Pros Clarity at all ranges.
Uncolored, sparkling sound.
A bit cumbersome in ear.
Summary After breaking these in I am very pleased with the quality. I lost my Klipsch S4's on the subway and decided to try a different pair as to make the best of my losing a superb set of headphones. The sound of these is most excellent. Just beautiful sound. They really do create an exceptionally wide sound stage for headphones of the in ear variety.
As many others have stated, the design is a bit wacky. I find them to be rather comfortable and I have smallish ear canals. Frankly as long as you can get a good seal from them they will be worth keeping for the sound of the them.
Overall I applaud Bowers & Wilkins for their ambitious design and overall build quality. I prefer these to the Klipsch S4's by a hair. They are also $100 pricier.
Maybe a slightly smaller frame, less punch in the low end and a more practical case would make them perfect for me.
Pros One of the best sounding in-ear headphones, I actually even felt that they sounded better than my former Klipsch S4 headphones. The balance in every song was just perfect and very well balanced. Unique and fashionable design.
Cons Extremely uncomfortable. It took me nearly 15 minutes to figure out how the hell the damn things on. Within a few minutes,they started hurting, and I had to keep readjusting them every time. Controls on the wire are also very oddly shaped/ confusing
Summary The discomfort far outweighs the amazing sound quality. I only purchased them yesterday, but I've decided I'll be returning them later this week. They definitely make a fashion statement and look beautiful, however, they desperately need to work on the comfort for the C5.
Pros Stay in place. Excellent and natural sounding bass response. Very sturdily built. Very wide sound stage.
Cons Highs (cymbals) do not sound natural. Voices on some tracks sound empty, hollow. Uncomfortable to wear, hurt my ears even with short listening sessions.
Summary The best way to describe my feelings on these is disappointed. I purchased to replace my Klipsch S4s because the S4s slip out of my ears regularly. I will say that these stay in place (even when I vigorously shake my head) but they are uncomfortable to wear. The edge that pushes against my ear is a sharp edge. If it were rounded, I think that would be negated entirely.
The sound quality was up and down for me, and if I had to guess I would say that this most likely had to do with the quality of recording and the audio compression level of the tracks. Some might say that this can't be blamed on the headphones, but rather on the source. However, given that I will always use these to listen an mp3 player, it is a big deal to me. One part that was consistently harsh to listen to was the upper register, specifically cymbals. This harshness does distract and detract from my overall listening experience. This was uniform across all tracks.
On the positive side, I will say that guitar and (for the most part) vocals sounded excellent on these ear buds and sounded very smooth and was easy to listen to. The bass response was also excellent and didn't sound boomy at all. They do have an openness that is not present in other ear buds and they also do give a much broader soundstage than others that I've listened to.
Bottom line for me:
Sound Quality: They sound (overall) good, but not great. When I compare the sound quality to my S4s they sound markedly better in all ranges with the exception of the upper register.
Comfort: Not comfortable for me at all. My ear canals hurt after short listening sessions due to the sharp edge.
Overall: I will be returning and purchasing the P5s in a few months. I really wanted to like these due to the lower price point, but just can't do it. I would be looking for a replacement within the next year and at this price point that is unacceptable for me. I'll stick to the Klipsch S4s ($79) for now.
Pros The sound. I just can't say enough how much different these sound than other in-ear phones I've tried. I gave my Bose IE's to my son when I got these.
Cons The carrying case is like a Chinese puzzle. I even emailed B&W to try to get a picture of what they would look like when properly wrapped in there so I could try to duplicate the procedure, but I have not heard from them yet...
Summary Worth every penny!
Pros Bass is smooth and clear. Not overpowering, it seems they got it just right.
Secure Loop technology is a fantastic innovation. Hope to see more things like it from other companies and future Bowers & Wilkins products.
Multiple ear bud options is very
Cons Very little bad things can be said about these. You could argue they are overpriced, but this normal with nearly all quality headphones. I find the case they come with to be a bit confusing. Also, taking off the buds they come with to put on the packaged
Summary Bower & Wilkins has got it right with their first ever in-ear headphones. The clear bass does not overpower any highs or lows. Playing these at midway volume can be enough to effectively keep out any outside noise, as if they are noise canceling. I especially like the Secure Loop technology. If you are a hardcore music fan who likes to bop their head up and down, for example, you will not have to worry about these buds falling out. The Secure Loop has you covered.
Only things I could complain about was the process of taking off buds to put on new ones that come in a packet with the product, as well as the pouch meant to hold the headphones when they are not in use. I actually ripped the buds that the headphones came attached with, but that was not a big deal to me - they come with plenty other buds. The pouch is pretty confusing. It can bend the Secure Loops, which are not very easy to put back in a straight form. But these things matter little in the gran scheme of things.
But hear this! Using the right type of buds is very important with these! I decided to try a few of the different types of the buds the C5s came with, and I can tell you the difference is astounding. At first I tried the smallest kind, and the C5s sounded no better than a 50 dollar headphone. It turns out I have a bigger ear canal than I thought, and I put in the largest buds, and wow, did they shine! Superb sound.