BOWERS & WILKINS 800 Diamond


Floorstanding loudspeakers

I tried to intimidate the speakers with playing loud music louder than life and expected the woofers’ membranes to hit their stops or hear the cabinets rattling. I tried to demolish the speakers with cannons from Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture on Telarc. I tried to knock on the wood hard. Nothing, they remain as dead as a rock. And that means no distortion.

100% reference

Function and form

Ease of use

The key word for designing the cabinets of the Diamond series was stiffness. The cabinets are not simple boxes - rather they employ a curvaceous shape that provides a sufficiently dead structure with no internal modes at manageable costs. The inertness of the cabinets is further enhanced by using 36mm thick panels and proprietary Matrix bracing. Bowers & Wilkins achieved great rigidity plus great mass that, combined with the damping properties of wood, resulted into a structure that exhibits better properties than an aluminum one. By the Matrix system the already minimum cabinet resonances have been further reduced by 45dB to the silence I described earlier.

The leading edge of the 800 Diamond series is the 26mm diamond dome tweeter confined within its tapered tube. With the diamond tweeters Bowers & Wilkins managed to virtually eliminate the break-up mode by moving it to 80kHz. The issue with the mass of the dome was ameliorated by making the dome only 40 micrometers thin, which was made possible by the vapor depositing technique.

The tweeter is encased in an exponentially tapered tube and it is attached through a hole in its pole to a tube that vents to the rear of the enclosure. This allows the sound energy, radiating from the rear of the dome, pass through the pole piece and disappear without reflecting back. A secondary use for the tube is as a heat sink – B&W claims that the tweeter is capable of withstanding unclipped high frequency peaks from an amplifier rated up to 1 kilowatt with its distortion staying under 0.4% in the critical range.

Furthermore, as the tweeter’s diaphragm moves only by a maximum of 0.5mm it was necessary to isolate it from mechanical energy arising elsewhere in the system. That is why a special elastomer was employed to hold the tweeter and tube in the housing. The whole assembly is then decoupled from the midrange unit by two gel pads to float it free and inhibit any external interference.

Bass management


Dick Hyman’s Topsy (From the Age of Swing) is among my favorite test tracks. It is not the best recorded bass in my collection and as such I never paid a lot of attention to it. Until I have heard it through the 800 and 802 Diamond. It did not become deeper or bigger but suddenly it acquired a different quality: it was dry, fast and dynamic. It could be heard that the speakers’ cabinets do not apparently add any coloration to what was encoded on the disc, that the decay was not longer than needed, that it was not shorter than needed, that Rohacell woofers could bring out the real texture of the bass. It was suddenly clear that fingers were what plucked the strings and that the body of the instrument was what generated the sound. I was very enthralled by what I heard. PW (Peter Wolf, our senior writer) claims that his Wilson Audio Sasha W/P can replay the Dick Hyman’s track even better and as far as the bass is concerned he may be right. I could not compare Bowers & Wilkins Diamond to Wilson Audio Sasha one to one, but I could compare it to Wilson Audio Sophia 3 and the B&W was the speaker that won laurels. When I search my notes I also see another remark: the fabulously recorded bass from The Gods of Jazz (Airto Moreira, Killer Bees) is without any doubts the best rendering of this particular instrument I have ever heard in my room.

Clarity & delicacy


The diamond nautilus, provided that it is fed by other sufficiently transparent components, can do miracles. It has fantastic dynamic capabilities that finely scale any nuance in the music that is played. Thanks to it, the softly woven percussive ornaments of Guitarra de Pasión of Juan Carlos Quintero acquire a complete different level of enjoyment. The caressed conga, shaken maracas, plucked guitar strings transients or dry rattling of seashells and spoons are very real and palpable through the Diamond. The crystalline clarity and speed of the tweeter is almost spooky – the best horn designs come to my mind.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

I could register a very slight lift in the presence region that was only marginally audible with pink noise and a little bit more apparent with some instruments. This is a kind of insistence that I heard in any room with the B&W 800 series and it may be perceived either positive or negative, depending on a benchmark you set. If your hearing locks higher than you will appreciate the mellower character that lends an attractive timbre to male tenors and makes them sound un-hifi and very real, or alternatively, if you stick to the lower midrange as your reference, you will rejoice upon hearing female arias soaring into the sky, maybe higher than we can hear in concert halls. The same presence also makes brass sections so exhilarating like with Harry James Band (Sheffield Gold) – no doubt it was the best rendering I’ve ever heard. The trumpets and horns were fiery, blazing with energy and dynamism and their sheer power resonated through my body.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

