Bowers & Wilkins fourth-generation 800 Series Diamond

Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins presents the fourth-generation 800 Series Diamond; it once again includes seven models, starting with the two-way 805 D4 floor-standing speaker. Above that appears a range of three-way floorstanding models, including the 804 D4, 803 D4, 802 D4 and of course: the return of the 801 D4.

Naturally, the manufacturer is proud – and rightly so – of their new product:

“When it comes to revolutionary sound, Bowers & Wilkins has been at the forefront for years. The world’s finest loudspeaker range has an all-new industrial design plus a range of ground-breaking technologies to raise the bar for pure sound quality even higher’. The new 800 Series Diamond will be available worldwide from September 1.

The basics are the key to innovation

How do you improve the world’s most successful and iconic range of high-quality speakers? B&W itself explains: ‘It’s a challenge that has kept the brightest minds at SRE, home of Bowers & Wilkins’ engineering team, busy for the past six years. By combining individual improvements to each component with new innovative technology that reshapes the fundamental fundamentals of a conventional speaker-driver, the unique and revolutionary Biomimetic Suspension has been created. The new 800 Series

Diamond collection once again includes seven models, starting with the two-way 805 D4 stand-up speaker. Above that appears a range of three-way floorstanding models, including the 804 D4, 803 D4 and 802 D4. With the launch of the 801 D4 to replace the existing 800 D3, Bowers & Wilkins adds another iconic name to its portfolio. The HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4, a pair of high-quality center speakers, complete the range for home theater use. Each new model in the range combines hundreds of detail improvements with all-new technologies to create the most transparent, detailed and natural-sounding range of speakers Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced’.

Refined design

‘The combination of sophistication, elegant dimensions and luxurious, high-end detail makes this 800 Series Diamond the most premium series ever. The first and most obvious change is the addition of a fourth finish to the series. The new series now includes a Satin Walnut finish, in addition to the already existing selection of Gloss Black, White and Satin Rosenut. Each stereo model in the series also features a significantly improved enclosure with an all-new upper section of rigid, die-cast aluminum – replacing the previous wooden version – for even more rigidity that makes the enclosure even more ‘dead sounding’. ‘For a luxurious touch, the profile of the new aluminum top has a Leather by Connolly finish, in black for darker enclosures (Gloss Black, Satin Rosenut) and light grey for the lighter colored enclosures (White, Satin Walnut),’ said Bowers & Wilkins.

Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top Enclosure

Each model in the range uses a revised version of the iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top enclosure, with a new tube loading, to produce an even more open sound for the high frequencies. B&W said.

“This extremely rigid enclosure takes away with unwanted resonances and is an exceptional acoustic feat in its own right – especially when combined with a new two-point decoupling system that isolates the enclosure from the rest of the speaker more effectively than ever.” As before, the Solid Body Tweeter is milled from a single solid block of aluminum and now comes in an anodized finish, dark or light depending on the color of the enclosure.

Three new enclosures

Finally, the series introduces three all-new enclosures. The enclosure of the 805 D4 and 804 D4 stereo models consists of the “reverse wrap” design first introduced in 2015 for the larger speakers in the series. Thanks to the new shape, the baffle at the front of the enclosure gains less profile, while the overall rigidity of the complete system is greatly improved, according to the manufacturer. Also, crossovers can now be mounted in dedicated spaces at the rear of each speaker, behind the rigid aluminum profile.

The 804 D4 builds on the potential of its new configuration by applying a downward-facing port with an integral aluminum base – again, similar to the shape used by the larger floorstanding speakers in the series. In addition to the 805 D4 and 804 D4, the enclosure of the all-new HTM82 D4 center speaker also features the “reverse wrap” design of the other models in the series for – we read in the announcement – “superior acoustic and mechanical performance.”

Continuum ConeTM, FSTTM and Biomimetic Suspension

You’ll also find brand new technologies in the range, according to B&W: ‘The Continuum Cone of composite material, already known for its open, transparent and neutral performance, is the result of an eight-year research program and is used for both midrange and bass. As the midrange driver in Bowers & Wilkins floorstanding speakers, it is always combined with our Fixed Suspension Transducer (FST) midrange technology, which carefully avoids the coloration that traditional cone edges can bring. Bowers & Wilkins has now combined the two advantages of Continuum and FST with an entirely new development that transforms the other key element of a driver’s normal operation: the fabric spider.

