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Floorstanding Speakers

Bowers & Wilkins Unveils 800 Series Diamond Signature Loudspeakers

Bowers & Wilkins introduces two all-new loudspeakers into their prestigious Signature collection. The 801 D4 and 805 D4 offer some substantial engineering changes with a rather large uptick in price.

Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in California Burl Gloss

Bowers & Wilkins has introduced new Signature versions of its flagship 801 D4 floorstanding loudspeaker and 805 D4 stand-mount loudspeaker. The new models are very significant upgrades over the previous generation which were only introduced 2 years ago.

We got a sneak peak (and listen) at Masimo’s headquarters in California a few weeks ago and can confirm that there have been substantial changes to almost every major component in these new designs.

Are the existing 801 D4 at $38,000/pair suddenly rubbish? Certainly not by any means. Bowers & Wilkins gave us the opportunity to compare both generations and we think 99% of listeners would still think that the older model is a reference-calibre loudspeaker.

We had an A/B (sighted) demonstration paired with Classe Audio components and could detect an uptick in resolution, detail, and bass impact during our demonstration, but it would be inaccurate to say that we had a lot of listening time to compare the new models and make any meaningful final assessment of their performance.

Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in Blue Metallic
Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature Loudspeakers will only be available in Blue Metallic or California Burl Gloss (pictured top).

At the upper echelons of high-end audio, it’s interesting to see where companies innovate to unlock greater performance. While the dimensions remain the same, Bowers & Wilkins redesigned its crossover, engineered new internal bracing, modified the port, upgraded midrange and woofers, and attached a more open grille around the tweeter (on top).

The biggest surprise was the substantial increase in the price; the 801 D4 Signature loudspeakers will retail for $50,000/pair, while the 805 D4 Signature (stand-mount) loudspeakers will cost $12,000/pair.

Note: The non-signature 801 D4 retail for $38,000/pair, and the 805 D4 for $8,500/pair. Both are models from 2021.

Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in California Burl Gloss Lifestyle Pair
Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in California Burl Gloss

What Signature Means

Bowers & Wilkins only uses the Signature name sparingly, reserving it for the rare and radically upgraded versions of its conventional loudspeakers and technologies. Since the brand was founded in 1966, only seven series of loudspeaker have carried the prestigious Signature mark – a reflection of its prestige and exclusivity.

The new Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature and 805 D4 Signature build on a heritage that stretches back to the acclaimed Silver Signature loudspeaker of 1991, originally developed as a posthumous tribute to the founder of the company, John Bowers.

The new 801 D4 Signature and 805 D4 Signature represent the pinnacle of current Bowers & Wilkins thinking and design and as such should be viewed as the new flagships in the company’s loudspeaker portfolio.

801 D4 Signature

Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in California Burl Gloss Lifestyle Pair

The larger model in the new Signature range is the 801 D4 Signature, a powerful three-way floorstanding loudspeaker that builds on the specification of the iconic 801 D4 as found in Abbey Road Studios.

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Based on the brand’s Diamond Dome tweeter and Continuum Cone FST midrange drive unit, the 801 D4 Signature adds powerful twin 250mm (10”) Aerofoil Cone bass drivers with upgraded and improved magnets to their motor systems relative to the 801 D4 model.

It also includes a radically enhanced aluminium top plate beneath its Turbine Head midrange enclosure; this new design uses a new optimised skeletal structure and carefully placed damping material to significantly reduce unwanted resonance from the top of the enclosure. The result is even more midrange transparency and openness to the already outstanding performance of the 801 D4.

The port output on 801 D4 Signature has received similarly significant upgrades; it is now cast from aluminium, creating a stiffer and quieter structure that is less prone to unwanted port noise. In combination with the updated Aerofoil Cone bass drivers, this results in even cleaner, lower distortion and more accurate sounding bass.

