Bowers & Wilkins announces new, larger UK R&D centre, ramps up staff and facilities

posted on Thursday, 10th May 2018 by Steve May

High-end  Hi-fi  home cinema  Corporate 

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Bowers & Wilkins is relocating and expanding its UK research and development centre. It says the move represents a significant investment to expand the team and their ability to develop new capabilities and technologies across its range of high performance home speakers, headphones and car audio.

The new facility will be called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE), and will be based in the West Sussex town of Southwater. The new SRE replaces its predecessor, the Steyning Research Establishment, but “keeps the same initials as a tribute.”

That so-called ‘University of Sound’, established by John Bowers in 1981, is where the brand developed its legendary Nautilus speakers, he Zeppelin, the 800 D3 and the PX noise-cancelling headphone, as well as innovations such as the Diamond tweeter and Continuum and Aerofoil cones. In celebration of John Bowers, the building will feature a near recreation of his original listening room.

“For more than 50 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been defined by cutting edge acoustic technologies complemented by beautifully designed products,” says Gideon Yu, executive chairman and CEO at Bowers & Wilkins. “Inspired by John Bowers’ quest for what he called ‘True Sound’, our engineers are dedicated to honoring and continuing that legacy today. The new SRE is an extension of our rich sound engineering tradition. It is designed to further the mission of crafting products that deliver incredible sound experiences and beyond to our customers and consumers.”

The new facility will be more than twice the size of the original, at nearly 30,000 sq ft (2,750 sq m). Scheduled to open later this year, it will accommodate multiple anechoic chambers, an increased number of listening test rooms, and a suite of product testing and engineering labs. There will also be dedicated Headphone and Automotive Audio Labs.

Building up to the move, Bowers & Wilkins has increased the size of its R&D team by 40 per cent over the past two years.

“Bowers & Wilkins’ commitment to audio excellence, precision craftsmanship and innovation has allowed us to stay true to our promise of delivering the highest quality and most accurate performance audio possible,” comments  Ken McAlpine, Chief Technology Officer at Bowers & Wilkins. “The team at SRE has more than 300 plus years of combined sound engineering expertise. The investment in the all-new SRE will ensure that our dedication to innovation continues for the next 50 years and beyond.”

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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