Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2
Jan 7, 2015 at 2:50 PM Post #211 of 300

Moody

Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Posts
92
Likes
10
I've both the P7 and the P5 II and I believe the P7 is miles ahead. More balanced sound, better all over the spectrum.
BUT....I also think the P5 II is one of the best truly portable headphone around if you prefer a "commercial" sound. In fact, it's the most comfortable on-ear I've ever worn.
 
When I listen at home I prefer a more accurate sound, but on-the-go (commuting to work per bike) I prefer a "fun" sound. The P5 II is great. Comfortable, covers your ears (great in winter) and a very convincing bass-driven sound with just enough sparkle to justify the steep price. Highly recommended.
 
Jan 7, 2015 at 5:48 PM Post #212 of 300

xeroian

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 15, 2012
Posts
230
Likes
45
Moody has summed up my feelings pretty well. The P7 feels that it is much more accurate but the P5 II delivers much more fun and mimics being at a live concert. The P7 stays at home while the P5 travels most places with me in a Grado case. I also pack my HRT Microstreamer so the sound is identical whether using Pad, iPhone or computer.
 
Jan 18, 2015 at 10:52 AM Post #213 of 300

bitflogger

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 18, 2015
Posts
3
Likes
10
I decided to get some ownership time and use in different circumstances before making comments.
 
So far I'm very happy with my purchase and real world use. These usually travel in my computer bag for work use and get used at home in late or early hours. The work travel made the physical design as important as the sound. The spare parts options and materials are also a plus.
 
Eye glasses and maybe my metal Oakley frames made on vs over the ear important. The P3 models were attractive in terms of carry, but didn't stay on my head as well.
 
Lots of trials, shopping and others exposed me to very flat and extreme models. Newer beats products were more appealing than in the past but these P5 series 2 won for being comfortable to listen to as well as wear.
 
My listening is almost always from my phone or laptop. Something that stood out with these is no or minimal desire to change the EQ settings in the device. Some old but pleasing studio types I have tempt me to spice up the sound, some others had me searching to cut either bass or treble. If these are not flat, the bias or emphasis is one that keeps things interesting and comfy for me, and works with noise that's around me while working or taking a walk in the neighborhood.
 
The look many headphones have is problematic and these address that. They don't stand out the way many headphones do. My needs are the opposite of someone wanting fashion. I don't want to attract attention the way some do with size, color or a very mechanized or complex look. They minimize looking obnoxious or like I'm trying to attract attention when I'm working.
 
Bottom line for me is they're much nicer than active noise cancel model for pure listening pleasure, they travel well, and they sound great. My high score for these would be like they're the student or athlete who is quite good in a number of areas.
 
Feb 9, 2015 at 2:30 PM Post #214 of 300

Drucifer

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Posts
2
Likes
10
I have been considering buying a new portable audio player, considering FiiO X5, and was thinking I'd also treat myself to some new headphones. I already have a pair of Grado 80i, ATH M50x, and Momentums. I've wanted a pair of P5s for a long time now and now that I see series 2 is out and a nice improvement over the first I've been strongly considering the purchase.

My main worry was that I'd buy them and then wish I'd spent the extra to get the P7s but after ready comments here it looks like I'd be more than happy with the purchase as these will be almost exclusively for use when I'm on the go and P7s would be too big for me for portable use. Sounds like the comments here are pretty favourable towards the P5 series 2 for a nice portable set.


Now I assume there'd be no need to get a portable amp as the FiiO X5 should be able to drive them just fine, correct?
 
Feb 9, 2015 at 3:54 PM Post #216 of 300

Drucifer

New Head-Fier
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Posts
2
Likes
10
Depends. If you carry a man bag or just going to put headphones on the work desk then physical size does not matter imo


No I'd have no bag to put them in. They'd be on my head, around my neck, or rarely in my desk. I'm more concerned with how long is be wearing them so I'd like something lighter. Also since they'd be put around my neck I like how the P5s rotate 90 degrees.
 