As with all Signature models over the years, the 801 D4 Signature benefits from careful upgrades to its crossover aimed at further increasing transparency with new and upgraded bypass capacitors for every element of the assembly. Finally, the 801 D4 Signature introduces a new FEA-optimised design of tweeter grille mesh that builds on the already impressive transparency offered by existing Bowers & Wilkins loudspeakers.

The new mesh provides a new superior blend of transparency and stiffness, allowing even more energy from the Diamond Dome tweeter into the room, while guarding the diaphragm against unwanted damage.

805 D4 Signature

Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in Blue Metallic Lifestyle Pair

The 805 D4 Signature brings new standards of performance and capability in a smaller, more room-friendly form factor than its mighty sibling. As with the larger 801 D4 Signature model, the 805 D4 Signature also includes an all-new grille mesh for more openness and transparency plus an upgraded crossover with new bypass capacitors. In addition, an all-new bass / midrange motor system features upgraded performance from its 165mm (6.5”) drive unit, ensuring both a cleaner delivery through the midrange plus more extended bass. Finally, it features mechanical revisions to its aluminium top plate aimed at further reducing unwanted noise and vibration from the structure.

Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in California Burl Gloss Rear

Exclusive Finishes

To properly identify their prestigious position within the Bowers & Wilkins portfolio, both the 801 D4 Signature and 805 D4 Signature are only available in two exclusive new finishes. The Midnight Blue Metallic paint is the same as offered on the iconic Nautilus loudspeaker, featuring a total of eleven coats of paint and lacquer that are machine polished to a gleaming and lustrous finish. Excluding curing times, the paint application process alone is in excess of 18 hours of labour. Midnight Blue Metallic loudspeakers are further celebrated with a bespoke blue Leather by Connolly trim on the top plate.

Bowers & Wilkins 805 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in Blue Metallic Lifestyle Closeup

Alternatively, both models can be purchased in an exceptional California Burl Gloss wood veneer, featuring unique wood figuring and a luxurious high gloss finish trimmed in black Leather by Connolly. The wood veneer is sustainably sourced engineered wood from Italian specialist, ALPI. Including no less than fourteen coats of lacquer and multiple sanding processes, the total finishing time for a single 801 D4 Signature in California Burl Gloss is in excess of 24 hours.

Commenting on the launch, Dave Sheen, Brand President of Bowers & Wilkins said: “800 Series Signature represents the coming together of everyone across the Bowers & Wilkins brand, from our colleagues in manufacturing to our world-class engineering teams in R&D, to produce the very best loudspeakers that we have ever made. I’m incredibly proud of the collective effort that has gone into producing the new 800 Series Signature models and I can’t wait to hear what both reviewers and our customers make of them.”

Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature Loudspeakers in Blue Metallic Lifestyle Angle Pair

Price & Availability

Available from June 28, 2023 from selected dealers, 800 Series Signature is available in two special finishes: Midnight Blue Metallic and California Burl Gloss.

  • 801 D4 Signature (floorstander) – $50,000 USD per pair
  • 801 D4 Signature (stand-mount) – $12,000 USD per pair

For more information: bowerswilkins.com

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. ORT

    June 28, 2023 at 2:48 pm

    I have been clicking my heels together tribus temporibus whilst repeating, “illic ‘nullum locum ut Roma” and hoping like Hades to wake up in the Vatican so I can hit the Pope up for a loan to buy a pair of what has to be the most gorgeous speakers I have yet to see (in “California Burl Ives”).

    No, really. These are it. This is the stuff dreams are made of. The 801 D4 Signature (floorstander) are stunning. The standmount D4 Signatures look equally as superb with the caveat that they appear to have been left in the dryer too long.

    These speakers almost make up for the “Nautilus”. As Kasper Gutman would say, “…but this is genuine coin of the realm. With a dollar of this, you can buy ten dollars of talk”.

    Yup. These are indeed the stuff dreams are made of.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      June 28, 2023 at 3:22 pm

      ORT,

      Sacre Bleu?

      The blue ones…

      Buys lotto ticket.

      Ian

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