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Bowers Wilkins vs Sennheiser

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Sennheiser and Bowers Wilkins are two renowned and well-respected brands in the audio industry and produce high-quality speakers, soundbars, headphones, and subwoofers. Sennheiser is known for the production of high quality headphones. 
In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at the sound quality, durability, price and so on. 
Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points. However, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Sennheiser Quick History

Sennheiser was founded in 1945 in a laboratory called Laboratorium Wennebostel (Lab W) by Fritz Sennheiser and seven other engineers of the University of Hannover. Lab W started producing microphones in 1946 with DM1 and in 1947 with DM2.

The company produced many different products, including the Noise-Compensated microphone (DM4) and miniature magnetic headphones, before it was transformed into a limited partnership (KG) in 1973.

In 1982, Sennheiser started producing modern wireless microphones and won the 59th Academy Awards for its MKH 816 shotgun microphone.

Sennheiser is headquartered near Hannover, in the municipality of Wedemard, Germany. Today, Sennheiser is well known for producing professional-grade headphones and microphones.

Bowers and Wilkins Quick History

Bowers & Wilkins, best known as B&W, is a British manufacturer of consumer and professional loudspeakers and headphones. B&W was founded in 1966 by John Bowers in Worthing, West Sussex, England. They currently have many award-winning loudspeaker designs to their name.

Sound Quality

Sennheiser Sound Quality

Sennheiser produces robust headphones with versatile performance built with an ANC system (active noise-canceling technology).

ANC blocks out the low rumble of plane engines and vehicles together with ambient chatter. With aptX and aptX-LL codecs, these headphones deliver incredible sound quality with lower latency.

The bass is heavy and decently adds extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes. This makes Sennheiser headphones more suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop.

In addition, the infrared transmission technology and the multi-channel RF wireless transmission technology contribute to the popular Sennheiser sound signature.

B & W Sound Quality

B&W puts a lot of money into research and development. This has allowed them to make many audio breakthroughs over the years. B&W devices are noted for delivering pure, natural and detailed sound reproduction. There’s chest-thumping bass and clear mids and highs.

One feature of some B&W speakers is a tweeter separated from the main cabinet, this allows the tweeter to produce an accurate sound that’s unaffected by the subwoofer.

Features

Sennheiser Features

The following features are characteristic of all Sennheiser headphones:

  • Modular construction that makes it easy to repair or replace parts
  • Snug fit
  • Excellent cup padding
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Professionally inspired
  • Total harmonic distortion <0.08% (1kHz, 94 dB)
  • Resonator chamber to remove masking resonance
  • Para-aramid reinforced cables
  • German-made 7mmXWB transducer – for naturally balanced sound
  • Intuitive controls
  • Lightweight (around 140 grams)
  • Supra-aural design

B & W Features

Even though B&W is an older brand, they are still competing with best-in-class modern devices with modern features, like:

  • Wireless connectivity includes Bluetooth, WiFi
  • Wired connectivity includes USB, HDMI, optical audio
  • AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth support
  • Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which supports music streaming services including Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Soundcloud and TuneIn
  • Amazon Alexa voice control for hands-free operation

Build Quality

Sennheiser Build Quality

The headphones are built with a rugged and flexible design. The durable metal hinge and sliders add appealing style.

Sennheiser black headphone

Even for long periods of use, they often remain in good condition. The latest ones are made from ZR01 amorphous zirconium, a metal used to drill the face of Mars, ensuring toughness and longevity.

B & W Build Quality

B&W has always been at the forefront in pioneering new techniques that improve the acoustics and durability of their devices. Their devices are enclosed in aluminum or sturdy plastic for a durable and attractive finish.

bowers and wilkins history

B&W patented the use of Kevlar fibers, impregnated with a stiffening resin to provide controlled rigidity and internal damping; and minimize distortion. They currently use their own material, Continuum, for their speaker cones.

Ease Of Use

Sennheiser Ease Of Use

Sennheiser headphones come with various connectivity options making them very easy to connect and use for multiple occasions.

The customizable touch controls put you in control of your listening experience, from audio and phone calls to Siri and Google Assistant.

B&W Ease Of Use

B&W devices are very easy to install and operate. This is made even easier by the company’s support for voice assistants, such as Alexa. The B&W music app allows you to use streaming services on your devices and finetune the sound output to your taste.

Cost

Sennheiser Cost

Headphones: $20 – $500

Microphones: $50 – $1000

B&W Cost

B&W devices usually have midrange prices, though some devices are well into the high-end price range. Their price ranges are given below.

Subwoofers: $900 – $3200

Earbuds/headphones: $320 – $550

Speakers: $500 – $8400

Space Requirements

Sennheiser Space Requirements

Sennheiser headphones are perfectly built for the ear. Whether you are buying over-ear, on-ear, or in-ear headphones, their construction is compact and easily fits the head and ear without exerting extra pressure.

Besides, the headphones are lightweight, and wearers may not feel the weight even after longtime use.

B&W Space Requirements

B&W floorstanders require quite some space in which to operate and are better suited to spacious rooms.

The bookshelf speakers are more versatile and can either be mounted on a stand, fixed to a wall using brackets or placed on a desktop or shelf space. Keep in mind that they all require some free space around them for ventilation.

Remote Controls

Sennheiser Remote Control

Although Sennheiser headphones do not come with remote controls, they support wireless streaming such as Bluetooth listening.

Also, you can control some of your Sennheiser headphones with the Sennheiser Smart Control app. The app helps you access firmware updates and allows you to choose adaptive ANC and anti-wind ANC for the first noise-canceling level.

B&W Remote Controls

Some B&W devices have their own in-house remote controls but they also support the use of third-party remote controllers. The B&W music app and Alexa allow you to control your speaker from any device on the same WiFi network.

Connectivity Options

Sennheiser Connectivity Options

Here are the connectivity options for Sennheiser:

    • Bluetooth multipoint
    • Fast auto-connect
    • SBC
    • aptX
    • aptX LL
  • AAC
  • Wired listening with a 2.5 mm cable

B&W Connectivity Options

B&W devices can be connected to each other and to other devices using wired or wireless options. These include Bluetooth, HDMI, WiFi, USB, aux input and a whole range of other options.

Power Range

Sennheiser Power Range

Sennheiser headphones consume very little power to deliver incredible sound quality. Besides, the potable ones utilize either rechargeable or non-rechargeable AAA batteries and will deliver up to 100.45 dB/mW SPL.

B&W Power Range

The power range for B&W devices varies for different devices, though they all give quite powerful performance, even without the use of amplifiers.

The B&W 607 S2 bookshelf speaker is rated at 100 Watts, while the B&W Zeppelin peaks at 240Watts.

Frequency Response

Sennheiser Frequency Response

Sennheiser headphones perform well and widely exceed limits with ranges of 4 Hz to 51 kHz. The wide range helps prevent bass or treble roll-offs. Users also feel more frequencies and get a more immersive listening experience.

B&W Frequency Response

The B&W 606 Speaker has a frequency response range of 52Hz on the low end and 28KHz on the high end, which is simply amazing for a bookshelf speaker. The B&W 804 D4 floorstanding loudspeaker has a vast 20Hz to 35KHz frequency response range.

Conclusion

Sennheiser produces high-quality headphones and microphones. The devices support numerous features and are energy efficient. They are however more expensive than the competition.

B&W devices deliver excellent performance at reasonable prices. Though they can be quite costly, you should expect nothing but the best from them.

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