“The best loudspeaker isn’t the one that gives the most, it’s the one that loses the least.” – John Bowers, founder of Bowers & Wilkins.
This is the philosophy that has carved Bowers & Wilkins a place in the audiophile echelon. Not to boast the loudest stats, but to reproduce the cleanest, most accurate sound possible. Nearly 50 years of research and innovation later, the 800 Diamond Series stands the closest to this ideal. The name may be fancy but is quite literal, as one of the key contributors to its sound is, in fact, diamond.
The term “diamond dome tweeter” may come across as superfluous showmanship, but consider this: Above a certain frequency, all tweeters start to break up and give an unwanted character to the speaker. To avoid this would require a hypothetical material that is both infinitely stiff and near-zero density. The material closest to this balance? Diamond. Bowers & Wilkins’ diamond tweeters push the “break-up frequency” so high above the audible range, while their extreme stiffness reproduces sounds within the range so accurately, that the results are stunningly clean.
The vibration of tweeters against their housing is another culprit of unwanted sound. By housing their tweeters in Nautilus tubes mounted on top of, rather than within the cabinet, these unwanted resonances are absorbed to an inaudible minimum. Simultaneously, sensitivity to what should be heard is improved by using a quad-magnet design around the tweeter, reducing compression and making music sound more alive.
Midrange drivers deal with similar issues, and are eradicated in the Diamond Series with the use of Kevlar, the material used in bulletproof vests. Kevlar’s unique ability to absorb large bursts of energy makes it the perfect material to handle the waves that cause distortion to the midrange. A circular shock absorber around the cone further enhances clarity.
Why do golf balls have dimples on them? Air flow. At high volumes, bass tends to lose it tightness due to air flow restrictions. This is why the bass driver on the Diamond Series has dimples on the surface. Built from Rohacell, a composite used for aircraft and performance cars, the result is an unshakable low end that sounds just as tight at high volume.
This is why studios like Abbey Road use Bowers & Wilkins to monitor their music. Truly perfect sound reproduction may be a theoretical ideal, but Bowers & Wilkins have been working for half a century to get as close to perfect as possible.