Bowers & Wilkins Pushes Physics to the Limits with New 800 Series Diamond Loudspeakers

Bowers & Wilkins Pushes Physics to the Limits with New 800 Series Diamond Loudspeakers

Thanks to the weird and wonderful realities of General Relativity, if we were in a theoretical interstellar rocket ship exploring the galaxy, some kooky things would start to happen as we approached the speed of light. The amount of fuel and energy required to reach 95 percent of light speed would pale in comparison to that required to accelerate from 95 to 99 percent of light speed. And that amount would be positively dwarfed by the amount of fuel and energy it would take to accelerate from 99 percent to 99.9 percent of light speed. And to reach 100 percent would, as far as we know based on the laws of physics, be impossible since it would require an infinite amount of energy and fuel. Mind you, those physical principles aren’t at all the same as the ones that govern speaker design, but there is nonetheless a rough analogy to be made here: if you have a speaker that’s close to perfect to begin with, redesigning it with the goal of getting closer to genuine perfection requires a staggering amount of time and energy—and money. In the case of Bowers & Wilkins’ new 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers—introduced on Wednesday at an exclusive event at NYC’s Sterling Sound mastering studio—we’re talking about seven years of extensive research and design, as well as millions of dollars spent. All to take what many people consider to be the finest loudspeaker in the world—the speaker found in the most prestigious recording and mastering studios—and make it significantly better. Those of us gathered at the event got to see firsthand exactly how many of the components in the...
Bowers & Wilkins’ New Speakers Are Meant to Be Heard, Not Seen

Bowers & Wilkins’ New Speakers Are Meant to Be Heard, Not Seen

On a good day, you’re lucky if a company like Bowers & Wilkins announces one new speaker. I guess this is a very good day indeed, because this morning the company announced a trio of new speakers aimed directly at the architectural market, including two new round in-ceiling models and a fancy in-wall model engineered specifically for home theater applications. First up is the CCM632, a small, round in-ceiling speaker that was designed to address a very specific problem. Most in-ceilings of this size (5.7-inch diameter, designed to fit in a 4.5-inch cut-out) suffer from sound colorations due to the fact that the woofer required to deliver deep bass doesn’t have a lot of room to fire around the tweeter, which delivers higher frequencies. Bowers & Wilkins solves this problem by employing a single 3-inch, full-range driver with frequency response from 100Hz at the low end to 17kHz at the high end. On a good day, you’re lucky if a company like Bowers & Wilkins announces one new speaker. I guess this is a very good day indeed, because this morning the company announced a trio of new speakers aimed directly at the architectural market, including two new round in-ceiling models and a fancy in-wall model engineered specifically for home theater applications. First up is the CCM632, a small, round in-ceiling speaker that was designed to address a very specific problem. Most in-ceilings of this size (5.7-inch diameter, designed to fit in a 4.5-inch cut-out) suffer from sound colorations due to the fact that the woofer required to deliver deep bass doesn’t have a lot of room to fire...

Bowers & Wilkins Debuts Two New Wireless Music Systems

Bowers & Wilkins just announced a pair of wireless audio systems that complement its award-winning Zeppelin Air dock. Unlike the Zeppelin, the A7 and A5 Wireless Music Systems eschew the physical iOS dock (which removes all of the brouhaha surrounding Apple’s recent docking port switcharoo as an issue), in favor of pure AirPlay connectivity. In stark contrast to the curvilinear aesthetics of the Zeppelin, the A5 and A7 also borrow heavily from the design of the company’s MM-1 desktop speakers, bringing their styling together into a single unified chassis that positively drips with luxurious simplicity. Both the A5 and A7 also feature the same drivers as the MM-1—glass fiber diaphragms designed with minimal resonance and improved off-axis mid- and high-frequency performance in mind. Both systems also include a number of design innovations from B&W’s beloved loudspeaker lines, including the same high frequency distortion Anti-Resonance Plug technology as is found in its high-end PM1, as well as Tapering Tubes borrowed from the Nautilus line to control rear reflections from the tweeters. Both systems also employ Bowers & Wilkins’ Flowport technology to reduce air turbulence and improve bass clarity, as well as proprietary digital signal processing to tailor the sound for any room at any volume. Their integrated audiophile caliber DACs also upsample all incoming audio to 96kHz/24-bit. Inside the glass re-enforced ABS enclosures, you’ll also find a power supply designed to deliver ultra-clean power, so the powerful little Class D amps operate to their full potential. At first glance, the difference between the two models appears to be one of size alone. The extra volume of the A7, though, gave...