Bowers & Wilkins speakers are often considered the best of the best; the big kid on the playground; the prime rib on the menu; the - well, you get the point. These speakers generally abide by the 'if you have to ask, you can't afford them' rule, but B&W seems to be trying to reach a new market with it's new, lower cost CT700 series. These speakers MSRP are one digit less than the average cost of most B&W's, starting out at a cool grand. They still employ though, B&W's tried and true woven-Kevlar cone along with the Nautilus-series tube-loaded tweeter. We wish we could dig up some pics but these matte-black units aren't meant to be seen anyways, instead located behind acoustically transparent screens in custom installations. This series might just be one of the best ways to enter the world of high-end audio, but beware, once your ears hear what a real home theater sounds like; your checkbook is never going to be the same.

[Press release after the jump]

B&W Unveils Compact Custom Theater Lineup; CT800-Series Addition

Downsized Range Retains True Reference Performance

North Reading, MA-September 2007- Bowers & Wilkins' Custom Theater lineup, which brought the world-standard performance of B&W's 800-series Nautilus™ designs to high-end custom-installed home theaters, created quite a stir upon its introduction two years ago. Now the British maker will unveil a new, more widely accessible Custom Theater lineup at the 2007 CEDIA Expo in Denver, Colorado. B&W's CT700 Custom Theater lineup is more modest in enclosure size, and considerably more modest in price than the frankly cost-no-object Custom Theater 800 range-yet it delivers precisely the same kind of jaw-dropping sonic impact, timbral and dialog integrity, and sonic transparency as its larger siblings.

The CT700 comprises three different front/surround-channel options, 10-inch and 12-inch subwoofers, plus an outboard, rack-mounted subwoofer amplifier of 1,000 watts. All five 700-series loudspeaker elements are finished in a durable matte black, being intended for custom-installed concealed locations behind acoustically transparent screens, in custom cabinetry, or built into custom theater partitions. (To facilitate such designs, maximum depth of all CT700 models is 10.5 inches.)

The new CT700 models uniformly employ B&W's well-known, proprietary woven-Kevlar® materials technology in their midrange and low-frequency drivers. There, its unique acoustic properties inhibit unwanted vibrations, for impressive freedom from the colorations that degrade transparency and realism.

To eliminate reflections from projectors or other bright light sources all cones in the CT700 models utilize Blue Kevlar. Similarly, all CT700 models (save the subs) employ B&W's famous Nautilus™ tube-loaded tweeter design to absorb the unwanted back wave from their high-frequency drivers, greatly promoting clarity and detail, as well as its FlowPort™ turbulence-canceling cabinet vents for improved bass definition and dynamic agility.

There are three options for CT700-series front and surround channels. The CT7.3 LCRS is a three-way layout using dual 8-inch Kevlar woofers, a 6-inch Kevlar midrange, and 1-inch cloth-dome, Nautilus-loaded tweeter. The two-way CT7.4 LCRS employs dual 6-inch Kevlar mid/bass drivers with the same tweeter system, while the generally similar CT7.5 LCRS substitutes a single 7-inch Kevlar mid/bass unit. All three CT700 variants are rigorously engineered for precisely matching timbre and overall transient and dynamics characteristics, so that a system may be freely laid out between any combination of models.

The 700-series Custom Theater subwoofers are compact, closed-box designs to facilitate installation in cabinetry or partitions. The CT SW12 utilizes a single very long-throw 12-inch driver composed of a paper/Kevlar composite, while the CT SW10 is proportionately identical using a 10-inch cone. Both CT700 subs are intended for use with their new companion, the SA1000 Subwoofer Amplifier. This deceptively compact (2U rackmount) unit less than 4 inches tall and barely 17 pounds in weight nonetheless produces an astounding 1,000 watts of subwoofer-range power, thanks to its ultra-efficient ICEpower™ Class D amplifier design. The SA1000 also incorporates extensive crossover flexibility, including equalization custom-tailored to the CT700 woofers, delivering deep-bass extension all the way to 18 Hz (CT SW12). Designers may easily specify multiple subwoofers, using each SA1000 to power as many as two units.

All of the Custom Theater CT700 models are supplied in matte black finish, with acoustically transparent, magnetically affixed grilles.

Also at Denver's CEDIA 2007, Bowers & Wilkins will simultaneously introduce a new addition to the Custom Theater 800 series. Like its forbearers, the new CT8.4 LCRS, incorporates the legendary technologies of B&W's 800 Series stand-alone speakers to achieve literally reference-standard performance. The CT8.4 LCRS packs the power to function excellently in front-, side- and rear-channel duties within a complete 800-series custom system. It is also a more compact alternative to the range's CT8 DS side/rear channel speaker for use where space is at a premium. The CT8.4 LCRS' 8-inch Kevlar/paper woofer, 6-inch woven-Kevlar FST midrange, and 1-inch aluminum Nautilus-loaded tweeter yield precisely the same authentically three-dimensional listening experience as its larger siblings.

B&W's newest Custom Theater models will be available from October 2007, at the following manufacturer's suggested prices:

CT7.3 LCRS....................................................... $1,500

CT7.4 LCRS....................................................... $1,000

CT7.5 LCRS.......................................................... $600

CT SW10................................................................ $tba

CT SW12................................................................ $tba

SA1000 Subwoofer Amplifier............................ $tba

CT8.4 LCRS (Custom Theater 800 Series).... $4,000

About Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) is Britain's leading exporter of loudspeakers, and is also the number-one imported brand in North America. Since 1966, B&W's "Quest for Perfection" has resulted in a succession of technical loudspeaker innovations that have satisfied the world's most demanding listeners. B&W's rave reviews and universal acceptance as the monitor for classical music recordings have helped B&W become the dominant premium loudspeaker company throughout the world.

For additional information visit www.bowers-wilkins.com

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Bowers & Wilkins intros 'budget' custom home theater speakers