From humble begins, Bowers & Wilkins was founded as a manufacturing company in the south coast of England. The founders John Bowers and his good friend Peter Hayward aimed to live modestly and reinvest any profits they had made back into research and development to establish the best loudspeaker they could invent. With the hope of accomplishing this task, Bowers & Wilkins slowly became more and more reputable as a company and finally broke into the marketplace with the release of the P1 loudspeaker in 1966. Through this, they were able to use the profits to try and improve on their current successes and eventually create many great and affordable speakers right up to the current 600 series.
With their main focus on speakers, Bowers & Wilkin hoped to implement their expertise and diversify their product range to headphones and earphones alike. To this day, they have done so with success and an example of just that is the latest in their in-ear headphone line-ups; the C5 Series 2.
Priced at £149, the C5 series 2 offers an improved dynamic driver over its predecessor as well as a few cosmetic differences which are welcomed changes for long-time fans of the original C5.
What you get
The Bower & Wilkins C5 S2 comes in a premium polished looking box with clear detailing and pictures showing the IEMs in all its glory. Compared to more niche product packaging, it is evident that Bower & Wilkins has strong branding and has accommodated for their international market with their various translations.
With the purchase of the C5 Series 2, you also get a semi-circular felt-lined case with 3 different sizes of wide-bore silicone tips. Though not excessive in any shape or form, the accessories are enough to provide the user with the optimal listening experience.
The Bowers & Wilkins certainly stands out as a unique looking IEM with its micro-porous filter and secure loop fitting mechanism. In comparison to its predecessor, the C5 Series 2 offers subtle changes including the usage of darker cabling, a central pinch on both sides of the in-line remote and the addition of rubber strain relief. Whilst not a night and day difference, I certainly prefer the look of the C5 Series 2 which fits more in line with Bowers & Wilkin’s branding. The actual build quality of the C5 Series 2 is great with secure strain reliefs and durable components employed in the body of the housings. The sliding mechanism of the loop fit is ingenious and really is one of the selling points of this IEM.
Fit & Isolation
Owing to the secure loop fit, this is possibly one of the most comfortable and secure IEMs I have tried worn-down. The loop is designed to be placed in the outer part of the ear and expand to fit snugly for extended periods of listening. The smallest loop configuration offered the most comfortable fit for me which could not be felt at all and yet still remained secure. Isolation, however, was an aspect which left more to be desired as background noises could be heard on lower listening levels. At higher listening levels, background noises were drowned out but at the expense of increased sound leakage due to the nature of the microporous filter.