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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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