Andy Kerr is absolutely in love with music. And Bowers and Wilkins are one of the most admirable music companies in the UK. So, Andy naturally joined them as the Director of Product Marketing and Communications. As he tells us, “B&W have a reputation for individuality. They only make the products they want to make. And they are known for being brave.”

Here is Part Two of our captivating interview…

The Rolls Royce of Audio

Why are your speakers considered the Rolls Royce of audio?
B&W does not deliberately seek to be a luxury brand, but rather a performance brand. So some of the choices that are made drive cost into a product. Diamond is actually used in the 800-series. So expression comes from the no-holds-barred approach. If there is a material or process that will make a difference, then it has to be considered. Additionally, B&W speakers retain their value because they are built well, and they last 30 years or more. 

The Formation speakers are your state of the art wireless line, enlighten us on those.
In 2012, we partnered with Apple but never thought of taking the wireless and putting it into larger products because of loss of quality. So the Formation line solved the conundrum of combining great sound quality and great wireless. To be competitive with the younger generation we have to produce relevant products. So B&W had to develop its own wireless architecture. And eventually, got down to microseconds instead of milliseconds in terms of sound synchronization. Therefore, the listening experience is really authentic. 

Break down the B&W Mini Theater for us?
In the late 2000s, B&W started creating loudspeaker technology for home theater systems. They found that the most convincing experience comes from identical loudspeakers placed in a surround sound environment. So how do you get five identical loudspeakers into a space? The answer was to use five modestly sized loudspeakers and add a higher performance subwoofer to deliver power, quality, and base. This effect blankets the room evenly.

And you even have an outdoor speaker line?
England has all the weather. So, there are challenges with outdoor speakers. The garden speaker needs to spread the sound and create enough energy to overcome those challenges. But they need to look discrete. And to be able to cope with all weather conditions. They must be sealed against water, extremes of heat and cold, and be capable of being left outdoors all year round. 

We have an onsite test for reliability here. As we are close to the sea where we are, we have a speaker that lives on the roof. It is taken down periodically to compare it to its partner that lives indoors. And it holds up excellently. 

How has smart home automation changed your approach to speaker technology?
Consumer expectation of devices has changed considerably. It is expected that devices be multifunctional and flexible. People prefer instant gratification. And if it doesn’t happen then they will find something from someone else. This has also driven more research and development,  better quality, and opened up smart home product possibilities. We stay on the curve but remain true to the B&W perspective and vision. 

Now that home automation is so prominent, what does the future look like for your company?
B&W will remain the same in that we know we can learn more and do more. There’s no such thing as the perfect loudspeaker, so it will evolve but the philosophy will remain the same. Interaction with products will evolve. Voice control is the wave of the future but often you end up shouting over the top of the music, so there have to be other ways of the technology being smart. Like learning technology that evolves pertaining to a person’s behavior, movements, and tasks because it knows that it’s you. More elegantly smart. 

What is your favorite B&W product currently on the market? Why?
The 800 D3. It is remarkable, like a truth machine, allowing you to hear into the soul of the performer. It can take you to different times and spaces and can bring the performer back to life. 

B&W’s National Account Manager, Kathleen Thomas tells us about the Acoustic Architects connection…

Acoustic Architects: When did you first meet Acoustic Architects? 
Kathleen Thomas: I was recently introduced to Acoustic Architects through our wonderful AMI reps in Florida, although they are well known by reputation. 

How are you and Acoustic Architects working symbiotically to meet each other’s needs? 
In our first meeting, we immediately clicked as they share very common goals with Bowers and Wilkins, giving the customer the best possible experience in their home without compromising performance or functionality. They are also warm and fun, and it is always delightful when you can collaborate and bounce ideas off of people that think creatively.

What do you value the most about collaborating with Acoustic Architects? 
Their enthusiasm for their work. It is palpable when you talk to them. They really listen, engage, and learn. That level of engagement is key for any customer looking to open their home to an integrator.

Responsive Living, the term coined by Acoustic Architects founders, Aaron Flint and Spencer Hauldren, is the concept of seamlessly enhancing the client’s unique lifestyle using smart home technology. Responsive Living allows you to interact with your space via touch input, voice command, and predictive automation, placing you in full control of your home.

If you would like to learn more about bespoke audio for your smart home, feel free to connect with us. We will be happy to schedule a demo with you.

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