Bowers & Wilkins introduced its premium 800 Series Diamond Line for the first time more than four decades ago, acclaimed by audiophiles, Hi-Fi fans and professionals alike. The “Eight Hundred” is used by musicians and recording studios all over the world, including Abbey Road Studios in London.
In September, Bowers & Wilkins launched the fourth generation of its Series 800 Diamond (800 D4) loudspeaker, which comes with a new design and a host of technical improvements.
take a lookBowers & Wilkins – Through diamond obstacles
The new version of the 800 D4 includes seven models – dual-band 805 D4 racks, 804 D4 tri-band shafts, 803 D4 and 802 D4 shafts, a pair of HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4 center woofers and an all-new Pioneer, and 801 D4 poles to replace the “alpha male” 800 D3 current.
The new series brings back the Bowers & Wilkins Continuum diaphragm used in mid- and mid-bass drivers, as well as the Fixed Suspension Adapter (FST), a polymer ring around the center diaphragm designed to improve transient response and prevent discoloration.
These technologies are now complemented by an all-new suspension system, which B&W calls the Biomimetic Suspension System. It replaces the traditional textile fabric and is said to improve the performance of the mid-range cone by reducing the air pressure caused by more common fabrics.
To make the most of these technologies, mid-range transformers are isolated from the rest of the cabinet. The interior of the 803 D4, 802 D4 and 801 D4 is equipped with solid, all-aluminium turbocharged head covers. The midrange on all Tri-Band models features an extra-strong all-aluminum base with Tuned Mass Dampers (TMD) that reduce resonance. Full driver excitation systems are isolated from the bass portion of the cabinet on separate spring-loaded mounts to dampen vibrations as much as possible.
The HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4 center channel models offer a similar concept. It is equipped with an aluminum inner housing, which forms a well insulated housing and serves as a disconnecting mechanism.
In addition, the cabinet design for new models now includes more aluminum profiles, and the “Tweeter-on-Top” fixed tweeter housing has been upgraded with an extended audio guide to make the tweeter produce a more open sound.
To reduce unwanted transition of resonance to high transducers, the diamond diaphragm of each model must be extremely robust. B&W in the fourth generation of the 800 still used a solid body for the one-piece aluminum tweeter, but now it has an elongated shape of about 30 cm in length. The new tweeter assembly is separated from the turbine head (in the 801 D4, 802 D4 and 803 D4) or from the speaker body (in the smaller 804 D4 shafts and 805 D4 racks) in two places, rather than one, improving the roominess and openness of the breed.
At only 40 microns thick, the tweeter’s ultra-lightweight and ultra-rigid diamond diaphragm delivers more accurate performance at high frequencies and can operate at up to 72 kHz. Why is this ultrasound good when a trained human ear ends up at 20 kHz at best? Such repetition has the same meaning as the huge power of the amplifier – you will never fully depress the throttle, but at a lower power load (in the case of speaker frequency), you will enjoy both ease and clarity. For the flagship 801 D4, the manufacturer must specify a frequency response for +/- 3 dB deviation in the range from 15 Hz to 28 kHz.
Perfect bass is achieved through the speakers thanks to the diaphragm technology of subwoofers. Aerofoil is a bass cone composite with carbon fiber reinforcement and a grammatical foam core that is lightweight in varying thicknesses and provides maximum rigidity where it is needed most. Combined with a new anti-resonance foam plug that supports sound enhancement and less distortion for cleaner bass.
The changes also affected the external appearance of the speakers on the 800 D4 series. The design of the 805 D4 and 804 D4 tanks was originally developed exclusively for the largest shafts in the 800 Diamond series. It is designed to lower the profile of the front bulkhead while increasing the rigidity of the cabinet. It allows you to mount the crossovers in a dedicated area on the back of the speaker.
Both smaller models use improved nut reinforcement through thicker plywood sheets (instead of MDF) and aluminum profiles. Vibrations also eliminate spikes and improved standing.
The range of leather finishes has been expanded with the addition of satin walnut to previous versions in gloss black, white and satin pink.
The new die-cast aluminum top, which replaces the previous wood version and is meant to provide more rigidity, is available in ‘Leather by Connolly’ – black for darker cabinets (black, satin pink) or light gray for lighter finishes (white Satin, walnut.
The new Bowers & Wilkins Series 800 Diamond models will be available in September at prices that match the high-end segment, but also with true speaker quality. The center woofer HTM81 D4 will sell for 7,500 euros and the smaller speaker HTM82 D4 for 5,500 euros, while the corresponding FS-HTM D4 mount will cost 800 euros (PCs).
The more available 805 D4 shelves will sell for €8000/pair, but you’ll pay an extra €1200 (a pair) for the custom FS-805 D4 shelves. The three-way shafts have the recommended prices as follows: 804 D4 – 12,500 euros, 803 D4s – 20,000 euros, 802 D4s – 26,000 euros, and the flagship model 801 D4 will be priced at 35,000 euros (all prices are per pair, but sold in pieces).
Prices for the fourth generation are slightly higher than in the current third (for example, the current flagship 800 D3 sells for 15,000 euros / piece, or 30,000 euros / pair), but for a higher amount that Bowers & Wilkins figuratively offers, more music literally.
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