Audio Solutions proudly presents Bowers & Wilkins is a British loudspeaker company that produces reference quality hi-fi and home theater speakers. The company name is often abbreviated to just B&W.
Joe Atkins is current owner and chairman. He is the successor to Robert Otto Trunz, who led the company after founder John Bowers died in 1987.
Bowers & Wilkins is based in its home town of Worthing, West Sussex, England.
B&W is part of the B&W Group Ltd, which also includes Rotel and Classé audio (midrange and high-end, respectively).
B&W previously offered a range of electronics (amplifiers etc.) under the Aura brand, but it was discontinued in 1997. Other sub-brands were 'John Bowers' for the Active One loudspeaker and preamp and 'Rock Solid' for a lifestyle speaker range. The B&W 'Blue Room' brand for 'Pod' speakers disappeared as these are currently produced and sold by Scandyna. From 1988 to 1996 B&W ran their own record label.
Audio soultions BW contents:
* 1 Technology, research & development
* 2 Early years
* 3 The 1960s
* 4 The 1970s
* 5 The 1980s
* 6 The 1990s
* 7 The 2000s
* 8 References
* 9 External links
Technology, research & development
Research and development has been a core activity within B&W stimulated and exercised by its founder John Bowers. From the start of the company, earnings were invested in new product development.
In 1982, 18 months after Robert Trunz joined, the company opened a dedicated, purpose-built research center titled 'SRE' or 'Steyning Research Establishment' in Steyning, about 10 miles from Worthing. The buildings were fit for audio-related work since they were previously used by SME, the English tonearm designer who felt the downturn in tonearm sales due to the introduction of the new digital media CD. SRE housed a prototype shop and listening rooms, ranging from semi-anechoic to typical small living rooms. Also available was advanced equipment like a laser interferometer and PDP-11/35 computer.
The design of B&W loudspeaker cabinets has been done by industrial designer Kenneth Grange since 1975. Morton Warren became manager of design in the late 90's when designing the new 800 series of speakers.
Noteworthy loudspeaker innovations by B&W:
* The patented use of Kevlar fibers, impregnated with a stiffening resin, resulting in B&W's distinctive yellow speaker cones started in 1974. This composite material proved to provide controlled rigidity and internal damping, minimizing distortion, as Dr. Peter Fryer determined by using laser interferometry on speaker cones.
* Phase linear transmission was realized in the DM6 from 1976. In the DM6, the speakers are mounted in different vertical planes, resulting in the distinct 'kangaroo' enclosure shape.
* In 1977 the DM7 introduced a tweeter separate from the main speaker cabinet. This has been a feature of many B&W speaker designs since.
* B&W scientist Laurence Dickie invented the 'Matrix' enclosure which reduces cabinet sound coloration. This bracing topology resembles a wine-case, providing multiple thin panel-braces, spaced throughout the enclosure, improving rigidity.
* The 'Nautilus' speaker by Laurence Dickie resulted from research commenced by John Bowers into 'perfect dipoles'. The Nautilus project supported by Robert Trunz who took over from the late John Bowers was one of the most extensive research and development projects undertaken. Instead of open-backed drivers, it uses drivers loaded by reverse-tapered horns, or exponentially diminishing tubes, to absorb the rear radiation. The construction is based on fibre-reinforced plastic enclosures. The result of the distinct speaker shape was a near perfect response and near-zero enclosure coloration.
* The 'Flowport' is an improvement that reduces friction in the air moving through the bass reflex vent. This is realized by covering the surface of the vent with dimples, just like a golf ball.
* The diamond tweeter is developed to create an optimal ratio of tweeter dome mass and material stiffness. The tweeter is grown into shape by chemical vapor deposition.
John Bowers and Roy Wilkins met in military service during the second world war. They discovered a common interest in radio and after the war set up an electronics shop. Rentals became a large part of the business and a service department was established to support this extra business, run by Peter Hayward. Bowers and Wilkins became involved in the supply of public address equipment to schools and churches throughout Sussex, with the result that John Bowers began to devote more and more of his time to the study, design and assembly of loudspeakers. Bowers' designs soon gained a reputation for quality, and before long a small production line was established in workshops behind the shop.
 The 1960s
In 1966, Bowers decided to turn what had begun as a hobbyist sideline into a separate business - B&W Loudspeakers Ltd., at the same relinquishing his involvement in the shop. The first production line was established in the workshops in the shop's backyard.
The 1967 P1 was the first commercial speaker from B&W. The cabinet and filter were B&W's own, but the drivers came from EMI and Celestion. The profits of the P1 allowed Bowers to purchase a Radiometer Oscillator and Pen Recorder, allowing for calibration certificates for every speaker sold.
In 1968, Audioscript in Holland became the first international distributor appointed. The DM1 (Domestic Monitor) and DM3 are introduced.
