Bowers & Wilkins ISW-4 In-Wall Subwoofer
B&W Loudspeakers, the British manufacturer recognized internationally as one of the world’s leading sources of loudspeaker technology, is proud to introduce a new best-in-class in-wall subwoofer, the ISW-4.
According to Doug Henderson, VP of Sales and Marketing. “B&W engineering has been working on an in-wall subwoofer design for quite some time. Why the long wait, you may ask? Sticking a woofer in a wall doesn’t seem that hard after all…and there are many poorly executed designs testifying to this fact. Creating an in-wall subwoofer that meets B&W’s high standards for performance yet is visually unobtrusive and easy to install, however, is a much bigger challenge.”
In-wall subwoofers have become an important segment of custom installation projects, as homeowners and/or their interior designers often don’t want speakers or electronics “detracting” from the interior design. However, they can be sold on good sound, especially where it matters most, in a home theater or main music room. Unfortunately, most in-wall subwoofers under perform due to inadequate driver design (what works in a conventional enclosure is not ideal for the requirements of an in-wall subwoofer) or from a lack of optimized EQ/amplification or from a substandard enclosure.
Enter B&W’s new ISW-4. This project was led by Dr. John Dibb–designer of many of B&W’s flagship products such as the Signature Diamond and the Signature 8NT in-wall–at the renowned Steyning Research Establishment in the UK.
Dibb made numerous trips to the U.S. during the course of his research and the dealers he visited provided valuable feedback. After two years of effort, B&W believes the ISW-4 to be the finest in-wall subwoofer available. It is no shallow claim–although it features a shallow enclosure, fitting 2″ x 4″ stud bays!
There are several reasons for this incredible performance. First, the ISW-4 features dual B&W designed long-throw, eight-inch bass drivers utilizing Kevlar/paper cones which are many times the cost of ordinary cones. Kevlar has long been a B&W hallmark for its superb distortion-reducing qualities. For bass applications, the combination of Kevlar and paper fibers creates a non-resonant cone that is also extremely stiff and light weight, ideal for fast, deep, clean bass performance. In fact, the ISW-4 produces substantial bass down to a very low 17 Hz (-6dB EQ at A setting on the SA-250.) Just as importantly, the solidly braced BB-ISW-4 MDF backbox prevents wall shake and cabinet distortions that plague other designs. This is an in-wall sub that can be played hard and yet doesn’t cry. Nothing is more annoying than a sub that rattles!
The ISW-4′s superior sound quality is also due to the dedicated SA250 mono power amplifier/crossover. The SA250 is the perfect match to achieve the utmost performance from the ISW-4, with its 250 watts of power and an audiophile grade electronic crossover built in. The crossover is a 4th order Linkwitz-Riley with adjustable increments from 40Hz — 140Hz. Features also include a low-pass filter defeat, 0/180 degree phase switch, 3-position bass extension switch, movie/music EQ switch, and an On/Auto/Standby switch. Amplifier inputs and outputs include XLR and RCA line in and link out. There is also a 3.5 mm jack for 12 V trigger on/standby, equalization, and movie/music. The cabinet is a 2U height (3.5″) for standard rack mounting.
The ISW-4 is finished in a semi-matt white suitable for custom painting. The grille is the same size as the CWM-8180 (cut-out dimensions 19.1″ H x 10″ W), which is to say quite compact for a high performance in-wall sub.
There is a pre-mount kit available for new construction, as well as the MDF back-box to optimize cabinet volume for the drivers and reduce acoustic bleed-through to other rooms. Use of the BB-ISW-4 backbox is strongly recommended. The ISW-4 is another best-in-class product from Bowers & Wilkins.
Availability — August 2009
Suggested system retail including SA250 amplifier – $ 2,000 (ISW-4 subwoofer – $800 each, SA-250 amplifier/crossover – $1,000 each, BB-ISW-4 Back-box – $200 each).
About Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is Britain’s leading exporter of loudspeakers, and is also the number-one imported brand in North America. Since 1966, B&W’s “Quest for Perfection” has resulted in a succession of technical loudspeaker innovations that have satisfied the world’s most demanding listeners. B&W’s rave reviews and universal acceptance as the monitor for classical music recordings have helped B&W become the dominant premium loudspeaker company throughout the world.