KEF M500 vs B&W P5: a duel of nomads at the top!


Firmly anchored in the High Fidelity universe, B&W and KEF have created some of the most mythical loudspeakers in the audio galaxy… The confrontation between their 2 favorite headsets was therefore inevitable. Here’s what we think!

With its P5, B&W had made a very noticeable entry into the high-end mobile headset segment, and achieved almost dazzling success. Today, the very recent KEF M500 wants to walk on these flowerbeds… What about the facts?

Like the B&W P5, the Kef M500 headphones offer an excellent level of finish, combining metal and leather, as well as very good comfort despite an on-ear design. The foams fit the ears perfectly, and the headband is adjustable in height to adapt to all body types. Robust in appearance, it is no less elegant… But it is also and above all its sound that this Kef M500 shines the most! Tested with an iPhone 4, it was able to draw all the potential from the MP3 and WAV files that we submitted to it. On Adele’s album, 21, the voices are perfectly transcribed, with smoothness and precision. The bass is tight, and does not affect the intelligibility of the other registers. So well, that the bass line and the bass drum of Miseducation Of by Lauryn Hill have found something here to express their full scope. For its part, the treble is well controlled, without any hissing effect. Ok, this register does not have the ventilation of an open helmet, but it remains very defined and never becomes aggressive.

Wiser in terms of design, the B&W P5 offers a rather different sound, especially with regard to the restitution of the high register. This one stands out as more defined, more incisive, and finally, a little more highlighted than on an M500. This gives the P5 a rather “clear” sound, especially since the bass remains discreet and wonderfully tamed. It’s clean, lively, well articulated… B&W all spit! The medium is slightly set back from the treble: this contributes to obtaining this very fine and volatile sound aesthetic that has made it so successful. Lovers of Jazz, Classical Music or very elaborate styles will appreciate this very special sound! In this regard, we were dazzled by the splendid reproduction of the album aurora by Avishai Cohen, in which each instrument reaches us with quite remarkable realism and precision. Finally, on the comfort side, nothing to complain about: the shape memory pads adapt well to the ears, and the weight of 195 grams remains extremely reasonable.

It’s hard to choose a winner… However, depending on your musical affinities, you can easily determine the headphones that suit you best. Indeed, while fans of Jazz, Classical or Acoustic music will undoubtedly prefer the B&W P5, listeners who appreciate eclecticism can count on the versatility, softness and presence of the KEF M500.

NB1: The two helmets have a microphone and a remote control compatible with iPod/iPad/iPhone.

NB 2: You own one of these helmets, do not hesitate to say what you think in a brief comment 🙂!

Track listing:

Avishai Cohen – Aurora
Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation Of
Adele – 21


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