The Best Headphone Albums Ever

P5 Review: “How do they sound? In a word – brilliant”

There’s something very special about listening to music on headphones. A sense of closeness to the artist, and, of course, with the right headphones, just enough isolation from the hustle and bustle of the outside world to make listening a real pleasure.

And while a great album is always a great album, sometimes a particular recording will lend itself to the intimate atmosphere of a great pair of headphones. Whether those headphones are connected to your home hi-fi or to an iPod for listening on the move, the experience can transport you.

We’d love to know what your favourite headphone listening pleasures are. Whether it happens to be on a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P5 mobile hi-fi headphones or something else.

Here’s a selection of ours just to get you started.

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
Read about it here.

Richard Buckner – Devotion and Doubt
Wonderfully recorded, simple guitar and wonderful voice.

David Crosby – If Only I Could Remember My Name.
Gloriously produced, and wonderful on headphones.

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I see a Darkness
A great hi-fi album full stop. Wonderfully intimate recording.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine
If your headphones can do great bass, this is a must-have recording.

What’s your favourite headphone album?

156 Comments

  • Steve says:

    Ys – Joanna Newsom

  • Olaf Barthel says:

    Joe Jackson – Body and soul
    Livingston Taylor – Ink
    Donald Fagen – Morph the Cat
    Ana Caram – Blue Bossa
    Bob Belden – Black Dahlia
    Martin Pearlman, Boston Baroque – Vespers of 1610
    Ensemble Galilei – From the isles to the courts
    Tierney Sutton – Unsung heroes

    The last three albums were recorded with binaural stereo microphones, and are particularly well-suited for headphone listening.

  • Nick P says:

    If youve not heard of this…download it!

    Rae and Christian : Northern Sulphuric Soul.
    sounds amazing on the Zepillin too

  • Le Fist says:

    My current fave is Caribou’s new album, Swim. I especially like the track Sun. Very clever.

  • Dogfish63 says:

    Not in any specific order:
    Babble – Ether
    Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa
    Laurie Anderson – Bright Red
    Eno/Byrne – Life in the Bush of ghosts
    Eno/Budd/Lanois – The Pearl
    Adrian Belew – Mr Music Head
    Niyaz – Nine Heavens – deluxe version
    Todd Rundgren – Any and all of his solo stuff
    Richard Souther – Illumination – Hildegard Von Bingen – The Fire of the Spirit
    Kate Bush – any and all of her stuff

  • Paal says:

    My best headphone album is Bruce Cockburn Live – Fantastic soundstaging and sound.

  • Ian says:

    David Sylvian – Manafon
    but yeah, I’d also go with Bush, Eno/Fripp, or Laurie Anderson

  • Jamson says:

    in the B&W list: Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon, of course

    my list:
    no. 1 Elisabeth Karsten – Flux
    no. 2 Music by Mark Isham – Romeo is bleeding
    no. 3 Jacques Loussier – Baroque favorites

    :)

  • Jeff says:

    Changes everyday but currently the ones rocking my P5 the most are:

    Cat Power- The Greatest
    Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
    Kate Bush – Hounds of Love

  • Chris George says:

    My Life in a Bush of Ghosts by Brian Eno and David Byrne
    Rhythm and Stealth by Leftfield
    Moaning Ark Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
    A Night in Paris by Diana Krall

  • Jacob says:

    What sold me on the P5′s: Pantyraid-The Sauce. Sounds absolutely incredible on my P5′s. The clarity and imaging are superb.

    Some additional albums that I really enjoy especially through the P5′s are:

    Cinematic Orchestra-Any studio album
    Miike Snow-Miike Snow
    Minus The Bear-OMNI
    Velella Velella-Fight Club EP
    Elbow-The Seldom Seen Kid

    Thanks all for the input I found a few new artists based on recommendations here. Very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the David Crosby album recommended by B&W. The track “Cowboy Movie” is wonderful and is produced very well in my opinion.

  • Raymond Berry says:

    The Cure ‘ Pornography ‘. It was a type of album that they haven’t recorded before or since this landmark 1982 album.

  • Selwyn says:

    Living in Australia, it has been a slight logistical challenge to get my hands on some P5s. They’ve arrived and to do this properly, I’m adjusting the quality of my favourite albums before breaking in the cans.

    Previously mentioned, but OK Computer and basically anything by Radiohead (NPR has a great podcast of one of their concerts which I’m keen to experience with ‘phones)
    Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest.
    Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (Both the orchestrated and piano versions)
    Jamie Cullum and Nikki Yanofsky have some great arrangements that’ll get a guernsey too.

    Having always used the standard issue Apple headphones, I’m looking forward to a quantum leap in experience and depth.

    Previous posts have mentioned the price in Australia as being exorbitant – gotta agree. I know this is not the forum for this, but I’m not recommending these to my friends at AUD prices.

  • maso4 says:

    Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms. Awesome.

  • Kevin says:

    great thread! my suggestions are:

    Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
    liked this album so much, named my dog after it.

    Arcade Fire – Funeral
    tons of instrumentation!

    Sigur Ros – Ágætis Byrjun
    this is one of those albums that makes you feel enveloped by music

    Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
    this particular album makes very good use of both sides of the headphones

    thanks for all the good suggestions here, i’ve found a ton of new bands to geek out over.

