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Bowers & Wilkins 803S Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
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Bowers & Wilkins 803S Loudspeakers
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ImageThe name “B&W” brings many positive thoughts to audiophiles around the world, and with good reason. This high-end speaker manufacturer, owned by John Bowers and Roy Wilkins, has been a prime catalyst for developing major upgrades to every loudspeaker unit that they ever produced, starting with their first commercial loudspeaker, the P1, which they began manufacturing in 1966. Many years later, they developed the very awe-inspiring Signature 800 series of loudspeakers that featured the very innovative Diamond Dome tweeters, which most people only could gasp at when they saw this amazing-looking futuristic tweeter design at CES 2001.

The startling “tweeter on top” found in the Signature 800 series, effectively gets rid of the problem of bouncing sound that is found in a speaker system when you put a loudspeaker’s tweeter in the conventional box cabinet that most loudspeaker’s manufacturers still use. Combine that type of innovative B&W technology with the Kevlar cone material that compliments every Signature 800 series loudspeaker on the market today, and you have a truly award-worthy loudspeaker series line. Using Kevlar as the main fabric for their mid-range cones brings a consistent dispersion pattern that covers all range frequencies no matter what type of music you happen to be listening to, thereby delivering a constant, clean sound to the listener or the group of listeners experiencing the dynamic sound coming out of these acclaimed loudspeakers.


I demoed these speakers while visiting Premiere Home Entertainment, located in Las Vegas. This magnificent loudspeaker will run you around $3000 for each speaker. The height of these formidable speakers is 41.9 inches and the width is 11.5 inches, while its depth is 17 inches. Just one speaker weighs in at 90 pounds, so you can see that this speaker system will deliver quite a punch to your home audio system without question. The cabinet is made out of either Cherrywood, Rosenut or Black Ash, depending on what model you actually feel compelled to purchase. B&W designs all their speaker series with real wood veneers, and the cabinet that I was reviewing certainly looked and felt real. It really is a beautiful speaker to behold.

The use of B&W’s aluminum dome tweeter allows the bass driver to extend its low-end response, which resulted in some extremely deep bass sounds pushing out from this speaker system. The speaker series’ also incorporates a new synthetic gel that cushions the tweeter in its top-end position so that there is little or no mechanical vibration from the bass cabinet. It’s that type of clear innovation from the designers at B&W that keeps this company at the award-winning level they currently enjoy. The drive units feature a 7 inch Rohacell cone bass, a one-inch aluminum dome frequency and a 6 inch woven Kevlar cone FST for the mid-range. The inner-workings of the 803S series of loudspeakers is definitely worth noting. The Matrix is what the design team at B&W labeled as their way of interlocking the panels inside the speaker’s cabinet that essentially creates a three-dimensional honeycomb structure which eradicates the problem of allowing the speaker’s bass drivers to blur the sound pushing out of the speaker’s midrange frequencies, which is an underlying mistake that most speaker manufacturer’s make time and time again.

I took a good look at the B&W patented “Mushroom” design of the bass driver in the demonstration model, and I could only feel great admiration for the B&W design team. The diaphragm design of the driver increases the bass driver’s rigid construction by bonding the cone onto just one single inside frame that ensures that the linear components of this speaker series is stable and featherweight at the same time. I realize that this sounds like a contradiction of terms, but the design team at B&W actually delivered that delicate balance between delivering heavy bass tones in their speakers while still being able to drive pristine and subtle high tones to the mid-range without any crossover problems whatsoever. And their “Mushroom” bass design is the main catalyst for the pure and often times extremely powerful low-end audio emanating from this superior line of floor-standing speakers.


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