• 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Don't like the way this speaker manages volume setting

    • Written by from Dexter

    Pros: Strong amplifier. Beautiful design

    Cons: Depends on digital volume (i.e. the iTunes volume slider) to control volume.

    The speakers have volume buttons (+/-) but what these do is send a digital signal through AirPlay asking the controlling computer/phone to lower the volume. Press the + button and you'll see the volume slider on iTunes or your phone going up.

    This means that the amp is fixed at a given gain, and the speakers depend on the input coming at a lower level when the volume is down. Two problems I see from this:

    a) at lower volumes, you get less resolution. Digital music use numbers to represent the amplitude of the sound. If you have 8 bits, then there are 256 possible values. If you have more bits, the digital sound signal will be more accurate to the original analog signal. When you are forced to use the digital volume control to keep the sound to a reasonable volume (say 10%) you are using only 25/26 out of the 256 possible values. So your accuracy is equivalent to have only 5 bits, instead of 8. This is something similar to what happens on a digital camera when you have to use the digital zoom (less quality) vs. using a true lens zoom.

    b) drivers may get damaged when you accidentally switch from computer speakers or headphones to the A5. I personally use the iTunes volume at around 80% when using the speakers of my MB Air, and around 60% when using headphones. If you forget to lower the volume to 20% before switching to the A5, you'll jump out of your chair...

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Superbly musical

    • Written by from London

    I already own a zeppelin air, which is fantastic, even if care needs to be taken to tame it's sometimes unruly bass. I needed to replace my ageing separates system in the bedroom (4 x 4m) with something more stylish and 'wife friendly'. I didn't honestly expect too much from a product this compact, but I have to say, it's stunningly good, better than the zeppelin on balance. The sound is incredibly transparent, vocals sparkle, and treble is perfectly articulated, whilst bass is tight, fast and rythmic, and surprisingly abundant given the small size (obviously nowhere near the zeppelin in quantity). It may not be as warm as the usual b&w products and it's all the better for it since it's so musical.

    Super impressed!

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Excellent speaker

    • Written by from Lancaster

    We have both a Zeppelin air and a B&W A5. Initially there was problems setting up the Zeppelin but since B&W have upgraded the app the A5 connected instantly. We have had no problems with loss of sound or connectivity issues. The Zeppelin is perfect in the lounge and the A5 in the kitchen. We run them independently from iPads or both together from a desk top situated 2 floors up in a converted loft. We have no need for router boosters and the desk top is linked to a BT router through a £12 dongle. They give perfect sound for our needs and I would recommend them to anybody.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Works great!

    • Written by from Redondo Beach

    We received this as a gift and its been great so far. We AirPlay Pandora using my wifes iPhone. I love the bass and the clear sound it provides. Have not experienced any drops or any issues so far at all.
    My wife loves it and it easy for her to use via her phone, so I'm happy.

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Drops connection and squeeky sound

    • Written by from Stavanger

    I bought the A5 for about 2 weeks ago, and also have problems with the connection, it stops. I cant even get all my devices to play on the A5. Looks like on my iPhone 5, which setup up the A5 work fine, but the other devices i have, iPad, iMac other iPhones it disconnects. This can probably fix by getting a better and more stable router.

    Thats ok, but when i play, most of the songs have a buzzy or squeeky sound when i play. Its so annoying that i don`t bother playing more songs. Im going back with this A5 and saying what problems accure, if some other customers have had the same problem which i have.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    B&W A5 Pain

    • Written by from POULTON-LE-FYLDE

    I constantly encounter set-up problems, worked a dream when I first used it at work, brought it home and refuses to connect after spending a ridiculous amount of time, my wife is furious over the waste of money, while I try to pacify her with endless excuses....nightmare, never again, our kids new beats speaker is better??

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    beware

    • Written by from Thousand Oaks

    Great sound .... horrible connectivity and control. No need to repeat all the complaints listed here. Maybe all the 5 starers work for b&w. Too bad really for what is a great unit otherwise.

    3 of 3 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Pure Listening Bliss.

    • Written by from Old Fort

    The Bowers & Wilkins A5 has amazing clarity and sound integrity in a very low profile and discrete envelope. Not only does it fashion a timeless design, but it's the perfect size for small and secondary rooms - meaning, and I'm guessing, any room ranging up to 1,200 SF, possibly more. The A7 is obviously the bigger brother, but for small areas the A5 is just as stunning in a smaller package. Don't even hesitate.

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Just fab

    • Written by from Houghton le Spring

    Ignore negative reviews. Never mind the out of date WiFi. They work and are just stunning. For those with WiFi problems, blame your network not these speakers. Good volume and frequency response.

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    A5 Airplay Connection

    • Written by from SELKIRK

    Had a year of hit and miss with my A5 as it would not, reliably, connect to my BT HomeHub.I was about to sell it on but recently connected it via my airport Express and it has never failed to connect yet!
    A 5 star product once you get connected!

    3 of 3 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    keeps disconnecting

    • Written by from New York

    Just awful. Buyer beware. Keeps disconnecting, no matter how strong your network. Do not buy.

    10 of 11 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Hate it

    • Written by from Lisboa

    It has a nice sound indeed... BUT it's always loosing connection to the network i have to unplug and replug so the music may continue... the music stops all of the sudden. Arhhhggg!!!
    Gonna switch to Bluethoots speakers..

