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Bowers & Wilkins Takes Custom Speakers Up A Notch

9/07/2012 05:01:38 AM Eastern

Indianapolis – Bowers & Wilkins is taking its architectural speakers further upmarket and upgrading its Panorama active surround bar.

The premium speaker maker plans mid-November shipments of a trio of architectural speakers in the first CI800 series, which aims to bring as much of the performance possible in its flagship 800 series of freestanding speakers to in-wall and in-ceiling applications. The lineup consists of the $3,000-each CWM 8.3 three-way in-wall speaker, $1,400-each CWM 8.5 two-way in-wall, and $2,000-each CCM 8.5 two-way in-ceiling speaker. Pricing includes back boxes.

The company currently offers three architectural speaker series priced from $300/pair to $1,500 each plus a $4,100/pair in-wall flagship with back box. It will be phased out.

The new Panorama active soundbar, shipping in November, offers multiple enhancements compared with its predecessor while retaining the predecessor’s $2,199 price point. Like before, the new model, called Panorama II, incorporates Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 decoders, six amps, nine drivers and 175-watt output. The new model simplifies home-theater connections by adding video switching via three HDMI 1.4a inputs and one HDMI output with audio return channel. HDMI CEC enables the bar to turn on/off when the TV turns on/off.

The new model also adds an onscreen menu to make setup easier, and the front display now lights up when a hand is waved in front of it. The 175-watt bar also features all-new drivers and new DSP chip to improve performance.