B&W P5 headphones and the Meridian Explorer

Wow. In the NYAS's always-busy Headzone area, I was extremely impressed by the sound of an AIFF file of Paul Simon’s “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes” played from a MacBook, sent through Meridian’s pretty little Explorer USB DAC ($299), and then to Bowers & Wilkins’ handsome and comfortable P5 headphones ($299). Sponsored by Innovative Audio, this is the kind of sweet, functional, real-world system that is guaranteed to attract more people to the world of high-fidelity sound.

Removing the Meridian Explorer from the chain resulted in a sound that was still enjoyable, but far smaller, less dynamic, and less immediate, with a greatly reduced sense of air and space. The difference was significant and immediately noticeable.

For more on the B&W P5, visit InnerFidelity; for more on the Meridian Explorer, see InnerFidelity and AudioStream.

volvic's picture

It's also why computer audio sounds so much better than any CD player, if done properly.  You are correct this type of paradigm shift in the way music is played will hopefully attract a younger crowd, but it also democratizes high end audio in that great sound in the past, could only come out of super expensive gear, I believe these cheaper DACS bring great high-end sound for a fraction of a cost and I find that very exciting.  

dalethorn's picture

The ability to walk into a showroom or audiophile's domicile with a pocket music player containing lossless tracks, and have *your* music immediately playable on *their* system - it's an ages-old dream come true. With newer products like the v-moda verza, you don't have to rely on the DAC that's built into the pocket player.