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Amazing Audio, Superb Build Quality, Highly Recommended A+

    • Written by from Tunbridge Wells

    I had done extensive research on a number of Airplay speakers from Sonos, Bose, B&W and others and ended up deciding on a Bowers & Wilkins A5 and an A7.

    After an initial and very easy setup on my iPhone I had a little trouble in picking the A7 up through wifi (the A5 was fine). After searching on the internet I discovered problems with Airplay devices can occur due to the router settings (so if you have problems check if your router is "n" and "g" compatible and also firewall settings etc), however once that was solved I was able to be fully blown away by the audio quality of these devices.

    I had already heard them in a shop but once they had the closer acoustics of my rooms at home they sounded even better! I used to have Bose Soundocks and in all honesty these eat those for breakfast!

    The build quality is excellent as is the audio quality. Personally I really like the design - they look inconspicuous yet stylish.

    The balance of bass, middle and treble is perfect. Very deep bass (especially on the A7) pounds the airways with crystal clear trebles and everything in between. To say I am impressed is an understatement and considering the size of these devices I think B&W should be commended on the quality they provide.

    The A5 and A7 are not cheap but I believe they are well worth the money. My only negative other than the price is that there is no instruction manual included, however they can be downloaded in pdf format from their website.

    If you are looking for some serious audio equipment for your iOS device or to play from your PC/Mac, look no further…

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Experience over 1 year

    • Written by from london

    I have been using the A5 every day for over a year. Here is my assessment:
    -great build and looks (if you like the spaceship styling)
    -setup was easy
    -sound quality is good but obviously depending on the quality of your digital music / streams. I use it from IOS with Spotify mainly set to highest streaming quality and its awesome at 320KBS fills the large room fully and crisp
    -network connectivity is mainly stable but have had some problems connecting from a laptop, dropping out
    -using with apple TV is a mixed bag as initially airplay would not let me stream movie audio to A5, had to use a cable - now it kind of works wirelessly
    -switching sources is problematic e.g. when I switch from streaming from iPad to Apple TV the Apple TV does not remember the airplay connection and sometimes the speaker does not show up as an airplay connection at all and I have to reboot apple TV or router
    -the B&W IOS setup / control app is basic and there have not been any software updates in a year which is not a good sign from B&W

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Air play connectivity A5

    • Written by from København V.

    I have exacly the same problem as William from Jackson Heights. My device is connected and colour is purple but not possible to stream music from WIMP. It happens randomly and there is nothing I can do. My wifi connection is not a problem. Guess I have to take my A5 B & W to the shop where purchased.

    When it works sound quality is great.

    3 of 3 people found this useful

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Speaker is fine. AirPlay, not so much.

    • Written by from Jackson Heights

    I'm not an audiophile so I won't get into the merits of the sound. To me it's great, and even 40% of its max volume is loud in my one-bedroom apartment.

    The problem is AirPlay. The technology isn't reliable. The speaker might stream for hours without issue, and suddenly the audio will drop. It will stay that way until it's ready to resume. Nothing you, dear user, can do will fix it, if indeed you can isolate the source of the problem at all. Sometimes iTunes can't connect to the speaker, even though the speaker's status light says it's available. Other times the audio drops, but iTunes shows the song is playing and the speaker's light says it's on. What exactly is going on then? Network interference?

    This speaker has both an aux audio port and an ethernet port, so there are wired options for backup. Those ports may be the only thing keeping the speaker from becoming a $500 brick on your bookshelf at some point.

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    not impressed overall

    • Written by from Frederick

    I liked the sheer volume at first. Then I realized I'd accumulated another tiny remote to keep track of -- no volume controls on the unit itself. I wasn't impressed with the quality of the audio either. Other than being loud, it really didn't have a lot going for it in terms of quality and surround. When it started giving crackling audio depending on what device I was using to Airplay audio to it, I put it back in the box and took it back to the Apple Store. I'm guessing there will eventually be a better option for Airplay speakers at this price point.

    10 of 15 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    When connected - great

    • Written by from Surbiton

    I have a number of B&W products and I can't fault the sound quality on any of them.

    I have ongoing serious connectivity issues with this product, the help and troubleshooting options on the app, are mediocre at best.

    The sound is great and build quality too.

    7 of 9 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    Bowers and Wilkins A5

    • Written by from ELK GROVE

    I don't usually write reviews but I have to say about bowers and wilkins A5 has to be the best speaker I have ever bought a little price but very worth it. the fact that i is airplay is better than wifi or bluetooth. and the bass is off the wall. on dropping off like some wifi or bluetooth. buy it you won't be sorry.

    2 of 2 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Continuously dropping Airplay.

    • Written by from Melbourne

    Extremely disappointed with the product.
    I have owned this product for three days and I am so unhappy with it that I will be returning it.
    I have experienced nothing but trouble with Airplay.
    I have been emailing the tech-support at Bowers & Wilkins for the past three days to try and solve these issues. I have moved my modem/router set up, I have changed the channels of both my 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands to remove any interference. It is not a problem with my wireless set up, every other wireless device works perfectly.
    Out of a song that goes for 4mins32seconds, I experienced 3mins35seconds of drop out, while iTunes still showed that it was playing.
    On average, I have been experiencing 2-4 dropout per song, some lasting as long as three minutes. It is quite embarrassing to have friends over and be experiencing these issues.
    I have reset the A5 three times now, nothing will resolve the issues.
    For the price of this product, I was expecting better quality. very disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this useful