Plasma Physics – Dr Gary Geaves (Head of Research and Development)

In Steyning we currently have a number of live research projects running.

One that is currently under review is in the area of Plasma Physics. Some of you may remember, though this is a big ask, B&W’s second speaker the P2, which employed a ‘plasma tweeter’. Over the years we have returned to speakers that utilise a modulated plasma. Though they suffer from serious limitations – mainly that producing low frequencies in this way is not possible – they also have characteristics that are appealing, for example audible clarity and purity. Some work has been done in the past to properly understand these devices but a complete model has yet to be established. If a complete model can be found there is the possibility of optimising the performance – particularly the bandwidth. Now, the R&D team know a lot, but the detailed knowledge of Plasma Physics required to develop a model has to come from somewhere else. Fortunately within the Open University, based in Milton Keynes, there are a number of experts in this esoteric area. Therefore B&W is funding a PhD program with the OU to tap into this knowledge. Now, this is not a promise that B&W will produce a plasma loudspeaker anytime soon – this is a long shot project though one with potentially high payback. But it does give an insight into the way B&W approaches R&D.

2 Comments

  • Peter Duminy says:

    Hello Gary,

    I had the great pleasure of working for the B&W R&D Dept. for a number of years way back when it was on Meadow Road, Worthing. I did hear the P2, and thought it sounded awesome. History always repeats itself, so chances are a variation of the tweeter could show up in upcoming products. I am sure whatever form it takes, it will be leading edge!

    Kind regards,

    Peter.

  • james simonetti says:

    if anyone ,including B&W or anyone else needs knowledge in building a Plasma speaker, ask the best ,Dr. Allen Hill of Plasmatronics .

Add a comment

We welcome debate within Society of Sound, but please keep it friendly, respectful and relevant. We have a few house rules which we ask you to abide by to keep the debate intelligent. Read more.
Product enquiry or support issue? Please click here.

Related posts

A history of recorded music at Abbey Road Studios

A history of recorded music in 90 seconds

A 90-second race through time filmed at London's world-famous Abbey Road Studios. Music Remains is a 'Recorded Music Rube Goldberg … Read more

Eupnea, a film by Ilona Sagar and Doug Haywood for Saturated Space

Eupnea: A film by Ilona Sagar for the Architectural Association

This film is best watched with headphones. Sound artist Ilona Sagar, together with Doug Haywood, were commissioned to create a … Read more

Bowers & Wilkins CM10 hifi speaker in White

CM10 uncovered: Senior Product Manager Mike Gough on the science behind the best CM yet

We asked Senior Product Manager Mike Gough about the technology used within the new CM10 speaker starting off with the all-important … Read more