Bowers & Wilkins DM14 Speakers

Sold for: $525

B&W DM-14

When I bought these, the photo that was used to sell them on line was one of the worst I’ve ever seen — it looked like it had been taken by a alcoholic on a fall-down-drunk binge at night without a flash. The sales pitch gave no model number, no substantive information or specifications . But I could make out just enough to know what these speakers were, mainly because I’d bought a pair of B&W DM1400s (pretty much the same speaker) a week earlier.

The couple selling me these babies lived quite close — about 10 minutes drive away. Their apartment was in a gated compound built on the side of an extinct volcanic cone — it was all high rock walls, red iron, buzzers and swing gates. They met me outside the front door—a brother and sister—and they were both young: he was about 19, she about 17, with naughty, high-class English accents.

And they were both stinking drunk!

I could smell the gin as soon as they opened the door! A couple of tactful questions later and I’d found out that both Mummy and Daddy were overseas and had left them all alone. My next thought was: “Am I buying the “family silver” so these kids could buy some more gin?”

But because I know a mighty deal when I see one, and because I’m a bit of an alkie myself, and because I have no morals, I forked over the cash and they forked over the B&Ws. Deal done! And as we say, a large result!!!

About the speakers themselves — these are largely bulletproof because they have protection circuits to prevent drunken teens from blowing them up. The first thing you need to check is the tweeters as these can fail, but they are generally repairable. The tweeters on these DM14s were both working, as were all the other drivers. Ahhhhh, what a fucking bonus!

These are superbly built speakers and would give most modern numbers a right thrashing! Although not much bigger than a large bookshelf speaker, they weigh in at nearly 18kgs (42lbs). Check out the numbers on these (and ignore the official B&W spec sheet on these — it is wrong): these are acoustic suspension speakers with a frequency range of 30Hz — 22KHz. Yep, they go real low and with heavily damped and well-braced cabinets, they handle that deep thrust with aplomb. Add to this some real wood veneer and not only do these sound fantastic, they look brilliant too.

Note that they LOVE power — at least, AT LEAST, 100 watts RMS per channel on your amp, and more if you’ve got it. Sure, you can run ’em on less, but they will sound, well, kinda bland.

Dimensions: 560h x 260w x 300d

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7 Comments on “Bowers & Wilkins DM14 Speakers”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a pair. Awesome speakers, very well built and warm clear sound. Very musical.
    Take a lot to top these in todays market, maybe a nice pair of dynaudios.
    Heavy buggers along with the stands.

    • DanV says:

      I have owned these speakers for 33 years, and had Acoustats along side them for 25 years, until I found a deal on 803s. B&Ws website had the correct speakers in their photo but totally wrong info, stating that it has a bigger woofer with a small midrange. That is why the specs are wrong. I eventually upgraded the woofers on my Acouststs, then sold them because of lack of high end. Next was a upgrade to a pair of DM 1400s to stack om top like my grad school Advents.Using a Phase Linear 400 (340 wpc @ 4 ohms (speakers wired in parallel), I had a both an audiophile and a party system.
      When I relegated the two pairs of these to a 100 wpc Sony and and a 90 wpc pioneer receiver, I discovered their true purpose. The bass ca be loud and exceptially clean on music missing the lower end, if you use the bass boost button, even with one pair.
      The more expensive,woven DM 14 tweeter is a bit smoother and maybe more finely detailed on exceptionally good recordings, especially now that I have upgraded to Audire electronics. This speaker cannot be beat for anywhere the price… AND, if you get drunk and crazy, the protection circuitry will save you drivers.

  2. John Bynum says:

    I certainly like mine I sold my Acoustat speakers to get a pair of these. They are much better than my old hybrid electrostatics. I have kept them 33 years. What do you expect for $1000 (in 1980 money) plus $250 for the stands from B&W. If you buy any, make certain they have the correct tweeters. The DM 10, 110, 220, 330, etc., use a cheaper one with smaller magnets and voice coils that will blow. They look identical from the front. Externally the magnet is much thicker on the DM 12,1200,14,1400 and Active 1 sets.
    The only way to blow them is to severely clip your amp. My son I blew a pair of tewwters with a 65 wpc Adcom, but my 125/250/400 watt Audires will shut the speakers down before they blow.

    • DanV says:

      Whoops, I have discovered that the DM 220 and 330, as well as the DM 2000 and 3000 used the bigger magnets and voice coils. Only the 100, 110, and 110i, and maybe some other cheaper, vinyl clad, single woofer models use the TP 26, rather the TZ26 and TW26 of the DM 12, 14, 1400, 1200 and Active 1. If you are wondering, DanV Below) is my alter ego.

  3. Jean Vincent says:

    I still have three sets of these: Two are hooked up for movies and certainly do not need subs, if you have tone controls. Four are wired in parallel to a Phase Linear 400 in my game room. ROCK and ROLL! (BUT!) They have an especially flat frequency response for imaging and definition, and flat would voice coil wiring for quickness. They actually image better than my 803’s; but of course, they are somewhat less efficient and will not play as loudly (Well, the four certainly do!).Still, it is the best buy on the used market, by far. No blown tweeters in over three decades with my monster amp running under 4 ohms.! I have heard very little at any price that beats these on guitar and horns, with the right amplification.

  4. Peter van Balen (in France) says:

    I got mine somewhere in the early 80s and had a tweeter blown (when lending to friend…), but nothing since. Had it driven by a Denon PMA 750 at first, but bought a NAD C370 (http://www.stereophile.com/integratedamps/633/index.html) since. Very happy with this combo 🙂


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