundstage isn't the largest but for a headphone of this size it's pretty impressive. The 3D positioning of the instruments is even more impressive since I am able to pinpoint where the instruments are coming from on the space in front of me quite easily.
Despite the initial feel of a muffled sound, after about 30 minutes I realised that the sound is pretty clear and I am able to hear little details in the sound. The song that impressed me the most was Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart (Album Version)" with it's clear highs which even sparkled with the P3. Also, Massive Attack's "Mezzanine" album sounded amazing with these phones... With their fast, punchy bass which extends well and liquid mids which are a treat. So of course compared to the K702 setup I always listen to at home the P3's are muffled and way too dark/warm. But forgetting about the reference and remembering what these headphones are for I can't complain!
So all-in-all, I am quite impressed with this headphone for my portable setup! The warm sound is so pleasant to listen to while relaxing or studying for your Process Modelling and Analysis final exam.
I hope my little review of my first impressions of the Bowers & Wilkins P3 headphones is of some help to someone. I will post more information once I have enough time with the headphones if anything pops up.