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GeoffreyW's picture
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B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

I've been listening via my Alessandros for some years now, and am aware of sound leakage, so have been wondering about changing to closed-back phones. I'm also used to round-the-ear phones, but wasn't sure about over-ear phones.  I've got some 1980's Koss Pro4AAs, closed back, recently refurbished by Koss, but they need a lot of driving, so I haven't used them. All my other phones are open back, and I enjoy the spacious sound, but I'd have to pay more than I can afford to match this sound with closed back phones, I believe.

So this afternoon I had a listen to B&W P3 & P5 phones, just out of curiosity, and using John Lewis' source preferred the P3 - they sounded more spacious to us (I was with my wife). They're also inaudibleto others, so potentially good. I've also been hanging my nose over the AKG 451 phones, especially at the current prices, about a third of the B&Ws.  Due to time constraints I was unable to listen to the AKGs, in another store, so thought I'd ask if anyone else has done this comparison, and what they thought? I know the 451s are highly regarded at WHF, but so are the P3s. Budget is limited, but if the P3s are worth the extra,......  I know that only my own ears will decide, but would like other's experiences.

I listen to classical, rock, swing, jazz, using CDs on my NaimUniti, in case it helps.

Anonymous
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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

If you buy the K451s, you will always wonder if spending more money would have been wiser. My advice is buy both online and send one back by invoking the distance selling clause.

K451s are great little headphones for the money by the way.  Smile

 

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

I recently bought the K452 (Android version of K451) and I'm really impressed! Another to add to your list is the Harmon Kardon CL available at a UK discount hifi store for around £80 - looks just like the B&W P3/P5 and sounds just as good with the types of music you listed.

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Ta for that, guys. I'll have to find an excuse to go back into town and listen to the AKG 451's. At a third of the price of the B&Ws, they're looking good.

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

I took the 451's, not just on cost,  because I thought they were better than the P3's.

However a nice pair of P7's turned up for Christmas so daughter now has a nice pair of 451's to listen to.

Loads of second hand expensive kit!

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

I've got the AKGs. There fine at home, good on an aeroplane, but rubbish on the tube - too much background noise invasion. 

GeoffreyW's picture
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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Who's a lucky boy, then? Just out of interest, Al ears, how would they compare to my Alessandro MS1s (modded Grado SR80)? Perhaps I'll try a pair at home, off 't'internet, as suggested.

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Big Aura wrote:

I've got the AKGs. There fine at home, good on an aeroplane, but rubbish on the tube - too much background noise invasion. 

I think you'll find all on-ear (non noise cancelling) headphones will be the same. You need over-ear headphones to try and cancel out that sort of noise.

Loads of second hand expensive kit!

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

GeoffreyW wrote:

Who's a lucky boy, then? Just out of interest, Al ears, how would they compare to my Alessandro MS1s (modded Grado SR80)? Perhaps I'll try a pair at home, off 't'internet, as suggested.

I have no idea how they would compare. You'd have to audition yourself.

I've only ever had 4 pairs of headphones and never used Grados.

PS Yes very lucky, I had to spell it out to the wife several times before she got the idea. Smile

PPS Note the P5's do take a bit of breaking in. After about 12 hours playing they sound much better, less 'bright' and perfectly neutral.

Loads of second hand expensive kit!

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Hi, Im going to give you the honest but brutal truth here....dont get either.

I owned the AKG 450's they were good but not great.  Not sure how they compare to the 451s though but i imagine to be similar.

Tried the P3's.  Im a big fan of B&W but theres no way they are a good headphone.  The first ever B&W product i didnt like and was boomeranged back to the dealer.  Way too warm and not enough detail.

Then i heard (and bought) the Audio Technica ATH-ES7.  Im sorry but they are AMAZING and at £100 offer excellent value.

The AKG 450s were donated to the mother for her laptop sound.  It always makes me laugh seeing my mother wearing a set of AKGs lol

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Al ears wrote:

Big Aura wrote:

I've got the AKGs. There fine at home, good on an aeroplane, but rubbish on the tube - too much background noise invasion. 

I think you'll find all on-ear (non noise cancelling) headphones will be the same. You need over-ear headphones to try and cancel out that sort of noise.

Yes, and no.  I've demo'd several noise-cancelling and found them lacking compared to my in-ear Shures.  And the having another set of batteries in the audio chain is really annoying (I use an iPod and a Fiio E5), as when one item dies, everything else stops.  That said, I found the AKGs (I have 450s) to be the worst offenders.  My friend's B&W P5s are much better with external noise.

 

 

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Hi, Ben, ta for your suggestion. The AT ES7s sound interesting, but as with the P3s they're at the top of my budget, but I'll try to audition them - Superfi do them and the 451s - when I have chance.  I only listen at home, so my requirements are mainly for closed back phones, rather than noise-cancelling phones.

One of the problems with audio gear is that you start with a budget, then you start looking at gear which is a bit dearer, and slowly ratchet up to two or three times your original budget. And no matter what you buy, you always end up wondering "should I have gone for........"

I had my Koss Pro4AAs refurbished but wasn't too happy with the initial sound, or the fact that they need some welly to drive them, but I'm running them in, just to see if they're any good. 

 

Thanks for all your help, guys.

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

The new Harman Soho is the same price as the P3 I believe, but sounds much, much better.

Beyer T1/T90 Jubilee/DT1350, Sennheiser HD-A280, v-moda M100/XS, Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza/Microstreamer DAC/amps, Portaphile Micro/PA2V2 amps.

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RE: B&W P3 or AKG 451 phones.

Hi GeoffreyW,

The AKG K451s certainly are a bargain - you'll struggle to get better at that price. The P3s look great, and are an enjoyable, entertaining listen, but the AKGs probably deliver better levels of detail, if a little on the leaner side.

If you are thinking of moving up to nearer the P3s price, the AKG K550s offer a really spacious sound for closed back headphones, which might suit your tastes. Since you're only looking to use them in the house, the Audio Technica ATH-M50s might be worth a look too - their super-long chord puts some people off using them out and about, but they sound great. Both 5 stars from us and £100-125 - definitely worth a listen if you can Smile

Verity

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