Feb 9, 2015 at 6:15 PM Post #217 of 300

LFC_SL

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 5, 2005
Posts
3,538
Likes
269
Fair enough. Weight is only one factor because the ear pads do sit on the ear pad. Actually think Urbanite headband material is really comfy. This category has become very competitive but B&W styling and materials next level. If you do not mind paying the premium then go for it
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 3:46 PM Post #218 of 300

ironwaffle

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Posts
4
Likes
10

Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2





These are initial impressions...  Initial is the key word here.  My initial impressions about the P3 and P7 both changed as time went along, that may happen with the P5 S2 I have here.  There are 40 hours on this pair (maybe a tad bit more by now) and they are still getting use.  The headphones may get more comfortable with time (memory foam tends to do that, so does stretching the headband :p).  That said, here's what I think of them.  Design and build definitely won't change, comfort rarely does (but can) while sound most likely will (if my history with B&W's on/over-ears has anything to do with how these will react).  Happy reading.  

Design and Build




As always, Bowers & Wilkins does a great job with the design and feel of the headphones themselves.  They look extremely sexy and stylish in person.  The hard-drawn silver accents give the headphones its shape while the black leather and brushed aluminum allows for a classy look entirely.  They look absolutely gorgeous, what else is expected from B&W though?

The build, feel, and choice of materials on the actual headphones is top notch (what would you expect from B&W?) and feels great in the hands.  The cable on the other hand...  It's like the one that is included on the P3.  It's a little thinner than I'd like and terminates at a thinner, strait headphone jack.  This cable could be improved in many ways.  

Comfort




I took these out for a nice long walk over the weekend, it was a nice peaceful walk around the park, little (if any) running involved; it was a nice day out.  This also sufficed for a comfort test for long durations (I was out of the house for approximately 1.5-2 hours).  In that walk, I began getting some discomfort at a pressure point on the top of my head as well as on the antihelix of my right ear.  This discomfort ended up creating some tenderness, though it wasn't enough to make me take off the headphones.  It should be noted though.  

Keep in mind that I was walking around and the up and down motion will, in a way, force the pressure point on the top of the head.  This may not happen when sitting still at home or in the office (or even in a vehicle), and it actually didn't (at home anyway).  The tenderness on my antihelix still exists though; there's no getting around that.

Sound




Before I begin with the sonic impressions, I should note that I have never had extensive experience with the Bowers & Wilkins P5 (original), only a short 2 song audition at the Apple Store.  That said, the signature seems to have chagned in a pretty large fashion.  Many people stated that the original P5 was more neutral and had controlled bass over the P7.  This is no longer true, in direct comparison, the bass is bigger, thicker, and slower.  Let's get into more specifics.  

We'll begin off on the low end, as I always do :p  As stated, this low end has a distinct thickness to it that kind of reminds me of a stronger sub-woofer.  The size off the bass gives each impact a thorough, tough slam to it, but it's not sloppy.  Digging down lower, we find that the sub-bass texturing is a little more solid and one-noted than I'd like.  This tends to take away from the delicate and fluid texturing.  The low end isn't tight, but it isn't out of control, and it does give a warmth to the midrange.  It is, however, on the slower side of things.  

As we move to the midrange, the first thing that hits you square in the face is the thick lushness that fills each and every song.  The headphones are smooth with a touch of warmth to them.  Taking the edge off things, the P5 S2 is anything but analytic, but most details still get through.  Instrumental clarity isn't overbearing, rather just there while vocals are absolutely beautifully rendered.  So although some dynamics may have been sacrificed with instrumentals for smoothness, no such impact is done on the vocals.  

In the treble, B&W decided that a softer texturing was needed to complete this smooth signature, but they didn't do it in a way that it'd be too controlled.  There is ample extension up top to give great detailing, clarity and separation thoughout.  Presence, despite the more laid-back nature of the highs on the new P5s, isn't an issue either.  Snares still have dynamic touch to them and proper timbre, though they aren't in your face.  In reality nothing is in your face.  

