The 800 Series Diamond represents the pinnacle of Bower & Wilkins‘ technological achievement, and the sum total of almost 50 years of research and development at the cutting edge of acoustic design. Launched in 1979, the original Bowers & Wilkins 801 speaker heralded the modern era of high-end loudspeaker design. Now, the company presents the latest major revision of the 800 Series, now called the 800 Series Diamond, which was in development for five years.
Bowers & Wilkins note that the new speakers are almost entirely made up of brand-new components. One of the few remaining parts is the diamond tweeter, what with its already-supreme performance, though the motor system behind the diamond in the tweeter has been updated considerably.
One of the most significant innovations is an entirely new bass driver that features an Aerofoil bass cone that has varying thicknesses so that it has the ideal stiffness in specific areas, as well as the new speaker cones.
Bowers & Wilkins has been using Kevlar as their material of choice for midrange cones since 1974 because it made for clean and consistent tones, but in revamping the 800 Series they switched to a composite material dubbed “Continuum.” They found that Continuum retains the desirable acoustic effects of kevlar while producing a more open and neutral sound. The 800 Series synthetic diamond dome tweeter is the only carryover from the previous 800 Series models.
For the speaker cabinet, Bowers & Wilkins reversed the 800’s design. The new body has a curved, U-shaped piece that makes up the front and the sides; all backed by an aluminum spine. According to B&W, having the curved shape in front better disperses sound.
The new 800 Series Diamond speakers will be available in October with several models on deck, ranging from $6,000 for a pair of 805 speakers to $22,000 for some of the 802 units in the series.