Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Series 804 D4 loudspeaker $12,500 Review
January 2, 2022 § Leave a comment
Having visited Bowers & Wilkins’s research facility and factory in England, I believe their engineers can design a loudspeaker to sound and measure any way they wish. From my experience, not just with the 804 D4 but with the 705 Signature—where I wrote, “I was surprised how much I enjoyed having the Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signature in my system … because the speaker’s measured performance implies a somewhat ‘tailored’ sonic character”—both the 804 D4’s measurements and its sonic signature indicate that achieving a classically flat and neutral tonal balance à la Floyd Toole’s writings was not the design team’s primary goal. Instead, clarity, transparency, low-frequency articulation, and the absence of midrange coloration seemed to have had a higher priority.
Even after I had measured this loudspeaker, the issues I found seemed to step out of the way of the music much of the time. Those port resonances seemed to have very little effect on midrange clarity, and while I was occasionally aware that the resonance just below 4kHz was adding some presence-region emphasis, it did not seem to be excited with most recordings. The extreme toe-in recommended in the manual reduced the audibility of the excessive treble, though the speaker’s high-frequency balance will make system matching more difficult than usual. And combined with the speaker’s high impedance in the mid-treble, it will make tube amplifiers sound overbright.