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 dramatic developments, the Diamond Dome tweeter.
Diamond Dome tweeters are the perfect example of just how far ahead of the game Bowers & Wilkins often is. The dream of an infinitely light, infinitely rigid tweeter dome material was one long held at the Steyning Research Establishment. They just had to wait for practical science to catch up with the theory.
This it eventually did in the form of Element Six, part of the De Beers group and experts in industrial diamond manufacture. The large-scale domes Element Six was producing via its own chemical vapour deposition technique still needed some work, however, as Bowers & Wilkins’ Dr Peter Fryer explains: “We knew the perfect piston was the way to go with tweeters, so how do you achieve that? Working with Element Six we took the enormous domes they were making and we managed to reduce the size.”
The resulting domes were capable of that near pistonic movement so important for accurate treble reproduction. In practice this means clarity, detail and a lack of distortion or coloration well beyond anything heard before… or since.
In fact, the Diamond Dome tweeter was so ahead of its time that, when the 2015 800 Series Diamond range was launched, it was the only major component not to be completely upgraded. The engineers looked long and hard at it, but over a decade after it was first incorporated into Bowers & Wilkins’ flagship range, it remained the best possible solution for delivering pristine treble.