Over decades of continuous development in almost all areas of speaker design, the fabric spider, a key element in the driver of any conventional speaker, has remained largely unchanged – until now. The all-new composite Biomimetic Suspension replaces the conventional fabric spider with a minimalist composite suspension system that revolutionizes midrange cone performance. The unwanted air pressure – also known as noise – that a conventional fabric spider can generate is greatly reduced and its unpredictable, non-linear effects are eliminated. This makes for an unprecedentedly transparent and realistic midrange result’.

Decoupled midrange and turbine head

Bowers & Wilkins combines all the performance-enhancing benefits of its Continuum Cone, FST midrange technology and Biomimetic Suspension with careful isolation of the entire midrange assembly from the rest of the surrounding enclosure, it says:

‘In all three-way models, the midrange drivers are fitted with a highly rigid, all-aluminium chassis with Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) to dampen any resonance. These complete drivers and motor systems are then isolated on spring-loaded decoupling brackets, further reducing vibration in the structure.’

Finally, the 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 feature a turbine head with a solid, rigid aluminum enclosure for their midrange drivers, which not only provides a balanced acoustic shape, but also provides even better isolation, as the head structure itself is completely decoupled from the bass enclosure below. The HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4 introduce a new and similar concept, but inside their enclosures: each center model now has an internal aluminum enclosure that provides a rigid, well-insulated housing for the midrange driver and its decoupling mechanism.

Solid Body Tweeter

To minimize unwanted resonance transfer to the Diamond Dome tweeter models, the manufacturer says an exceptionally rigid enclosure is required:

‘The new 800 Series Diamond introduces a revised version of the iconic Solid Body tweeter enclosure; it is still machined from a solid piece of aluminum, but now has an elongated shape (almost 30 cm long) with a longer internal tube loading system. The new Solid Body tweeter is now decoupled from the speaker cabinet or turbine head (depending on the model) in two places, instead of one: this significantly improves spaciousness and openness. At the same time, the tweeter’s motor assembly has been redesigned to allow the driver to ‘breathe’ better without sacrificing performance. The result is a significant reduction in the resonance frequency behind the tweeter dome’.

Reverse wrap enclosure and MatrixTM

Matrix has been a core Bowers & Wilkins technology for more than 30 years and has evolved over that time. The Matrix system is an internal structure of interlocking panels that internally stiffen the speaker in all directions, making the speaker cabinets rigid, inert and ‘resonance free’.

‘The 805 D4 and 804 D4 now have a reverse wrap enclosure previously reserved for the larger floorstanding 800-Series Diamond models. Each model now has a rigid aluminum plate on the inside of the enclosure to stiffen the baffle to reduce resonance. Inside, both models also feature updated Matrix bracing, with thicker panels of solid plywood instead of the former MDF, and aluminum bracing profiles. Each stereo model in the series also features a new cast aluminum top to replace the former wooden design. This provides tremendous reinforcement for the speaker cabinet. As before, the drivers are housed in sturdy aluminum compartments attached to the baffle of the speaker, while the crossovers are mounted on equally sturdy aluminum spikes running up the back of the enclosure. Finally, the 801D4 features a steel plate in the section around the port, again intended for stiffer enclosure and cleaner operation,’ explains the manufacturer.

Aluminum base

The 804 D4 now joins the other floorstanding models in the 800 series of the Diamond range with a downward-facing FlowportTM bass port, which comes out on a new, rigid base of solid aluminum, completely finished with a damping layer of steel for a solid base and to reduce unwanted resonance. The 804 D4 also has greatly improved spikes and feet, with huge M12 spikes that are more stable, but also stiffer than previous M6 designs.

The 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 use the same arrangement of a downward-facing Flowport, a solid aluminum base and a damping layer of steel, but retain the wheel-plus-spike configuration introduced in 2015. This, according to B&W, makes each model “much easier to maneuver into the perfect listening position than any competing design.

Aerofoil Cone

The Aerofoil Cone is – we read – ‘the result of advanced computer modeling and consists of a composite bass cone of varying thickness, designed to provide maximum stiffness where it is most needed while remaining lightweight – thanks to the carbon fiber shell and lightweight syntactic foam core. In addition to revised and optimized motor systems, each 800 Series Diamond floorstanding speaker combines Aerofoil Cones with a new foam Anti-Resonance PlugTM that keeps the voice coil in shape and reduces distortion as the cone moves within its working range, ensuring uncolored bass response. Together, all of these improvements make for unprecedented performance. The new 800 Series Diamond, available worldwide from September 1, is the best speaker series Bowers & Wilkins has ever made’. Bowers & Wilkins

Leave a Reply