iPodNN: Audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins has announced the Zeppelin Air, a new luxury speaker system aimed at iPhone, iPod and iPad users. While equipped with a dock, the Air’s main feature is support for AirPlay, Apple’s recently-introduced wireless streaming technology. Any AirPlay-compatible device can stream audio to the speaker, including computers running iTunes. (more…)
T3: Can B&W’s first headphones live up to the awesome Zeppelin iPod dock range?
Bowers & Wilkins have been rolling out the red carpet for our MP3s for quite some time. The B&W Zeppelin is a sex symbol of modern tech design, pumping out some of the best sound we’ve ever heard from an iPod dock.
The newer B&W Zeppelin Mini follows suit, snipping £100 off the price tag and putting itself in the running for Music Gadget of the Year in the forthcoming 2010 T3 Gadget Awards.
But can B&W transfer that success to the mobile music market with the high-end audio specialist’s first ever pair of headphones? In a word; yes.
The P5’s bring not only the trademark audio quality associated with the brand, but also a beautiful design. With an SRP of £250, they certainly come at a B&W-like price too.
B&W P5 headphones: Performance
But it’s easy to see where that extra few quid goes. These headphones allow us to discover parts of our favourite tunes that we’d never heard before. Testing the cans to Weezer’s Blue Album opened our ears to subtle guitar parts we didn’t even know existed. It was a similar story with Guns ‘N Roses Appetite for Destruction, an album the world has listened to a million times over. These cans allow us to appreciate these tunes in a new light.
Audio quality is very warm, with excellent clarity and a great middle range. Heavy bass audio isn’t as good as we’d hoped and can sound a little distorted, while Elvis, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones’ cleaner guitar parts sound great. The B&W P5′s can’t do wonders with poor quality MP3s though, and often highlight imperfections rather than hiding them
B&W P5 headphones: Noise isolation
The P5 headphones don’t boast noise cancelling-tech in the truest sense of the word, rather noise isolation. There’s no battery powered system to keep out the external racket, but with these cans nestled closely to the ears there’s very little room for outside interference to interrupt your listening pleasure. However, you won’t be disorientated by complete isolation from your surroundings.
B&W itself says the attractive closed-back design and secured ear-pads – which are magnetically attached to the speakers – are responsible for this excellently functioning system. Like Bose’s QC range, these sit on the ears rather than engulfing them, so it’s a real achievement to cut out external noise without the noise cancelling tech that define the Bose cans.
They may be an expert at keeping noise in, but had a few annoyed glances when hammering out some tunes at half volume using our iPod Touch on a packed tube.
B&W P5 headphones: Comfort
The hinge which swings the speakers towards the ear gives the P5′s a very unique feel. However, they are a little heavy at times, and on a warm summer ride into work, prove a bit much for us to handle. There’s also the slight problem of them slipping off the back of your head ever so slightly when you move around; it’s only very minor, but they don’t feel quite as secure as you’d lilke. They can be a little too restrictive when worn around the neck, although the pads rotate inwards to sit flatly, which helps rectify that.
Audiophiles can further enhance the quality by unhooking the double-ended 3.5mm jack to replace it with one of their choosing. This is certainly preferable for home listening rather than on the move. The original cable is perfect for on-the-move Apple owners though, with stop and start and volume controls, as well as a microphone for iPhone voice calls. The B&W P5 headphones are pricey, but sound quality is excellent, noise isolation excellent and design wise, well, these are unquestionably the iPhone 4 of headphones.
I4U News: Bowers & Wilkins maybe known to most as the maker of truly high-end speakers. The firm puts sound systems into some of the most luxurious vehicles in the world and offers some of the most expensive speakers you can get.
B&W has introduced a new in-ceiling home theater speaker called the CCM816 that is set to be available in February 2009 at a price of $600 each. For that price, you get a speaker that has a 2-way design and a woven Kevlar driver for bass and midrange.
The same cone is used on other B&W speakers, but the in-ceiling driver gets a blue coating to be less eye catching than the normal yellow. The drivers are set to a 28-degree angle to allow the speaker to focus sound on the optimum listening position.
Techdigest: British speaker specialist Bowers & Wilkins has launched a limited edition hi-fi speaker. The Signature Diamond has at its heart diamonds and marble, and is a co-operative effort between B&W’s Senior Development Engineer Dr John Dibb, and the company’s long-term industrial design collaborator Kenneth Grange CBE.B&W proudly proclaim that John’s audio expertise and Kenneth’s design brilliance has produced the finest two-way floor-standing speaker they have produced in their 40-year history, offering new levels of musical clarity, image precision, and detail retrieval. The press release reads as if these speakers should be exhibited in a museum. (…)
Techdigest: Bowers & Wilkins has been around since the 60s, Jaguar for even longer. So it’s no surprise to see these two heritage-rich companies combining, with a Bowers & Wilkins audio system being added to the Jaguar XKR.
Introduced at the Geneva Salon de l’Automobile, the Jaguar XKR is the first production vehicle to feature an audio system by Bowers & Wilkins. It includes key Bowers & Wilkins elements, including improved-dispersion Kevlar mid-range speakers and extended high-frequency performance aluminium tweeters.
And to ensure that the complete in-car system delivers the expected sound reproduction, Bowers & Wilkins worked in collaboration with Jaguar on speaker mountings, angles and final system tuning.
According to Martin Lindsay, Senior Business Development Manager, Automotive at Bowers & Wilkins: ‘The same engineers who tune our 800 Diamond Series loudspeakers – which serve as the audio reference at Abbey Road Studios in London and other recording studios worldwide – worked to perfect the sound in the new Jaguar XKR Portfolio. Bowers & Wilkins acoustic expertise takes sound from good to outstanding.’
The Bowers & Wilkins sound system is fitted as standard in all Jaguar XKRs, with the cars expected to be on the road from early summer 2007.