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B&W 800 Series D3

 

Speakers Redefined

 

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.

 

Technologies

 

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.

 

Turbine head

Hear the sound, not the cabinet. That’s the principle behind B&Ws separate head units – a feature we introduced when the company 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, B&W created their 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.

Continuum cone

For decades, B&W 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.

 

Aerofoil cone

Sometimes, new technologies allow B&W 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, B&W did a U-turn. Quite literally. Instead of a flat-fronted speaker with a curving back, they 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                                                                                                     

Matrix provides the backbone for B&W 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, the company introduced their 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.

 

 

 

 

Plinth

A great speaker needs a rock-solid foundation. By moving the crossover from the plinth to the main body of the speaker, B&W have 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.

 

Diamond domes

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. B&W 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, B&Ws diamond domes are grown like crystals in super-heated furnaces under laboratory conditions, before being cut to produce the perfect tweeter dome shape.

 

You can see the new B&W 800 D3 Series here. Its now on demonstration at Billy Vee. Call us on 020 83185755 or mail sales@billyvee.co.uk if you would like to arrange a demonstration

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