Home / Computing / Peripheral / Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 / Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 - Bowers & Wilkins MM-1

By Hugo Jobling

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Bowers & Wilkins' choice to use USB is undeniably a smart one. It's no secret that most PCs don't have stellar audio outputs. The majority rely on soundcards integrated onto their motherboards, which, while fine for catching up on the occasional episode of Glee on 4oD, will hardly do justice to the likes of Bach or Mozart.

To circumvent this issue, the MM-1s have an internal DAC, to deal with the important business of turning your digital files into music. This puts any system to which a set are connected - be it running Windows or Mac OS - on an even playing field. It's a technique that worked well for the Teufel Concept B 200 USB Speakers - the next best thing if you can't afford the MM-1s.

Another consequence of these speakers using a USB connection is the included remote can be used to play, pause, and skip tracks in your chosen media player (iTunes and Windows Media Player are supported). It can, of course, control volume as well, and has a mute button. The remote control is the same size and shape as that bundled with the Zeppelins.

The Bowers & Wilkins MM-1s don't just rely on fancy electronic wizardry. Inside their sublime exterior nestles technology derived from the company's trademark Nautilus speakers. The 1in tweeters use the same tube-loaded design featured by B&W's flagship speakers, reducing resonance and, by extension, delivering purer high-end notes. And while there's no dedicated subwoofer, there are 3in woofers mounted in each unit to handle the mid range and bottom of the audio spectrum

Raw specifications don't come anywhere near describing the output of the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 speakers, though. Certainly, the low end isn't as deep and thumping as it is with some 2.1-channel systems, but it trades immediacy of impact for a smoothness and warmth that's far more enjoyable to listen to in the long run. Mid- and high-end notes are equally well-delivered, coming across with excellent clarity and poise.

The overall impact is to allow you to simply sink into your music as into a warm bath, simply letting album after album wash over you like so many soapy suds. The MM-1's are equally at home with the grungy tones of Nirvana as they are with the swinging jive of Frank Sinatra, the haunting melodies of Poe or the striking compositions of Wagner.

stranded

May 27, 2010, 12:03 pm

Though i prefer plain designs (primitive and metallic) this is not bad at all.


I think they will sound good. Thumbs up for the review.

David 46

May 27, 2010, 1:15 pm

I thought these speakers were only available via the Apple Store? I don't see them listed in SSVA.

Hugo

May 27, 2010, 1:18 pm

There was a short period when they were exclusive to the Apple store.


But now: http://store.sevenoakssoundand...

Cheap-Information

May 27, 2010, 1:25 pm

Thank you for the review,





I currently have the Teufel Concept B 200 USB Speakers.





Would these be a worthwhile upgrade and is there any static noise when no music is playing?

FreQ

May 27, 2010, 2:52 pm

I currently use Aego M's, which are good quality, nice speakers. These look like they might be a good upgrade sometime, although I'm in no pressing need atm.





£400 seems quite steep though, the Aego's were only £100 and whilst I'd rather pay for quality, £400 is quite a jump. Does anyone know if these are available in stores like John Lewis - so we can hear them before splashing out?

Digital Fury

May 27, 2010, 5:05 pm

I'm actually expecting my 27" iMac tomorrow and was looking into these, but they are quite expensive for a pair of desktop speakers.

Peter

May 27, 2010, 5:49 pm

Not actually that expensive in this range considering genelec 6010A are around £169 per speaker without USB / volume / headphone jack and no remote.

James Reckitt

May 27, 2010, 7:09 pm

I would have ordered a pair of these straight away (I'm a HUGE B&W fan!) but the small size and lack of sub concerns me. I'm currently using, with my PC, a set of Bose Companion 3's; how do they compare?

Rich Morris

May 27, 2010, 8:35 pm

I got MM-1 the first week they came out at the apple store and have never regretted it. I had to decided between the MM-1 and the Bose music monitor which sounded better at first then I notice the B&W where not connected by USB but by the 3.5mm stereo jack so I get them to change it and WOW that's when they came life, Yes they expensive but you get what you pay for and in the case of the MM-1 this is a balance and natural sound, a lot of sets especially the 2.1 sets have too much base which for me ruined the over all musical experience.

PoisonJam

May 27, 2010, 9:32 pm

What HiFi gave a similarly glowing review. I'll be getting a pair of these as soon as I get my bigger desk (and can afford them!).





@ James Reckitt - you mention you're a big B&W fan but have doubts over the lack of a sub but I can't think of much in B&Ws range that isn't a home cinema speaker set that uses a sub. Your Bose set has small satellites and a large sub so I'd be more inclined to think it will lack a lot more in the mid - low-mid range vs the B&Ws, though I admit I have never heard them and I'm just speculating.

philehidiot

May 27, 2010, 10:39 pm

It seems to me if you're going to spend £400 on a pair of speakers then you're going to be knowledgeable enough in the area to know that on board sound is cack and be able to afford a proper sound card. Personally even for a laptop I'd rather have the choice of buying an x-fi USB unit and pay less for the speakers without the USB stuff.

Moogle Stiltzkin

May 28, 2010, 4:30 am

These seem pricey >:x hm





The one i have is a pair of Aktimate Minis. Their awesome for pcs :}





A step below it there is the AudioEngine 5 :x

HisEnormity

May 28, 2010, 5:55 am

HOW MUCH!!!

James Reckitt

June 1, 2010, 4:32 pm

@PoisonJam - That's a fair point, but the size of the units (sub or not) concerns me. If you look at their 685/686 speakers there's noticeably weaker bass response with the smaller 686's, which are still much much larger than these!





I listen to a lot of music (from jazz to prog. rock to heavy metal) and I admit, my Bose system does lack in mid range, it's just whether I'd sacrifice bass for better mid range...





Ahh well, either way, I think a shopping trip is in order, to hear these babies in the flesh! :)

Cheap-Information

July 22, 2010, 6:48 pm

Just bought a set of these and they are noticeably better than the Teufel Concept B 200 USB Speakers that I previously had.





They do have a white noise when not on mute on my Macbook Pro, I have spoken to B&W and they say that they are releasing a firmware patch in the next month to deal with this.

Ramosa

August 14, 2010, 7:03 pm

"The cable joining the two speakers together is fairly short" ... Couldn't you just have given the length and let us decide what we define as short? :-p





So, I have 3 questions I need answered before I can purchase these speakers:





1) Length of speakers cable


2) Does it have ASIO?


3) Can you plug a second PC into the Aux-in, thus having 2 PC's share the same speakers (only one with DSP effects of course)

Cheap-Information

September 4, 2010, 1:05 am

1) The cable is just over 1 metre in Length.


2) I don't know what ASIO is.


3) You can plug the 2nd PC into the "Aux" jack and have two PCs running off the same speakers.

comments powered by Disqus