Bowers & Wilkins: The Official Speakers of Abbey Road Studios
Imagine How They Will Sound in Your Own Home’s Listening Room
Abbey Road studios has a long and fabled history. It is perhaps best known for the 1969 namesake Beatles album, the band’s 11th studio album and the last in which all of them participated. Abbey Road Studios, however, predated the Beatles.
In 1931, the Gramophone Company – the predecessor to British record label EMI – converted what had been a century-old Georgian townhouse into a recording studio. In 1934, the inventor of stereo sound, Alan Blumlein, recorded Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony at the studio. Abbey Road Studios also became known for the innovative recording techniques pioneered in the 1960s by the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Cliff Richard, with the help of imaginative producers and sound engineers like George Martin. Today, the studio is owned by Universal Music Group, one the world’s largest record labels.
Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has a remarkable history of its own, if not as long as Abbey Road Studios. In 1966, John Bowers and Roy Wilkins started building loudspeakers out of a workshop in the back of an electronics shop. In the early days, the firm made public address systems, building their expertise in speaker design. By 1972, the firm had its first research facility with anechoic chambers for detailed testing. Over the decades, B&W has established its name at the forefront of high-end audio reproduction, and in recent years the company has extended its sound know-how into headphones, automobile audio, wireless, and architectural speakers.
For 15 years, Abbey Road Studios used the B&W 800D Mk1 as studio monitors, because of their incredibly accurate sound reproduction. Abbey Road recently underwent the most significant transformation in its history, adding two new studios in 2017. In 2018, the companies announced a new partnership of the venerated audio brands, where B&W is the official speaker and headphone of the famed studio.
Read on to learn more about Bowers & Wilkins speakers at Abbey Road studios. If professional sound engineers at Abbey Road use them, imagine how good they will sound in your Dunwoody-area home’s listening room.
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Upgrading Abbey Road
The B&W 800D Mk1 served Abbey Road well for 15 years. To mark the new partnership between the companies, B&W upgraded the speakers to newer 800 D3s. The way the studio is set up, the monitors were set up in an array of three in front of the mixing consoles, elevated on stands to be at the correct height for the producers and engineers. The studio's refurbishment required the speaker placement to be recalibrated to ensure that the engineer behind the console is in the exact sweet spot. The distances were carefully measured with laser tools, and the sound pressure was carefully calibrated to 85dB at the engineer's position.
It sounds simple, but it is more involved than it seems. The system is for professional use, and sound engineers and producers are the actual "golden ears" of the business. The sound must be accurate. Why do they use three speakers (instead of two) you might ask? One reason is that Abbey Road is now a leading destination for recording great movie scores, with recent ones including Black Panther, The Greatest Showman, and The Shape of Water.
The 800 Series Diamond Line
The 800 D3 at Abbey road is the top of the 800 Diamond Series. This 212-pound speaker is a tour de force of audio engineering. The 13hz low end offers deep bass for both music and film scores, and the diamond tweeter can deliver the high notes without fatigue.
We can talk more here about the B&W 800 Series – and we have – but the best way to experience it is to see and hear it for yourself at our Marietta showroom. We can’t promise you Abbey Road, but we can tell you that we have this and other B&W speakers available so you can listen to their unrivaled overall excellence in sound reproduction.
Reach out to us at (770) 955-8909, fill out contact us here or chat with us on the bottom right to experience the sound of Bowers & Wilkins speakers