To complement my new Spotify streaming service I thought I'd better improve on the listening experience. My ancient Logitech speakers were due for retirement, so after a great deal of research and live comparisons between Bose and B&W, I settled for B&W's new mm-1 desktop speakers which are specifically designed for the small theatre of one listener sitting at a computer (£399 from the Apple Store). I was attracted by the fact that the two B&W mm-1 units are self-contained and do not need a separate, very bulky bass unit sitting under the desk. The design is terrific, reminiscent of the successful B&W Zeppelin speakers, and the cable management is exceptional – unlike many computer speaker systems. Unlike many cheaper speakers, the mm-1 contain their own sound digital sound processor which by-passes the computer's internal sound card (when used with a USB connection).
So far the results, particularly for classical music, are impressive but I will report later on my experience once the units have been worn in
At the same time I decided to replace my Bose Quiet Comfort 3 noise-cancelling headphones with B&W's strikingly designed P5s (£249.95 from the Apple Store). While the P5s do not claim to be noise cancelling, they have comfortable close-fitting soft-leather earpieces which do an effective job of cutting out ambient sound. More to the point, they don't need to be supplied with batteries unlike proper noise-cancelling designs. As with the mm-1s, the performance is outstanding. For iPhone use, the P5s have an important additional feature – inline controls with microphone – so you don't miss any calls when listening to your favourite tracks. Nonetheless, you won't find MacFilos walking the streets wearing these cans, discreet as they are.
Again, more on these when I've run them in and used them on a flight or two. Father Christmas came early this year.