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 .

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