Fresh from its first appearance at EI Live!, Bowers & Wilkins has announced the relocation of its highly-respected research and development centre to a new and larger facility with cutting-edge equipment and tools.
The company says the move represents a significant investment to expand the team and accelerate the company’s ability to develop new capabilities that will drive innovation across its suite of luxury home speakers, headphones and performance car audio.
The new facility will be called Southwater Research & Engineering (SRE), based on its location in the West Sussex town of Southwater. The new SRE will build on the legacy of its predecessor, the Steyning Research Establishment, and keeps the same initials as a tribute.
Bedrock of development
Every major acoustic innovation that has defined Bowers & Wilkins had its beginnings at that original ‘University of Sound’, established by John Bowers in 1981. The original SRE lays claim to innovations including the Diamond tweeter, the Continuum and Aerofoil cones, as well as iconic products such as the Zeppelin, the 800 D3, the PX noise-cancelling headphones as well as the ground-breaking Nautilus speakers.
The new facility will be more than twice the size of the original at nearly 30,000 sq ft (2,750 sq m). When it opens later this year, it will accommodate multiple anechoic chambers, significant increase in the number of listening test rooms, a suite of product testing and engineering labs, and dedicated Headphone and Automotive Audio Labs.
In recognition of the legacy of John Bowers, it will also feature a near recreation of his original listening room to ensure that the sound remains true to his vision.
The all-new SRE will also feature an experience centre designed to showcase the product ranges to partners, press, and visitors alike.
“For more than 50 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been defined by cutting edge acoustic technologies complemented by beautifully designed products,” says Gideon Yu, executive chairman and CEO at Bowers & Wilkins. “Inspired by John Bowers’ quest for what he called ‘True Sound’, our engineers are dedicated to honouring and continuing that legacy today. The new SRE is an extension of our rich sound engineering tradition. It is designed to further the mission of crafting products that deliver incredible sound experiences and beyond to our customers and consumers.”
In anticipation of the move, Bowers & Wilkins has already increased the size of its R&D team by 40 percent over the past two years. Once the new facility opens later this year, the company says it will continue to recruit new top-quality engineering talent to join the expanding team.
“Bowers & Wilkins’ commitment to audio excellence, precision craftsmanship and innovation has allowed us to stay true to our promise of delivering the highest quality and most accurate performance audio possible,” adds Ken McAlpine, chief technology Officer at Bowers & Wilkins. “The team at SRE has more than 300 plus years of combined sound engineering expertise. The investment in the all-new SRE will ensure that our dedication to innovation continues for the next 50 years and beyond.”