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.
Specifications
  • 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: hifiklubben.no
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forfatter

In this field, the Bowers & Wilkins AM-1 must be called a medium-sized speaker. However, there is nothing mediocre 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 screwed to the 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 bass with fiberglass membrane. The back is a single large passive slave bass, 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

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

The bass hangs well even when you play loud, it may swing more of the Focal speakers, which can also play louder, but it is easy to get engaged by B & W’s outdoor speakers. They get good help from the slave bass behind, which gives Ariana Grande convincing dynamics and sound pressure. This is perhaps the most all-round speakers in the test, and clearly the best in 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 must be beaten by the Focal 100 OD8 in terms of volume and sound pressure, but it has more than plenty of bass for garden parties, and at the same time sounds 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 potent 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 woolly and grained 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.

Bouncy 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, but here there is something gurgling.

Fuller sound than the size suggests. Compact dimensions blend nicely with the facade.
Trapped sound, twists in the bass 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 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 galimatias.

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