In this review we are going to test new range of subwoofers Bowers & Wilkins DB Series are the most powerful subwoofer company ever produced.
Specifically, we went looking for consumers who bought a subwoofer from the new DB- series from Bowers & Wilkins at one of the country’s dealers . This line has already been on the market for a small year, so there are now some experience experts to be able to make their judgments. The Bowers & Wilkins Benelux team will tour a number of audio stores in the Netherlands and Belgium over the coming months to present the added value of a subwoofer to interested parties. We were already looking for two satisfied customers. That brought us to Frank Beek and Chris de Jong, who both got a DB-model to give their stereo or surround system (in full Dolby Atmos!) An extra push.
Bowers & Wilkins DB series
The DB-series subwoofers from Bowers & Wilkins consist of a number of new variants of the subwoofer, the DB, introduced in 2010. The line is made up of the DB1D, DB2D, DB3D and DB4S. The latter ‘S’ is not a typo, because the latest and somewhat later presented model from the series is in terms of technique and price positioning clearly the junior in the line-up. The ‘S’ stands for Single because the DB4S only has a single driver, while the D of DB’D ‘indicates dual or two drivers.
The models are characterized by a high degree of control and an excellent impulse response. That makes the series suitable for almost every application – that’s how we learned from Jamie’s review. “Yes, many stereo setups will also be enriched by this whopper. Immense air movements are not a problem, but that tight control, that’s what we’re looking for!”
The DB1D subwoofer is with a price tag of 4450 euros, a weight of 43 kilos and on board and 2000W Hypex amplifier the most powerful of the bunch. The other two D-models are equipped with 1000W amplifiers and thus somewhat more compact and cheaper: the DB2D costs 3450 euros, the 3D is priced at 2450 euros. The 26 kilo ‘light’ DB4S finally also has 1000 watts of power, but only costs 1600 euros. Finishing is available in high-gloss black, satin white and rosenut.
In the video above, Bowers & Wilkins presents the 3 ‘D-models’ to you, the DB4S was introduced a bit later. The entire series can be controlled with a completely new app, linked to an automatic EQ feature. It can be used on iOS and Android devices. The app takes measurements through the microphone of your phone, in order to ensure the best adjustments. Thanks to that built-in EQ feature and tuning via the app, the integration of the sub in your room is very easy.
At the buyers home
All right, so far the background and technical specifications, time to let some end-users speak. We spoke with Frank Beek, who combines his DB4S subwoofer with a set of Bowers & Wilkins 805 D3, ‘those with diamond tweeters’, connected to the Marantz 11 series: the PM11S3 and the SA11S3. A serious stereo setup, and that is exactly the purpose of the set. Frank: “I have connected the set to the TV via HEOS before, but in practice I hardly use it.”
“I’ve done it once, but I’m not enthusiastic about it. The quality of TV audio is so bad, and my listening room is really dedicated to music playback. “In stereo, that is. The cabinet that houses the entire set, including the speakers, is custom made for it.
Portraits Frank and Chris: Sijmen Hendriks
Frank is an architect and interior designer, so the layout of the listening room was devoted to him – as we can also note from the image. For the acoustics, the furniture is made of bamboo, with extra thick plates. “The question is then whether this will be the same as, for example, a brick wall, a bit of a gamble, but it has worked out very well.”
On the pictures you can see that the whole is not set up everyday. For the technical aspect there was help from the Remkes team, where the equipment comes from. “I bought the whole set from Robert, after I had made extensive acquaintance with the performance of this combination at the Eindhoven store.”
“A set that really makes me happy – daily”
Strikingly, he initially wanted the Rotel side – “the installation of my son sounds great” – where the choice for a loudspeaker brand was still open. But during the search the Marantz combi always surfaced. Also with the other specialists where Frank went to listen, as with Stassen in Tegelen, where Bowers & Wilkins was on the list. At Remkes, the amplifier and CD player of the Japanese brand also sent together a pair of Bowers & Wilkins models from the 800 series. Frank was sold. “Very special. Typically that the combination that you encounter in multiple places is also the sound that I am looking for. ”
“I did quite a lot of installations, including Onkyo, and in the living room I have a set of Bang & Olufsen, but as good as this did not sound.” The 805’s are now a year, the sub is only there a few months ago. Why is that supplement in the low? Frank: “It’s a new model, with this set I did not have a sub before. I have experience with it, in the living room that ‘die’ of B & O is there, but I was already very satisfied with the result. When Robert (Remkes, ed.) Came over to listen to it again, he suggested trying it. ‘Take one with you, just test it out’. But his previous advice was always striking, so I dared to take it too. I said that he had to order one. That became the DB4S. ”
“The point with a subwoofer is that it can also be too much, like: ‘it is still annoying to hum.’ Of course that also has everything to do with who the listener is, and what you care most about. Some just do not hear the difference either, or have not experienced how much better it can be.
