Speaker B & W XT 8

B & W has trimmed his new XT 8 (3000 euros) ostensibly on design. Manage the balancing act between strength and beauty?

  1. Speaker B & W XT 8
  2. Interview with Stefan Splawski (B & W)
  3. Data sheet

When new products to stores, buying-willing fans expect new sound records. But just when pit, the visually striking units of the chain, also the optics must be. Otherwise, the supposed quantities Renner to the shopkeeper, take only painless purists shortlisted mutates.
Some people swear by slim and round shapes, such as at the new XT 8 B & W, others like it edgy and conventionally. Also with regard to type and characteristics of the surfaces, divergent tastes, what often resembles a preliminary decision, because not everything can be done on the same housing. On metal, for example, holds no wood veneer, also paint is liable on a suitable surface.
Large manufacturers such as B & W therefore increasingly provide ranges that overlap priced, are optically and partly also aurally but quite differently. The related to the discussion here XT 8, which changes hands for around 3,000 euros, is a strikingly attractive shaped, only 15 centimeters wider design transducer which is intended to achieve yet high demands. The manufacturer has pulled all conceivable register what one hardly sees the haptically highly successful box at first glance.
Parallel to the XT series, a compact model and Center belongs, there are B & W still conventional standing speakers with bulkier housings on wood-based. Technically the densest on the XT 8 it is the 9 CM (stereoplay 3/2009), also a three way box with double bass and a sickenlosen midrange driver, which should sound especially fine and controlled by abandoning a conventional edge suspension.
But which sounds better, which has the better values? First, all for the 500 Euro cheaper CM 9: speaks the more lush volume and larger cone chassis assuring her the lower watt demand and a higher maximum volume.
But even the slim XT 8 has their strengths and where you hardly suspected it, namely in the bass. As 9 below 80 Hertz gently, in the knee but but noticeably goes the CM, the two each 13 centimeter high-tech drivers of the XT March 8 with their membranes of a dark gray Kevlar paper mixture until about 40 Hertz without significant loss of level. The XT 8 is quieter than the 9 CM with same voltage applied, provides more low bass but relative to the MIDs and highs.
What is it? Once the aluminum housing in the Interior is not as small as the exterior suggests. The Alubox is narrower while, at the same time but good 10 centimeters higher. In addition, it benefits from lower wall thicknesses, which again helps the net volume on the jumps. The electrical and mechanical parameters of bass chassis, in which B & W sets clearly other priorities are crucial.
The differences in the vibration behaviour of the enclosure are not readable from the sound pressure curves. The aluminium profiles of XT 8 store less energy, which demonstrate a simple tapping test: your side walls remain almost silent. Cm 9, a clear, soft “Tock Tock” is also good listen. The XT 8 the stabilization effect of the curvature is noticeable in addition to the basic benefits of aluminum, on which the CM 9 do without.
A round base plate, which consists largely of cast iron; adds the necessary stability for the XT 8 on it sits a coating made of aluminium. The slender column is indeed harder than it looks: a XT 8, only 8 percent less than the 9 CM weighs nearly 25 kilograms.
The experts compared the sound pressure curves sees that CM make 9 and XT 8 eventually the same handwriting, in the MIDs and highs. Because both crossovers use first order filter (advantage: high impulse fidelity, disadvantage: large areas of overlap), the curve is slightly wavy, weighed about everything but.
Beyond rises by 30 kilohertz, far outside the range of hearing, both times the response of the tweeter. Additional filters, B & W no always – sound reasons or other manufacturer suppress this metal membranes common behavior with diffuser lenses.
Both models use tweeter domes from wafer-thin aluminium films with downstream damping tubes that keep reflections of the sensitive membranes. The damping system of the XT 8 is significantly larger and altogether more complex.
The dynamic response shows that both drivers are among the best of its kind,: already the high frequency range of CM 9 proved at the time striking distortion arm, a corner of the XT 8 but seems better: where the CM 9 between 1.5 and 5 kilohertz some Twinkie in the noise of carpet can be seen; are so low that the diagram no longer captures the distortions in the XT 8 even at a useful signal of 100 decibels.
Technicians may interpret this as an indication of a particularly fine and pleasant high-frequency sound. Not discuss away the disadvantages of the smaller woofer that distort at levels beyond the 90 decibel more than those of sister box can be the XT 8.
But what about the Sonic talent? More wealth and authority awarded the 9 CM large orchestral works, with supporting character. Speed and working out rhythmic branches were more in demand, the XT 8 showed the greater skill.
Despite the different sound characters, it came partially to same point results, such as for the criterion of “Quality of the bass”. The greater differentiation capacity of XT 8 faced the more pliant abundance of CM 9. Better is what bass character, is simply a matter of taste.
In the Middle were the differences of less, here too, harmony is by no means ruled. Both siblings worked in ripe and very calmly, the XT 8 but could differentiate clearly better in here.
So both with a multi-faceted, but never superficial representation of vocals impressed male as female. The 9 CM was something complaisant, and warmer, the XT 8 sounded more directly and more spatially accurate, without therefore hustle and bustle. This comfortable controlled agility brought the Alubox the part scores “Fine resolution” and “Figure” by one or two points.

