Bowers & Wilkins 800 Diamond and new ownership

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Bowers & Wilkins 800 Diamond and new ownership
Monday, May 9, 2016

Shortly before the High End show in Munich last week it was revealed that Bowers & Wilkins long term major shareholder Joe Atkins had sold the company to Californian former Facebook chief financial officer Gideon Yu’s company Eva Automation. Atkin’s will become CEO for the combined company which brings expertise in wireless technology that could see B&W expand further into the mass market. The new owner has stated that the current product line up will remain unchanged and that no staffing cuts are planned.

That will undoubtedly come as a relief to Bowers & Wilkin’s engineers who have launched what they are calling “the best ever B&W” in the new 800 series Diamond. You can read about the background to the new D3 range here but the essence of the biggest model is that it takes the Turbine Head with its Continuum cone technology and the diamond tweeter pod from the 802 and combines them with a larger bass enclosure that supports ten inch rather than eight inch drive units. While the bass drivers have similar isotactic foam and carbon fibre sandwich Aerocell drivers to the 802 they go a step further with twill weave carbon fibre and a sandwich construction dust cap, the larger 75mm voice coil making for a dust cap that is more prone to deformation under duress. The 800 Diamond does not look much bigger than the 802 but that’s because the plinth has been increased to match the wider body, the plinth incorporates a constrained layer of polymer sandwiched between the aluminium casting and steel. The 800 D3 stands looks far more svelte than its predecessor thanks to the reverse wrap of its lamimated cabinet and the slimmer height of the curved plinth, but it weighs in at a very respectable 96kg and is specified to deliver bass down to 15Hz with a useful 90dB sensitivity. As you might imagine I put in a request for a review sample at the earliest opportunity. The £22,500 ($30,000) price remains very competitive given the engineering involved.