“The quality of the set was already very good here. Partly because of this, we came out on the 4S: from the idea that for such an adult installation you do not need a very heavy subwoofer anymore. The price-quality ratio is therefore great, more than worth the investment of the relatively limited 1600 euros. I mainly play pop music, where the ‘punch’ of a bass drum or bass guitar is really important. The sound picture is more complete. It’s a set that really makes me happy – daily. ”
Perhaps the correct adjustment and adjustment also plays a role in this. That is very easy with the app, but here too Robert Remkes offered a helping hand. “I did look and compare and talk with him in fifteen minutes, but in principle it happened.
“That’s the big difference, that’s where the sub really puts an exclamation mark behind”
“The big difference is that I’m busy with B & O, and not here. It is one whole. For example, that other setup is also very sensitive to where I am going. You have to search a bit for a place where you actually experience the low tones. That was in one place, but in other places that disappeared again. The combination with these speakers is important. What the speakers do and what the sub does. With the B & O set there is a clear gap between the sub and the center of the speakers, but with the B & W set it is one total sound. That is the big difference, that is where the sub really puts an exclamation mark behind it. ”
“Several people had already heard the set and loved it, before purchasing the sub. But I am very happy that I have tried out the added value of such an extra speaker. Because you think you already have ‘it’, but it can be even more violent. ”
From stereo to surround
That the right supplement to a system is paying off, Chris de Jong also knows the great thing about it. And that while the goal with his set was very different; no extensive music sessions on a Luxman record player like with Frank, but an arrangement exclusively for home cinema. A set consisting of twelve different loudspeakers, all with the Bowers & Wilkins logo on the back. Whether the set is also used for music? “The cleaner sometimes internet radio during the cleaning …”, it is mainly films and series where the set can let go of its audio violence.
Just counting: two front channels, two side channels, two rear channels, four built-in speakers in the ceiling, an HTM71 center speaker and the new sub, the DB2D – that indeed makes twelve speakers. And not the least, because the front channels are two 702 S2 floorstanders, while a set 706 S2 is placed in the back of the room. All in beautiful ‘Mercedes-white’, the same white that decorates the cars of the transport company of Chris and his partner.
In the case of pure coincidence, Marantz also manages this: the brand-new SR8012 can take the whole system in tow, including the custom install units in the ceiling. And here the DB model was brought in to replace an existing sub: a REL 7 series, which was found to be too light in combination with a Denon model that was also replaced. “The Denon (7200WA, ed.) Was replaced twice, because for the 4K beamer (JVC DLA-Z1) the model was actually not sufficient. That new beamer was a new Marantz, and it was already the desire to expand with new speakers. ”
Bowers & Wilkins loudspeaker family
For the latter iEar ‘was the supplier of service. “My partner knew someone who did a lot with music and also had Bowers & Wilkins himself. An online search specifically on that brand brought us quickly to this case in Tilburg, you can see that they do very well on the internet. That annual show in the football stadium definitely plays a role. We listened a lot and ended up on the 600-series, with the 686 S2 behind and the 684 S2 front. ”
But wait a minute, the 600? We see clearly a number of brothers from the newer and higher positioned 700 series? “Yes, all new indeed. My partner is pretty fickle, nice upgrade right? We once had a 5.1 set from Harman Kardon, it’s getting more and more interesting. ”
“The difference with previous combinations is enormous”
Well, although the set, the control and the many possibilities offer more than enough material for three articles, we are of course mainly interested in the latest purchase, the number two of the DB-subs line-up. All speakers are manually adjusted from the Marantz, the installer of iEar ‘has everything tuned, but specifically for the subwoofer is the B & W app used. “Piece of cake, and it sounds excellent.”
What is the greatest added value of this purchase? Chris: “The difference with previous combinations is enormous. It sounds so good in this room. You really feel the presence, the vibrating, and the role of the low is harder and better without having to really turn the volume up. And even though it is a semi-detached house with neighbors who are rarely at home, the drone does not become disturbing. ”
“In addition, it is also a design choice, the model fits much better with the rest.”
Bowers & Wilkins DB series: more information
If you want to know more about the four subwoofers from the DB series, check out the Bowers & Wilkins website. In addition, representatives of the brand currently travel (April to June) to dealers in the country with the Bowers & Wilkins Subwoofer Tour.
This article was created in collaboration with Bowers & Wilkins Benelux