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The uniquely robust design factors carried by Bower & Wilkins (B&W) speakers are undeniable; especially those models adorned by spherical mid-range heads and Diamond tweeter toppers. If you’ve ever had a chance to see them (let alone hear them in action), then you know their physical design is even more eye catching in person. Several days ago, on the eve of celebrating its 50th anniversary of existence, Bower & Wilkins unveiled a new iteration of its highly acclaimed 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers and they aren’t being shy about boasting about improved design elements. Their new speakers “massively elevate loudspeaker performance,” claims B&W, even compared to speakers previously designed by the company, itself.



Bower & Wilkins new 803 D3 floorstanding loudspeaker.


The new 800 Series Diamond is the product of nearly seven years of development, combining research, advanced engineering, and extensive listening sessions. The resulting speakers apparently bury any notion of an “update” or simple tweaks to existing models, staking the claim of a total redesign from the ground up. In fact, design elements have changed so much that Bower & Wilkins has re-engineered its manufacturing plant in Worthing, West Sussex, UK, to accommodate the machinery, materials, and processes needed to make the new 800 series a reality.

Nearly all of the component parts on the new 800s are different, including drivers and cabinet designs. The company highlights the latest iteration of its midrange drive unit, which features a new proprietary Continuum cone that replaces the long standing Kevlar cone that most of us associate with the Bower & Wilkins brand name. The company has also created a new Aerofoil bass cone that promises reduced distortion. Then there are the cabinets, which are said to carry more robust bracing systems, better tweeter assemblies, and an improved midrange head enclosure.

The only element remaining constant from older designs is the vaunted Diamond tweeter. “We found it impossible to improve on the performance offered by the Diamond,” says Martial Rousseau, Head of Research. “Although, behind the diamond dome, the motor system was improved considerably.”




The top revealed model of the new series (details about the flagship 800 D3 have not been released), which costs an estimated $22,000 per pair, is called the 802 D3. It’s a three-way vented-box TMWW tower design that weighs a smidgen over 200-pounds. It carries the new technologies described above (8-inch Aerofoil woofers, 6-inch Continuum driver, revamped cabinet), and features a unique system of floor spikes and castors to make moving and positioning the speaker a snap. The least expensive model offering is the HTM2 D3 center channel ($4,000 each), which sports two 6.5-in woofers, one mid-range driver, and a Diamond tweeter. Both of these models bookend five other new speakers and are supported by two different kinds of floor stand units (FS-805 D3 and FS-HTM D3). Bower & Wilkins says that each new Diamond Series speaker is expected to begin shipping sometime in early October, with the exception of the flagship 800 D3 (ships early spring 2016). A Complete list of pricing and models is below.


Models and Prices
Speakers

800 D3 (to be determined)
802 D3: $22,000/pair
803 D3 $17,000/pair
804 D3: $9,000/pair
805 D3: $6,000/pair
HTM1 D3: $6,000 each
HTM2 D3: $4,000 each

Floor Stands
FS-805 D3: $500 each
FS-HTM D3: $600 each


Image Credits: Bower & Wilkins
 

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It is amazing how much I can lust after something that I have neither seen nor heard. I look forward to reading the reviews and comparisons of these.
 

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You're not alone... Gear like this is unobtanium for the vast majority of enthusiasts. Audio shows are a great way to get a taste...go if you have a chance! ;-)
 

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About 6 years ago I was considering a pair 804S towers.
At that time they were priced at the extreme top end of my budget.
I went with different < expensive speakers.
When B&W switched to the D series that put all of the 800 lineup into fantasy territory for me.
 

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You're not alone... Gear like this is unobtanium for the vast majority of enthusiasts. Audio shows are a great way to get a taste...go if you have a chance! ;-)
How do I find audio shows near me? Is there a universal list/website? Most searches for "florida audio shows" bring up 99% Car Audio.. with the 1% being an audio show in Canada/California/Illinois etc :(
 

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How do I find audio shows near me? Is there a universal list/website? Most searches for "florida audio shows" bring up 99% Car Audio.. with the 1% being an audio show in Canada/California/Illinois etc :(
Find a local HiFi shop or a Magnolia Design Center and you can listen to gear like this.

You'll probably have to wait about 2 months till you can hear these in store.
 

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How do I find audio shows near me? Is there a universal list/website? Most searches for "florida audio shows" bring up 99% Car Audio.. with the 1% being an audio show in Canada/California/Illinois etc :(
Good question...I don't think there is a traditional list of yearly shows.

The big ones (in US) are:

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest
New York Audio Show
California Audio Show
T.H.E. Show, Newport
Capital Audiofest
AXPONA (Chicago)

and, of course, there's always CES (but that's really a different animal).
 

