Hefin, Nick and Gareth were lucky enough to be invited to visit the Bowers and Wilkins factory in Worthing this month and it was an incredible experience! We were able to see how the stunning 800 series diamond loudspeakers are produced as well as having demonstrations. During our visit, we were able to take some photos on the way round and thought we would share them with you.
We were greeted in the entrance by this magnificent one of a kind Nautilus and just had to take a picture!
The 800 D3 Diamond family proudly on display.
The cabinets of the 800 series consist of 22 layers of ply, which are glued and then put under intense pressure using the machinery above to bind them together.
The sections of ply are then bent into shape using the machines above and below, again by applying huge amounts of pressure. There is one of these machines for each shape that needs to be made through the whole range.
Pictured above are 804 cabinets being clamped together. They are left like this for some time to ensure the solidity of the overall cabinet.
With the bottom section taken off this 804 cabinet you can see some of the internal bracing, or matrix which gives the speaker a huge amount of stability, reducing vibration. You can also see a large section of metal, this is very heavy and helps give the speakers a low centre of gravity, again improving stability.
This robot is cutting out grooves on the inside of a cabinet for the matrix and drivers to fit into. This way allows for absolute precision on every speaker. You can see the results in the image below. This 800 series has B&W's best Matrix system yet, thicker plywood replaces the MDF that has been used in the past with metal reinforcing the most crtitcal areas for the ultimate in rigidity.
Here another robot is spray painting a production line of cabinets, which results in the cleanest and most even paint job possible. Despite this a lot of the finishing work on the cabinets is still done by human hands. Fun fact! Some may recognise this robot as the same used in Marvel's Ironman films, it is actually the same model!
Here you can see the crossover from a pair of 800's. In the research and development of the series every single component was rigrously tested by ear to make sure it is the very best available as the crossover has a huge bearing on the character of a speaker.
It's not just robots who work on the finish of the speakers!
These images show the speakers ready to have the Continuum cones installed. B&W thought that their previous Kevlar drivers couldn't be beaten for years but their passion for continuous improvement proved themselves wrong! This new composite material which avoids abrupt transitions that can impair performance make these the best cones they have ever produced.
These images show the final assembley area where the drivers are installed into the cabinets and then packaged for shipping.
One of the most astounding facts we learned during the tour was that a staggering eight hundred and sixty eight changes have been made from the last generation of the 800 series. B&W's drive to constantly strive to create the best loudspeakers they can, was something that really came through during our trip.
We finished the day with some demonstrations by B&W staff on various speakers, focusing mostly on the 800 series. We had an absolutely fantastic day and would like to give our sincere thanks to B&W for the opportunity.
The main learning point had to be seeing the true value of these sensational speakers. The amount of work and dedication, raw materials and technology that go into these is staggering and of course most importantly they deliver an exceptional performance. We are lucky enough to have the entire Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 diamond series in our shop in Cardiff to demonstrate and can happily pass on what we learnt at B&W to anyone who want to know more information
We also have a B&W 800 D3 Diamond series event on the 14th of March at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff bay, where experts from B&W will be demonstrating the 805, 803 and 800 D3 loudspeakers partnered with Chord electronics amplifiers. As anyone who has been to one of our events will know they are both informative and enjoyable. Tickets are free but there are limited spaces and the tickets are running out fast! You can reserve your place here.
The Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 Diamond series are only available for demonstration at Audio T Cardiff.