Seeing How They Are Made: The Bowers and Wilkins 800 Series Loudspeakers

We recently had the opportunity to visit the Worthing based production facility for Bowers and Wilkins 800 series speakers to see first hand how their flagship range are made.


We were greeted at the door by the iconic Nautilus loudspeaker, this one resplendent in its Union Flag livery.


Our guide to the process and factory was Peter, who has been working for Bowers and Wilkins for more than 25 years. He took us around the complete production facility explaining processes and technologies along the way in a very informative, and entertaining, way.

One example of this was the machine used for forming the cabinet for 800 series. This is created from multiple layers of wood and glue which are formed at high pressure and temperature by folding down across a folder like this:


The tour was like the audiophile version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a huge array of machines and people finishing, sanding, painting etc etc.

We saw the famous Bowers and Wilkins Matrix being inserted into one of the 800 series floorstanders.

The Matrix is assembled separately

The Matrix is assembled separately

With the cabinet prised apart by metal jaws the matrix is positioned and glued into place. When the jaws are released the natural spring of the cabinet form will add compression to the matrix

With the cabinet prised apart by metal jaws the matrix is positioned and glued into place. When the jaws are released the natural spring of the cabinet form will add compression to the matrix

Peter was full of interesting information most of which highlighted the amount of time and care which goes into making these speakers. They are not just built, they are truly hand crafted!

From paint which is applied in up to 13 layers with a four day drying time for each layer, to creating, forming, and metalising the Continuum cones for the drivers everything is done with so much care and attention to detail. The people who work at this production facility are justifiably proud of the products they create!

The factory also produces the iconic Nautilus speakers and the Custom Theatre range which includes beasts like this:

it’s big!!

it’s big!!

Also some funky special edition colours.


All in all we were incredibly impressed with the dedication of the people on site and the pride and care which was taken over every aspect of the production of these phenomenal 800 D3 speakers.

Part of the production floor

Part of the production floor

Alien anyone?

Alien anyone?

The finished article

The finished article

We came away with a new found admiration and respect for the Bowers and Wilkins 800 D3 series

We already knew they sounded stunning, now we have a better understanding of why due to the care and attention to detail that goes into creating them,

Last but not least these two poor cabinets were marked “no partner” maybe they need a dating app? I’m thinking Timbr possibly!


The Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series are available for demonstration at the following branches of Audio T:

Brentwood, Bristol

Audio T Cardiff Visit the Bowers & Wilkins Factory in Worthing, Sussex

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 critical 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 rigorously 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 Aramid Fibre 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 assembly 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.

The Legendary Bowers and Wilkins 800 Series Return To Cardiff.

With a 35 year history and an iconic place for a long time in such institutions as Abbey Road Studios, it’s safe to say the B&W 800 series is one of the most renowned speaker ranges in the world. We are ecstatic to have the newest version of the entire range here at Audio T Cardiff.

The Bowers and Wilkins 800 series has a long and illustrious history, the original 801 was released in 1980. The idea was to give engineers absolute free reign to come up with the very best loudspeaker they could without the usual restrictions placed on them. In fact in the original 801 manual there is a quote that says:

‘‘the first commercial effort to develop and produce a loudspeaker that would reflect the highest standards attainable without regard to any of the so called “practical considerations” that inevitably compromise conventional designs.’’

This is exactly what they did, the use of ultra-rigid Matrix cabinet construction and the idea of separate enclosures for high-frequency drivers or Flowport bass-reflex tuning was brand new innovative technology at the time and was filtered down through the generations of 800s over the years. The new series, 800 D3 to be precise has followed that same philosophy of their forebears but with the very most up to date cutting edge technology that ensures they are on the top of their game.

Words can’t explain how excited we are to now have the vast majority of the new 800 range in store including the HTM1 centre speaker, the stand mounting 805 D3, the more traditional looking floor standing 804 D3, the most compact of the classic 800 look the 803 D3, the immense 802 D3 and the astonishing head of the family the 800 D3.

There is far too much incredible technology that goes into these speakers to cover everything in this blog but let’s go through at least some features. B&W claim that their diamond tweeter technology that they have been using since the beginning and has continued to be improved, provides the most realistic treble possible. The use of diamond means that the tweeter is both as light and rigid as possible which is a very difficult balance to achieve. On these newest versions the tweeter sits in an all new solid body housing which brings even further advances to performance.

A big development in the new range is the abandonment of the iconic Aramid Fibre cone for the new Continuum cone. These are essentially the next stage of evolution in B&W’s cone technology being able to ‘deliver pristine mid-range performance by effectively negating the break-up behaviour that can adversely affect this all-important part of the spectrum.’ The fact B&W have done this when the Aramid Fibre cone was already so innovative and unique show just how much they are striving for perfection.

We are still getting to grips with the whole range but what we have found out so far is that everything B&W are claiming about the sonic properties of this series is absolutely true. The ability to bring out the performance of the music you are listening to is exceptional the clarity and realism of these speakers make you feel like the musicians are right there in front of you. This is true for both stereo and home cinema settings, we have the 800’s, HTM1 centre and the 805 stand mounts setup in our cinema room with Dolby atmos and the result is nothing short of mind blowing.

We have several pairs of the range setup and ready to go for demonstration, so please get in touch if you would like a listen to what are frankly some game changing speakers.

Bowers and Wilkins 800 Series are currently only available at Cardiff store.

All other Bowers and Wilkins Speakers are available in the following Audio T stores: BrentwoodBrightonBristolCardiffEnfieldManchesterOxfordPortsmouthPrestonReadingSouthamptonSwanseaSwindon