Bowers and Wilkins is an Icon in the world of audiophile speakers. Their legendary 801s are tremendous speakers that are still used the world over in many of the finest recording studios. Reality is that many people don't want a speaker taking up a bunch of floor space and would rather have them hanging on the wall next to their flat panel televisions. Accordingly, Bowers and Wilkins designed the Flat Panel Monitor series to maintain their reputation of quality sound reproduction while fitting in with today's lifestyle driven aesthetics.
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The primary speakers in the series are the FPM 4, 5, & 6, which are designed to flank monitors in the 40, 50 & 60 inch size ranges accordingly. The FPM 4 measures 22.2 inches high, six and seven-tenths inches wide and four inches deep. The FPM 5 is four inches longer at 26.2 inches high and the FPM 6 is 31.3 inches high, seven and seven-tenths inches wide and four and four-tenths inches deep. I found the FPM 5 to perfectly flank my Panasonic 50 inch plasma with the FPM 6 fitting nicely below it in the horizontal position for my center channel. A smaller FPM 2 is available for surround duty as is a subwoofer the PV1. The FPM 4, 5, & 6 retails at $700, $800 and $900, respectively. These are not cheap lifestyle speakers, they are real speakers designed to fit the lifestyle aesthetic that is so popular in today's world.
The FPM 4, 5, and 6 all feature similar designs and construction . All feature two mid-woofers flanking a tweeter in the classic D'Appolito arrangement. All are two way speakers with vented enclosures. The enclosures, along with their grilles can be had in silver, anthracite or black to fit with nearly any décor. So far, everything sounds fairly normal. However, these are not just another wall mounted speaker, these are B&Ws. The port features B&W's flowport technology, basically gold ball like dimples on a flared port which reduces turbulence. This has the effect of increasing port efficiency while reducing any port noise. The mid-woofers, four inch models in the FPM 4 & 5 and five inches in the FPM 6, are made out of Kevlar. Those familiar with the B&W line will recognize this as a B&W signature feature which provides for a stiff, yet low mass cone. Lastly, the tweeter is tube loaded, a design which has trickled its way down from B&W's famed Nautilus line. This design feature reduces back pressure and distortion, allowing the tweeter to play much cleaner.
Read about the high points and the low points of the FPMs.