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

Sections

The MM-1s do an excellent job of making compressed music sound decent. 320kbps MP3s sound great and even the half-dozen 256kbps AAC (iTunes Plus) tracks we have sounded pretty decent. Really low bit-rate tracks can suffer, but we’re talking 128kbps WMA streaming audio here and the kind of person who would put such files through a £400 pair of speakers more than occasionally frankly doesn’t deserve the gift of hearing.


Stepping up to some 24-bit FLACs did reveal extra elements of detail to Beethoven’s 9th, among other, similarly epic tracks. The transparency the MM-1s deliver is particularly noteworthy; you can really get a feel for where in the mix each and every element was mastered, whether a cello, a flute, a viola or a xylophone.


Films and TV shows sound equally as good as music, with an episode of Doctor Who showcasing the MM-1’s ability to turn their hand to producing clear dialogue, enveloping atmospherics, and luscious accompanying music. The lack of a large sub-woofer means you don’t get quite the ground-shaking rumble of some speaker sets, which can dull the impact of action-packed films, but then for the best home cinema effect you’re going to want surround sound and a comfy sofa anyway.


Bowers & Wilkins hasn’t limited the MM-1 speakers to only accepting input from a PC, over USB. The right-hand speaker has an aux-in and headphone output around the back. The former lets you hook up just about any device, mixing its audio with that from your PC.


The headphone output is a little niftier as it lets you take advantage of the MM-1’s excellent audio processing when using a set of ‘phones – the speakers mute automatically when you plug in your headphones. The results are impressive, with a set of trusty Shure SE420 earphones sounding miles better via the MM-1’s than through the iPhone they’re usually subjected to.


Flourishes like this are what enable the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 speakers to justify their admittedly significant asking price. It really shouldn’t be possible to make a set of desktop speakers sound this good, but somehow B&W has. Maybe it’s just us, but we think quality like this is worth paying for.

Verdict


There was never any doubt in our minds that the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 speakers would be something special and, lo and behold, they are. They look stunning and sound even better – truly, PC audio has never had it so good.

Trusted Score


Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.