One of Europe’s most eclectic music festivals, Primavera Sound, has been a must-see event in Barcelona since 2001.
This year the festival will be May 29th through May 31st, and will feature Bowers & Wilkins’ largest sound system ever.
The system, duly and candidly named Sound System, is a one-off commission produced only for the Primavera Sound festival. It will debut on the Bowers & Wilkins and Boiler Room stage to the sounds of DJs Jamie xx, Pional, and John Talabot, among other artists.
The tent has a 1,000 person capacity and will feature 360 degree projection shows from British image artists to enhance the festival experience.
The brand new PA system incorporates hi-fi speaker technology developed specifically for a music festival audience of over a thousand people.
Sound System has a four-way active loudspeaker design comprising four stacks. Each stack is over 3.2 metres tall (10.5 feet). It is made up of 12 separate enclosures, split into three frequency types. These crossover frequencies are 80Hz, 350Hz, and 3.5kHz. Active DSP filters feed multiple Class D stereo power amplifiers combining to produce an output of 30kW in total.
Dynamic compression inherent in traditional PA systems often results in reduced clarity and sound distortion. Bowers & Wilkins plans to overcome this challenge by replacing horn-loaded technology with hi-fi style direct radiating transducers. The company says this will result in a much cleaner sound for audience members.
Each Sound System stack includes four mid/high frequency enclosures, integrating an FST Kevlar midrange driver and four Nautilus tube-loaded high frequency drivers. The drivers are decoupled from the cabinets to protect the sound from the effects of cabinet resonance, as is true for most Bowers & Wilkins advanced speakers.
Also featured in the Sound System are Rohacell bass drivers based on the CT800 Custom Theatre range. Capable of 120dB, the bass must be easily controlled. Each of the four Sound System low frequency enclosures include two 380mm (15″) drivers featuring Rohacell composite diaphragms. The drivers are customized versions of those used in the Bowers & Wilkins reference CT800 system.
Lastly, Flowport technology is used to manage bass loading in the 300 litre cabinets made of birch plywood. The enclosures are then braced with Bowers and Wilkins Matrix strengthening system.
Check out the slideshow to see the Sound System and Primavera Sound festival up close.