Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2 Headphone Review

What are a BW P5 Series 2?

The Bowers Wilkins P5 Series 2 are on-ear headphones many some-more lush than your normal pair. From a stretch and close-up, they demeanour only like their predecessors a BW P5.

However, Bowers Wilkins has poignant redesigned a driver, with a aim of creation them a bit some-more speaker-like in presentation. They take some-more than a few sonic cues from a incomparable Bowers Wilkins P7, reviewed final year.

We do consider that a oppulance feel and clever looks are a dual primary draws here, though, as we can get higher-fidelity sound during a £250 price. 

SEE ALSO: Best Headphones Round-up

BW P5 Series 2 – Design

The BW P5 Series 2 pattern hasn’t altered many given we final encountered these headphones proceed behind in 2011. It’s no surprise: they demeanour flattering good as-is.

About as imperishable has headphones can get, a inside and outward of both a wipe and ear pads are lonesome with a stuff. We did note that a explain of regulating genuine leather via seen in a first-gen P5’s support has disappeared, during smallest a categorical tools are done of it rather than fake protein leather.

The law is that it doesn’t matter, as it all feels great.

The BW P5 Series 2 lay among unequivocally few headphones where all that looks like steel is metal. There’s no imposter chrome cosmetic here. It’s this arrange of proceed that has turn a pivotal partial of a BW headphone charm, and since they’re so highly-regarded by a well-heeled.

Their character is altogether some-more mature than many on-ear headphones too. Don’t take this as an insult, yet they’re a grown-up choice to something like a Beats Solo 2.

It’s not all pristine character flourish, either. The pattern means a BW P5 Series 2 don’t hang out too distant from your ears, that has always been high on a priority list for pattern elements in both on-ear and over-ear headphones. These are a smaller on-ear kind.

The fit of these headphones is likewise smart, during smallest in many respects. The BW P5 Series 2
earcups pivot by roughly 180 degrees and lean adult and down, vouchsafing them fit 99.9% of heads yet any fiddling about.  

However, if you’ve listened that a BW P5s are among a many gentle headphones in a world, we competence be astounded by how parsimonious their hold is. They have a mid-to-firm grip, that competence seem simply too organisation for some.

The steel wipe is expected to palliate adult a small in time, yet it’ll be over weeks and months, not days. Unless we unequivocally manhandle a headband, that we don’t recommend. We did note some ear cartilage annoy after wearing a BW P5 Series 2 for during smallest 2-3 hours, yet we still rate these as some of a some-more gentle headphones in their specific class. They’ll only need some time.

Like a prior model, they use pillow-style pads that are radically leather-topped memory foam. It’s not tough to see their middle workings as a ear pads can be prised off flattering easily. They are kept on with magnets.

They fit unequivocally simply and a pads are great, yet we couldn’t assistance yet wish they came to us pre-aged.

A closed-back pattern and a pad character yield a BW P5 Series 2 with sincerely decent sound isolation. It’s adequate to understanding with open transport, and significantly improved than a Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear.

Contrary to appearances, a BW P5 Series 2 use a removable cable, too. Remove a left ear pad and you’ll see a swivel-out jack pier that takes a 2.5-inch plug. It’s not a customary one, yet means we can get a deputy partial should we incidentally kill a source end.

The BW P5 Series 2 wire facilities a flattering customary 3-button remote designed for iOS devices.

BW P5 Series 2 – Sound Quality

The BW P5 Series 2 use 40mm drivers, a same distance as those of a P7, yet also a same as a strange P5. Bowers Wilkins claims to have re-worked a driver, yet this could good be as many down to re-tuning as changes done to a motorist hardware.

The aim is to move a sound of a P5 a bit closer to a P7, with a motorist that “works some-more like a expostulate section in a hi-fi speaker,” BW told us.

Plenty of a classical Bowers Willkins character is here, though. The BW P5 Series 2 are unequivocally warm, smooth-sounding headphones with a loose three-way that seems sincerely conservatively sculpted to equivocate even a smallest probability of sibilance or harshness,

Of course, if you’re large into your unequivocally sparkly treble, this won’t be for you. They don’t sound veiled, and we’re happy with a turn of three-way fact on offer, yet a high frequencies seem to have been curtailed sincerely early.

There’s also utterly a transparent mid-range spike here that seems to be benefaction to capacitate vocals to mount out opposite a surprisingly arrogant bass.

We remarkable that a BW P7 had a drum emphasis, and while Bowers Wilkins has attempted to reconstruct is here, in a P6 Series 2 it has been executed reduction successfully. It is during times a small boomy, in a proceed that even a latest Beats Solo 2 generally aren’t. There’s a good expansiveness to a low end, yet it’s lacking in control and is not as delicately contoured as we’d like, generally given these headphones cost £250.

The mid-range importance that’s in place to equivalent this drum ‘enhancement’ can sound great, yet doesn’t work so good with aloft womanlike voices, where a ‘synthetic’ inlet becomes a bit some-more apparent (because a bit too many bulk of a outspoken isn’t indeed lonesome by this mid-range emphasis).

This substantially all sounds like it adds adult to a unsatisfactory sound signature during £250. But it’s all a box of context. Bowers Wilkins’s engineers know accurately what they’re doing with these moves.

The BW P5 Series 2 are clearly headphones done for commuters, where a turn of ambient sound from trains and highway trade creates a several lopsided elements of a sound disappear, during smallest relations to listening in a still room. In noisier conditions, a additional bulk in a mids and low-end will assistance these headphones’ sound cut by yet we wanting to adult a volume too much.

As such, a BW P5 Series 2 are decent headphones for commuting. But for listening while during home or in a office, we consider we can do significantly improved for a money.

BW P5 Series 2 vs BW P5

We’ve already talked about a disproportion in motorist pattern between a dual versions of Bowers Wilkins P5, yet we had a discuss with a association to find out accurately what else has changed.

We were told that a memory froth of a pads has been redesigned to yield additional comfort“, that a wire “connection wire has increasing in diameter” to make it some-more rugged, and that a “remote and microphone control has been redesigned“. These are things we competence not notice yet carrying a dual pairs side-by-side, yet are expected responses to a reasons since Bowers Wilkins P5 sets have been returned. We can’t suppose all that many pairs have been, though. They’re built to last.

Should we buy a BW P5 Series 2?

If we wish stylish, oppulance headphones for your invert and are peaceful to compensate for them, a Bowers Wilkins P5 Series 2 fit a bill. They offer good sound, yet a not-exactly-balanced signature is improved matched to compromised contexts like a loud sight than a place where we can unequivocally conclude cream-of-the-crop audio.

Here’s a thing: a BW P5 Series 2 unequivocally contest with headphones that cost about £100 less, including a Sennheiser Momentum On-ear and Beats Solo 2. On-ear headphones only don’t routinely cost this much.

On-ear rivals during a cost like a Beyerdynamic T51i and Grado 325e will expected cream a BW P5 Series 2 in pristine audiophile terms, yet offer little-to-none of a pattern shimmer we get with this pair. And worse comfort in a long-term. So: what matters to you?

SEE ALSO: Best USB Headphone Amps Round-up


The Bowers Wilkins P5 Series 2 are lush commuter headphones, yet they don’t gleam with critical listening.

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