Day in the Life of a Development Engineer – David Blakeman

I am one of the newest members of the Bowers and Wilkins R&D Team, and have worked here for two and half years. All the loudspeaker systems we produce are designed at the R&D establishment in Steyning. As a development engineer I am responsible for the development and design of loudspeaker systems.

To produce great sounding loudspeakers, many steps are taken to optimise the loudspeaker drivers/systems before any listening sessions take place. This is carried out through rigorous measurements and with the large experience of the team.

One of my day-to-day tasks is to measure and evaluate loudspeaker drivers/systems using a ‘Distortion Analyser’ and ‘Maximum Length Sequencer’.

The Distortion Analyser measures various parameters: small/large signal parameters, distortion products plus many more, and allows the causes of distortion to be reviewed, and simulations of drivers/systems to be carried out.

The use of the Maximum Length Sequencer’ in conjunction with an anechoic chamber allows the frequency response, harmonic distortion, electrical impedance and phase response to be measured in free-field conditions. These measurements give a good insight into the performance of a loudspeaker driver/system, but are by no means the only measurements we use.

Once the systems are optimised they are ready for listening. Listening is carried out in a specially treated listening room at Steyning and also across various other sites. Listening is an important part of the development process and it allowing fine-tuning of systems and cross-over components.

As a development engineer I also have to liaise with all the different parts of the company: our purchasing team when ordering sample, production team to discuss the manufacturing of prototypes and marketing team to discuss specs of systems and to give demonstrations. We work closest to the research team who are always generating ideas which need developing in to prototypes and potentially future technology.

I really enjoy working at Bowers and Wilkins R&D establishment. The unique working environment means my work is varied and interesting. Also the atmosphere is a friendly and happy one.


  • Glenn Rowden says:

    I proudly own a pair of 605 s2 and one LCR6 S2 for my centre
    .. Presently, I drive these with a Denon 3208 for home theatre . The sound is great , how ever , for two channel this amp is pathetic . I am attempting to find the combo , integrated , or pre/amp/amp , that will make these speaker SING as well as they do for 7.1 . To date I have tried Adcom cd , adcom gfa555mk2, Conrad Johnson pre amp : Adcom cd, Simaudio moon integrated . These two were weak in attack , bottom end, mid was hollow and layers were missing , thin , .. Rotel 1072 cd, 1082 pre amp 1092 amp were the best for this price point . At the 12 0’clock setting , the sound was stained, too loud for me but was willing to test.

    What could you suggest (with out deliberately ) advertising . I can get no straight answer from B&W dealers ..of course they want to sell what they have the most of ! . I love these speakers and am not willing to throw in the towel and replace them yet. Were these speakers designed for 2 channel and just happened to work very well in Home Theatre or are they primarily for .H.T. You may not imagine how frustrating it’s been to find a resolution .
    David ….Please give this your best shot

    Many compliments in advance

    Glenn Rowden
    Victoria B.C. Canada

  • speedyp says:

    I am looking to start an 808 club. I use two sets. One mirrored left and right to make one channel in a two channel system. Thats four 808, two each channel. I use four mono block amps. One each speaker. One Bryston 7bsst C series transistor and One Cary CAD-100 Tube Monoblock in triode per channel. Each amplifier has a quality wire being fed from a Copland tube preamp which is fed by either a Sony 9000 or a Quad core computer using silver innterconnects. Each amplifier has a quality wire feeding each speaker array, the 32 mm tweeter, the two kevlar midrange, the two 15 inch woofers. Thats a total of 4x 32 mm tweeters, 8x kevlar midrange, 8x 15 inch woofers. Yes one can become instantly deaf. I chose to find the right SPL and the current from the preamp feeding each amplifer feeding each speaker is very very very good sound At low SPL different instruments come out of each speaker.Just a bit too loud and everything becomes more homogenized. Too low and everything becomes hogenized. Just the right SPL and I am in heaven. I listen to macintosh, Sony BlurayES Altec 604e and TAD in my shop and the 808 sound like nothing I have heard before. If you are an 808 owner please contact B&W to contact me. I give my permission to do so. The 808 must be made again. It is just too good a speaker that was decades before its time. Speedyp.

  • nelson balaguera says:

    I see an interesting work I did for my thesis to graduate as a sound engineer, the document is in Spanish and focuses on a study of a speaker built in England known as a transmission line.


  • nelson balaguera says:

    and my email Is
    Bogota Colombia

  • Matt says:

    I am quite jealous of your current position. How does one go about inquiring about employment opportunities at B&W? Thanks for the assistance!

    Matt Sibley
    Houston, Texas, USA

  • Lance k says:

    I just got a pair of 808’s and could use some guidance in amp matching and set up. Please send info regarding your club, and join mine austin hi fi society on facebook

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