Customer Review

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, compact, far more class than 'Beats" but...., 6 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bowers & Wilkins P3 On-Ear Headphones B&W - Black (Electronics)
Forget about looks for a bit - needless to say they're gorgeous and ooze quality, but we know all that.

Let's talk sound.
I don't know where I stand with these.
Initially, plugged into the iPhone 5 straight I was underwhelmed by the muffled sound, too much bottom end and not enough mids and highs and an average sound stage.

Things improved when I plugged them into my iPod 2nd Generation Classic (2002) and even more so in the best iPod I think exists (Classic 5th generation Video) with the Wolfson DAC and far more powerful internal amplifier than the iPhone 5 the headphones started to shine and I really enjoyed listening to them, though they were still bottom heavy and lacked a certain sparkle.

BUT, (there's always a but) how good are these really?

Plugged into an iMac, through a Roland Cakewalk UA-1G sound card and through a Teac A-H500 Amplifier those were decent, again too much bottom end and lacking on mid and top though.
For comparison I plugged in my Shure SRH750DJ headphones (which costs LESS than these B&W) and the Shure's are in a different league entirely on all levels (apart from material and build quality and size) - the Shure's are some of The Best headphones I have ever used and they absolutely KILL the B&W and make them seem so poor and second rate that I was about to give these to the Missus.

I then plugged them into my iPod 5G again, but this time through my Fiio E17 Headphone Amplifier/DAC- the Fioo/iPod 5g Combo is awesome, it really makes any half decent headphones shine to their full potential and relays ever flaw or discrepancy in the recordings.
These B&W's sounded pretty good - still too much bottom end for my liking, but the top and middle were more pleasing with some Jazz and Hip Hop.
but that was before I used the Shure SRH750DJ again, the B&W were second rate in comparison.
I then tried the same combinations comparing the B&W's to my JVC HA FXD-80 (which cost me £30) and the B&W were a long way second best - the JVC exceeded the BW in every possible way, far superior depth, bass, soundstage, balance, tops and middle - it's laughable as these B&W are more of a fashion accessory and pretty looking (beautifully built too) rather than a decent pair of headphones.

Finally I compared these to my Shure SE315 in ear phones, and again, the B&W are poor in comparison.

So, these B&W P3's, they look utterly superb, built beautifully, use replaceable cables and iPhone compatible, they sound decent too, with good bass and for someone who wants a quality pair of over the ear phones, which are compact, foldable, look the business and great to pose with and don't mind spending the cash - get these - far more Class than any 'Beats" type.

if you're looking for great sound rather than looks,avoid and go for something else.

LOOKS - 5/5
BUILD - 5/5
SOUND - too bottom heavy, muffled top and middle, lack depth and separation, narrow soundstage. Good for pop and chart stuff or Dance music - very poor if listening to rock, Jazz, hip Hop (old skool), Blues, folk or classical, strings and horns. And poor if listening to Dance/Chart/pop and wanting immersion in the music and definitely not for Audiophiles 9I'm no audiophile, I just have had the chance to compare these to cheaper headphones/earphones and these are seriously lacking in a few departments) 2/5

iOS compatibility - 5/5
Sound isolation - 3/5 ok, not great.
Noise leakage - 2/5 people can hear your Music!
Overall 3/5 - decent and worth owning if you like the look of them and can live with the drawbacks and can afford them.
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