CNET First Look
Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2: A classy in-ear headphone with killer clarityThe C5 Series 2 sounds better than the original and is one top in-ear headphones for less than $200.
This is the Bowers & Wilkins C5 Series 2 which retails for $179.99, and is one of the best sounding in-ear headphones in its price class. I'm David Carnoy, and Bowers & Wilkins has done something interesting with a couple of its headphones. The on-ear P5 and the in-ear C5 we're looking at here. Instead of coming up with completely new versions of the headphones, it left their exterior designs virtually unchanged, and instead tweaked the headphones' innards to improve the sound quality. The C5 now has an all-black design, and still has its signature secure loop, which helps secure the headphones in your ear. It worked well for me but I can't say it will be everyone's cup of tea. The key to any in-ear headphone is to get a tight seal, and to that end, B&W has included a few different ear tips in the box, the largest of which fit my ear best. You also get this half-moon-shaped protective carrying case. Which I liked, in an Apple-friendly inliner [UNKNOWN] and microphone for making cellphone calls. Not all the remote's functions will work with Android and Windows phones, but you will still be able to make calls. The original C5 sound was rich and warm, but not lacking in detail until we compared it to the Series 2. The differences weren't subtle. The old C5 still sounds sweet, but the C5 series two's clarity gains are substantial. Not just in the mid range or treble, but the deeper and clearer articulated bass let's you more easily follow what's going on down there. Its stereo imaging also is improved, and the sound is more open. In the end, while the secure loop system may not be a perfect fit for everyone, Bowers & Wilkins has taken an already very good sounding headphone and made it sound even better. It's well worth a long look if you're looking for a high quality, stylish headphone in the $150 to $200 range. I'm David Carnoy. Thanks for watching [MUSIC]