Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bowers & Wilkins Launches PM-1 – A New Compact High Performance Two-way Monitor

Executive Summary:
 Two-way Compact Reference Monitor Priced Below 800 Series
 Carbon Braced Metal Dome Nautilus™ Tweeter
 Foam Damping Cap For Bass/Midrange
 Matrix™ Reinforced Cabinet
 Mineral Loaded Resin Baffle
 Oxygen Free Copper Terminals
 Mundorf M-Cap Supreme Oil Capacitors
 $2,800 / pr.
 Optional matching stands - $550 / pr.
 Shipping Late June 2011

N. Reading, MA—June 2011—Bowers & Wilkins’ 805s were the favorite “go to” product for a very long time for audiophiles considering a compact two-way speaker in the $2,500 - $3,500 price range, states Doug Henderson – Vice President Sales & Marketing. “When B&W upgraded the entire 800 series to Diamond status last year, we made Diamond more affordable than ever in the form of the 805D, but also vacated an important price point. Many dealers were quick to tell us that we needed to fill the gap.”

“Merely “filling a price-point gap” has never been B&W’s raison d’être, however. Our engineers were issued the challenge to develop a new reference standard at the $3,000 mark. I am proud to say not only did they rise to the challenge, but they surpassed all of our expectations by a wide margin! Introducing the Prestige Monitor 1, PM-1 for short.”

The PM-1 features several new technological innovations that account for unprecedented performance in its price range. At the top of the list is a new Carbon Braced Tweeter high frequency driver, which features an aluminum dome that has been strategically stiffened with a ring made of filament-wound Ultra High Modulus Pitch based carbon fiber. This construction technique pushes the breakup frequency of an aluminum dome up to 40kHz. Of course, these wavelengths are well above the limits of human hearing, but as with the 800 Series Diamond tweeters, the design provides a marked reduction in distortion at audible frequencies below 20kHz, and results in the sweetest sounding non-Diamond tweeter we’ve developed yet. As with the 800 series models, this tweeter is completely outboard the bass/mid enclosure in its own tapered tube housing.

Like the 800 Series Diamond tweeter, the drive unit also uses the same new surround material that gives wider dispersion at higher frequencies. This wider dispersion preserves the harmonic structure of instruments and voices and enables the listener to pinpoint the position of the performer with greater accuracy and stability.

Another component that has undergone substantial improvement is with the bass/midrange driver. Our Kevlar® cone driver is renowned for its ability to deliver clarity and detail at mid frequencies. New, though, is the Foam Damping Cap (FDC) in the center. Unlike the majority of dust caps, this mushroom-shaped device is a tight fit inside the voice coil former. The stiffness and resistance properties of the foam are adjusted to damp down the tendency of the coil former to go out of round under the influence of cone break-up modes. Damp the motion of the former and you also reduce the cone break-up with a commensurate reduction in sound overhang. This accounts for the desired “slam” without the unwanted bloom of lesser bass drivers. You will be surprised at the bass clarity and impact from such a compact speaker, I assure you.

No less attention has been paid to the crossover, which is critical to the overall balance and smooth response of the system. For the PM-1, we have taken a few leaves out of the 800 Series Diamond design book by adopting oxygen-free copper for the conducting path of the terminals and Mundorf M-Cap Supreme Oil capacitors in the minimalist crossover. The addition of oil reduces microphony effects inside the capacitor – the tendency that all components have to convert small mechanical vibrations into low-level electrical signals that can reduce clarity.

The cabinet itself is a work of art, with clear echoes of the 800 Series. At B&W we pioneered extreme cabinet bracing with the introduction of the original Matrix™ cabinet back in 1985. We have continuously evolved this design over the years and have developed cabinet designs that reduce mechanical vibration down to infinitesimal levels. The PM-1 is a superbly advanced example, using the latest generation of Matrix interlocking panels, curved cabinetry, and a mineral loaded resin baffle. Tap anywhere on the enclosure to prove to yourself how quiet it is. As you know, an inert enclosure translates directly to low coloration sound.

The PM1 offers a compelling blend of new technologies and features that have been adopted from the flagship 800 Series Diamond. The result is an exquisite two-way loudspeaker that is far more than the sum of its many impressive parts. We believe it will set the performance bar at its price tier higher than ever before, and allow listeners in smaller spaces or with budget constraints to experience much of our flagship 800 Series performance in a package that suits their needs.

The PM-1 is available in a Mocha Gloss finish with an optional matching stand. Suggested retail is $2,800 per pair. Stands are $550 per pair. Available late June 2011.

About Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is Britain’s leading exporter of loudspeakers, and is also the number-one imported brand in North America. Since 1966, B&W’s “Quest for Perfection” has resulted in a succession of technical loudspeaker innovations that have satisfied the world’s most demanding listeners. B&W’s rave reviews and universal acceptance as the monitor for classical music recordings have helped B&W become the dominant premium loudspeaker company throughout the world. www.bowers-wilkins.com