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 an often-overlooked innovation – Flowport.
Car designers go to endless lengths to ensure their vehicles slice efficiently through the air. If they don’t, not only does turbulence reduce performance, it also increases wind noise. So it is with the reflex port in a loudspeaker cabinet, the purpose of which is to ‘expand’ its internal size, allowing smaller enclosures to produce more bass. If turbulence occurs as the air moves in and out of the port, you will hear extraneous noise and, as you turn the volume up, the bass won’t be as tight and well timed as it should be.
Bowers & Wilkins’ Flowport™ minimises turbulence in the same way as a golf ball. Dimples on the surface generate tiny eddy currents over which air can flow smoothly and, above all, silently. Dimples improve the way the air flows over the surface of any object. In the case of reflex ports, they offer a significant improvement over simply flaring the port ends by reducing airflow turbulence at each end – so you get less ‘chuffing’ noise and less compression at high sound levels.
Flowport is another example of a piece of Bowers & Wilkins technology that has filtered down through almost the entire range, including everything from the first two incarnations of Zeppelin to the new 800 Series Diamond.