In 1970, the ionovac-tweeter equipped P2 speakers produced were licensed by Sony, produced in Worthing to be distributed in Japan.
John Bowers decided to develop a loudspeaker wholly built in-house. The sizable DM70 from 1970 combined electrostatic mid- and high range on top of a traditional base unit. The distinct shape of the loudspeaker won a British Industrial Design Award. Good press reviews made exports starting to rise.
In 1972 a new production facility was opened in Meadow Road, Worthing. It housed anechoic chambers and extensive Bruel & Kjaer measurement equipment. The research team investigated into phase linearity and speaker cone construction using laser interferometry.
1972 also saw the introduction of the DM2, a three unit system, comprising an 8 inch bass/mid-range speaker rear loaded with an acoustic line, a Celestion HF1300 tweeter and a super tweeter.
B&W received the Queen’s Award for Export in 1973, and built programme content monitors for the BBC.
The 1976 DM6 loudspeaker introduced Kevlar cones and phase linear filter and enclosure design. The Steyning research facility is opened and a PDP11/35 computer is acquired.
The 1977 DM7 showed a tweeter separate from the main cabinet and a passive radiator.
The 801 loudspeaker, taking 3 years of development, was introduced in 1979. The 801 and following 800 series are a reference standard that, in later incarnations, have been used in recording studios around the world such as Abbey Road Studios, Skywalker Sound and Sony Music Studios - NYC. They are also used by classical music labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips and Decca in their studios to monitor recordings.
 The 1980s
In 1981, Robert Trunz was appointed as marketing director as sales continued to increase, freeing up time for John Bowers to spend with his research team in the dedicated facility in Steyning.
Research into amplifiers and active filters leads to the Active One loudspeaker, branded under the name of John Bowers in 1984.
The 800 loudspeaker range was improved into matrix versions with a very rigid cabinet construction in 1987. .
In December 1987 John Bowers passed away. In the same year, John Dibb joined the company, later to become responsible for many speaker designs, notably several signature models.
In 1988, B&W started the 'B&W Music' record label. Releases were in the jazz, Latin & electronica genres. From 1988 to 1990 B&W sponsored the Montreux Jazz Festival.
 The 1990s
In 1991 Laurence Dickie and Simon Ghahary developed the Pod speaker range in their own company 'Blue Room Loudspeakers', soon to be assimilated in B&W by Robert Trunz. The curvy, rounded design of composite, fiberglass enclosures is radically different from the standard wooden box speaker.
In the same year, the Silver Signature loudspeaker was launched to commemorate the company’s 25th anniversary.
Increasing demand led to by opening an additional production site at Silverdale, Worthing, West Sussex in 1992.
In 1996 Robert Trunz left B&W selling his shares to Canadian conglomerate Equity International. Joe Atkins is appointed as new chairman. The B&W Music label ceased to exist and the Pod speaker brand was transferred to the Danish firm Scandyna. The current Pod range is not produced by B&W and uses ABS plastic instead of composite enclosures.
In the same year, production was further increased at a site in Bradford, West Yorkshire
 The 2000s
Robert Trunz moved to South Africa, continuing the B&W Music label under the name 'M.E.L.T. 2000' and starting the Vivid Audio company. Laurence Dickie joined Vivid Audio as well.
In 2002 B&W moved its Worthing production, warehousing and head office to a new £7 million location on a former landfill site in Dale Road, Worthing. A second plant is built in in Bradford. Under Managing director Paul Stanforth, staff counted around 500.
B&W took over its own production factory for cabinets Agerbæk, Denmark in 2003. In the same year, the Bradford location was left for new premises in Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire. In 2005, Bowers & Wilkins replaced its top-of-the-line N800 range with the new 800D range. The most publicized change was the introduction of diamond dome tweeters on some models 2005 also saw B&W receive the Queen's Award for Innovation for the tube-loaded drivers on the 800's. The EISA Award for European High End Audio Component of the Year is awarded to the 803D. The PV1 receives the European Home Theatre Subwoofer of the year 2005-2006 award. The XT series introduce aluminium as a speaker cabinet material.
2007 saw the introduction of the 'Zeppelin' iPod speaker system.
In 2008, the "Jaguar XF Audio System" was introduced, a car audio setup with 14 speakers and a powered 440 Watt Class AB DSP amplifier
In May 2008, Bowers and Wilkins started the Bowers & Wilkins Music Club - now known simply as Society of Sound, returning the company into the music business. The Society of Sound is a subscription-based music retail site. Albums are currently available in either Apple Lossless or Flac format. The site is a partnership with Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios, and artists to be featured have been Little Axe , Gwyneth Herbert and Portico Quartet.. Former Suede frontman Brett Anderson had his solo album Wilderness released through the Society of Sound before being available for retail.