Bowers and Wilkins MM-1 review

4.5 out of 5
£399

For

Design, sound quality, compact

Against

Price, right speaker gets hot

The Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 speakers are designed for use with your PC and promise to bring with them hi-fi quality sound. Lift the MM-1 out of the box, and that £400 you parted with to get these speakers is obvious in the design. Two lovingly crafted squared units, wrapped in mesh and topped with a brushed aluminium plate. Around the middle sits a matching metal band bearing the name that carries with it a fair cost: Bowers & Wilkins. 

The MM-1 are beautifully simple in their design and we can see why they are stocked at the Apple store as they compliment the minimalist design of your iMac perfectly. All the cables and connections run into the bottom of the speakers, with the left-hand unit running off the right-hand model, which also takes in the power and USB connection from your computer.

Measuring 170mm tall and 100mm across the top, they are solidly constructed and we couldn’t find anything to fault in the way they look. We did find that the right-hand unit became noticeably warm on the top in use - not a problem in these cool winter months, but we wonder just how hot it would get in the barmy summer. The plugs connect into the base and neatly run out through a cut-out in the rubber foot, so you can achieve that clean look by stuffing all the cables straight down behind your desk. The rubber foot provides both a firm grip on the surface, as well as damping vibrations. 

The right-hand speaker offers up the controls. The left-hand side of the metal band you’ll find is clickable with a power symbol to turn the speakers off. A display LED confirms it is powered on. Cleverly it blinks at you when you hit the mute button on your Mac too, so you’ll remember to turn your music back on again after taking that call.

The MM-1 also offer up volume controls, which are discretely integrated into the metal waist band and thanks to the USB connection, this will change the volume on your source output. Around the back of the right-hand unit you’ll also find a 3.5mm input and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Connect up your music and the B&W MM-1 deliver on their promise of excellent audio. They bring warmth and depth to music, combining two 3-inch woofers and two 1-inch tweeters, with a host of on-board technology to get the most out of what ever you throw at them. Using drivers dedicated to the bass/mid range and the treble separately, the detail they produce is above par for computer speakers.

We tried a range of music genres, and a little gaming and movie watching. The long and short of it is that the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 sound fantastic. The bass sometimes gets a little lost if you throw something really heavy at it, but there is surprising punch to the delivery overall. The MM-1 also manage to deliver at higher volumes without distorting.

There is also a remote control supplied, although this wasn’t included in the boxed sample we received - it is presumably languishing on the desk of some tech journo somewhere.

Verdict

The beauty of the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 is its simplicity, from the design to the ease of use. But you do have to pay for the premium experience and for your average computer user, the £400 asking price is probably too much to pay, especially as there are 2.1 systems out there that are very capable, for much less money.

However, if you’ve got the cash and want to quickly and easy improve the audio performance of your computer with something that looks sensational, then you won’t be disappointed with the performance that the Bowers & Wilkins MM-1 offer.