B&W PM1 makes its world debut

6 Jun 2011

B&W PM1

We got an inkling B&W was up to something a few weeks ago when an eagle-eyed poster on our Forums spotted top-secret info about a new B&W mini monitor on the web.

Before long, B&W's PR machine swept into action and had the offending material removed.

Now we can officially reveal that the speaker in question is the new PM1, fitting in between the CM series and flagship 800 Diamond range at £1995 a pair.

B&W PM1 £1995
B&W PM1 £1995
B&W is at pains to point out this is purely a stereo model designed exclusively for music and – for now at least – there will only be a single standmounter. So definitely no centre, rears or subwoofer for home cinema use.

"There's no market for a fourth, full B&W range," says product manager Mike Gough, although we got the impression their might be the possibility of a stereo floorstander in the future if the demand is there.

So why did B&W decide to develop a small speaker? "We didn't want to have a large range of products catering for home theatre as well as two-channel audio," explains Gough.

"We decided we wanted a loudspeaker that specialised in stereo and concentrated our effort into producing an exquisite small speaker. Small moniitors image very sweetly. This isn't a replacement  for the 700 series, think of it more as a smaller 805S."

B&W PM1

A huge amount of development work has gone into the new model, which was created in conjunction with design firm Native, which also worked on the Zeppelin, Zeppelin Mini and P5 headphones.

For starters, the PM1 has a carbon-braced tweeter (see above) – its aluminium dome is stiffened with a ring of filament-wound, pitch-based carbon fibre. This raises the break-up frequency  of the tweeter to 40KHz.

The tweeter mechanism itself is mounted on top of the cabinet, as on the 800 Series Diamond, and uses a Nautilus tapering tube.

B&W PM1

Sitting below the tweeter is a familiar Kevlar cone bass/midrange driver as used on the CM1. However, this one has a new anti-resonance plug: a mushroom-shaped device made from rigid EVA that fits tightly inside the voice coil former, helping to dampen resonances in the cone.

As for the cabinet, it uses B&W's Matrix bracing system for improved rigidity. The front baffle and curved top panel is made from a thermoset plastic composite with an extra layer of mineral-filled resin on the back for additional mass and damping.

The crossover is kept as simple as possible, to maintain the purity of the signal, and uses Mundorf M-Cap Supreme capacitors. Oxygen-free copper speaker terminals are fitted on the back of the cabinet.

B&W PM1

Pricing and finishes
Initially the B&W PM1 – £1995 per pair – will be available in a Mocha Gloss finish, with a Burgundy version to follow [EDIT - B&W has since stated this second finish is no longer scheduled]. The optional PM1 stands are £400 extra.

Expect to see the PM1 in a B&W dealer near you this July. We'll have a full test in our Temptation section in the coming months.

Tech specs

In the meantime, here are the raw tech specs for you to chew on.

Type - Two-way vented-box system

Drive units - 25mm (1in) reinoforced aluminium dome tweeter; 13cm (5in) woven Kevlar cone mid/bass driver

Frequency range - -6dB at 42Hz and 60kHz

Frequency response - 48Hz-22kHz +-3DB on reference axis

Sensitivity - 84dB spl

Nominal impedance - 8ohms (minimum 5.1)

Crossover frequency - 4kHz

Recommended amp power - 30W-100W into 8ohms

Dimensions (HxWxD) - 33.1x19.1x25cm (29.3cm including grilles/terminals)

Stand dimensions (excluding spikes) - 62x26.8x30cm

Weight - 9.3Kg

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Comments

Just had the best hi-fi moment ever. Audtioned these a little while ago and they were fantastic, so took my wife to do the same. Yes, she said 'incredible' & 'gorgeous sound' ampngst others, really enthused. She asked 'what colour can you get them in?', dealer says ' they only come in this finish' she says 'Let's go' and walks out'. You should have seen the dealers face, absoloutely priceless.Smile

OK, some clarification. It seems the mention of the Burgundy finish was premature - plans had not been finalised for a second finish, and at this stage there are no plans to produce one. We will amend our copy accordingly.

We were told by B&W at the original, pre-release briefing that the initial finish would be joined by a second, burgundy finish at a later date - but this seemed to be a last-minute decision by the company, as the press literature we received only mentioned the one finish. I will follow up with B&W next week to see if we can get more info.

 Hello,  Do you have any information on the burgundy finish ?

I had a listen to them a few days ago, they are simply superb.. We had it setup with Musical Fidelity 500 power amp and matching CD player. Detail, imaging and bass were just wow for money. The bass was the thing that really left me amazed how is that little driver making such good bass response. We checked twice to make sure the sub woofer in the room was switched off. It felt like a floor standing speaker crammed into a bookshelf.

We had 805D's in the same room, so we thought hey while we're here lets do some blind tests (as you do). The PM1's which were fresh out of the box sounded better to us than the 805D's Surprised. I noticed the 805D sounded far brighter (to the point that it feels like someone has got a cheese grater to your ear drums). Also music that wasn't well recorded stuck out like a sore thumb.

I have owned 602s1, CDM7's, CDM9NT's and will definitely getting a pair of these. It's as close as I will get to 800 series quality without the 800 series price.

As for the look. It's definitely divided into two camps, you either like it or you don't. I like qwerky, makes a bit of statement Smile I do think there may be another camp, those who just will put up with the look because the sound quality is just soo good for the price point.

I'll be running them with a MF A3CR and the new MF M1 Clic. Now back to coverting my CD collection to FLAC.

I listened to these both in a shop and then at home (hooked up to my Micromega CD / Unison Research Amp / Transparent cables & interconnects) - they sounded superb and I found myself noticing all sorts of things in my music for the first time.   Unfortunately, I found them to be extremely ugly and so couldn't quite bring myself to buy - they look better in the photo than real life. 

@ AlmaataKZ - couldn't disagree more. 

@ aliEnRIK - my thoughts exactly re: purpose for using plastic.

Its a shame B&W thinks there isn't a market for another range, as I always thought the 700 series was the sweet spot. Had performance without the horrible cheap look of the 600 series (CM barely counts as different to me). These look interesting, but its too small a model for me to consider. I would consider a PM series floor standing model though so I hope it gets made. Spec's can be misleading, but a single 5in mid/woofer and they are getting down to 42Hz! Sensitivity is quite low too, looking forward to the review

Dont go thinking plastic 'is a joke'

There are literally thousands of different types of plastic, with many different ways of creating them, and if B&W have put plastic in it, you can pretty much rest assured its there for a reason: NOT cheapness

 

while more choice of models is always good and these seem like a quality speaker,

strange styling... too much style at the top and just chopped off at the bottom... where is elegance and harmony?

yeah, u get a lot of plastic for the moneyLaughing  what a joke...

"think of it more as a smaller 805S"

That's exactly what I did think of! So glad to see these, I really hope they live up to expectations! For years I wanted an 805S + Primare Amp and CD player combo but didn't have the space/money at the time.