CI 800 sets the standard for high-performance custom installation loudspeakers. The three-model range introduces some remarkable technologies never seen before in in-wall and in-ceiling speakers. Providing pristine, audiophile sound, from speakers that disappear into your environment.
With a break-up frequency of 30kHz, our aluminium dome tweeters already push sound quality well above the upper limits of the audible range. But inspired by what we’ve learned about diamond, we wanted to see if we could do even better. The result is an entirely new type of tweeter dome that was first seen in Bowers & Wilkins high-end PM1 loudspeaker. By bracing the dome with a ring of filament-wound carbon fibre, we’ve raised the break-up frequency of aluminium to 40kHz. The result is the sweetest sounding tweeter yet heard in a custom installation speaker.
The tweeters in all CI 800 models are Nautilus™ Tube Loaded designs, and are fully de-coupled from the rest of the speaker assembly, as in the 800 Series Diamond. This ensures that any vibrations from the LF units do not create unwanted colouration to the tweeter performance. Again, this adds to the audiophile performance of this remarkable custom installation range.
CI 800’s midrange drivers are made from Kevlar, dyed a discreet blue rather than Bowers & Wilkins traditional yellow for a more subtle finish. Kevlar has long been the material of choice for Bowers & Wilkins midrange drive units, because of its unique break up properties. In CI 800 Kevlar benefits from the addition of Bowers & Wilkins FST drive unit design, and also the Anti-Resonance Plug from PM1. The result is pristine midrange performance, with natural sound reproduction, just the way the artist intended you to hear it.
Custom Installation speakers offer both advantages and challenges for low frequency output. The nature of securing the baffle into what is often a rock solid wall provides a stable platform for the drive units to operate. However, because the drive units have to fit into such a thin cavity, specially designed low-excursion drive units have to be designed. CI 800’s dedicated bass units use carbon-reinforced Rohacell cones, as found on the 800 Series Diamond, while Bowers & Wilkins Flowport technology dramatically reduces unwanted ‘chuffing’ effects at the low end. The result is solid, powerful bass, no matter where you listen in the room.
One of the biggest challenges facing Bowers & Wilkins engineers in translating the high-performance of the 800 Series Diamond to the CI 800 range was ensuring a consistency of acoustic volume. A great deal of time has been spent optimizing materials to get the stiffest possible structure, and listening to the results. The back boxes are also fully Matrix™ braced, for extra rigidity and improved performance. Installers have also been listened to, so the back boxes feature bi-wireable cables that are guided to the terminal panel through tubes. The back boxes also connect to the baffle electronically, with a multi-pin connector.