Now, I should note a second thing, these impressions are very close to how I felt about the P7 when I first go them.  Those changed a lot during the course of use.  As of right now, I've had approximately 40 hours on these headphones for burn in (and about 5-6 hours of actual use on my head).  These still have a long way to go, I did notice the bass becoming more controlled as I used them.  I can't be sure though as I didn't compare and contrast the P5 to anything as I burn them in (I normally compare them to another pair of headphones as a reference to get a better picture of how they break in with time).  

P7 comparisons should come towards the end of the week, no promises though.  With that said, it's time to take these off for a little while as I've had them on for the past hour writing this up :p  


Great write-up! Can you share your current impressions? I'm torn between these and KEF m500s. Along with some Grado, Sennheiser and V-Moda, I was able to audition the original P5s the other day. Of those, the P5 were my overall favorite.

The only store in town that carries the P5 Series 2 and the KEF are my local Apple Store. They won't allow auditioning; rather, I need to buy them, try them out and return what I don't want. I don't like buying when I know there's a good chance I'm returning something (especially an expensive product) -- it just doesn't feel right. As such, I'll rely on reviews like yours and others as well as how I felt about the original P5 for B&W. I gave in and ordered the KEFs. They should be here in a week. By then, if I find a significantly better deal on B&W I'll pull that trigger and simply return the KEF unopened and untried.
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 5:48 PM Post #219 of 300

tinyman392

Be nice to noobs, we were all noobs at one point in our life.
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Posts
8,387
Likes
1,428
Great write-up! Can you share your current impressions? I'm torn between these and KEF m500s. Along with some Grado, Sennheiser and V-Moda, I was able to audition the original P5s the other day. Of those, the P5 were my overall favorite.

The only store in town that carries the P5 Series 2 and the KEF are my local Apple Store. They won't allow auditioning; rather, I need to buy them, try them out and return what I don't want. I don't like buying when I know there's a good chance I'm returning something (especially an expensive product) -- it just doesn't feel right. As such, I'll rely on reviews like yours and others as well as how I felt about the original P5 for B&W. I gave in and ordered the KEFs. They should be here in a week. By then, if I find a significantly better deal on B&W I'll pull that trigger and simply return the KEF unopened and untried.


My opinions on the B&W P5 Series 2 haven't changed that much. The above information is accurate to how I actually do feel about them. As for trying them before you by them, I do highly suggest it. I'm not sure if your Apple Store does this, but many of the Apple Stores where I am do have headphones on display (Parrot Zik, B&W P5, B&W P7, etc.). I'd really recommend getting a quick listen despite the loud environment.

I can say one thing, the Keff should have a more neutral sound over the B&W while the B&W will have a thicker, warmer signature. It will end up becoming a game of preference at the end of the day (which is why I recommend that you try before you buy).

I do understand it isn't always possible to try before you buy. I wish I could tell you more, but I simply don't have enough experience with the Keff to give you a real idea of how they would compare. Maybe someone else around here can do it.

On another note, while we're talking in that 200 dollar price range, I do have to also recommend the V-Moda XS into the bunch. Signature-wise, it should sit between the Keff and the P5 offering a slightly warmer sound over neutral, but not as strong and thick as the P5 S2 are.
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 6:52 PM Post #220 of 300

ironwaffle

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Posts
4
Likes
10
My opinions on the B&W P5 Series 2 haven't changed that much. The above information is accurate to how I actually do feel about them. As for trying them before you by them, I do highly suggest it. I'm not sure if your Apple Store does this, but many of the Apple Stores where I am do have headphones on display (Parrot Zik, B&W P5, B&W P7, etc.). I'd really recommend getting a quick listen despite the loud environment.


Thanks for the quick response! I hoped you'd say something along those lines. I know that sometimes an opinion can shift in six months. What you wrote suggested that these might be up my alley. I'd hoped Apple just a few miles from my home would have some on display but they assured me they don't. Earlier this week I was able to audition many sets (detailed along with my personal use case in an awkward tl;dr post earlier today) detailed in my awkward tl;dr post earlier today including the original P5.

