Introducing Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond – the new jewel in the crown of audiophile Hi-Fi
The 800 Series Diamond didn’t get better by chance, it got better by change
The official press release from B&W –
The new 800 Series Diamond re-writes the rules of high-end loudspeaker performance. For almost 40 years generation after generation of the 800 Series from Bowers & Wilkins has set the standard other loudspeakers attempt to follow. Now, on the advent of the company’s 50th anniversary, the new 800 Series Diamond redefines what is possible from a Hi-Fi loudspeaker.
The new 800 Series Diamond is the result of an intensive seven-year project to make the best better. A combination of tireless research and development, advanced engineering and countless hours of listening by the very best ears in the business has produced a range of loudspeakers that place the listener closer to the recording than ever thought possible.
Such is the fundamental evolution of the range that almost all of the component parts are different from the outgoing 800 Series Diamond. As Bowers & Wilkins Head of Research Martial Rousseau says, “This is not a product update. This is a completely re-imagined entity. One of the sole remaining elements is the Diamond tweeter. We found it impossible to improve on the performance offered by diamond.“
The exceptional Diamond dome tweeter may have been retained, but the rest of the loudspeaker has been re-imagined from the ground up to deliver an uncompromising high-fidelity sound that sets a new benchmark for loudspeaker technologies.
The changes involve a vast number of technological, engineering and acoustic innovations that combine to create a sublime listening experience. Most striking is the transformation of the midrange drive units. A new Continuum cone featuring superior acoustic properties replaces the Kevlar cones that have long been a major factor of the 800 Series’ blisteringly realistic midrange performance. Bass performance has also been dramatically improved by the introduction of the Aerofoil cone, which considerably reduces distortion thanks to new cone geometry.
These innovations, when teamed with improved cabinets, a more robust Matrix bracing system, a new solid body tweeter assembly and the vastly improved Turbine head design means the new 800 Series Diamond represents the nirvana of reference quality sound.
Testament to Bowers & Wilkins desire to consistently produce class-leading loudspeakers, the entire manufacturing plant in Worthing, West Sussex, was redesigned specifically for production of the new 800 Series Diamond, creating a speaker that does not rely on its reputation alone to deliver superlative performance.
In addition, the new 800 Series Diamond features a radical new aesthetic that delivers a slender, more modern industrial design. With the Turbine head constructed from a single piece of aluminium sitting on a sleek reverse-wrap cabinet crafted from layers of wood, which are curved into shape under intense pressure, the new 800 Series inspires thoughts of architectural achievement with its sumptuous, acoustically derived lines.
Throughout the range – from the extraordinary 802 D3 to the more accessible 805 D3 – there is something to suit every audiophile preference. Imagined, designed and produced in the UK, the new 800 Series Diamond range is the pinnacle of British acoustic engineering achievement.
We believe the way you hear music matters. And if you care about hearing music the way it was intended, this range was designed for you. Whether you’re a recording engineer or a home audio enthusiast, you’ll find a model to suit your listening requirements. Introducing the world’s most advanced loudspeaker range.
To be announced in Spring 2016
Reveal your music. If you’re looking for stunning realism without the studio-sized footprint, the 802 D3 is the answer. The Diamond tweeter, Turbine head and Continuum cone deliver pristine sound, while the 802 D3’s proportions make it a comfortable fit for larger domestic spaces as well as recording environments. At home or in the studio, it will reveal depth and detail in music you never knew existed.
True sound comes home.The 803 D3 is the first of its kind: a full-range, studio-quality speaker built for the home, and the most compact headed unit we’ve ever produced. While this elegant speaker comes in a living room-friendly size, it shares the same revolutionary technologies and design features as its larger sibling, including the Turbine head and reverse-wrap cabinet.
Wolf in sheep’s clothing.It might have a more traditional appearance than other speakers in the range, but don’t let that fool you. The 804 D3 delivers incredible acoustic transparency, thanks to unique 800 Series Diamond features such as our Continuum cone and augmented Matrix bracing system. So while its looks may be conventional, its performance is anything but.
Small sounds beautiful.The smallest speaker in the 800 Series Diamond range is also one of the most groundbreaking. Packed with cutting-edge technologies never seen before in a speaker of its class, it’s the only stand-mounted speaker in the world to feature a Diamond dome tweeter. For lifelike spaciousness and detail, no other small speaker comes close.
Welcome to the future. The 800 Series Diamond is a game-changer in terms of technological innovation. From drive units to cabinet geometry, every major component has been rethought and reinvented. And the rulebook for loudspeaker design has been ripped up and rewritten in the process. The future of loudspeaker technology starts here.
