Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Signature speakers are definitive Diamonds

posted on Wednesday, 28th June 2023 by Steve May

High-end  Hi-fi  home cinema  Bowers and Wilkins 

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Audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled the 800 Series Signature, hailing them the ultimate version of its acclaimed 800 Series Diamond loudspeaker range.

The new 801 D4 Signature builds on the already reference-standard 801 D4, while the 805 D4 Signature offers comparable refinement in a smaller form factor.

Both models feature performance upgrades based on unique, proprietary Signature technologies not found in other 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers.

At the heart of the 801 D4 Signature lies a rich heritage that traces back to the acclaimed Silver Signature loudspeaker of 1991. Developed as a tribute to the late founder, John Bowers, these new models boast upgraded componentry, luxurious finishes, and a profound attention to detail.

The 801 D4 Signature, the larger of the two models, is a three-way floorstander that draws inspiration from the iconic 801 D4 found in Abbey Road Studios. Building upon its predecessor's excellence, the 801 D4 Signature features the brand's renowned Diamond Dome tweeter and Continuum Cone FST midrange drive unit. What sets it apart are the twin 250mm Aerofoil Cone bass drivers, equipped with upgraded magnets for enhanced performance.

The Signature branding holds immense significance within the Bowers & Wilkins universe. Reserved only for the rare and radically upgraded versions of its loudspeakers, the Signature name stands as a testament to exclusivity and unmatched quality. Since the brand's inception in 1966, a mere seven series of loudspeakers have been honoured with the mark, solidifying their status as the crème de la crème in the world of high-end audio.

Bowers & Wilkins 801 D4 Signature / 801 D5 Signature review

Inside CI had an early listen to the new models at a preview staged at Bowers & Wilkins Worthing base. A variety of music genres revealed astonishing levels of fine detail in the 801 D4 Signature’s presentation, finding resolution in the upper registers that we’ve rarely (if ever) heard before. The depth and spatial cohesion of the speakers is remarkable.

The smaller 805 D4 Signature has a similar revelatory characteristic, but with a more purposeful, relative bass response that makes them incredibly exciting to listen to.

Bowers & Wilkins points to an aluminium top plate beneath the 801 D4 Signature's Turbine Head midrange enclosure as one reason for the greater midrange transparency.

Another is a novel FEA-optimised design of the tweeter grille mesh said to offer superior transparency and stiffness, allowing the Diamond Dome tweeter to unleash its energy while protecting the diaphragm.

The port output of the 801 D4 Signature has also been upgraded, along with the crossover. Constructed from aluminium, the redesigned port ensures a stiffer and quieter structure, minimising unwanted noise and delivering cleaner, more accurate bass reproduction. The new crossover features upgraded bypass capacitors to enhance transparency.

The compact 805 D4 Signature also features an all-new grille mesh that enhances openness and transparency, along with an upgraded crossover with new bypass capacitors. Its bass/midrange motor system has also received upgrades, delivering a cleaner delivery through the midrange and extended bass response. Mechanical revisions to the aluminium top plate arer said to further reduce unwanted noise and vibrations.

Of course, both new models look beautiful. Both the 801 D4 Signature and 805 D4 Signature are exclusively available in two spectacular finishes. The Midnight Blue Metallic paint, reminiscent of the iconic Nautilus, undergoes a meticulous process involving eleven coats of paint and lacquer, machine polished to a lustrous finish. A bespoke blue Leather by Connolly trim on the top plate, completes the picture.

Alternatively, the California Burl Gloss wood veneer showcases unique wood figuring and a luxurious high-gloss finish trimmed in black Leather by Connolly. The sustainably sourced engineered wood from Italian specialist ALPI involves fourteen coats of lacquer!

Available now, the 801 D4 Signature sells for £45,000 a pair (€50,000/ $50,000), and the 805 D4 Signature £10,000 a pair (€12,000 / $12,000).

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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