Bow­ers & Wilkins DB1D

“That B&W’s new DB1D sub­woofer is hugely pow­er­ful was not sur­pris­ing, given its 2000W of power driv­ing two 12-inch bass driv­ers. What is sur­pris­ing is the ac­cu­racy of the built-in room equal­i­sa­tion and the ver­sa­til­ity of other set­tings us­ing an iOS/An­droi

Sound+Image - - Loudspeakers -

The DB range un­veiled by B&W in 2017 rep­re­sents the most pow­er­ful ac­tive sub­woofers the com­pany has ever pro­duced. They are pos­si­ble part­ners for the com­pany’s 800 Se­ries Di­a­mond loud­speak­ers, and they use the Aero­foil cones in­tro­duced in that se­ries, the com­po­si­tion of which re­mains, along with most of B&W’s other driv­ers at present, a se­cret, though the prop­er­ties of Aero­foil are touted as ul­tra-stiff­ness com­bined with light­ness, the per­fect for­mula for de­liv­er­ing con­trolled and pre­cise bass. Top of the heap in this flag­ship sub­woofer col­lec­tion is the $7900 DB1D, with not one but two 12-inch Aero­foil driv­ers work­ing in op­posed di­rec­tions to de­liver max­i­mum out­put yet with the min­i­mum of un­wanted vi­bra­tion within a cab­i­net al­ready de­signed for ex­tra­or­di­nary rigid­ity (and avail­able in the same Gloss Black, Satin White and Rosenut fin­ishes that dis­tin­guish the 800 Se­ries D3).

That the DB1D sub­woofer sounds hugely pow­er­ful was not a big sur­prise, be­cause in this all-new de­sign B&W is us­ing 2000W of Class-D power to drive th­ese op­posed cones. What was sur­pris­ing was the ef­fect of B&W’s ded­i­cated iOS/An­droid app, which re­places the usual knobs and di­als to pro­vide con­trol over out­put, to of­fer ‘pre­sets’, and ad­di­tion­ally to as­sist users with set-up wizards and gen­eral trou­bleshoot­ing. Your phone con­nects to the DB1D via Blue­tooth.

This app goes fur­ther, able to adapt the dig­i­tal preamp to de­liver pro­cess­ing such as Dy­namic EQ and par­tic­u­larly Room EQ which proved highly ef­fec­tive; we also like the fact the B&W pro­vides a man­ual set­ting ca­pa­bil­ity (again via the app) so you can over-ride the cor­rect set­tings if you’d rather.

De­spite the se­crecy around ma­te­ri­als, the per­for­mance matches the hype, both the man­ner in which this sub­woofer ef­fort­lessly plumbs the depths of home cin­ema sound, and the rel­a­tive ease with which it’s able to in­te­grate into a stereo sys­tem (and not just along­side B&W speak­ers) given the ver­sa­til­ity of its app and the dig­i­tal rather than ana­logue pro­cess­ing this de­liv­ers. The DB1D is pow­er­ful, agile and in­no­va­tive.

More info: www.bow­ers-wilkins.net

B&W Aus­tralia’s John Martin col­lects the DB1D Award.

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