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B&W 801 D4 and 805 D4: The signature models have arrived!

Few speakers are made with the same technical expertise as the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series. Now come the even wilder 801 D4 Signature and 805 D4 Signature.

written by / 2023-07-06 - 8:00 am
B&W 801 D4 and 805 D4: The signature models have arrived!

The first signature model from Bowers & Wilkins in the UK was the Silver Signature floorstanding speaker in 1991. Featuring an external tweeter chamber on top of the speaker cabinet and with the midrange bass protected by two crossed steel rods. It may not have been pretty, but it was easy to drive for even mediocre amplifiers and was recognised as a fantastic speaker.

The first 800 Signature series came in the early 2000s, with the Signature 800 as the top model. A lot has happened since then. For example, diamond tweeters were not available back then. The 800 series is now in its fourth generation with diamond discs, hence the nickname D4.

B&W Silver Signature
B&W Silver Signature, 1991 (Photo: Bowers & Wilkins)

And it is precisely the D4 series that now gets the signature treatment. Here, it is the top model 801 D4 and the compact floorstanding speaker 805 D4 that have been given the loving treatment.

The 801 D4 Signature should actually be called the 800 D4 Signature, as the 801 is known for its gigantic 15-inch woofer, whereas the 800 used two 10-inchers. Now it’s two 10-inch woofers, with an Aerofoil diaphragm that is both rigid and lightweight – and shaped like an aeroplane wing if you cut through the diaphragm and see the cross-section in profile. By being thicker on the outside than on the inside, a more rigid piston movement is achieved when the diaphragm moves back and forth.

B&W - 801 D4 Signature Midnight Blue Metallic - Social Lifestyle 11 - 16x9
801 D4 Signature Midnight Blue. (Photo: Bowers & Wilkins)

Baseret på 801 D4 and 805 D4

The new Signature editions are improved versions of the already staggeringly good D4 loudspeakers.

Also check out Expensive, but very audible upgrade

The new 805 D4 from Bowers & Wilkins are the best they have made in this class.

The internal components have been upgraded and the cabinets have two new, more attractive finishes: Midnight Blue Metallic and a special California Burl Gloss wood veneer. With intricate craftsmanship and polishing and Connolly leather on the top plate, it takes more than 24 hours to complete the finish on a single California Burl Gloss cabinet, according to the manufacturer. In other words, more than two days for a set of speakers!

The blue metallic cabinet also features Connolly leather on the top.

B&W - 805 D4 Signature Midnight Blue Metallic - Social Lifestyle 6 - 16x9
805 D4 Signature Midnight Blue. (Photo: Bowers & Wilkins)

Better components

In honour of the new Signature models, Bowers & Wilkins has switched to a better “motor” in the woofers. The 801 D4 Signature also has more powerful magnets than the standard model.

A new tweeter grille with an improved mesh allows the highest notes to pass through and contributes to more air. The crossovers have also been upgraded and the top plate has been further stiffened.

As a result, the 801 D4 Signature is the best floorstanding speaker the manufacturer has ever made, while the 805 D4 takes first place among all their compact speakers. According to Bowers & Wilkins themselves, of course.

B&W - 801 D4 Signature California Burl Gloss - Social Lifestyle
(Photo: Bowers & Wilkins)

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