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Bowers & Wilkins presents new flagship 800 D4 series

New Matrix cabinets, improved crossovers and drivers promise enhanced sound quality.

Few loudspeakers are as well known as the Bowers & Wilkins 800 series. Ever since the first model was launched in 1979, later updated in the Matrix 801 in 1987, the B&W 800 series has often been described as the high point of English hi-fi.

Now, several generations of speakers later, the stage is set for another debut for an 800 series: the Bowers & Wilkins 800 series D4. The new series consists of five new speaker models from 805 D4 to 801 D4, and two center speakers, which will replace the 800 D3 series from 2015.

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Although they look very similar to the outgoing 800 D3 series, pretty much everything of importance is new on the new speaker series:

  • New Matrix interior cabinet with aluminum reinforcement behind the bass elements with better damping
  • Redesigned reverse-wrap laminated wood cabinets on all models with greater rigidity
  • Top-mounted tweeter with extended tubular rear chamber
  • Redesigned Turbine Head chamber for midrange, with better attenuation
  • New biometric suspension behind the midrange membrane for better transparency
  • New top plate in a milled piece of aluminum dampens resonances better
  • New rear-mounted crossover connected to an aluminum plate with Mundorf capacitors (801 D4)
Low--Turbine Head Front View Low--Biomimetic Suspension 3QTR View Low--801 D4 Complete Midrange Assembly Low--801 D4 Bass Unit 3QTR View 801 D4 Matrix Assembly Angle View kopi 802 D4 Satin Walnut Terminal Plate Beauty kopi 804 D4 White Tweeter Detail kopi
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(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The speakers are hand-built in England, and each copy is sanded and polished partly by hand, partly by machine, and all can be delivered in black, glossy lacquer, matt white, in rosewood or walnut veneer, with either gray or black aluminum details.

9-16-Beauty-804-black-angle 9-16-Beauty-804-Rosenut-angle 9-16-Beauty-804-Walnut-angle
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(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The 801 D4 is the new flagship of the series. Like the others, it is builtwith the new Matrix cabinet and top and bottom plate in pure aluminum, with several technical improvements – like the new Continuum midrange.

B&W claims the new 801 D4 has far less distortion, thanks to extra reinforcement with steel inserts at the bottom, and a silver-plated pole piece on the midrange driver.

801 D4:

  • 25 mm diamond tweeter
  • 15 cm Continuum FST midrange
  • 2 x 25 cm Aerofoil woofers
  • 90 dB sensitivity, impedance 8 ohms
  • 15 hz – 28 kHz ± 3 dB
  • 122 x 45 x 60 cm
  • 100,6 kg
  • £30,000 ($35,000, AU$52,900)

 

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9-16-Beauty-802-Rosenut-front 9-16-Beauty-802-White-top-angle 9-16-Beauty-802-walnut-front
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The slightly smaller 802 D4, is quite similar, but lacks the steel insert in the cabinet, and has 2 x 20 cm Aerofoil bass elements, compared to 2 x 25 cm in the 801 D4.

802 D4:

  • 25 mm diamond tweeter
  • 15 cm Continuum FST midrange
  • 2 x 20 cm Aerofoil woofers
  • 90 dB sensitivity, impedance 8 ohm
  • 17 hz – 28 kHz ± 3 dB
  • 121 x 41 x 60 cm
  • 88 kg
  • £22,500 ($26,000, AU$38,900)

The next step down is the 803 D4, which is equipped with 2 x 18 cm bass drivers, while its little brother 804 D4 is the slimmest and most affordable floorstander. It has 2 x 16.5 cm Aerofoil drivers, must do without the separate Turbine Head. Here, the midrange driver is instead mounted in a separate chamber within the Matrix cabinet.

803 D4:

  • 25 mm diamond tweeter
  • 13 cm Continuum FST midrange
  • 2 x 18 cm Aerofoil woofers
  • 90 dB sensitivity, impedance 8 ohms
  • 19 hz – 28 kHz ± 3 dB
  • 116 x 35 x 51 cm
  • 62 kg
  • £16,000 ($20,000, AU$29,900)

804 D4:

  • 25 mm diamond tweeter
  • 13 cm Continuum FST midrange
  • 2 x 16,5 cm Aerofoil woofers
  • 89 dB sensitivity, impedance 8 ohms
  • 24 hz – 28 kHz ± 3 dB
  • 107 x 30 x 39 cm
  • 37 kg
  • £9500 ($12,500, AU$18,900)

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The smallest is of course the 805 D4, which offers the same technology as its more expensive siblings, but without a dedicated midrange. This two-way model stand-mounter uses a 16.5 cm Continuum bass / midrange driver, in combination with the same 25 mm diamond tweeter as the others in the 800 D4 series.

805 D4:

  • 25 mm diamond tweeter
  • 15 cm Continuum midwoofer
  • 88 dB sensitivity, impedance 8 ohms
  • 42 hz – 28 kHz ± 3 dB
  • 44 x 24 x 37 cm
  • 15,5 kg
  • £6250 ($8000, AU$11,900)
  • £1100 ($1200, AU$1799)

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

The two center speakers of the 800 series – HTM81 D4 and HTM82 D4, offer the same updated technology, but with two 15 cm bass drivers (HTM81 D4), and two 13 cm drivers(HTM82 D4). They are priced at £6500 ($7500, AU$11,500) and £4750 ($5500, AU$8500) each, and the stand costs £700 ($800, AU$1199).

Low--HTM81 D4 Gloss Black Angled on FS-HTM D4 Black Grille Off Low--HTM82 D4 White Front on FS-HTM D4 Silver Grille On
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(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

 

The new 800 D4 series will be available in stores from September 1st.

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