BOWERS & WILKINS 804 Diamond


Floorstanding loudspeakers

Unlike the previous generations of B&W’s the new Diamonds are real diamonds. Within its price range they rank amongst the best available loudspeakers and in certain aspects (airy detail, excellent soundstaging, responsiveness and openness) they can challenge even more expensive speakers. The spark thrown by the 804 Diamonds set me afire.

Function and form

Ease of use

The 804’s are three-way speakers. The diamond tweeter is the only driver they share with the standmounted siblings. If you look closer you will notice that usual rubber surround of the midtone driver is missing. In B&W they decided to innovate their Kevlar drivers with FST (Fixed Suspension Transducer) technology that virtually makes the driver surroundless. The bending waves that travel from the centre of the driver towards its rim are cancelled by a special foam suspension and therefore completely absorbed rather than cancelled by sympathetic vibrations that yield another issues like mutual cancellations of sound waves. The new FST Kevlar driver is said to have faster response and much cleaner sound.

Also both 16,5cm woofers feature new technologies. Their cones are sandwiches of a polymer layer and carbon film reinforcements – the material is called Rohacell in B&W’s vocabulary. The bassreflex port fires at a listener from the depth of the heavily braced cabinet that utilizes B&W’s proprietary Matrix technology.

Aesthetically you should not have a problem with any of the B&W’s. The pair I had for this review was in red walnut veneer, however, the catalogue offers black piano gloss finish that can be spotted on the diamond tweeter’s enclosure, which I would have definitely preferred. Should you do not like either walnut or piano gloss, the only other option is cherry.

Bass management


I had a feeling that the Rohacell drivers of the 804 Diamonds were not up to the high standards of the diamond tweeter and Kevlar drivers and their bass is less precise and a bit detached. However, you have to know I am comparing to my Revel Ultima Studio2’s which is a completely different league – in their price range the bass of the 804 Diamonds is as good as the category and budget allows. Still, if you feel that the bass output is too strong or sluggish you can use provided foam plugs to fine tune the reflex ports.

Clarity & delicacy


B&W speakers never suffer from insufficient amount of reproduced detail – the new Diamonds not being an exception. However, there is a significant improvement that is most likely the result of the refinement of the tweeter. Now the detail is less illustrative (i.e. dry) and more sparkling (i.e. enticing). I would dare to say that the highs of the 804’s are something you would not expect from your standard B&W and not at all from a diamond tweeter. With the Diamond the highs are clean, extended and precisely brilliant, I would even say fluid (opposite to digital harshness) like your old vinyl. More important the upper part of the frequency response is seamlessly woven into Kevlar mids and therefore, as you may expect, the soundstage thrown by the Diamonds is expansive in all directions and despite it firmly locks individual spatial elements it still provides a lot of room for the individual instruments to breathe freely.

Tonal accuracy

Temporal resolution

The 804s are lively, dynamic and open sounding loudspeakers. The latest report of John Atkinson of Stereophile nicely speculates that rather than by measured performance the new B&W 800 Diamonds are tuned by human ears. Yes, it is a very correct observation.

Spatial resolution

Soundstage width
Soundstage depth

Apart from the addictive soundstaging capabilities the inner resolution is probably the other very attractive feature of the Diamonds. They use a magnifying glass to highlight microdetails of music material without sounding etchy or overexposed. I liked the way the Diamonds had portrayed soft events like pads of fingers touching strings of an electrical bass in Lucinda Williams’ Fruits of My Labor (World Without Tears). The sounds are harmonically rich and full of colors with the Diamonds (not heard from B&W’s before) including reverbs of a studio’s walls which provide extra information that becomes an unseparable part of the music.

Price as reviewed:160 000,- 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: C.E.C. TL-51XR
  • Amplifiers: power amplifier - Mark Levinson No.432, preamplifier -Mark Levinson No. 360
  • Interconnects and speaker cables: Kubala-Sosna Emotion
  • Loudspeakers: Revel Ultima Studio2



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