Published on May 15th, 2015 | by Greg0
Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2: Iterative Improvements
The world is getting used to seeing regular, constant improvements of many of the items in our lives- our electronics sometimes see firmware updates every week or so, as any Apple user can attest. Anything internet-connected is fair game- but what about all of the items that are connected to those devices in turn? While we might see mobile phones and tablets with version numbers, it’s far more unusual in the audio world.
Bowers and Wilkins and their C5 Series 2 change that- and we like it. Much like their sister model, the P5 Series 2s, they make small, improvements over their predecessors. We checked our records, and realized that it’s been almost four years since our original review- enough time for some shifts in technology. They’ve upgraded the drivers, and also shifted the color scheme- less glittery metallic accents and a bit more neutral black.
The best parts haven’t changed much- we still like the Secure Loop, which keeps the fairly large earbud nice and firm in your ear. It takes some getting used to, but means that these are some of the only audiophile-quality pairs that we can wear while active, and still feel pretty fashionable. There’s an Apple-compatible made-for-iPhone three-button remote/microphone and they come with a decent case for travel use as well. At first, they seem a bit bulky- bigger and heftier than your average earbuds- but that makes space for the 9.2mm drivers which can put out plenty of volume and bass. In fact, these have the best low-end response that we’ve heard from an in-ear set in this class and price range. And they don’t skimp on detail either- precise, layered, and never fuzzy or harsh.
The B&W C5S2 aren’t quite neutral- the acoustics feel a little heavier, a little thicker. Three different sizes of silicone ear tips are included, and though we might have liked to have seen a bit more variety, there were enough to fit most folks comfortably. They sealed well too, for decent passive noise isolation. Those looking for over-ears or on-ear headphones should also look into Bowers and Wilkins options, like their aforementioned P5s but also the P3s. A two-year warranty comes standard, and they’re available now, online and in stores, for around $180.