5 expert reviews - 0 user reviews
We have collected 5 reviews of the Bowers & Wilkins C5. Experts rate Bowers & Wilkins C5 8/10. Reviewsor.com helps you find reviews, best prices, user reviews of the Bowers & Wilkins C5 and Bowers & Wilkins Earphones.
First it was iPod docks. Then it was computer speakers and over-the-ear headphones. Now, Bowers & Wilkins, a brand once known for expensive high-end speakers, expands its product offering into the mainstream with the $179.95 C5 in-ear headphones. Along with touting the C5s' "pristine, natural audio," B&W is highlighting its signature Secure Loop, "an ingenious innovation where a cushioned loop fixes quickly and comfortably in the inner ridge of the user's ear." The company adds that the Loop is "infinitely adjustable, so it works perfectly with anyone's ears." That part about it being "perfect" for everyone's ears is open to debate, but what's not is that if you can achieve a snug fit, these earphones offer excellent, well-balanced sound, and perform as well as any earphones we've tested in this price class. Kudos to the designers behind the C5s. The earphones exude a high-end quality of design with an artful tungsten/aluminum finish and feature a seemingly sturdy build quality, though we prefer an L-shaped plug to the standard slim one found at the end of the C5s, as the slim nature of the plug makes it easy to use with smartphones covered by a protective case.
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) used to be one of those hi-end speaker companies that was best known by wealthy audiophiles and a small cadre of speaker-geeks who could be periodically found at their local audio boutique, standing in awe, jaws dropped, at the sheer audacity of a speaker like the B&W Nautilus. B&W speakers can be found at the famed Abbey Road studios where the B&W 801 is considered by many to be one of the most legendary speakers ever; the company is just plain on top of the high-end audio game and has been sitting in that position quite comfortably for decades now. So, it probably came as a big surprise to audio enthusiasts all over the world that B&W had decided to get into the iPod speaker dock market and, by doing so, expose its name to a huge new audience while potentially likening its name and reputation to that of companies like Bose. Oh, the horror! As it turns out, though, creating the Zeppelin and Zeppelin mini iPod speaker docks was a really great move for B&W. Not only have these docks been met with some solid reviews (including our own) but their success has managed to expose the brand to a much broader audience without tarnishing their good name.
Hot on the heels of the amazing-sounding Zeppelin Air dock, the latest iPhone-friendly gadget from Bowers & Wilkins has arrived: the C5 in-ear headphones. They're a quirky set of earbuds with an unusual cable set-up designed to keep the C5s lodged inside your ear. But how comfy are they, and how do they sound? They're available now for around £150. The C5s look rather cool. Borrowing from the glossy, retro styling of the company's P5 headphones, the C5s are little black cylinders with one edge sheared off. There's a metallic, textured finish along the rear of each 'bud. The silver cabling feels reasonably sturdy. Part way up the wiring to the left earbud, there's a remote control that contains a microphone and three other buttons, so, if you're using an iPhone, you can use the C5s to take calls or adjust volume and playback. We found these features worked fine, and you'll certainly appreciate them when it means you don't have to fish your phone out of your pocket just to skip tracks. Other iDevices also support the playback controls. We recommend checking the compatibility section of Apple's website to make sure your Apple kit will play nice with the C5s.
Bowers and Wilkins was founded in 1965 as a boutique audio company. They spent the next 45 years building speakers, before stepping into the headphone with their P5 headphones, which were released to a fairly warm reception – they proved popular after the usual caution involved in a company introducing an entirely new product category, and likely created a whole new crop of audiophiles given their broad availability through featured placement at Apple stores. Since their introduction, B&W has not seen fit to update the P5, as they did it right the first time – this freed up their engineers to enter yet another potentially lucrative new market segment, in-ear monitors. The new C5 in-ear-monitors represent the fruits of this effort – and clearly, they don’t cut any corners. B&W has used expensive materials and manufacturing methods to create what seems to be a very durable product; even the cords appear sturdier than many competing IEMs, with better-than-average strain-relief in the plug. While on the topic of the cord, the C5 includes the Apple-designed inline mic and three button remote hanging below the left earbud.
It seems like it would be difficult for a company specializing in ber-high-end stereo speakers and professional studio monitors to enter the realm of mainstream consumer products. Somehow, though, from the Zeppelin line of iPod docks to the excellent P5 headphones ($299.95, 4.5 stars), and now the superb Bowers & Wilkins C5 In-Ear Headphones, B&W always manages to capture the magic of its multi-thousand dollar systems in a much less expensive form. This time, audio excellence is accompanied by the most secure fit you'll find, aside from custom-molded ear monitors, and will cost you $179.95 (list), making it the least-expensive product in the B&W consumer audio lineup. Outfitted with iPhone/iPod/iPad inline controls, there's little to gripe about except nomenclature: the C5 are not "in-ear headphones," they're earphones. Name aside, the C5 easily earns our Editors' Choice for under-$200 earphones. DesignWe've seen some interesting earphone designs, but the C5 takes the cake. First, it's outfitted with a "Micro Porous Filter" system that projects audio outwards, not unlike the superb Grado SR60 ($79, 4 stars)—but that pair is headphones, and an open, outward projecting sound is far more common in that type of product.