Bowers & Wilkins 803 D3 Floorstanding Speakers
The 803 D3 is the first of its kind: a full-range, studio-quality speaker built for the home, and the most compact headed unit we’ve ever produced. While this elegant speaker comes in a living room-friendly size, it shares the same revolutionary technologies and design features as its larger siblings, including our turbine head and reverse-wrap cabinet.
Technologies: Welcome to the future.
The 800 Series Diamond is a game-changer in terms of technological innovation. From drive units to cabinet geometry, every major component has been rethought and reinvented. And the rulebook for loudspeaker design has been ripped up and rewritten in the process. The future of loudspeaker technology starts here. Solid body tweeter Vibration is the enemy of good sound. To minimise vibrations, you need components that are as stiff as possible. For the 800 Series Diamond, we created our stiffest tweeter enclosure yet. The tweeter assembly for the new range is housed in a solid piece of aluminium, while an improved gel decoupling system isolates the tweeter from the effects of cabinet resonance. The result? Pin-sharp acoustic detail, and new levels of insight into a musical performance.
Hear the sound, not the cabinet. That’s the principle behind our separate head units – a feature we introduced when we launched the first 800 Series speaker in 1979. Now, thanks to a radical redesign, the 800 Series Diamond head unit performs better than ever. Constructed from a single piece of aluminium, braced with internal radial fins and with a raised, slimmer profile, the Turbine head is almost totally inert, producing a sound that’s free from cabinet coloration. Aerofoil cone Sometimes, new technologies allow us to achieve things in engineering that wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago. The Aerofoil bass cone is a perfect example. By using advanced computer modeling and a new syntactic core material, we’ve been able to produce a cone of varying thickness, with maximum stiffness where it’s needed most. This optimised shape means the cone displays pistonic behaviour further up the audible range, producing bass that’s precise, controlled and utterly lifelike.
For decades, we thought that nothing could beat Aramid Fibre as a midrange cone material. But now, following eight years of intensive development, we’ve finally come up with something even better. Thanks to its composite construction, the Continuum cone avoids the abrupt transitions in behaviour that can impair the performance of a conventional drive unit. The result is a more open, neutral performance. And a giant leap forward for loudspeaker design.
Reverse wrap cabinet
When it came to designing the ideal shape for the 800 Series Diamond cabinet, we did a U-turn. Quite literally. Instead of a flat-fronted speaker with a curving back, we produced a cabinet with a front and sides formed of one continuous curve, held together with a spine of solid aluminium. Fewer joins make for a stiffer, more inert structure, and a curved front means less baffling around the drive units. So sound dispersion is improved, and cabinet reflection is reduced. Matrix ™ Matrix provides the backbone for our speakers. It’s an internal structure that works like the bracing of a ship’s hull, with criss-crossed interlocking panels keeping our cabinets rigid and inert. For the 800 Series Diamond, we’ve introduced our most radical rethink of the Matrix concept yet. The internal panels are thicker, solid plywood has replaced MDF, and metal components have been added to reinforce key stress points. All together it’s the most solid Matrix system we’ve ever built.
A great speaker needs a rock-solid foundation. By moving the crossover from the plinth to the main body of the speaker, we’ve been able to create a base for the 800 Series Diamond that’s more stable and resonance-resistant than ever. Replacing the original open-box design, the new plinth is constructed from a solid piece of aluminium weighing in at a mighty 17kg. This improves stability by lowering the centre of mass and counter-balancing the weight of the Turbine head.
The base of larger 800 Series Diamond models are fitted with castors to allow you to manoeuvre your speakers into position easily. Replacing these castors with floor spikes used to be a tricky proposition, involving tipping your speaker on its side. Not so with new 800 Series Diamond speakers, which come with integrated floor spikes that can be lowered or raised with a simple twist of a cog. Some things don’t change. While almost every component of the 800 Series Diamond has been reinvented, the element that gave the range its name remains unchanged: the speaker’s diamond tweeter domes. Our diamond domes remain the ultimate in tweeter technology, capable of unrivalled acoustic detail, naturalism and spaciousness.
Diamond: the super-material
The properties of diamond are prized in highly specialised industrial applications, from neurosurgery to CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Its unique stiffness-to-lightness ratio also makes diamond the perfect tweeter material. Developed especially for the 800 Series Diamond, diamond tweeter domes push the break-up frequency threshold to a remarkable 70kHz, resulting in superb clarity and detail. Making diamond the natural way takes seismic pressures, volcanic temperatures and around two billion years. Thankfully, science has found a way to shortcut the process. Using chemical vapour deposition, our diamond domes are grown like crystals in super-heated furnaces under laboratory conditions, before being cut to produce the perfect tweeter dome shape.