Bowers and Wilkins Headphones

P1200012I wonder what people’s opinions are on B&W headphones? Reason I ask is because my opinion on the sound quality of the P5 and P7 has changed from an initially negative one (1st listen to demo pairs in a shop) to an extremely positive one (once I owned them) and recently back again to negative (once I heard something better, but not more expensive).

There is no doubt that these models are mostly very well reviewed – all except for Which? reviews, which has had the audacity to award most B&W headphones ‘don’t buy’ status – well below 40% on their review scale. In fact I commented to Which? on this anomaly, very indignantly stressing how wrong they were and that their reviewers must have cloth ears and/or have the ‘phones plugged into a transistor radio, etc etc. This was during my middle, ‘positive’ opinion phase.

Now I’m starting to see Which?’s point.

Do we just get used to a sound and never be truly objective, or do we only hear the real worth of a hifi component when we compare it with something far superior?

Do headphone cables have sentience?

Or are they possessed? Either way, they have an uncanny ability to get trapped under feet, furniture, pets, chairs.. but mainly my own feet. No matter how careful I am, as soon as I stand up or move in any way, there’s that familiar tug (stop sniggering at the back there) against your head as the living cable tries to wrench the headphones off your head. Mind you, the AKG’s do have rather a long cable. But I swear the cable creeps under my feet of its own accord. DSC_1216Would somebody please invent a repellent cable which automatically moves away from objects ? Thanks awfully.

Chord Mojo versus Dragonfly

2018-03-27 21.04.21So, i’m getting to grips with this baby. The reviews are mostly accurate I’d say, but DAC’s (albeit ones with a headphone amp built-in), are always gonna be subtle, compared to headphones, speakers or amps. I tend to back away slowly with arms raised, from any reviews which claim a ‘night+day’ revolutionary difference between DACS.

I consider myself to have, if not golden ears, then certainly silver ones and it took me at least half an hour after set-up in the shop, to start to be able to put into words the differences I was hearing between my Dragonfly DAC and the Mojo.

So, the Mojo has a smoother sound, but that smoothness does not, to my ears, result in any decrease in detail. Quite the opposite in fact. This, to me indicates that the smoothness is an innate characteristic of the hardwear, rather than the shortcut which i feel some lesser devices employ- simply filtering off higher frequencies to give an ‘analogue’ type sound. Um, no.

The Dragonfly, on the other hand, made vocals stand out that little bit more- they were less a part of the whole soundstage and more distinct, yet flatter sounding. Overall though I prefer the Chord and it’s soundstaging is magnificent; when used in line-out mode through speakers, I was hearing layered female vocals, way out from the speakers. That said, for the purposes of this comparison I was not able to use the Dragonfly through speakers.

AKG 712k Pro – proper cans

I have too many headphones. In-ear, over-ear, on-ear, (“underground, overground, wombling free..”), wired, bluetooth, wireless, noise cancelling .. and now.. studio monitors.

Suddenly however, all of my previous headphones sound thumpy, congested and muffled. It’s official. I’ve seen the light. Or more precisely, I’ve heard a neutral and realistic sound from around my head for the first time, and it’s a revelation.

Of course no transducers, be they speakers or headphones, offer ‘perfect’ sound. There’s a flaw or something you wish could be better in every set of phones, or speakers, or indeed any hifi component. In the case of the AKG’s, I find that I do miss some of the subsonic, rumbly bass that, for example my B&W P7’s produce. Trouble is, they also produce a lot of upper-mid bass too and this tends to get wearing after a while.

But it’s a trade-off I’m more than happy to make.

More to follow.

I’ve got a lot to say. I’ll be back…