For the last few weeks, there has been a ripple of a rumor that Bowers & Wilkins (B&W;) was about to release a new product, and now the company has come clean and revealed its new PM1 bookshelf speaker. Designed by Morten Warren's Native - the same people responsible for work on the iconic Zeppelin docks - the new mini-monitors have been veritably crammed with high-end audio technology including a newly designed tapering tweeter, new bass/midrange driver dampening technology, and a shake-resistant internal structure known as Matrix.
Similar to the company's top-end 800 Series Diamond speakers, the new one inch (25 mm) tweeter of the PM1 speaker is mounted on top of the cabinet. A ring of filament-wound, ultra-high modulus, pitch-based carbon fiber stiffens the aluminum dome to raise its break up frequency to around 40kHz, which is said to have a dramatic effect on audible frequencies below 20kHz. B&W; says that the Nautilus tapering tube design soaks up any wandering sound from the back of the driver that could otherwise bounce around and interfere with the sound you actually want to hear coming out of the front.
The center of the PM1's 5-inch (130 mm) bass/midrange woven Kevlar cone driver features a new mushroom-shaped Anti-Resonance Plug that fits snugly inside the voice coil former to help dampen the driver's motion and keep cone break-up to a rich, smooth and refined minimum. The semi-flexible, yellow-colored Kevlar has, of course, been B&W;'s cone material of choice since the mid 1970s, and its use is said to deliver a cleaner sound to a wide group of listeners.
To help produce room-filling sound from a mini speaker, the cabinet benefits from B&W;'s unique Matrix interlocking panel bracing system, which keeps down cabinet vibration that might otherwise throw out some nasty sonic anomalies. The front baffle and curved top panel are made from a mineral-resin-filled thermoset composite material, for additional mass and damping.
The PM1 also features the company's Flowport technology - with the now familiar golf ball dimpling - that's said to cut down on pleasure-ruining noise caused by turbulence in the air as it moves in and out of the port. The electrical processing part of the design has been kept as simple as possible to produce a clean and clear audio signal, and uses Mundorf M-Cap Supreme capacitors. Oxygen Free Copper terminals are fitted to the rear.
Weighing 20.5 pounds (9.3 kg) each, having dimensions of 13 x 7.5 x 11.5-inch (331 x 191 x 293mm) and with a frequency response of 48Hz to 22kHz, the PM1 speakers will be available shortly in a Mocha gloss finish for US$2,800 per pair. Two dedicated stands will also be available for US$550.