Industry firsts – Matrix


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 Matrix.

Bowers & Wilkins’ Matrix™ bracing system has come a long way since it was first incorporated into the Matrix 1 in 1986. The distinctive internal structure braces the external cabinet, reducing resonances in the outer shell and providing a more solid platform for the drive units to do their work.

Considering it was developed in the middle of an intensive research program into materials to make cabinets stiffer, Matrix had quite prosaic beginnings, being inspired by the criss-cross construction of a case of wine given to one of the engineers on his birthday.

Matrix is also counter-intuitive in the way it works. Normally, if you make the cabinet stiffer, theory tells you that the resonances increase in amplitude and occur at higher frequencies – which is not a good thing. But in practice, because there is so much loss in the glue joints and elsewhere, it doesn’t quite work like that. It stiffens the cabinet at lower frequencies but, because of the inherent losses, it doesn’t cause issues at higher frequencies.

800 Series Diamond Matrix

Some 30 years on, Matrix in the new 800 Series Diamond is a very different beast. Gone is the MDF of previous incarnations, replaced with the same thick plywood of the cabinets and extra bracing in the form of steel and aluminium supports at key junctions. The larger 800 Series Diamond models also now anchor their bass drive units directly into an aluminium section of the Matrix that sits behind the baffle – providing an even more solid platform.


  • Scott Moody says:

    I consider myself to be very lucky to have a pair of Matrix 804’s. I used to have them in a home theatre set-up along with a 2000IFS and a pair of DM600i, but for the past decade and a half they have been allowed to shine on their own in a stereo configuration. I think they still sound amazing even after 20+ years! Am I being a bit of a B&W snob, if such a thing exists, as I have been told that I should temper my enthusiasm as there is no way they would sound as good as newer offerings from B&W and others. I beg to differ and use some of Peter Gabriel’s recordings to try and prove my point. Is my enthusiasm correct or am I just behind the times? Thanks….

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    You certainly aren’t wrong in your enthusiasm towards your Matrix 804 set up; a well-loved pair of loudspeakers, many of our customers still hold them in utmost admiration decades later.

    That being said, we have worked hard over the years to continually better our products, by researching, developing and subsequently integrating cutting edge technologies into our newest releases. The result of this work is all to hear and see in our new 800 Series Diamond loudspeaker range. We have combined new technologies in the form of Aerofoil and Continuum cones with brand new Diamond tweeter materials, ensuring that every sonic frequency is given the attention it deserves. These are just 3 of the 868 changes we made from the last 800 Series range, so imagine what a few decades of work sounds like?

    We would recommend visiting your local dealer to see for yourself how our technological innovations have improved the overall quality of our latest releases

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