The Bowers & Wilkins ‘Sound Stage’ aims to bring the intimacy of hi-fi to the masses

When you think of Bowers & Wilkins, you’re more likely to think of an elegant hi-fi illuminating a luxury Manhattan apartment then, say, a huge stack of speakers blasting at a music festival. But the company has decided to meld the worlds of chic audio and gritty live sound with a colossal new PA system premiering as a one-off for Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival, called simply Sound System. And from the looks of it, B&W isn’t kidding around.

Comprised of four loaded speaker stacks, each of which are over 10 feet tall and filled with 12 individual driver enclosures, the Sound System isn’t your everyday hi-fi – nor is it a normal stack of sound blasting cones, if we’re to believe Bowers & Wilkins’ description. In its press release, B&W asks you to to imagine “the best sound you ever heard from a hi-fi,” scaled up to reach 1,000 screaming fans.

To accomplish its goal, the company has stocked each of its new Sound System stacks with some heavy hardware leveraged from its high end gear. Included in each four-way stack are eight 15-inch Rohacell subs based on the company’s CT800 home theater system, eight 10-inch complimentary mid-bass drivers, four 6-inch Kevlar midrange drivers from the 800 Series Diamond studio monitors, and an array of 16 1-inch Nautilus Decoupled Double Dome aluminum tweeters pulled from the company’s “award winning” CM10 floor speakers.

The system also includes B&W’s proprietary Flowport technology, which are dimpled ports designed to “stir up the air close to the surface of the port flare” for higher velocity bass that is powerful, without creating distortion or “chuffing.”

These Frankenstein monsters from the world of high-end audio will make their debut at the Bowers & Wilkins + Boiler Room stage at Primavera Sound in Barcelona May 29-31, blasting out sound from DJs Jamie xx, John Talabot and Pional inside a 1,000 person capacity Igloo tent. So far, B&W has no plans for further shows, so if you want to hear these speakers for yourself, better get your tickets to Spain now.

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