Few loudspeakers are as revered as B&W's 800 Series, and the British loudspeaker brand has an awful lot to live up to with the announcement of its new D3 lineup revealed at a September press conference. Fans of B&W's long-standing 800 Series will know that it all started some 35 years ago with the now iconic 801 floorstander, which quickly found its way into the homes of audio fans with large listening rooms and deep pockets as well as becoming a studio-standard monitoring loudspeaker in recording studios around the world – including the legendary Abbey Road Studios.
The new 800 D3 Series is the distillation of the 800's 35-year success story and the culmination of a seven-year project with dedicated research and development, advanced engineering as well as endless hours of committed listening by a team of experts put into the new nine-strong loudspeaker line. Even its manufacturing plant in Worthing, West Sussex had to be redesigned specifically for the production of the new series, and as B&W's head of research Martial Rousseau says: "This is not a product update. This is a completely re-imagined entity."
B&W has discovered that some things are best left untouched, however, and the Diamond tweeter module that first appeared on the 800 Series models in 2005 has been retained on the new D3 Series, as it found it impossible to improve on the high level of performance that it already offered, continues Martial.
With four hi-fi loudspeakers already on sale in the newly reimagined series, a £22,500 800 D3 flagship floorstander is planned to join the lineup during Spring 2016. In addition to the hi-fi models that include three floorstanders and one standmount currently on sale, there are four home cinema speakers to take care of centre channel and subwoofer duties in multi-channel setups.
As well as a number of technological, engineering and acoustic innovations, the most radical element of the 800 D3 Series is the transformation of the midrange drive units and the new Continuum composition cone that claims to possess superior acoustic properties, and replaces the seemingly unbeatable Kevlar cones found in its previous series. Bass performance is also improved with the introduction of the Aerofoil cone, which claims to considerably reduce distortion thanks to its new geometry. In addition, the 800 D3 Series sports a slender aesthetic and what is described as a reverse-wrap cabinet crafted from layers of wood, which are curved into shape under intense pressure. Find out more about the new range here.
Want the latest issue of Hi-Fi Choice? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!
Love Hi-Fi? Sign up to our emails for the latest news and special offers!