Renowned British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins is bringing its first ever Bluetooth speaker to Australia, through authorised distributor Convoy International. Called the T7, this speaker conflates a stylist modern design with Micro Matrix technology for awesome sound reproduction.
The T7 is rectangular in shape and about the same size of a hardcover book, with two 50-millimetre drivers covered by a front facing grill bordered with a hexagonal design — the Micro Matrix — which provides “substation cabinet stiffening”. With 18 hours of battery life and a hand-holdable form factor, the T7 is built for portability, though at RRP $499, it is a brave user that takes this speaker to the beach or poolside. It is more intended for room-to-room use, on the verandah and in the garden.
This is the second time this week that a well known audio brand that place sound quality at its primacy has released its first Bluetooth speaker, after Bang & Olufsen’s striking BeoPlay A2. We asked why it has taken so long for such a well-loved brand like Bowers & Wilkins to release a Bluetooth speaker. John Martin, B&W brand manager at Convoy International responded:
“B&W’s primary focus is always sound quality and audio performance,” he said. “Bluetooth has generally used low bit rate codecs which simply can’t deliver high fidelity. But with the wider adoption of the high-quality aptX codec among phone and tablet manufacturers, Bluetooth audio has reached a level of performance that delivers ‘hi-fi’ from a truly portable speaker.”
There is no doubt this release will be greeted with whoops and cheers from B&W’s devoted fanbase in Australia. But what if they have already purchased a cheaper alternative, from the likes of Beats or UE? We asked Martin if the T7 was a response to the market moving to lower-priced speaker alternatives. He demurred.
“Price is never a primary consideration for a new product introduction from B&W. As John Bowers once said, ‘If you build a better product, people will buy it’.
“However, the convenience and wide adoption of Bluetooth streaming, along with factors such as the huge growth of internet audio streaming services, has led B&W to develop and launch the premium T7 Bluetooth speaker.”
The T7 has already been picked up by Apple for sale in its retail stores, along with selected David Jones and Move outlets and various independents.
This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell