My father owned a pair of B&W Matrix 801 speakers. He loved them, like they were alive.
The Bowers & Wilkins 801 was introduced in 1979, and the company has gone about improving it over the years through a series of revisions. Today’s news – its time for another update of the iconic speaker, yea iconic, which was six years in the making.
The 800 Series Diamond lineup:
Among the hundreds of improvements in the new 800 Series Diamond speakers, is the new all-new composite Biomimetic Suspension [which] replaces the conventional fabric spider with a minimalist composite suspension system that revolutionises midrange cone performance by greatly reducing unwanted air pressure – aka sound – that a conventional fabric spider can generate, removing its unpredictable, non-linear effects.
From the press release:
Every stereo model in the range also enjoys a significantly upgraded cabinet design with an all-new rigid, cast aluminium top section – replacing the previous wooden version – to offer even greater stiffness and thus improve cabinet quietness still further. In a luxurious touch, the profile of the new aluminium top is finished in ‘Leather by Connolly’ – in black for dark cabinets (Black, Satin Rosenut) and light grey for lighter finishes (White, Satin Walnut).
Every model in the range adopts a revised version of the iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top housing, with a new, elongated tube-loading system to produce an even more open sound for high frequencies. This supremely stiff enclosure deftly resists unwanted resonance and is an exceptional acoustic form – especially when combined with a new two-point decoupling system that isolates it from the rest of the loudspeaker more effectively than ever. As before, the Solid Body Tweeter is milled from a single solid block of aluminium and now, it uses an anodised finish, either dark or light depending on the cabinet colour, to celebrate that fact.
Finally, the range introduces three entirely new cabinet forms. The 805 D4 and 804 D4 stereo models adopt the reverse-wrap cabinet design first introduced in 2015 for the larger speakers in the series. This new form reduces the profile of each cabinet’s front baffle while dramatically increasing the overall rigidity of the complete system. It also allows crossovers to now be mounted in dedicated spaces on the rear of each speaker, housed behind the rigid aluminium spines.
The 804 D4 builds on the potential of its new configuration by adding a downward-firing port with an integral aluminium plinth – again, much like the form used by the larger floorstanding speakers in the range. Alongside the 805 D4 and 804 D4, the all-new HTM82 D4 centre speaker adopts the reverse-wrap cabinet form of its siblings, for superior acoustic and mechanical performance.
I have to admit that the new design strikes me as being more attractive than my father’s boxy Matrix 801s. Heck, they’re even nice from behind.
Sleek & sexy, no?
The new B&W 800 Series Diamond will be available globally starting September 1st. For more information, visit the B&W website.