• 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Dissapointed

    • Written by from Spring Hill

    I am a HUGE Bowers & Wilkins fan (I own 6 of their CM9s and a full surround set of their XT series) so I pretty much bought this completely disregarding all the negative reviews I read. Alas, I have now had it for 2 hours and it is going back to the shop tomorrow. I have a white light flashing rapidly which, if you go to their site and download a manual (they don't give you one in the box!) will tell you that it is because there is a firmware error. I'll exchange this for a new unit and see what happens.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 5.0 out of 5 stars

    Simply Amazing!

    • Written by from Long Island City

    Set-up: simple, easy. I downloaded the Control App from B&W onto my Mac as well as iOS device. If you're setting up the A5 using your Mac, and you're running a dual-band Wi-Fi network; make sure you selected the 802.11g band. After set-up completes, you can switch back to the faster band. Set-up took about 5-minutes and the A5 was ready to go.

    Sound: currently breaking in the A5 but the sound is fantastic. I'm using the A5 as a speaker on my balcony. Even with all the city noises in NYC, the A5 can easily output clear, crisp music to your listening content. The only thing louder than the A5 is the occasional ice truck when it comes around. My range of musical taste varies from electronic dance music to rock to classical to R&B, basically everything except for country. The bass is tight, while the mids and highs are crystal clear.

    Design: what can I say, it's B&W. Simple, elegant, clean and well constructed. The use of aluminum is tastefully done. Sadly there is a power brick, although not obnoxious in size.

    Overall impression: highly recommended if you're in the market for great looking, amazing sound AirPlay speaker. Others have written about AirPlay connection with the A5 and how it keeps dropping. I live in a NYC 33-floor high-rise apartment and there are a lot of Wi-Fi networks, problem but I haven't experienced any (knock on wood). I am using Apple's 802.11ac Time Capsule with dual-bands, in which the A5 is connected to 802.11b/g/n. My Macs and iOS devices are connected 802.11ac and easily see the A5 for wireless streaming.

  • 3.0 out of 5 stars

    Solved audio dropouts problem (apparently)

    • Written by from Barcelona

    As most opinions here I agree, loved the design and the sound quality is very good for the kind of compact device it is. The problem comes from connectivity, since I purchased it a few months ago I experienced constant dropouts in the sound when playing from my Mac, very annoying.

    I looked for some solution and found some advices at B&W support page (unfortunately this review page doesn't accept to copy links). I have just turned off the bluetooth and not a single dropout in the last hour… I hope it keeps this way… and this comment is useful for others… good luck!

    0 of 1 people found this useful

  • 2.0 out of 5 stars

    Unstable Airplay Implementation

    • Written by from Philadelphia

    I returned the A5 speaker system due to unstable Airplay implementation. Half the time I wanted to play music to the A5 speakers, I had to first power-cycle the speaker to make them appear in the list of available Airplay speakers.

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Wireless connectivity so bad as to be useless

    • Written by from Austin

    I'm a tech savvy electrical engineer with both pc's and mac's. However the flakiness of the A7 airplay connection renders it almost unusable. It constantly drops out, hangs, requires resets to reconnect etc. I spent considerable time and tried many approaches to solve or minimize the problem with no success. Running through setup procedure many times, Different wireless routers, dedicated Airport Time capsule placed nearby etc. Software/firmware updates etc etc. Nothing seems to give reliable connectivity. Also it's useless as a wireless speaker if you are watching video on your pc or laptop since the time delay leaves the audio out of sync with the video by seconds.

    The sound quality is excellent, but wireless connectivity is essentially unusable it's so bad. Only buy these if you plan on using an audio cable connection, and disregard the wireless features.

    4 of 6 people found this useful

  • 1.0 out of 5 stars

    Complete POS

    • Written by from Sherman Oaks

    sorry, i don't care if all the other bluetooth speakers in the world have problems, they don't all cost several hundred dollars. and, yes, this thing sounds good when it plays (which is totally intermittent). whatever you do, do not start enjoying any music out of this speaker. this speaker leaves me wanting the days of sound docks and cable connections. i've even dedicated an airport express to this system in the hopes that wiring it would improve the connection like it improved every single other device (ps3, bose system, etc.) i've ever tried. NO LUCK. This is a total waste of money!!! I don't even care about throwing away a few hundred bucks, it's just the frustration of trying to listen to music that gets me.) No matter what anyone else says, if you want to listen to your music without a rash of annoying interruptions of all random durations, do not buy this device. B&W, shame on you.

    4 of 5 people found this useful

  • 4.0 out of 5 stars

    very good range and clarity

    • Written by from Toronto

    Yes, Airplay is not a perfect technology. Connection will drop for a myriad of reasons which have nothing to do with the quality of sound. And this is not a problem exclusive to B&W. I also have a Bose system and the sound of the A5 is superior. I did a lot of research and while this is on the expensive side, it has been the best performer to date.

  • 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...

    4 of 4 people found this useful

  • 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 of 1 people found this useful

  • 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.

    3 of 3 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.

    5 of 5 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.

    1 of 1 people found this useful

  • 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!

    5 of 5 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.

    13 of 16 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..

    6 of 6 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

    5 of 5 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.

    5 of 5 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.

    6 of 6 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.

    11 of 17 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.

    11 of 13 people found this useful