Bowers & Wilkins’ team of acoustic engineers is constantly pushing the limits of their understanding of audio technology. The result of this dedicated pursuit of perfection is an almost constant flow of technological advances that continue to keep the company’s products (at least) one step ahead of the competition. Here we look at one of our most recent innovations – the solid Turbine Head found on the 800 Series Diamond.
The development of the Turbine Head in the latest 800 Series Diamond is in many ways the perfect illustration of how the Steyning Research Establishment works. The acoustic team were convinced that the Marlan® head used on previous 800 Series loudspeakers could be improved, and set about doing so.
The latest 3D printing technology allowed rapid prototyping of different shapes for the proof of concept. The old head was modelled and printed, and then the new concept head was created in the same way. While neither was in its finished material, a direct comparison was made possible for technical measurements using up-to-the-minute computer modelling, and the advantages of the new shape were made readily apparent.
The engineers also decided that they wanted to replace the Marlan of the older heads with aluminium for thesame reasons. Solid aluminium prototypes were cast by a local foundry, so that the team could listen to the differences and, from then on, numerous iterations and countless hours of computer modelling led to the perfect solution: the Turbine Head.
The new head is more solid and less resonant, and the new, slimmer shape aids sound dispersion. The internal fins also provide improved rigidity and reduce mechanical resonance to a bare minimum. It all lets the new Continuum cone drivers produce cleaner, more precise midrange sound, and it also has the advantage of being scalable – allowing the development of the smaller 803 D3 headed loudspeaker.