Review: Bowers & Wilkins AM-1

The best outdoor speaker

The Bowers & Wilkins outdoor speaker is very elaborate, and so is the sound.

B&W Bowes & Wilkins AM-1
Karakter
Bowers & Wilkins AM-1
We think
Beautifully balanced, refined and resolved soundscape, plenty of bass and sound pressure.
Requires a potent amplifier to perform at its best.
Specs
  • Type: Two-way closed cabinet
  • Recommended amplifier power: not specified
  • Sensitivity/impedance: 86 dB/8 ohms
  • Dimensions: 18 x 31 x 21 cm
  • Weight: 4 kg
  • Colors: Black. el. white
  • Waterproof: Not specified
  • Other: Rotatable wall bracket
  • Web: bowerswilkins.com
Annons
Annons
forfatter

In this context, the Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 must be called a medium-sized speaker. However, there is nothing middle-of-the-road about the speaker, which has both the finest performance and the best sound in this test.

It is available in black and white, the cabinet is waterproof and solid, and it comes with an L-shaped aluminum bracket that is attached to one side of the speakers. The bracket also acts as an extended connection for the cables, which are attached to the inside of the bracket, where it is mounted on wall or ceiling.

The bracket is elaborate, and the same can be said about the speakers. The quality impression is as expected of a B&W speaker. It is equipped with B & W’s Nautilus tweeter, and a 5-inch woofer with fiberglass diaphragm. The back is a single large passive radiator, in a waterproof rubber suspension, but it is not bass heavy for that reason.

Utendørshøyttalere, B&W AM-1
B&W AM-1 are the best outdoor speakers in their field. Photo: Bowers & Wilkins

The sound of Bowers & Wilkins AM-1

Balanced is the word here. The medium-sized B&W speakers deliver a generous and very well-balanced sound. After the first impression has subsided, you notice that they also have more bass than you might think. These are not the most clearly focused or most resolved speakers we have come across, but there is coherence, all the time.

The bass keeps up even when you play loud. The Focal speakers might be more powerful, but it is easy to get engaged by B&W’s outdoor speakers. They get good assistance from the drone on the back, giving Ariana Grande convincing dynamics and sound pressure. This is perhaps the most all-round speakers in the test, and clearly the best for classical music. None of the speakers in this test come close to the B&W speakers’ refined and resolved string sound, for example.

Conclusion

The Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 are beaten by the Focal 100 OD8 in terms of sound pressure, but they have more than plenty of bass for garden parties, while at the same time sounding more focused and better balanced than both Focal and the other speakers in the test. This is the speaker you should have if the sound quality is most important. The only downside to the AM-1 is that it needs a powerful amplifier to shine on the patio.

Also in this test

Monitor Audio Climate 60

The joy of playing weighs up

Monitor Audio Climate 60 has an energetic playing style that works for the most part.

Clear sound, good with life and rhythm.
Slightly dark tone on strings, the midrange sounds colored.

Klipsch AW-525

High party factor

Don't let size fool you. The Klipsch AW-525 speakers love to play loud.

Super efficient and easy to operate, potent bass for the size, and sparkling dynamics.
A little too muffled and harsh sound for our taste.

Focal 100 OD 8

Speakers for outdoor parties

The Focal speaker is the best choice if you need a speaker with impact.

Punchy dynamics and plenty of bass. High party factor.
The size can be a drawback and the sound lacks sophistication.

Canton Pro XL.3

Anonymous and unengaging

Canton follows an old speaker recipe with the Canton Pro XL.3, something is ruining the fun, however.

Fuller sound than the size suggests. Compact dimensions blend nicely with the facade.
Muffled sound, the bass distorts when you turn up the volume. Flat dynamics.

Sonos Outdoor

Too expensive

Sonos Outdoor works for the most part, and does little harm. Unfortunately, it sounds boring, and the price tag is more than a bit steep.

Pleasant midrange on vocals, and the sound is rich enough. It is also clear enough at the top for it to work well.
It sounds pretty flat and tame. It's especially dynamics that are missing, it simply sounds too boring. The price tag is also insane.
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