An audio physic tempo of the fifth generation (3000 euros, test in issue 12/2007) 8 goes to the XT more and kicking forward to the thing, can software – and electronics-dependent but also times of direct impact. At the B & W models not danger of this, what very accommodates connoisseurs natures.

In the high frequency range the XT 8 won clearly the in-house duel. Although the CM 9, what about velvet, must not hide also continued, but the new Alubox treble side simply is a class of its own: what projected the XT-dome of lightness and elegance to the room, it reminded of the qualities of the legendary Diamond tweeter of the noble 800 series over long distances. And there begins the entry as you know at 8000 euros.

stereoplay: Most readers connect the brand B & W with traditional wooden cabinets. In recent times, there were striking many products, their Äußeres based on aluminum, so the dock Zeppelin or the sound bar panorama. What is behind this shift?
Stefan Sancarlo: Aluminium and high-gloss surfaces gain more and more followers. Therefore, also consumer electronics products – especially a product tailored to flat screens like panorama – should have a design suitable to the environment, especially since aluminium also Sonic benefits. B & W nothing moves, but only offers a larger selection of shapes and surfaces. Our high quality standards apply to all products. Whether they are based on wood or aluminum plays no role.
stereoplay: The 600 are currently held, the 800 and the CM-series in wood. Will there be new products in this area any time soon?
Stefan Sancarlo: The CM series models are now available free of charge in paint black. The demand for these variants is world’s so high that unfortunately there are waiting periods. In the 800 series, we supply for many years piano lacquer on customer’s request as a special design. In the 600 series, no new versions are planned at the moment.
B & W XT 8

Manufacturer B & W
Price €3000.00
Rating 56.0 points
Test procedure 1.0

Technical data and test results

General data
Width 15.4 cm
Height 115.5 cm
Depth 20.0 cm
Weight: 24.5 kg
Installation tip: free-standing, distance 2.5 m, normal damped rooms up to 35 m²
Measured values
Operating voltage for 90 dB SPL 7.1 V
Impedance minimum stp 3.2 ohm
Maximum volume upper value 95 dB
Maximum volume lower value (> 45 Hz) 95 dB
Lower cut-off frequency (-3dB) 34 Hz
Lower cut-off frequency (-6 dB) 31 HZ
Short conclusion Delicate, very finely processed designer stand box with aluminium housing and classy chassis. Brute level are you less, but fine flair and spaciousness are terrific.
Sound Absolute top class
Naturalness 13
Fine resolution 13
Border dynamics 7
Bass quality 10
Figure 13
Sound points (70 points) 56
Measured values 6
Practice 4
Valency 9
Overall rating (max. 120 points) good – very good 75
Price / performance outstanding
tested in output 10 / 09