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The party on the patio comes courtesy of B&W AM-1 weatherproof speakers


March 14, 2013

Bowers & Wilkins has revealed a weatherproof loudspeaker named the AM-1 Architectural Monitor

Bowers & Wilkins has revealed a weatherproof loudspeaker named the AM-1 Architectural Monitor

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There are lots of options for enjoying outdoor audio whatever the weather, including TDK's Wireless Weatherproof Speaker, the Eco Terra Boombox and Braven's Bluetooth speakers. If you're looking for a permanent speaker installation, though, high-end audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins (B&W;) says its new AM-1 Architectural Monitors are a little different from standard wall-mounted, weatherproof loudspeakers.

Naturally, the AM-1 monitors deliver the kind of audio performance expected from the company that brought us the gorgeous Zeppelin, the excellent P5s and the PV1D bookshelf speakers. They feature an unusual inverted drive unit configuration, with a 25-mm (1-in) Nautilus tube loaded aluminum-dome tweeter mounted below the 130-mm (5-in) glass fiber bass/mid driver. B&W; says that this ensures optimum audio delivery when the unit is mounted high on a wall.

"When used outdoors, speakers tend to be mounted above the listener, and so we wanted to angle the AM-1's optimum listening axis (i.e. the point where the units operate exactly in phase) down by around 10 degrees," explained B&W;'s senior development engineer Dr John Dibb. "With limited front-to-back driver positioning on this baffle, it was easier to achieve the downward tilt with the tweeter-below configuration."

There's an auxiliary bass radiator to the rear that's claimed to offer an exceptional bass response while also allowing the housing to be sealed against the elements. The glass-filled plastic housing fronted by an aluminum grille has undergone extensive ruggedness and durability testing, including some time in an accelerated salt-spray chamber and outdoor UV accelerated life tests.

Designed for landscape or portrait positioning, each monitor also benefits from a cast aluminum wall bracket with one-plug mounting system, that allows it to be rotated 110 degrees from its center in both directions.

The 310 x 180 x 210-mm (12.25 x 7 x 8.25-inch), 4 kg (8.8 lb) AM-1 Architectural Monitor has a wall-mounted frequency response of 51 Hz - 22 kHz, 86 dB sensitivity, a total harmonic distortion of less than one percent 200 Hz - 20 kHz (86 dB, 1 m), a nominal impedance of 8 ohms, and requires amplifier power of at least 20 W.

The B&W; AM-1 monitors are available this month in either black or white, for US$600 a pair.

Product page: AM-1

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

In terms of the pure appearance of the speaker, the way it mounts and looks, the outdoor weatherability, the overall sound -- heck, even the color -- Radio Shack sold something pretty much just as good in the 1980s; and it cost one-tenth the price.

I realize that there's more TO it than that, in this case, of course...

...but, still... I'm just sayin'.

Gregg DesElms

Lmao, you just compared a Radio Shack speaker to one made from B&W. I'm ashamed for you.

John Howard
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