I highly recommend spending some time by fine-tuning the set-up of the B&W 800 Diamond in a listening room. Properly positioned they are capable of physical disappearance and throw realistically wide and deep soundstage. Being fed with pink noise from Sheffield Lab’s A2TB Test CD they sounded astonishingly even, free of any lumpiness along the full frequency range. However, they are not near-field monitors as - once you cross a certain distance - the individual transducers start to dominate over the integrity. The critical distance, experienced in five different rooms, seems to be around 1.8m. If you sit closer the mids and highs will fire right into your face. The option is either push the speakers towards the rear wall or move a listening chair a bit farther to arrive to what I call minimum optimum distance which is from 2.4 to 3.5m.

Price as reviewed:525 000,- Kč

Recommended resellers

Eurostar Ostrava, Dobřejovice u Prahy, tel. + 420 323 606 877

Jasyko, Brno, 541 210 108

Profimedia, Opava, 553 759 017

Associated components

  • Sources: Accuphase DP-510, Accuphase DP-78, Classé CDP-300, Rotel RCD-1520 and Denon DCD-2010AE
  • Amplifiers: power amps - Accuphase A-65 a Accuphase A-60, Accustic Arts AMP II MkII, Classé 5300 and Rotel RB-1582; preamps - Accuphase C-2820, Accustic Arts Tube II, Classé CP-800 and Rotel RC-1580, integrated amp - Burmester 082
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Accuphase, Audioquest (Colorado, Niagara and Oak), InAkustik Reference, Homegrown Audio DNA, Furutech Speakerflux, CrystalConnect Reference and Ultra, Krautwire Fractal
  • Power cables: Nordost Valhalla, Furutech Powerflux a Shunyata Research Python
  • Power conditioning: Nordost Thor (modified), Accuphase PS-1220 and Shunyata Research Hydra



Acoustique Quality has been around since early 90’s. The company’s loudspeakers were always close to what can be characterized a good value for money, with a bit of pre-2000 vibe. Speaker by speaker the guys in Acoustique Quality ...

Recommended resellers

AQ s.r.o., Červenka, tel. +420 585 342 232


ANTE Supersonic One

The Supersonics were visually inspired by Lamborghini Countach racer. The functional elegance of the Lamborghini does not come at budget costs and neither the Ante does. The price tag of €160,000 keeps the Supersonics in the company ...

Recommended resellers

Media Control, Bratislava, SK, +421 905 613 928


AQ Canto 5

An experience that moves your soul. This is how Czech loudspeaker manufacturer presents the brand-new Canto range. For the company, the Canto is a milestone, so important that they decided to dedicate a special website to it. The ...

Recommended resellers

AQ s.r.o., Červenka, tel. +420 585 342 232



The Audio Physic’s HHCM midrange drivers are fantastic. The realism of both male and female vocals through the Avanteras is nothing short of magic. The Avanteras skillfully blend a cocktail full of colors, sonority, textures, ...

Recommended resellers

CZ: High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

SK: Platan Audio, Hlohovec / Bratislava, tel. +421 905 409 802


AUDIO PHYSIC Cardeas Plus+

Audio Physic's original Cardeas was like an album of a respected band that was recorded just because  it had to be recorded due to a contract. Not like the album that was recorded because the band wanted to. I sighed with relief that ...

Recommended resellers

CZ: High-End Audio Studio, Praha, tel. +420 224 256 844

SK: Platan Audio, Hlohovec / Bratislava, tel. +421 905 409 802



The Aurum Cantus V6Fs have the ability to dissapear from your ear-view - they move an orchestra to your living room instead and let you bathe in an expanding and transparent soundstage. After listening to the V6Fs you'll find ...

Recommended resellers

Hifi studio MeLissa, Brno, tel. +420 777 04 1313



Should your priority is to blend the speakers with your interior and make them visually disappear, the Avantgarde Acoustic Uno Fino is not for you. I am not in favor of color lacquers on speakers and prefer natural veneers where ...

Recommended resellers

HI-FI studio TYKON, Ostrava, tel. +420 723 449 894

Back to category