The Tower Loudspeakers Used by Abbey Road Studios and Dozens of Other World-Class Musical Institutions: Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Personify the Pursuit of Perfection
The Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 is simply the best-sounding, highest-performing tower loudspeaker the British company has created in its illustrious five-decade-plus existence. A marvel of engineering, aesthetics, and science, it's a component many recording studios, producers, and musicians — all of whom rely on 801 D4 in their professional lives — would claim is the finest speaker available on the market. With the visually arresting 801 D4, often-diluted terms such as "reference," "standard," and "excellence" reassert their meaning. This in-house-built speaker takes music reproduction to uncharted realms and invites listeners to experience their favorite recordings with the same perspective, fidelity, resolution, power, and transparency the artists enjoyed in the studio. In every regard, 801 D4 is Bowers & Wilkins' pinnacle expression of what the company deems "True Sound."
Literally and figuratively standing as the Bowers & Wilkins flagship, and culmination of company founder John Bowers' quest to produce a speaker as close to perfection as current technologies and expertise allow, 801 D4 exemplifies tradition and personifies the tireless dedication to getting everything exactly right. Everything down to the type of screws used on the plinth and kind of wood employed in the bracing. Like all the models in the 800 Series Diamond, 801 D4 adheres to a school of thought wherein Bowers & Wilkins engineers fiercely believe everything involved with the speaker's construction can impact the end result. That obsessive devotion explains why 801 D4 is made entirely in Bowers & Wilkins' state-of-the-art factory in England — and why all of its components went through years of testing and analysis before they were approved.
To say that the three-way 801 D4 represents the upper echelon of audio performance is to state the obvious. Each significant aspect of this 48.1 x 17.8 x 23.6-inch (HWD) beauty claims a history that doubles as a deep dive into acoustic fundamentals, mechanical properties, and form-follows-function thinking. All of the leading-edge technological innovations— the all-aluminum Turbine Head that houses the Continuum midrange cone; advanced Matrix bracing with interlocking panels for superb reinforcement; all-new Biomimetic Suspension that dramatically reduces unwanted air pressure and coloration; reverse-wrap cabinet for unprecedented inertness — that Bowers & Wilkins has developed over the past decade harmonize in 801 D4. (Read more about these hallmark features below.) And of course, this 221-pound marvel comes loaded with a driver array prepared to handle any kind of music with extraordinary accuracy, depth, dynamics, punch, openness, air, and realism.
Capable of providing breathtaking extension and recreating tremendous soundstages, Bowers & Wilkins' one-inch diamond-dome tweeter and famous solid-body Tweeter-on-Top housing — milled from a single block of aluminum and sculpted into an elongated form with a long tube-loading system that lessens rear diffraction — accompany a six-inch Continuum cone FST midrange and two massive 10-inch Aerofoil woofers. They're among the reasons 801 D4 touts a mind-boggling 13Hz-35kHz range and claims a practically infinitesimal total-harmonic distortion ratio. Yet what might startle you most is how utterly transparent to the source 801 D4 remains in both the analog and digital domains. This speaker's unique architecture also means reflections and colorations might not as well exist; also note that the tweeter housing is decoupled, as is the housing for the midrange Turbine Head. On paper, these engineering feats impress. In practice, they help make music sound as if it is being made in your room in real time by real artists.
Aesthetically, one glance at 801 D4 tells you everything you need to know. These speakers have the kind of lines, finishes, materials, and stop-dead-in-your-tracks curves modeled by the world's most desirable supercars. Just look at the Leather by Connolly detailing, choice of four different hand-applied colors, or rear-mounted crossover mounted on stiff aluminum spines — a touch that isolates the sensitive capacitors and acts as a strategic heatsink. Just as importantly, Bowers & Wilkins didn't forget about practicality.
To facilitate setup and placement, 801 D4 is supplied on wheels to help with positioning. Once you get the speaker where you want in your room, in-built spikes and corresponding floor cups are at the ready. A set of stabilizers provide extra security and assist in holding the speakers in place. Bowers & Wilkins didn't overlook a single detail. For extra peace of mind, 801 D4 includes a five-year manufacturer warranty.
