Bowers & Wilkins is a brand that takes great pride in premium devices and premium audio. The recently just released a new pair of lightweight on-ear headphones that most definitely fits their premium requirement. The Bowers & Wilkins P3 Series 2 Headphones are a wired pair of headphones that feature heavy bass, an inline microphone and ControlTalk, and a collapsable build for safe and easy travels.
The B&W P3 Series 2 are quite small as far as on-ear headphones go. The comfy leather cushions are rectangular and about the size of large ears. These headphones are finished in a beautifully luxurious blend of matte rubber, brushed aluminum, and sheepskin leather, with chrome highlights. It’s a really svelte pair of headphones that people are quick to comment on.
The premium components also make for a premium build that’s quite durable. This lends well to P3 S2’s portability and flexibility. The ear cups swivel up and down for a comfortable fit, and the entire arm collapses in to the headband for easy traveling. There’s an included hard shell travel case that will really ensure P3’s safety.
P3 comes with two pairs of Y-style headphone cables. One pair has an inline microphone with a universal button and buttons for volume control, the other does not. The inline ControlTalk works really well. All of the controls are easy to access and multi-press. The microphone works just as well as on Apple’s headphones. The ControlTalk is supposed to be compatible with all iOS devices (3GS and later), but compatibility will vary on Android. As with many of the B&W headphones, the headphone cable looks like it’s built straight into the headphones and is not removable. The earcushions are sealed to the earphone magnetically, and the cables feed under the cushion. We have to imagine this is purely for aesthetics. To be honest, we’d prefer a more accessible removable cable so if the cable pulls on something it doesn’t break the cable or your handset, it just pulls out of the headphone. Additionally, a straight-style cable that’s thicker would have also been preferred to limit tangling.
These are small headphones, but they pack a lot of bass. They sound excellent, if you love bass. They’re boomy with a lot of emphasis on the bass and low midrange. They do sound great, but personally we prefer something a little more flat and balanced. We found some songs sounded great with the low-range audio emphasized, while others had their vocals far too recessed. The Beatles, for instance, were overshadowed by their instruments. The instruments sound detailed and precise, but we wanted more out of the vocals. On the other hand, a nice bassy rock song or rap song sounds head-bangingly great. The tuning will really come down to personal preference, the P3 S2s have a less neutral audio signature.