I liked it enough I wanted to check out Series 2. The guy at Gramophone offered me the demo (no box or accessories) for $199 and I was tempted. They said they were getting P5 Series 2s in an upcoming shipment but that they never had them in-store before. Not a vote of confidence. Earlier that day at Magnolia their manager tried to convince me their in-stock original P5s were indeed Series 2 (despite clearly not being). Suffice it to say, this has been a bit dispiriting. Still, looks like with a little patience and perseverence I can get the Series 2 for $200-$250. KEF, not so much so part of my equation will be "are the KEF worth $50-100 more?"

I can say one thing, the Keff should have a more neutral sound over the B&W while the B&W will have a thicker, warmer signature. It will end up becoming a game of preference at the end of the day (which is why I recommend that you try before you buy).


Great points. I've read that these two in particular are on a pretty even par in terms of form and function. The more neutral sound appeals to my intellect but I know my ear likes... well, a little sonic sugar in my auditory coffee.

I do understand it isn't always possible to try before you buy. I wish I could tell you more, but I simply don't have enough experience with the Keff to give you a real idea of how they would compare. Maybe someone else around here can do it.


That's why I ordered the KEF from Apple. Should be here mid-week. I figure the original P5 -- which I can sample again a few places -- will give me a baseline even if Series 2 is a bit different. I can A/B those with the KEF; there's simply no other way to hear them and Apple said I could return them after trying them and I can't justify that big an expense on a blind -- uh, deaf -- purchase.

On another note, while we're talking in that 200 dollar price range, I do have to also recommend the V-Moda XS into the bunch. Signature-wise, it should sit between the Keff and the P5 offering a slightly warmer sound over neutral, but not as strong and thick as the P5 S2 are.


That's actually my third choice! Another customer at Gramophone was auditioning headphones, too. He brought several of his with him. He suggested I try his V-Moda 80s (?) and said he was planning on getting the XS. I preferred how the P5 handled vocals (through them I was able to discover Sinatra clearing his throat during an orchestral swell!) but the V-Moda were almost as good on that front while being much punchier on more drum-heavy songs. Both blew away the Momentum On-Ear (whose mid-range was so recessed that Johnny Cash's booming vocals were buried in his own songs).
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 7:26 PM Post #221 of 300

tinyman392

Be nice to noobs, we were all noobs at one point in our life.
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Posts
8,387
Likes
1,428
Thanks for the quick response! I hoped you'd say something along those lines. I know that sometimes an opinion can shift in six months. What you wrote suggested that these might be up my alley. I'd hoped Apple just a few miles from my home would have some on display but they assured me they don't. Earlier this week I was able to audition many sets (detailed along with my personal use case in an awkward tl;dr post earlier today) detailed in my awkward tl;dr post earlier today including the original P5.

I liked it enough I wanted to check out Series 2. The guy at Gramophone offered me the demo (no box or accessories) for $199 and I was tempted. They said they were getting P5 Series 2s in an upcoming shipment but that they never had them in-store before. Not a vote of confidence. Earlier that day at Magnolia their manager tried to convince me their in-stock original P5s were indeed Series 2 (despite clearly not being). Suffice it to say, this has been a bit dispiriting. Still, looks like with a little patience and perseverence I can get the Series 2 for $200-$250. KEF, not so much so part of my equation will be "are the KEF worth $50-100 more?"
Great points. I've read that these two in particular are on a pretty even par in terms of form and function. The more neutral sound appeals to my intellect but I know my ear likes... well, a little sonic sugar in my auditory coffee.
That's why I ordered the KEF from Apple. Should be here mid-week. I figure the original P5 -- which I can sample again a few places -- will give me a baseline even if Series 2 is a bit different. I can A/B those with the KEF; there's simply no other way to hear them and Apple said I could return them after trying them and I can't justify that big an expense on a blind -- uh, deaf -- purchase.
That's actually my third choice! Another customer at Gramophone was auditioning headphones, too. He brought several of his with him. He suggested I try his V-Moda 80s (?) and said he was planning on getting the XS. I preferred how the P5 handled vocals (through them I was able to discover Sinatra clearing his throat during an orchestral swell!) but the V-Moda were almost as good on that front while being much punchier on more drum-heavy songs. Both blew away the Momentum On-Ear (whose mid-range was so recessed that Johnny Cash's booming vocals were buried in his own songs).