  • Ron D'Angelo says:

    DSOTM, Steely Dan: Aja, Sgt. Pepper, Donald Fagen: The Nightfly, Jamiroquai: Dynamite, Incognito: Who Needs Love?, Alan Parsons: Try Anything Once, Tower Of Power Direct, Miles Davis: Decoy, Vienna Philharmonic: Mahler 5, Donald Fagen: The Nightfly, The Eagles: Hotel California, any Chick Corea solo piano CD, Pat Metheny: Secret Story, Toto IV

  • andy bourne says:

    Cafe del mar 16 currently taking me to a place of peace and tranquility. Waiting to get my p5s very soon

  • Jason Underhill says:

    Pink Floyd – The Wall
    Peter Gabriel – Scratch My Back
    Lord of the Rings Soundtrack
    Hayley Westenra – Odessy

  • Stuart Dunne says:

    David Bowie – iSelect
    The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper (mono) – like listening to this album for the first time
    Roxy Music – Flesh & Blood – i’ve always preferred this album to Avalon

  • Karljohan says:

    I just got my P5 headphones. Listened to Peter Gabriel’s “Scratch my back” in the store prior to buying them. Was surprised when I went back online to register my headphones, found out I got 3 month free membership of Society of sound. And to see that they have the same album as recommended and downloadable in flac 24. I love this…….

    Would be great if B&W could make an app so that I could play the flac music in my Iphone swell….

    Other cd’s I play when on the go:

    Suzanne Vega, Songs in red and grey, and all the rest
    Tori Amos, Abnormally attracted to sin, and all the rest
    Massive Attack, all of them
    Madonna, Confessions on a dance floor
    Pink Floyd, all of them
    Björk, all of them
    Aimee Mann, all of them
    And then some……

  • Charlie holmes says:

    Just got my p5′s…awesome! Looking forward to them being broken in properly.

    Gary Go – Gary Go
    Imogen Heap-Ellipse
    Ludovico Einaudi-divenire
    Jonsi-Go
    Cinematic orchestra- ma fleur
    Postal service-give up

  • Tyler says:

    Grizzly Bear – Yellow House

    end of story.

  • Christian says:

    Marillion – Brave
    Yes – Tales From Topographic Oceans (Remastered)
    Sting – Soul Cages
    Diana Krall – A Case Of You (Live) from the Live in Paris album.

    So many details to discover on these.

  • Dave says:

    I see many of my favourite albums have been listed above. But my favourite headphone listen, in its hi-fi recording quality and heart-wrenching emotion is:-

    Bruce Cockburn – Life Short, Call Now

    Exquisite.

  • Gordon McLean says:

    No question,the supreme experience,above all others:

    King Crimson,In the Court of the Crimson King,(1969);21st Century Schizoid Man and Moonchild

    Steppenwolf,Steppenwolf 7,(1970);Renegade and Ball Crusher

    The Who,Who’s Next,(1975),Bargain,Behind Blue Eyes,and Won’t Get Fooled Again

  • Steve B says:

    Hard rock, but the dark and sparse variety – light up a pair of cans with
    -Tool 10000 days
    - OSI Blood.
    Like slo-mo napalm in sound, just brilliant.

  • Buttcheeks says:

    There are so many fantastic albums to choose from but one I’ve been listening to is L T J Bukem ” journey inwards” . The other is from the society of sound “speed caravan”

  • Nicholas says:

    Miles Davis- ‘In a Silent Way’ For the space of it, just superb..
    & Radioheads ‘Kid A’ Like the album was made for P5s..

  • Ricardo says:

    Well that’s a difficult Question but for me will be

    Bjork – Post

    Pink Floyd – The Division Bell

    Thievery Corporation – Sounds From The Thievery Hi-Fi

    Kenny Burrel – Kenny Burrell Essentials

    Radiohead – Ok Computer

  • Heather says:

    Led Zeppelin – Mothership
    Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

    Love my P5′s :)

  • anon. says:

    the antlers – hospice

    memory tapes – seek magic

    four tet – rounds

    the knife – silent shout

    thom yorke – the eraser

    arcade fire – the suburbs

    animal collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion

    Caribou – Swim

    Boards of Canada – Music Has The Right To Children

    radiohead – com lag

  • Bobc says:

    I have the “Inner Sound of the ID” record which I bought in the early 70′s. It is the best headphone album I’ve ever heard.

    All the other albums listed are very good, just not as good.

  • BRIAN says:

    Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (The Ultimate Edition) 2009

  • charlie says:

    Aphrodite’s Child 666 (regarding the era : 1971)
    Vangelis : Blade Runner

  • eric b from says:

    Dave Mason-Alone Together

  • Dorset Pete says:

    Any Hawkwind Album.

    e.g. “In Search Of Space”

  • Altec Lansing BXR1220 says:

    Bowers & Wilkins P5 is a headphone.Sound quality of these headphone are really superb.It will not create any affect to your ear.

  • neal says:

    Billy Thorpe, Children of the Sun.

  • scott gloster says:

    Skydiggers – self tittled (Leslie in particular)
    Holly Cole Trio – Temptation
    The Who – Quadrophenia (if only I could get that album in better than CD quality . . . . )
    Pharoah Sanders – The Message Home
    Jarrett – Koln Concert
    Great Lake Swimmers – Bodies and Minds
    Fred Eaglesmith – Dusty

  • andy hagan says:

    Lots of great suggestions here. My small contribution to the forum as follows:- (use Grado SR325s and occasionally the cheaper (but more comfortable!) Grado SR60s)

    Radiohead – In Rainbows
    Massive Attack – Heligoland
    Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
    Air – Talkie Walkie & Love 2
    Royksopp – all four of them
    The XX – X
    Beyond the Missouri Sky – Charlie Haden & Pat Matheny

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