Favorite items: Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones

In my occasional series (hey, this is post #2, which makes it a series, right?) of posts about my favourite items, I’d like to mention my well used and much appreciated headphones. I bought my Bowers & Wilkins P5s when they were first introduced, back in 2010. I spend over 2 hours a day on the train getting to work and home, so a good pair of headphones is a must, either for watching TV-series on my iPhone, or listening to music on my iPod classic. Whilst looking around for new headphones I paid attention to what other commuters were using, and there were the ones you’d hear from 10 meters away (i.e. Koss Porta-Pro or Apple buds), or the serious-looking guys with their Bose headphones. More recently of course there are a lot of people using the Beats by Dre monstrosities.

I wanted something that gave a good sound, was properly made and well designed. Bose have good noise-cancelling, but look really boring, the sound wasn’t impressive, and the good ones carry a hefty price tag. The cheap and cheerful Koss cause too much aggravation for other passengers that have to endure the sounds that bleeds out of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a stereophile headfi freak, I won’t venture to comment on the technicalities and voodoo aspects of sound reproduction in headphones, there’s plenty of that on the specialist forums. What I can say though is that the P5’s have performed for at least 10 hours a week, over 2 years, and still look and sound as good as the day I first unwrapped them. The carrying bag has held up well, nary a mark after living in the mess inside my backpack. The cable is still the original, hands-free working and very useful. Proper kit!

Bowers & Wilkins P5 - after almost 3 years of use

Bowers & Wilkins P5 – after almost 3 years of use

I did also buy a pair of the B&W earbuds, but while the sound was even more fantastic that the headphones, I must have odd ears as even with the innovative device for holding them in place, they would not work in my ears. As with a lot of quality stuff though, they were easy to sell on without a huge monetary loss.

If you’re curious as to what I might be listening to, I’m pretty much the old-school electronic fan, though as an aspect of resisting growing old, I do make a conscious effort to continually seek out new worthwhile music. Nothing indicates old age like only listening to the music you were into when you were 20!

This is a track that works superbly on the train, in the dark, with rain glistening on the windows, with an hour to go till I’m home again:

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