January 21, 2008 The company that set a new benchmark for iPod docks with the Zeppelin has made its first foray into the soundbar market with the announcement of Panorama. Designed to inject a dose of high-end audio into your flatscreen TV viewing experience, Panorama incorporates Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and six separate, individually amplified speaker channels - two front, two rear, one center and one subwoofer - positioned to reflect sound off walls and create a surround effect from a single enclosure.
Panorama has three settings to cater for different listening environments from hard brick walls to less reflective surfaces like fabrics and soft furnishings. Extra attention has been paid to the center speaker to optimize movie viewing with five of the unit's nine drivers utilized in the active center speaker.
The midrange drive units use glass fiber cones designed to reduce the muddying effects of standing waves while the twin internal subwoofers - which utilize a dedicated dedicated 50W amplifier - are Kevlar reinforced to ensure stability under pressure. The tweeters are the aluminum dome Nautilus™ tube-loaded type based on those found in the company's high-end 800 Series.
In all, the six class D amplifiers provide a combined power output of 175Watts and according to B& W, the configuration of the drive units creates wider ‘sweet spot’ than offered by conventional 5.1 surround systems, allowing the unit to perform when positioned in a corner as well as parallel to, or mounted on a wall. As well as boasting surround sound credentials for movie viewing and gaming, Panorama is also billed as a highly impressive stereo speaker.
The sleek unit is designed for use with flatscreen televisions of 37-inches or larger and includes two optical digital inputs, one coaxial digital input and two stereo analogue inputs.
An external sub-woofer can be added for larger rooms and in keeping with the "simple and effective" design philosophy, the ergonomically shaped remote control covers access to all settings with just seven buttons.
The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama is due for release in Spring 2009 and we can expect to see the full specs released nearer to the launch. The price: USD$2,200.