We can state without reservation that there's nothing like experiencing music with a pair of 801 D4 towers. We'd love to talk more with you about these truly special components. To learn more, and arrange for a risk-free in-home audition, please call one of our audio consultants today.
Turbine Head: A B&W Trademark
Hear the sound, not the cabinet. Separate midrange enclosures have always been a feature of 800 Series models. The latest all-aluminum Turbine Head housing takes that concept to the next level. This phenomenally stiff and inert housing for the crucial midrange cone is carefully damped to avoid unwanted resonances and decoupled from both the bass enclosure and the tweeter body. The result? Extraordinarily realistic midrange sound.
Solid Body Tweeter: Not Just for Looks
The latest edition of Bowers & Wilkins' iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top housing features an elongated form with a longer tube-loading system, producing an incredibly free and open sound with high frequencies. The carefully decoupled housing is milled from a single solid block of aluminum to better resist resonance.
Matrix Bracing: Reinforcing the Point
Trademarked Matrix bracing uses interlocking panels to reinforce loudspeaker cabinet walls in all directions internally, reducing resonance and creating a more believable soundstage. Every loudspeaker in 800 Series Diamond benefits from an upgraded Matrix design that combines solid plywood construction with aluminum bracing to reinforce key stress points.
Reverse Wrap Cabinet: A Wicked Curve
When it came to designing the ideal shape for the 800 Series Diamond cabinet, Bowers & Wilkins did a U-turn. Instead of a flat-fronted speaker with a curving back, the company produced a cabinet with a front and sides formed of one continuous curve — and held together with a spine of solid aluminum. Fewer joins make for a stiffer, more inert structure, and a curved front means less baffling around the drive units. The upshots: sound dispersion is improved, and cabinet reflection reduced.
Biomimetic Suspension: Thinking Outside the Box
Sometimes, making a big difference takes unconventional thinking. Bowers & Wilkins' all-new Biomimetic Suspension revolutionizes midrange-cone performance by greatly reducing the unwanted air pressure and coloration that a conventional fabric spider can generate. The resultant transparency needs to be experienced in order to be believed.
Decoupled Midrange: An 800 Series Diamond Hallmark
Every 800 Series Diamond loudspeaker (save for 805 D4) has a dedicated midrange cone using several proprietary Bowers & Wilkins technologies: the Continuum FST cone, Biomimetic Suspension, and midrange decoupling. The latter ensures minimal interference from the operation of the loudspeaker's bass units.
Aluminum Top Plate: The Ideal Match
Every stereo model in the 800 Series Diamond range has a significantly upgraded cabinet design with an all-new aluminum top plate for even greater stiffness. The same design also provides a perfect mounting point for the all-new Leather by Connolly cabinet detailing.
Rear-Mounted Crossover: No Detail Overlooked
All stereo models in the 800 Series Diamond range use rear-mounted crossover designs mounted on stiff aluminum spines. This isolates the sensitive capacitors from the unwanted effects of air pressure within the enclosure and makes for a very effective heatsink to ensure optimum performance when in use.
Description: 3-way vented-box system
1x ø25mm (1in) Diamond dome high-frequency
1x ø150mm (6in) Continuum cone FST midrange
2x ø250mm (10in) Aerofoil cone bass units
Frequency range: 13Hz to 35kHz
Frequency response: 15Hz to 28kHz (+/-3dB from reference axis)
Sensitivity: 90dB (on axis at 2.83Vrms at 1m)
Harmonic distortion, 2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB,1m on axis):
<1% 30Hz – 20kHz
<0.3% 100Hz – 20kHz
Nominal impedance: 8Ω (minimum 3.0Ω)
Dimensions (HWD): 48.1" x 17.8" x 23.62"
Weight: 221.8 lbs.
User Manual (PDF, 12.5 MB)