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My wife thought the tweeter on the old 802s was a microphone. The dealer didn't think that was funny. Couldn't afford the price anyhow.:neener:
 

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How do I find audio shows near me? Is there a universal list/website? Most searches for "florida audio shows" bring up 99% Car Audio.. with the 1% being an audio show in Canada/California/Illinois etc :(
Florida or the South in general needs an audio show....badly!!!!! I went to Axpona 2012 in Jacksonville. I got to hear a trio of B&W 802D's and 804's for the rear channels with an AIX multi-channel audio demo. It was one of the most enjoyable events that I've attended.....ever! I put it up there with a college football bowl game!

The 802D's were wonderful! I can just imagine how these would sound (or I can't really imagine - unless they sound similar to the Tidal Audio Contriva Diacera SE speakers....those were magical)!
 

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I'm lucky enough to own a pair of the previous 802Di's and I'm super happy with them. However, my friend / B&W dealer told me I would be blown away by the new ones - so much so that I was going to think mine sounded "broken" in comparison. Somehow, I doubt that.

Still, got me thinking - how I would love to do a blind, level matched test so I could truly relish the new and improved sonic difference without my eyes telling me "the new ones have to sound better".

Some lucky reviewers will have the opportunity to do just this. Since I'm not upgrading anytime soon, I will just have to wonder how much is marketing and how much has truly improved...
 

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Hi pioferro,

The first shipments of the new 800 Series depart to our dealers next week, and you will have ample opportunity to come to your own conclusions regarding the sound. When our internal staff first heard the new series, half the group immediately did not like the way the new series looked. However, we all agreed that the improvement in performance was huge.

I would not say that the 802D2s sound broken in comparison, because they were never broken to start with. Certainly a benchmark product at its price point. That said, we didn't spent 7 years and $6M redesigning the series because of marketing. We did it because our R&D division (better known as Steyning Research Establishment) spends their days investigating what goes wrong in loudspeakers, and engineers better technical solutions. The new 800 Series has 868 changes in it, and only 8 components are in common with the old series. Specifically the tweeter dome, 3 capacitors and 4 binding posts.

So have a listen. You probably don't even have to be in the same room to hear the difference.

Regards,

Patrick Butler
B&W Group North America


I'm lucky enough to own a pair of the previous 802Di's and I'm super happy with them. However, my friend / B&W dealer told me I would be blown away by the new ones - so much so that I was going to think mine sounded "broken" in comparison. Somehow, I doubt that.

Still, got me thinking - how I would love to do a blind, level matched test so I could truly relish the new and improved sonic difference without my eyes telling me "the new ones have to sound better".

Some lucky reviewers will have the opportunity to do just this. Since I'm not upgrading anytime soon, I will just have to wonder how much is marketing and how much has truly improved...
 

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Patrick


I'm sure the new 800's sound phenomenal and I'm really excited about listening. My business revolves around marketing so from a business perspective, because so much time and money has been invested in the new line, failure isn't an option. And competition is very tough in the $15-20k range. The comment of "the new ones make the old ones sound broken" raised the marketing flag.

That's why I would love to do a side by side comparison. The moment I walk into the showroom, my mind will be telling me how good the new one's sound before I even listen :)

I just want to hear for myself (without knowing which speaker I am listening to) so I know what an upgrade of $7k sounds like.

So you know, I've been a fan of the B&W sound for years, purchasing my 1st pair (N805s) back circa 2001. A pair that still see's daily duty in the home theater. I've had N802, 802D and now the 802Di.

PS - I actually really like the way the new 802D3 looks and can't wait to see the 800D3.
 

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Hi pioferro,

Fortunately for us, the marketing follows the engineering. Makes the whole process easy (not to mention consistent.)

As for the looks, I'm reminded of my years dating. Specifically, you meet someone who is easy on the eyes only to discover later that the first word spoken from that beguiling form is utterly annoying. Sure, some continue to be seduced by the beauty, but I've never recovered once the spell is broken by the sound. Your mileage may vary.

Regards,

Patrick
B&W Group North America



Patrick


I'm sure the new 800's sound phenomenal and I'm really excited about listening. My business revolves around marketing so from a business perspective, because so much time and money has been invested in the new line, failure isn't an option. And competition is very tough in the $15-20k range. The comment of "the new ones make the old ones sound broken" raised the marketing flag.

That's why I would love to do a side by side comparison. The moment I walk into the showroom, my mind will be telling me how good the new one's sound before I even listen :)

I just want to hear for myself (without knowing which speaker I am listening to) so I know what an upgrade of $7k sounds like.

So you know, I've been a fan of the B&W sound for years, purchasing my 1st pair (N805s) back circa 2001. A pair that still see's daily duty in the home theater. I've had N802, 802D and now the 802Di.

PS - I actually really like the way the new 802D3 looks and can't wait to see the 800D3.
 
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