Hear the sound, not the cabinet. That’s the principle behind our separate head units – a feature we introduced when we launched the first 800 Series speaker in 1979. Now, thanks to a radical redesign, the 800 Series Diamond head unit performs better than ever. Constructed from a single piece of aluminium, braced with internal radial fins and with a raised, slimmer profile, the turbine head is remarkably inert, producing a sound that’s free from cabinet coloration.
Solid body tweeter
Vibration is the enemy of good sound. To minimise vibrations, you need components that are as stiff as possible. For the 800 Series Diamond, we created our stiffest tweeter enclosure yet. The tweeter assembly for the new range is housed in a solid piece of aluminium, while an improved gel decoupling system isolates the tweeter from the effects of cabinet resonance. The result? Pin-sharp acoustic detail, and new levels of insight into a musical performance.
For decades, we thought that nothing could beat Kevlar as a midrange cone material. But now, following eight years of intensive development, we’ve finally come up with something even better. Thanks to its composite construction, the Continuum cone avoids the abrupt transitions in behaviour that can impair the performance of a conventional drive unit. The result is a more open, neutral performance. And a giant leap forward for loudspeaker design.
Thanks to computer modelling, the design of the 800 Series Diamond midrange chassis has been completely overhauled. The new chassis is engineered for superior stiffness, while tuned-mass dampers help to reduce unwanted vibrations to a bare minimum.
Sometimes, new technologies allow us to achieve things in engineering that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. The Aerofoil bass cone is a perfect example. By using advanced computer modeling and a new syntactic core material, we’ve been able to produce a cone of varying thickness, with maximum stiffness where it’s needed most. This optimised shape means the cone displays pistonic behaviour further up the audible range, producing bass that’s precise, controlled and utterly lifelike.
Reverse wrap cabinet
When it came to designing the ideal shape for the 800 Series Diamond cabinet, we did a U-turn. Quite literally. Instead of a flat-fronted speaker with a curving back, we produced a cabinet with a front and sides formed of one continuous curve, held together with a spine of solid aluminium. Fewer joins make for a stiffer, more inert structure, and a curved front means less baffling around the drive units. So sound dispersion is improved, and cabinet reflection is reduced.
Matrix provides the backbone for our speakers. It’s an internal structure that works like the bracing of a ship’s hull, with criss-crossed interlocking panels keeping our cabinets rigid and inert. For the 800 Series Diamond, we’ve introduced our most radical rethink of the Matrix concept yet. The internal panels are thicker, solid plywood has replaced MDF, and metal components have been added to reinforce key stress points. All together it’s the most solid Matrix system we’ve ever built.
A great speaker needs a rock-solid foundation. By moving the crossover from the plinth to the main body of the speaker, we’ve been able to create a base for the 800 Series Diamond that’s more stable and resonance-resistant than ever. Replacing the original open-box design, the new plinth is constructed from a solid piece of aluminium weighing in at a mighty 18kg. This improves stability by lowering the centre of mass and counter-balancing the weight of the turbine head.
The base of larger 800 Series Diamond speakers are fitted with castors to allow you to manoeuvre your speakers into position easily. Replacing these castors with floor spikes used to be a tricky proposition, involving tipping your speaker on its side. Not so with new 800 Series Diamond speakers, which come with integrated floor spikes that can be lowered or raised with a simple twist of a cog.
Some things don’t change. While almost every component of the 800 Series Diamond has been reinvented, the element that gave the range its name remains unchanged: the speaker’s diamond tweeter domes. Our diamond domes remain the ultimate in tweeter technology, capable of unrivalled acoustic detail, naturalism and spaciousness.
Diamond: the super-material
The properties of diamond are prized in highly specialised industrial applications, from neurosurgery to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Its unique stiffness-to-lightness ratio also makes diamond the perfect tweeter material. Developed especially for the 800 Series Diamond, diamond tweeter domes push the break-up frequency threshold to a remarkable 70kHz, resulting in superb clarity and detail.
Making diamond the natural way takes seismic pressures, volcanic temperatures and around two billion years. Thankfully, science has found a way to shortcut the process. Using chemical vapour deposition, our diamond domes are grown like crystals in super-heated furnaces under laboratory conditions, before being cut to produce the perfect tweeter dome shape.
Our opinion – The new B&W 800 Series has vastly improving on every facet of its predecessors, the new 800 Series comfortably surpasses the outgoing range’s already excellent reputation for outstanding value and exemplary audio performance.
We at Sound & Image are more than happy to discuss your unique system requirements with you and how to integrate the new 800 Series into your home. Available from October 2015.
Speak to one of our consultants at Menlyn on (012) 368-1440 or Sandton on (011) 884-5165.