CI 800 is the result of an extensive project by Bowers & Wilkins engineers at the renowned Steyning research facility in West Sussex.
Their considerable challenge was to deliver the exemplary quality levels associated with the reference quality 800 Series Diamond – the speaker of choice of major recording facilities such as London’s Abbey Road Studios – in loudspeakers designed to fit into walls and ceilings.
In meeting this challenge, our engineers have introduced some remarkable technologies never seen before in in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.
Carbon braced tweeter
With a break-up frequency of 30kHz, our aluminium dome tweeters already push sound quality well above the upper limits of the audible range. But inspired by what we’ve learned about diamond, we wanted to see if we could do even better. The result is an entirely new type of tweeter dome that was first seen in Bowers & Wilkins high-end PM1 loudspeaker. By bracing the dome with a ring of filament-wound carbon fibre, we’ve raised the break-up frequency of
aluminium to 40kHz. The result is the sweetest sounding tweeter yet heard in a custom installation speaker.
A crossover’s construction speaks volumes about the quality of a speaker. What to look for is simplicity. The rule is, the better the design of the drive units, the simpler the design of the crossover can afford to be. And the quality of the CI 800 drive units is such that we’ve been able to make the speaker’s first-order crossover one of the simplest – and best – we’ve ever produced, using the same exceptional, handpicked components found in the flagship 800
CI 800’s midrange drivers are made from Kevlar™, dyed blue rather than Bowers & Wilkins traditional yellow for a more discreet finish. Kevlar has long been the material of choice for Bowers & Wilkins midrange drive units, because of its unique break up properties.
In CI 800 Kevlar benefits from the addition of Bowers & Wilkins FST drive unit design, and also the Anti-Resonance Plug from the high-end PM1 loudspeaker. The result is pristine midrange performance, with natural sound reproduction, just the way the artist intended you to hear it.
Custom installation speakers offer both advantages and challenges for low frequency output. The nature of securing the baffle into what is often a rock-solid wall provides a stable platform for the drive units to operate. However, because the drive units have to fit into such a thin cavity, specially designed low-excursion drive units have to be designed. CI 800’s dedicated bass units use carbonreinforced Rohacell cones, as found on the 800 Series Diamond, while Bowers & Wilkins Flowport™ technology dramatically reduces unwanted ‘chuffing’ effects at the low end. The result is solid, powerful bass, no matter where you listen in the room.