For more than 35 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been working away feverishly to make sure its reference speakers hit the right note. Having subtly refined the design of its 801 and subsequent 800 Series flagships, 2015 saw the launch of the thoroughly redesigned 800 Series Diamond. Now, that set of speakers has a new top dog with the release of the 800 D3.
Visually, the biggest difference between the 800 D3 and last year's series-topping 802 D3 is the new low-frequency enclosure and twin bass drivers. Instead of the 802's 8-inch drivers, the 800 D3 makes use of two 10-inch Aerofoil bass drivers featuring a unique carbon fiber construction, designed for improved pistonic behavior and minimized distortion.
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Thanks to a higher specification motor unit and upgraded magnets, the bass driver unit also exhibits better control than the rest of the Bowers & Wilkins range.
The 800 D3's computer-modeled Continuum cone, aluminum Turbine head and solid body tweeter are all the same size as the system on the D2, but there are improved crossovers and capacitors to bring these components up to the same standard as the new bass setup.
In an impressive demonstration of just how far the redevelopment goes, even the dustcaps have come in for attention. In order to reduce unwanted resonance, they're now made of a carbon fiber and syntactic foam sandwich.
These improvements, combined with the stiffer cabinets and more robust bracing system introduced last year, are said to make the new 800 D3 is "the most advanced speaker" Bowers & Wilkins has ever produced.
But, what does that sound like? Well, B&W says there's more bass on offer, but the system's most impressive trait is its accuracy. Compared to the 802 D3, the company is claiming there's 10 dB less low-frequency drive-unit distortion.
The 800 D3 should also offer up a better sense of scale, which combined with improvements in the way the four drive units knit together, could make it an ideal choice for people who want to listen to grand symphony orchestras without losing any detail along the way.
If this sounds like your sort of thing, prepare to pay absolute top dollar. The 800 D3 will be available in July for US$15,000 each.
Source: Bowers & WilkinsView gallery - 13 images