Famed British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins has embarked on a bid to burnish its R&D capabilities by building a new research center. The company has announced that the facility will be called Southworth Research & Engineering (SRE). It will provide B&W with cutting-edge equipment and tools for an expanded engineering team that will work on luxury home speakers, headphones, and car audio.
The SRE acronym is intended as a tribute to the Steyning Research Establishment, the legacy upon which the new facility will build. Bowers & Wilkins credits the original SRE, which was established by John Bowers in 1981. It counts the Diamond tweeter, Continuum and Aerofoil cones, Zeppelin, 800 D3 speakers, PX headphones, Nautilus active-speaker system, and other items among its innovations.
The new facility, which will open later this year, will measure 30,000 square feet, twice the size of the one it replaces. Features include multiple anechoic chambers, an increased number of listening-test rooms, product testing and engineering labs, and dedicated labs for both headphones and automotive audio. It will even have a close replica of the original listening room that John Bowers built, providing a reference to the sound that defined his vision.
“For more than 50 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been defined by cutting-edge acoustic technologies complemented by beautifully designed products,” said 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 honoring 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.”
Bowers & Wilkins says that it has already increased the size of its R&D team by 40% over the past couple of years, in anticipation of this facility going online. The company expects to continue to recruit engineering talent when the new SRE opens.