I personally don't recommend basing the sound of the P5 S2 off of the P5 (S1). They definitely are two different animals. One offers energy in the mids nad treble while the other is more bass-focused with a warm, lush sound. So the vocals with the P5 S2 will not pop as well as the P5 S1 do. If memory serves, the Keff should still have this pop/energy.

As for the sound of the XS, imagine the M80 with slightly less bass presence and better treble response. From what you said you want, neutral sound with a little sugar, I recommend something like the XS or Keff (in that order since my memory of the Keff isn't the strongest :/). I would try to sway you away from the P5 S2, it has a higher chance of not being the sound you're after.

Though I should also note that m neutral and your neutral may differ. My neutral generally goes towards something closer to Etymotic neutral. It's a colder sound with most recordings. Most people feel that is actually a cold sound and say that the 5 dB bump that Olive and Welti call for define neutral. If that's the case, then the XS would be closer defined as neutral (to my ears). Some found the XS bass heavy (anatomy of the ear may do a lot with this). If that is the case, the P5 S2 may be worth looking at.
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 7:53 PM Post #222 of 300

jayban

New Head-Fier
Joined
Mar 6, 2015
Posts
4
Likes
10
I personally don't recommend basing the sound of the P5 S2 off of the P5 (S1). They definitely are two different animals. One offers energy in the mids nad treble while the other is more bass-focused with a warm, lush sound. So the vocals with the P5 S2 will not pop as well as the P5 S1 do. If memory serves, the Keff should still have this pop/energy.

 
I completely agree with your view of not to base P5 S2's sound to the original P5's sound. I had original P5 a year back or so and I hated their sound; P5 was very sibilant and fatiguing to my ears. However, I was still brave enough to buy P5 S2 earlier this year and this new version is my favorite headphones to this date. P5 S2 offers much more warm sound to me which is much more pleasant to listen to. Furthermore, although P5 S2 and P5 look almost the same, B&W had tweaked something because P5 S2 is much more comfortable to wear than P5 was. 
 
Mar 13, 2015 at 7:56 PM Post #223 of 300

tinyman392

Be nice to noobs, we were all noobs at one point in our life.
Joined
Apr 27, 2011
Posts
8,387
Likes
1,428
I completely agree with your view of not to base P5 S2's sound to the original P5's sound. I had original P5 a year back or so and I hated their sound; P5 was very sibilant and fatiguing to my ears. However, I was still brave enough to buy P5 S2 earlier this year and this new version is my favorite headphones to this date. P5 S2 offers much more warm sound to me which is much more pleasant to listen to. Furthermore, although P5 S2 and P5 look almost the same, B&W had tweaked something because P5 S2 is much more comfortable to wear than P5 was. 


Yup, Bowers & Wilkins most certainly did do some tweaking on the S2. If I were to guess, some adjustments to the driver and some more damping on the back end. New pads can also make a difference. The P5 S2 are definitely great headphones, the inviting, warm, lush sound is pleasing and easy to listen to, though I don't feel that the signature is what ironwaffle is looking for.
 
Apr 28, 2015 at 5:00 AM Post #224 of 300

TorontoSS

Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Posts
67
Likes
15
Hi guys - was wondering if anyone can give a view on the comfort of b&w p5 series 2 against the original ones. Some reviews say it's the same and some say it's better. I had to sell my p5s and get p3s because of the comfort. I found the clamping force too much.

- do the new ear pads make a difference?
- is the clamping force the same (think it is)
- any other comfort improvements?

Thanks in advance!
 
May 5, 2015 at 4:33 AM Post #225 of 300

stilleh

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 13, 2015
Posts
265
Likes
217
Location
Swedish countryside
I might be able to get my hands on a very nice pair of these puppies from a friend. The problem is that he has broken both included cables (which seem rather thin?)
 
Now I know that there are replacement cables to order from B&W that are like the original included ones, but I´m more interested in an upgraded cable for more structure. Thre are a few options for the old P5 but I´m not sure they will work as they have changed the cablechannel to the socket so its not as straight and long anymore?
 
Anyone know?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top