B&W Introduces Re-Engineered 800 Series Diamond Speaker Lineup
High-end British speaker manufacturer, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) introduced today a new 800 Series Diamond loudspeaker lineup featuring a revamped industrial design and tonal sound quality upgrades and finely tweaked unwanted resonance damping.
Available at authorized B&W dealers starting today, the new 800 Series Diamond loudspeaker range comprises seven models including the two-way stand-mount 805 D4 ($8,000 suggested retail price), and a series of three-way floorstanding models, including the 804 D4 ($12,500), 803 D4 ($20,000) and 802 D4 ($26,000).
The flagship model in the range, is the 801 D4 ($35,000), featuring resurrected legacy name, to replace the existing 800 D3.
For home theater use, the HTM81 D4 ($7,500) and HTM82 D4 ($5,500) offer high-performance center channel options.
The marketing team for the Sound United company brand said each model was designed to “re-imagine the fundamental basics of a conventional loudspeaker drive unit — the new, unique and revolutionary Biomimetic Suspension.”
Each model is said to combine hundreds of detail improvements plus several entirely new technologies to create what the company said are “the most transparent, detailed and natural-sounding loudspeakers Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced.”
The new design includes new cabinet proportions and premium detailing.
B&W has added a fourth finish — Satin Walnut — to the line-up, joining the company’s Gloss Black, White and Satin Rosenut finishes.
The upgraded cabinet designs feature a new rigid, cast aluminum top section replacing the previous wooden version. The company said this produces greater stiffness for improved cabinet quietness. The aluminum top profile is
finished in ‘Leather by Connolly’ – in black for dark cabinets (Black, Satin Rosenut) and light grey for lighter
finishes (White, Satin Walnut).
Every model in the range includes a revised version of the company’s iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top housing, with
a new, elongated tube-loading system to produce a more open sound at high frequencies. The construction resists unwanted resonance assisted by the combination of a new two-point decoupling system that isolates it from the rest of the loudspeaker.
The Solid Body Tweeter continues to be milled from a solid block of aluminum, now embellished with an anodized finish, either dark or light depending on the cabinet color.
The range introduces three new cabinet forms. The 805 D4 and 804 D4 stereo models sport the reverse-wrap cabinet design first introduced in 2015 for larger speakers in the series. This new form reduces the profile of each cabinet’s front baffle while increasing the overall rigidity of the complete system.
It also allows crossovers to be mounted in dedicated spaces on the rear of each speaker, housed behind the rigid aluminum spines.
The 804 D4 uses a downward-firing port with an integral aluminum plinth.
Alongside the 805 D4 and 804 D4, the new HTM82 D4 center speaker continues the reverse-wrap cabinet of the rest of the line.
New technologies include a Continuum Cone, FST & Biomimetic Suspension.
Eight years in development, the Continuum Cone, which is used for both midrange and mid/bass applications, produces an open, transparent, and neutral performance. When used as a midrange drive unit in floorstanding models, it is combined with the company’s fixed suspension transducer (FST) midrange technology that avoids coloration often produced by traditional cone surrounds, the company said.
Bowers & Wilkins also combines the benefits of Continuum and FST with an advancement that transforms the fabric spider.
The new composite Biomimetic Suspension replaces the conventional fabric spider with a composite suspension system for midrange cone performance that greatly reduces unwanted air pressure that conventional fabric spiders can generate, to remove unpredictable, non-linear effects. The result highly realistic sound transparency, the company said.
The design carefully isolates the complete midrange assembly from the rest of the surrounding cabinet.
Each of the three-way models include a midrange drive unit with a highly stiff all-aluminum chassis and Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) to quieten resonance. These complete drive units and motor systems are then isolated on sprung-mounted decoupling mounts, for vibration restriction into the assembly.
The 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 include an highly stiff aluminum Turbine Head enclosure for the midrange drive units, providing what the company called “outstanding acoustic form” and “even better isolation – since the head assembly is itself further decoupled from the bass enclosure below.”
The HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4 introduce a new and similar concept but each center channel model adds an internal aluminum enclosure to provide a stiff, isolated housing for the midrange drive unit and its decoupling mechanism.
Unwanted resonance is further dampened into each model’s solid body Diamond Dome tweeters. The new Solid Body Tweeter housing now has a more elongated form (almost 30cm/12in long) with a longer internal tube-loading system.
The tweeter assembly is now decoupled from the speaker body or Turbine Head (depending on model) in two locations rather than one, improving spaciousness and openness of sound.
The tweeter’s motor assembly was also re-engineered to allow the drive unit to “breathe” more effectively with no loss of performance. This results in a reduced resonant frequency behind the tweeter dome.
The reverse-wrap cabinet and matrix offers an internal structure of interlocking panels that brace the loudspeaker
internally in all directions. This helps to make speaker cabinets rigid, inert and quiet, according to B&W.
The 805 D4 and 804 D4 now feature the reverse wrap speaker cabinet previously reserved for the larger floor-standing 800 Series Diamond models. Each model now has a stiff aluminum plate on the inside face of its cabinet, bracing its baffle against resonance.
Internally, both models also feature updates to Matrix bracing, with thicker panels made from solid plywood rather than the previous MDF, reinforced by aluminum bracing sections.
Every stereo model in the range also features the new cast aluminum top replacing the previous wooden
design, to increase rigidity of the speaker enclosure. As before, drive units are housed in stiff aluminum pods mounted to the baffle of the speaker while crossover units are fitted to similarly stiff aluminum spines running up the rear of the cabinet.
The 801 D4 introduces a steel plate in its base section around the port to attain desired stiffness and quite.
The aluminum plinth in the 804 D4 now includes a down-firing “Flowport” bass port, exiting on to a new, stiffer solid aluminum plinth with a constrained layer steel damping sheet. The 804 D4 also has upgraded M12 spikes and feet that are both more stable and stiffer than the former M6 designs.
THe 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 use the same arrangement of downwards-firing Flowport, solid aluminum
plinth and constrained layer steel damping, but retain the wheel-plus-spike configuration introduced in
2015, making each model far easier to maneuver to the perfect listening position than any rival design.
The Aerofoil Cone bass cone created with advanced computer modelling to produce a varying thickness for maximum stiffness and low mass via a carbon-fiber skin and light syntactic foam core.
Each floorstanding speaker in the 800 Series Diamond range now combines Aerofoil Cones with new foam Anti-Resonance Plug that braces the voice coil and lowers distortion as the cone moves through its operating range for cleaner bass.
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By Greg Tarr
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