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

Acoustic Holography – Dr Gary Geaves (Head of Research & Development)

Acoustic Holography – Dr Gary Geaves (Head of Research & Development)

Recently we’ve been looking into the subject of acoustic holography. With this technique, a set of acoustic measurements made in one … Read more

Bowers & Wilkins Sound Lab thumbnail

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 … Read more

Debate_podcast

Podcast: Is Studio Recording Killing Music?

Sparked on by a love of classic record producers such as Phil Spector, Joe Meek, and Sam Phillips, Bowers & Wilkins got together … Read more