The new Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 Dolby Atmos soundbar is coming
Iconic British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins has unveiled its latest soundbar, the Panorama 3. Designed as an all-in-one solution for improving TV sound, the new device delivers immersive spatial sound and sound that fills the room, whether you’re watching movies and TV shows, playing a game, or just listening to music.
For more than 40 years, Bowers & Wilkins has been a reference for artists, composers and recording studios. Hit movies like Return of the Jedi, The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Lord of the Rings and The Avengers all had their soundtracks mixed using speakers from the British manufacturer.
Today, the same team of acoustic engineers at Bowers & Wilkins have put their skills to good use to create a soundbar. The new Panorama 3 is B&W’s first Dolby Atmos model and is designed to deliver an immersive audio experience for those who don’t want to clutter their living room with numerous speakers and cables.
B&W introduced its first soundbar in 2009. The original Panorama defined a new concept in soundbar design. Unlike most of its rivals, B&W says it’s been designed as an uncompromising premium product delivering the best sound quality possible from a single speaker, without the need for an external subwoofer or power source. other add-ons such as rear speakers. In 2013, the company updated the first Panorama with an improved Panorama 2, which featured improved drive units for more powerful sound, as well as HDMI inputs for easier connectivity.
Some nine years later, the Panorama 3 builds on its two ancestors. It was always designed to deliver great sound from a single component without an external subwoofer. At just 65mm high and 1209mm wide, the Panorama 3 has a low enough profile to make it easy to place in front of a TV without blocking the TV’s remote sensor. The soundbar requires very little setup and includes 13 drive units arranged in a 3.1.2 configuration.
Panorama 3 is the first B&W soundbar to feature true Dolby Atmos using upward-firing drive units. Designed to excel with spatial audio soundtracks, the speakers are carefully angled on top of the soundbar enclosure to deliver optimal immersion. The 50mm drive units come with a Dolby Atmos decoder and processor to deliver all spatial audio from TV, movies, games and music streams. The same decoder can also handle Dolby Digital and Dolby TrueHD audio streams.
These two upward-firing Atmos training units are complemented by the Panorama 3’s range of forward-firing training units, which are arranged in three groups in a left, center, right (LCR) configuration. . Each cluster features two 2-inch midrange drivers along with a fully decoupled 0.75-inch titanium dome tweeter. Finally, there are two 4-inch subwoofers mounted in a substantial acoustic volume taking up most of the rest of the cabinet space. Both subs are there to deliver deep, extended bass without an external subwoofer.
Panorama 3 has plenty of muscle thanks to a combined power of 400W. That’s 40W for each tweeter, 40W for each pair of mid-range drive units, 40W for each subwoofer, and 40W for each Dolby Atmos Elevation drive unit.
Installing and configuring Panorama 3 is simple. It can be placed in front of the TV or fixed to the wall using the included bracket which is also in the box. Connection to the soundbar has been simplified with a single HDMI ARC/eARC connection to connect the Panorama 3 to a television. The soundbar can also share audio from other sources such as a set-top box or game console.
When connected via HDMI, the TV or satellite/cable box remote control can be used to control the Panorama 3’s volume, mute and power functions. An optical digital input is also provided for older TVs. When connected with an optical cable, the Panorama 3 can learn the main TV remote control commands to ensure that the user does not have to juggle remote controls.
In addition to TV sound, the Panorama 3 was designed with music in mind. It includes both AirPlay 2 and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth streaming technology. iOS and Android users can stream their favorite music there from a mobile device. Spotify fans can also enjoy the convenience of Spotify Connect.
When it comes to hi-res listening, the Panorama 3 supports the Bowers & Wilkins music app, giving listeners access to a host of streaming services including Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, TIDAL and TuneIn. The selection of streaming services is expected to expand later this year.
Panorama 3 also includes “hidden until turned on” capacitive buttons on its top surface to control basic functions without the need for a smartphone or TV remote. Plus, Amazon Alexa is built into the soundbar, providing voice control for all types of listening.
Finally, like its stablemate Zeppelin, Panorama 3 was built to last. Its digital “brain” can be upgraded over time, with multi-room capability slated to be introduced soon after launch. This will make it compatible with older B&W Panorama soundbars as well as other Zeppelins. The Panorama can also be used in a multi-room configuration using B&W Formation products.
I haven’t had a chance to hear the B&W Panorama 3 yet, but it sure sounds like it will be easy to set up and pack big sound in one box. If you’re looking to improve your TV sound, the Panorama 3 will be worth a audition.
Price and availability: The Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3 is available from March 3 for $999 / £899 / €999.
More information: www.bowerswilkins.com/new-panorama3