B&W Flat Panel Speakers
British speaker maker B&W has gotten the jump on the competition with the introduction of three new models of flat speakers designed to mate perfectly with 42", 50" and 60" flat panel displays. The new "Flat Panel Monitor" (FPM) series are the ideal audio accompaniment for LCD and plasma video screens.
The FPM4 is just the right size for a 42" screen; the FPM5 is perfect for 50" models, and the FPM6 matches 60" screens, of course. Each speaker features a three-driver array, with dual mid/woofers flanking a central tweeter. Each can be wall-mounted, shelf- or tabletop-mounted, or floor-mounted with optional stands, and each FPM speaker can also be turned horizontally to function as a center channel speaker above or below a flat-panel display.
B&W doesn't claim to be the first company to produce speakers to match flat-panel displays, but does point out that the FPM series is among the few to offer true high performance. FPM speakers can "deliver true musical and accurate balance, can reproduce the cinematic dynamic potential and all the detail, transparency, and quickness that every serious music and home theater fan comes to demand, regardless of their system's screen type," says B&W executive v.p. Chris Browder.
Part of the sonic secret is that FPM speakers have borrowed some technology from the B&W Nautilus series, specifically, the tapered tube enclosure, said to "almost totally absorb the acoustically destructive back wave, enhancing the driver's vivid transparency and extraordinary detailed treble." The speakers also feature specially-developed woven-Kevlar cones in the low-frequency drivers, and a "two-and-a-half-way" crossover design that lets the speakers generate cleaner mids and deeper lows than might otherwise be possible. Further refinements include a low-noise vent with a dimpled surface claimed to eliminate audible turbulence.
Available in black lacquer, anthracite, or brushed aluminum, the FPM4, FPM5, and FPM6 are priced at $700, $800, and $900 each, respectively.
B&W has also introduced two new 700-series powered subwoofers, the 10" ASW 700 and 12" ASW 750. Both feature woven-Kevlar drivers and are capable of reaching the lowest ranges of the audio spectrum. The larger ASW 750 is claimed capable of exceeding the 700's peak output by 3 to 6dB (two to four times louder), making it the better choice for large rooms. Both models feature selectable auto-power on/off, phase inversion, continuously adjustable frequency range and level controls, and B&W's proprietary "Bass Rolloff Adjustment" that optimizes performance for maximum extension or maximum output. Available in black ash, cherry, rosenut, walnut, and maple finishes, the ASW 700 and ASW 750 are priced at $1300 and $1600, respectively.