For closed, noise-isolating phones there isn't an emphasis on bowel-gurgling bass as with the competitive. The sound is very even-handed, and gives you the requisite amount of detail you'd expect for the price.
These are what you could describe as very detailed headphones, but on occasion all this extra detail can mean there is some harshness in the treble. Something intentionally abrasive like The Flaming Lips' Embryonic disc can become quite tiring after a while. That said, the headphones are at home with most styles of music, but can be particularly exciting with the right rock or dance track.
The B&W P5's are very good headphones, with an exquisite build that doesn't look too ridiculous when worn out on the street. It's just a pity that the thin rubber cable and jack are so delicate and hard to replace.