September 25, 2012
| by Rachel Cericola
Bowers & Wilkins is no stranger when it comes to nice looking speakers. However, the company has designed the new CI 800 Series to be heard, not seen.
The CI 800 line includes two new in-wall speakers and an in-ceiling model. All three have B&W’s Carbon Braced Tweeter, which had previously only been offered on the PM1 loudspeaker. This uses a ring of ultra-thin wound carbon fiber to brace the tweeter dome, to raise the break up of the aluminum dome to around 40KHz—which can produce a dramatic effect on frequencies below 20kHz.
All of the CI 800’s tweeters are also Nautilus Tube Loaded designs, to eliminate those unwanted vibrations. Other features include Kevlar midrange drivers that are dyed blue, with the CWM8.3 getting a dedicated midrange driver and FST technology.
That CWM8.3 is a three-way, in-wall loudspeaker. Besides the Carbon Braced Tweeter, a 5-inch Kevlar FST drive unit and two 7-inch carbon fiber reinforced Rohacell low frequency drivers, this model has a central baffle that can be rotated. That way, you can use it in vertical or horizontal alignment.
The other in-wall model is the CWM8.5. This is a two-way speaker, with the Carbon Braced Tweeter and a 7-inch bass/mid Kevlar driver, with an anti-resonance plug and a single Flowport.
Last in the new CI 800 lineup is the one in-ceiling model, the CCM8.5. This two-way speaker has a 7-inch bass/mid driver, a 1-inch Carbon Braced Tweeter, and a continuously rotatable mini baffle.
“Over the past several years, Bowers & Wilkins has completely refreshed our custom installation product offerings,” said Doug Henderson, B&W’s VP of sales and marketing. “We have literally saved the best for last. The CI 800 models are the result of two years of effort by the best design team in the business. I think people will find their level of acoustic performance shocking. They are not simply great sounding custom speakers, they are great sounding speakers period.”
All three models should start selling in the first quarter of 2013. The CCM8.5 will be priced at $1,400 each, with the required CCM8.5 Matrix enclosure going for $600. The CWM8.5 will have an MSRP of $800 each, with the required enclosure available for $600. And finally, the CWM8.3 is expected to sell for $2,200 each, with that enclosure priced at $800.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.