B&W CI 800 Architechtural Speakers

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Bowers & Wilkins (commonly known as B&W) has just announced the new CI 800, which is their new flagship custom installation architectural speaker series.

CI 800 series is the result of an extensive project by B&W engineers at the renowned Steyning research facility in West Sussex. Their considerable challenge was to mimic the sonic quality of their 800 Series Diamond speaker line in a loudspeaker designed to fit into walls and ceilings.

The CI 800 range comprises three speakers, with one in-ceiling and two in-wall models. All speakers in the range feature core B&W technologies. Foremost among these technologies is the introduction of a B&W Carbon Braced Tweeter. Previously only found on the high-performance PM1 loudspeaker, the Carbon Braced Tweeter steps up the performance of B&W aluminum domes. It uses a ring of ultra-thin wound carbon fibre to brace the tweeter dome, and as a result raise the break up of the aluminum dome to around 40KHz, which has a dramatic effect on the audible frequencies below 20kHz.

In addition, the tweeters in all CI 800 models are Nautilus Tube Loaded designs, and are fully de-coupled from the rest of the speaker assembly, as in the 800 Series Diamond. This ensures that the LF units do not transmit unwanted vibrations, which might compromise high frequency performance. The result is a level of clarity unheard previously in custom installation speakers.

The midrange drivers are made from Kevlar, dyed blue rather than B&W traditional yellow for visual discreetness, and use the Anti-Resonance Plug from PM1. The dedicated midrange driver in the CWM8.3 also features B&W FST technology, a surroundless suspension technique that improves the cone’s response time, further enhancing midrange performance.

The CWM8.3?s dedicated bass units use carbon-reinforced Rohacell cones, as found on the 800 Series Diamond, while B&W Flowport technology dramatically reduces unwanted ‘chuffing’ effects at the low end.

The crossovers used in all CI 800 models are also of audiophile quality. They are as close to first order as possible, and share ultra premium components with the 800 Series Diamond for high-performance sound every time.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges facing Bowers & Wilkins engineers in translating the high-performance of the 800 Series Diamond to the CI 800 range was ensuring a consistency in every installation. Relying on the wall cavity as the speaker enclosure was not an option. Indeed, as with quality free standing speakers the enclosure is a vital component in the overall system design. For the CI 800 range fully engineered Matrix enclosures were developed, adapted to custom application requirements. A great deal of time was spent optimizing materials to get the stiffest possible structure while providing optimum volume for the deep bass response. The results are plain to hear. These are in-walls that rival the very best in-room speakers at their price points.

The CWM8.3 is a three-way, in-wall loudspeaker, conceived to offer the highest possible performance for a customer requiring reference quality sound, without seeing the source. It features a Carbon Braced Tweeter, a 5-inch Kevlar FST drive unit and two 7in carbon fiber reinforced Rohacell low frequency drivers. The central baffle is rotatable, so the CWM8.3 can be used in either vertical or horizontal alignment. It is an ideal choice for music and theater applications.

The second in-wall model in the new CI 800 range is the CWM8.5. This two-way loudspeaker features a Carbon Braced Tweeter and a single 7inch bass/mid Kevlar driver, with anti-resonance plug. It also features a single Flowport. The CWM8.5 will be ideal for high performance stereo use but has the dynamic and deep bass capabilities that will also allow it to work well as a main channel in a theater context in spite of its small visual footprint.

The CI 800 Series features a single in-ceiling model, the CCM8.5. This two-way model features a 7in bass/mid driver, again in blue Kevlar. The 1in Carbon Braced Tweeter features an innovative ‘wing’ design, which allows for the time alignment, required to produce the best possible performance from an in-ceiling speaker. All the drive units are located in a unique continuously rotatable mini baffle, which allows for the custom installation version of ‘toeing in’ the loudspeaker toward the listening position for optimum real world performance.

The launch of CI 800 completes Bowers & Wilkins highly impressive portfolio of custom installation loudspeakers, with the CI 300, CI 600, CI 700 and dedicated in-wall subwoofers all having been developed over the past few years by the same engineers responsible for Bowers & Wilkins most respected loudspeakers.

The CCM8.5 will be available first quarter 2013 and priced at $1,400 U.S. each.

Required CCM8.5 Matrix enclosure priced $600 U.S.

The CWM8.5 will be available first quarter 2013 and priced at $800 U.S. each.

Required CWM8.5 Matrix enclosure priced $600 U.S.

The CWM8.3 will be available first quarter 2013 and priced at $2,200 U.S. each.

Required CWM8.3 Matrix enclosure priced $800 U.S.

Look for more detail at: www.bowers-wilkins.com.

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