Bowers & Wilkins’ team of acoustic engineers is constantly pushing the limits of their understanding of audio technology. The result of this dedicated pursuit of perfection is an almost constant flow of technological advances that continue to keep the company’s products (at least) one step ahead of the competition. Here we look at the development of the new Continuum cone.
Bowers & Wilkins engineers constantly challenge current thinking in acoustic technologies. So even though Kevlar was the midrange material of choice for Bowers & Wilkins speakers for 40 years, other options were constantly explored. This exploration included multiple philosophies – such as a completely pistonic midrange – and many new materials.
In 2007, the engineers at the Steyning Research Establishment found a promising design that offered an obvious performance improvement over Kevlar – and in 2015, after eight years of development, the Continuum™ cone appeared on the 800 Series Diamond for the first time.
The Continuum cone’s design is based on the concept of optimised and controlled flexibility. This helps it avoid the abrupt transition from pistonic to break-up mode behaviour that drastically impairs the openness and neutrality of a conventional drive unit. It delivers improved sound but shows continuity of approach with Kevlar. Like that material, it is a woven composite that gives highly controlled break-up.
Continuum is a triumph for experimental work, with more than 70 iterations and eight years of development prior to launch. And it is one of the many reasons the 800 Series Diamond is the best range of loudspeakers Bowers & Wilkins has ever manufactured.