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Bowers & Wilkins M-1 Compact Speaker and PV1D Sub Preview

Bowers & Wilkins M-1 Compact Speaker and PV1D Sub

Bowers & Wilkins M-1 Compact Speaker and PV1D Sub


  • Product Name: M-1 Compact Speaker and PV1D Sub
  • Manufacturer: B&W
  • Review Date: February 26, 2012 18:20
  • MSRP: $250/ea. (M-1), $1700/ea. (PV1D)
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

M-1 Compact Speaker

Technical features

Nautilustube loaded tweeter with aluminium dome; Woven glass fibre cone bass / midrange


2-way vented-box system

Drive units

1x 25mm (1in) aluminium dome high-frequency; 1x 100mm (4in) woven glass fibre cone bass / midrange

Frequency range

-6dB at 55Hz and 50kHz

Frequency response

64Hz - 23kHz ±3dB on reference axis


Within 2dB of reference response; Horizontal: over 60º arc; Vertical: over 10º arc


85dB spl (2.83V, 1m)

Harmonic distortion

2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m) <1% 120Hz - 30kHz

Nominal impedance

8Ω (minimum 4.0Ω)

Crossover frequency


Recommended amplifier power

20W - 100W into 8Ω on unclipped program

Max. recommended cable impedance



Height: 248mm (9.8in); Width: 114mm (4.5in); Depth: 162mm (6.4in) - Mounted on table stand

Net weight

2.3kg (5lb)


Cabinet: Matte Black or Matte White; Grille: Matte Black or Matte White perforated steel to match


PV1D Subwoofer

Technical features

Paper-Kevlar®/aluminum composite diaphragm drivers; Balanced drive; Digital Signal Processing; 400W Class-D amplifier


Active, balanced-drive closed-box subwoofer system

Drive units

2x 200mm (8in) Paper-Kevlar®/aluminum cone long-throw

Frequency range

-6dB at 6.5Hz and 570Hz

Frequency response

±3dB 7.5Hz - 450Hz on reference axis


Power output: 400W; Rated power consumption: 150W; Standby power consumption: <1W; Input impedance: 100kΩ; Signal/noise: >100dB


5 presets; Input sensitivity (analogue); Gain (digital); Low-pass filter: frequency, slope, phase; Auto on/standby; 12V trigger on/standby; 12V trigger preset switching; RS-232 automation control


Stereo line in (2x RCA/Phono/Cinch); Speaker level in (5m cable supplied)


Height: 342mm (13.5in)Width: 270mm (10.6in); Depth: 358mm (14.1in)

Net weight

18.7kg (41lb)


Matte Black or Matte White

When space is at a premium, small speakers become a must. For an audioholic, small speakers are anathema. Physics is a cruel mistress and she abhors small speakers. They have a problem with bass, they can't handle larger rooms, and they, frankly, have a hard time sounding anything but small. But Bowers & Wilkins has a reputation in speaker manufacturing for a reason - they build some great stuff. So when they put out a small speaker, you know it is going to sound as good as it can. Mother Nature be damned.

The M1 speaker was launched six years ago and it was the heart of the B&W Mini Theater packages. This tiny speaker has been very well received and B&W has decided to build on that success by redesigning and updating the M1 to the M-1. This key speaker can be used as all five speakers in a 5.1 setup and has a table-top stand that allows you to rotate the speaker so that it is oriented horizontally for easier placement as a center channel under displays. Available in both matte white or black, the internals of the speaker have been completely redesigned.


While they still look similar from their predecessor, the M-1's feature all new drivers, including an in-house designed 1" aluminum dome tweeter and a 4" woven fiber cone woofer utilizing the Anti-Resonance Plug first seen on the high-end PM1 loudspeaker. Externally, the speaker terminations have been upgraded and the connection to the table-top stand has been strengthened. For those looking for addition placement options, B&W includes a wall bracket with each speaker and a floor stand is available for an extra cost.

The M-1s are 8-ohm nominal meaning they will work with just about any receiver/amp on the market. They are rated 64 Hz - 23 kHz ±3dB on reference axis. Since you'll be crossing these over at 80 Hz, this should be plenty of bass extension. The M-1s are 9.8" tall, 4.5" wide, and 6.4" deep. They weigh in at a mere 5 pounds, making wall mounting a breeze. The enclosure is vented (ported) but we're not exactly where. It could be on top (preferable for wall mounting) though most likely it's on the back. Wall mounting or placing a rear-ported speaker near a boundary will increase the bass response but, usually, at the expense of linearity. 


For the other side of the decimal point, B&W is also updating the PV1D sub. The PV or Pressure Vessel sub design features a rounded cabinet and opposed drivers all designed to cancel cabinet resonance. With the PV1D, they've moved the sub to the digital platform that was pioneered by the B&W flagship DB1 subwoofer. This digital platform includes a dynamic EQ circuit. Using this circuit, the PV1D has a +/-3db specification down to 7.5 Hz. Of course, our first question when we read such a spec (regardless of subwoofer design or size) is, "At what volume?" We're guessing it's pretty low. On the spec sheet there is a caveat that mentions that bass extension varies with output level due to the EQ of the sub so we're probably not wrong. The front OLED display and touch buttons allows for easy access to the controls plus a custom version of the SubApp PC software allows tweakers and bass-heads to tune to their heart's content.

According to the spec sheet, the PV1D includes five EQ presets, an analogue input sensitive and digital gain, a low pass filter with frequency, slop, and phase control and 12 volt trigger control. RS-232C is available for installers, as is an auto-on or standby switch. Inputs include a stereo RCA line in and a speaker level input. The sub is a very impressive 13.5" tall, 10.6" wide, and 14.1" deep. It sports two, side-firing 8" paper/Kevlar cone woofers and weighs an impressive 41 pounds. The sub is also sealed which should make placement a bit more flexible, but limit output.


The M-1 speakers will run you $250 a pop and the PV1D sub another $1700. For the B&W name, a sub-$3000 5.1 system is pretty reasonable. If you are looking for small speakers, not because you can't afford larger ones, but because you don't have the space, these should definitely be on your list. While we'll believe the 7.5 Hz extension of the sub when we feel it (since you can't hear it), the PV1D seems to have a lot of very impressive technology. The M-1 satellite speakers also look to be top performers given their size. Now all we need to do is measure them and see how they perform in-room to be sure.

For more information, please visit www.bowers-wilkins.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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