The latest Bowers & Wilkins audio speakers are oh-so-pretty. Of course, we have yet to see the company put out an ugly pair of speakers. However, if you’ve ever owned or even sampled a pair of B&Ws, you know that the company isn’t just about looks.
And when it comes to the new 800 Series Diamond audio speakers, the company has taken extra-special care—and seven years of their time to make this redesign worthy of replacing a B&W classic. Now, just in time for B&W’s 50th anniversary, the 800 Series Diamond speakers are debuting with brand-new component parts, with the exception of the Diamond dome.
“This is not an update. This is a completely re-imagined design,” says Martial Rousseau, head of research at B&W. “One of the few remaining elements is the Diamond tweeter. We found it impossible to improve on the performance offered by diamond, although behind the diamond dome, the motor system was improved considerably.”
The company has tweaked the midrange drive units, opting for the new Continuum cone. This will replace the Kevlar cones that B&W has been using for years. Another addition is the Aerofoil cone, which is designed to crank out bass and reduce distortion, thanks to “a new variable profile cone geometry more advanced sandwich construction.”
The new 800 Series Diamond audio speakers also have better cabinets, which boast a more robust Matrix bracing system, a new solid body tweeter assembly, and an improved Turbine head midrange enclosure.
The new 800 Series Diamond lineup will have a total of seven audio speakers. The 800 D3 will be detailed sometime next spring. The 802 D3 (pictured) has a 1-inch diamond dome driver, a 6-inch Continuum cone midrange, and two 8-inch Aerofoil cone bass units. Other features include a frequency response of 17Hz to 28kHz (+/- 3dB from reference axis), a 90dB sensitivity rating, and an MSRP of $22,000 per pair.
The 803 D3 is a full-range, studio-quality speaker, but also what B&W calls “the most compact headed unit we’ve ever produced.” It has the 1-inch diamond dome driver, a 5-inch Continuum cone midrange, and two 7-inch Aerofoil cone bass units. The 803 D3 also has a frequency response of 19Hz to 28kHz (+/- 3dB from reference axis), a 90dB sensitivity rating, and an MSRP of $17,000 per pair.
Next in the lineup is the 804 D3, a slim floorstanding speaker that packs a ton of sound into a smaller footprint. This model has a 1-inch diamond dome driver, a 5-inch Continuum cone midrange, and two 6.5-inch Aerofoil cone bass units. It also has a frequency response of 24Hz to 28kHz (+/- 3dB from reference axis), an 89dB sensitivity rating, and an MSRP of $9,000 per pair.
The last of the floorstanding speakers in the 800 Series Diamond range is the 805 D3. The smallest of the lot, the 805 D3 is a stand-mounted speaker with the 1-inch diamond dome driver and one 6.5-inch Continuum cone midrange. Other features include a frequency response of 42Hz to 28kHz (+/- 3dB from reference axis) and an 88dB sensitivity rating. This one is priced at $6,000 per pair, but know that the stands are sold separately for $500 each.
B&W has also given the 800 Series Diamond lineup two center-channel speakers. The HTM1 D3 was designed to go with the 800 D3 or 802 D3, with the HTM2 D3 made for the smaller speakers. The HTM1 D3 has a 1-inch diamond dome driver, a 6-inch Continuum cone midrange, and two 8-inch Aerofoil cone bass units. The HTM2 D3 has the same driver, but knocks the midrange down to a 5-incher and has two 6.5-inch bass units. The HTM1 D3 has an MSRP of $6,000, with the HTM2 D3 listed for $4,000. Like the other stand-mounted speakers mentioned above, the stands for these are a separate purchase, priced at $600 each.
With the exception of the 800 D3, Bowers & Wilkins plans to start shipping all of the 800 Series Diamond audio speakers in October 2015.