Bowers & Wilkins has revealed its new 800 Series Diamond speakers featuring the company’s new Biomimetic Suspension.
The 800 Series Diamond range includes seven models, beginning with the two-way 805 D4 stand-mount speaker joined by a series of three-way floorstanding models, including the 804 D4, 803 D4 and 802 D4. For the flagship model in the range, Bowers & Wilkins is re-introduce an iconic name to its portfolio with the launch of 801 D4 to replace the existing 800 D3. For home theatre use, the HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4 provide a pair of high-performance centre channel speakers to complete the range.
Every new model in the range combines hundreds of detail improvements, says Bowers & Wilkins, along with several new technologies to create the “most transparent, detailed and natural-sound series of loudspeakers Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced.”
The line-up includes a new Satin Walnut finish to join the Gloss Black, White, and Satin Rosenut. Every stereo model in the range also enjoys an upgraded cabinet design with a new rigid, cast aluminium top section replacing the previous wooden version, which offers greater stiffness and improves cabinet quietness further. The profile of the new aluminium top 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 adopts a revised version of the Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top housing, with a new, elongated tube-loading system to produce an even more open sound for high frequencies. This stiff enclosure resists unwanted resonance– especially when combined with a new two-point decoupling system that isolates it from the rest of the loudspeaker, says Bowers & Wilkins.
As before, the Solid Body Tweeter is milled from a single solid block of aluminium and now, it uses an anodized finish, either dark or light depending on the cabinet colour, to celebrate that fact.
Finally, the range introduces three new cabinet forms. The 805 D4 and 804 D4 stereo models adopt the reverse-wrap cabinet design first introduced in 2015 for the 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 aluminium spines.
The 804 D4 builds on the potential of its new configuration by adding a downward-firing port with an integral aluminium plinth – again, much like the form used by the larger floor-standing speakers in the range. Alongside the 805 D4 and 804 D4, the new HTM82 D4 centre speaker adopts the reverse-wrap cabinet form of its siblings, for superior acoustic and mechanical performance, says Bowers & Wilkins.
The result of an eight-year research programme, the composite Continuum Cone – used for both midrange and mid/bass applications, is already famed for its open, transparent, and neutral performance. When used as a midrange drive unit in Bowers & Wilkins floorstanding speakers, it is always combined with the Fixed Suspension Transducer (FST) midrange technology, which carefully avoids the colouration that traditional cone surrounds can introduce.
Now, Bowers & Wilkins has combined the twin benefits of Continuum and FST with a new advance that transforms the other key element of a drive unit’s normal operation: the fabric spider. The new composite Biomimetic Suspension replaces the conventional fabric spider with a minimalist composite suspension system that reduces unwanted air pressure – a.k.a. sound – that a conventional fabric spider can generate, removing its unpredictable, non-linear effects.
In all three-way models, midrange drive units include a highly stiff all-aluminium chassis featuring Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) to quieten any resonance. These complete drive units and motor systems are then isolated on sprung-mounted decoupling mounts, further restricting the flow of vibration into the assembly.
Finally, 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 include the stiff all-aluminium Turbine Head enclosure for their midrange drive units, providing not only an outstanding acoustic form but also 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 inside their cabinets: each centre-channel model now features an internal aluminium enclosure that provides a stiff, well-isolated housing for the midrange drive unit and its decoupling mechanism.
The new 800 Series Diamond introduces a revised version of the Solid Body Tweeter housing; this continues to be machined from a solid piece of aluminium, but now it features an elongated form (almost 30cm/12in long) with a longer internal tube-loading system.
The new Solid Body Tweeter assembly is now decoupled from the speaker body or Turbine Head (depending on model) in two locations rather than one: this notably improves spaciousness and openness. At the same time, the tweeter’s motor assembly has been re-engineered to allow the drive unit to ‘breathe’ more effectively with no loss of performance. The result is a notable reduction in the resonant frequency behind the tweeter dome.
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 aluminium plate on the inside face of its cabinet, bracing its baffle against resonance. Inside, both models also feature updates to their Matrix bracing, with thicker panels made from solid plywood rather than the previous MDF, reinforced by aluminium bracing sections.
Every stereo model in the range also features the new cast aluminium top replacing the previous wooden design, dramatically increasing the rigidity of the speaker enclosure. As before, drive units are housed in stiff aluminium pods mounted to the baffle of the speaker while crossover units are fitted to equally stiff aluminium spines running up the rear of the cabinet. Finally, 801D4 introduces a steel plate in its base section around the port – again, all in the name of adding stiffness to the enclosure and further quietening its operation.
The 804 D4 now joins the other floor-standing models in the 800 Series Diamond range by offering a downwards-firing Flowport bass port, exiting on to a new, stiffer solid aluminium plinth complete with a constrained layer steel damping sheet designed to offer a rock-solid foundation and to control unwanted resonance. The 804 D4 also has greatly upgraded spikes and feet, with huge M12 spikes that are both more stable and stiffer than the outgoing M6 designs.
The 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 use the same arrangement of downwards-firing Flowport, solid aluminium plinth and constrained layer steel damping, but retain the wheel-plus-spike configuration introduced in 2015, making each model easy to manoeuvre to the perfect listening position.
The result of advance computer modelling, the Aerofoil Cone is a composite bass cone with a varying thickness designed to offer maximum stiffness where it is most needed while preserving a low mass – thanks to its carbon-fibre skin and light syntactic foam core.
Alongside revised and optimized motor systems, each floorstanding speaker in the 800 Series Diamond range now combines its Aerofoil Cones with a new foam Anti-Resonance Plug, which gently braces the voice coil and lowers distortion as the cone moves through its operating range, ensuring even cleaner bass.
Available globally from September 1, the new Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond speakers are priced as follows:
801 D4: $45,000 per pair
802 D4: $34,000 per pair
803 D4: $26,000 per pair
804 D4: $16,400 per pair
805 D4: $10,000 per pair
FS-805 D4 (stands): $1,500 per pair
HTM81 D4: $9,500 each
HTM82 D4: $7,000 each
FS-HTM D4 (stands): $1,000 each