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Bowers & Wilkins Readies New 800 Speaker Series

Las Vegas
– Bowers & Wilkins is sprinkling diamond-dome tweeters throughout its new
800 series of high-end in-room speakers.

The new series, which will replace the current 13-SKU series,
includes five speaker pairs priced from a suggested $5,000 to $24,000/pair and
two center-channel speakers at $2,750 and $5,000 each. At press time, it was
uncertain whether two surround models would be included. Launches will be staggered by model and finish
beginning in January through late spring at the earliest, the company said.

The new series boasts multiple improvements to improve sound
quality and a new polished piano black
lacquer-finish option. More significant, the company is expanding its use of
diamond dome tweeters to all models, citing the material’s strength
and stiffness. The company uses a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process to form synthesized diamonds into complex
shapes. The material creates a dome whose rigidity enables it to exhibit piston-like
behavior as far up the frequency scale as possible but whose lightness allows
for fast response. “The
material that gets closest to the behavior of a hypothetical perfect tweeter –
one with infinite stiffness and zero mass that can only exist in a computer –
is diamond,” the company said.

Because all models in
the series will get diamond tweeters, the entry-level models in the Series will
increase substantially in retail price, yet “the price of admission” for diamond tweeters is going down, and
dealers “will be shocked by the performance gain,” said Doug Henderson, sales and
marketing VP.

The 800 series
represents the company’s most expensive speakers with the exception of a
$31,000-each Nautilus speaker available on special order.