Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
Good, with obvious reservations
on 24 January 2013
Before I bought the A5 I had spent far too much time reviewing other products, on various sites, and had almost made up my mind to buy other products on a number of occasions.In the end, having argued with myself for long enough, I went for the A5. I bought this fully aware that it would probably be a pain to install, that it was very expensive, that it was not as good as it's bigger siblings the Zeppelin and the A7, that I really should be buying a good quality micro system and running it off an airport express and above all that I would forever regret not buying a Zeppelin because they are just so cool.
Having said that I am really pleased with this little bit of kit. It was simplicity itself to install, having first down loaded the B&W installation App from itunes onto my Mac Mini, i simply followed instructions on the App. They worked instantly and were incredibly easy to follow. I operate the A5 with an Iphone5 and a mac mini via a Netgear router through my home wifi network. I have to say air tunes is incredibly responsive and the A5 easily keeps up, a small volume change on either the mac mini or the iphone results in an instantaneous response from the A5.
My A5 sits on the counter top in my kitchen in between the kettle and the tea and coffee jars and invariably has to compete with the washing machine, dishwasher, extractor fan, fan oven/grill and general kitchen hub bub. It is so small ( its face is smaller than a sheet of A4 paper) it is most unobtrusive yet is capable of easily handling its own against any background noise.
The sound from the A5 is impressive, with its small size it has a surprisingly good soundstage and lovely bass. It copes well with really complex layers of sound (such as My Bloody Valentine or The Joy Formidable) and is a step up again at dealing with "acoustic" or less complicated music (such as Nick Drake or Agnes Obel). However it really shines when dealing with the more traditional sounding bands: The Stone Roses,The Smiths, The Rolling Stones etc. It is the eager way the unit deals with the punch and depth depth of these recordings whilst being abel to keep the sound of each instrument distinct from the others that made me fall in love with the A5.
It is not as cool as the Zeppelin, but the Zeppelin is much too big and even more expensive. It is not as good as an equivalently priced Micro system from Richer Sounds etc , but it is much smaller and much cooler and only has one cable (power) and the sound really is excellent. I am very glad I stopped arguing with myself and decided to have an A5.
Two notes of caution however: 1, it requires a really strong wifi signal, otherwise it drops out and 2, it requires a decent running in period to sound at its best. Like all top quality speakers its sound should not be judged until it has been played for a good 30 hours or so to bed in.
Also having heard the Bose kit, which is of similar price, the A5 is better as it retains its quality at really low volumes.