Owner's Manual
CT800 Series
Installation and Setup Manual
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Table of Contents
Environmental Information ................................................................ 2
Introduction ......................................................................................... 2
Planning the Installation .................................................................... 5
Speaker Position ................................................................................. 5
Surround Speaker Dispersion Mode ................................................ 6
Mounting the Speakers ...................................................................... 7
CT8 DS - Installation Into Drywall . ...................................................... 9
CD8 DS - Installation to Wall Surface .................................................10
Connecting the System .....................................................................12
CT8 XO Mk2 Wiring Diagram .............................................................13
The CT8 OX Mk2 Crossover/Equaliser ............................................13
Description of Controls ......................................................................14
Equipment Required ..........................................................................15
Configuring the CT8 XO to the speaker . ............................................15
Configuring the Unit to the Gain of Each Power Amplifier ..................15
Configuring the Equalisers .................................................................16
Running In and Ancillary Equipment .............................................. 20
Aftercare . ........................................................................................... 20
Technical Specifications .................................................................. 21
EU Declaration of Conformity.......................................................... 24
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Environmental Information
This product complies with international directives,
including but not limited to:
Thank you for purchasing a Bowers and Wilkins Custom Theatre system.
i. the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical
and electronic equipment,
ii. the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of
CHemicals (REACH)
iii. the disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
Consult your local waste disposal authority for guidance on how properly
to recycle or dispose of this product.
Since its foundation in 1966, the continuing philosophy of B&W has been
the quest for perfect sound reproduction. Inspired by the company’s
founder, the late John Bowers, this quest has entailed not only high
investment in audio technology and innovation but also an abiding
appreciation of music and movies to ensure that the technology is put to
maximum effect.
Custom Theatre speakers are specifically designed to be built into the
fabric of the listening room or into custom furniture as part of a fully
designed theatre concept. To that end, they incorporate several features
that enable them to be adapted to a wide range of installation conditions
and deliver superb sound quality. However, they specifically do not
incorporate features found on some other B&W products that are not
appropriate to this type of installation. An example of such a feature would
be tweeter on top, which only operates well with a free-standing speaker.
Furthermore, because of the normal custom install practice of hiding builtin speakers with acoustically transparent cloth that matches the décor, all
the models except one are supplied without grilles. The exception is the
CT8 DS surround speaker, which needs to protrude into the room in order
for the side-firing drivers to operate properly.
No matter how good the speakers themselves may be, they will not deliver
their full potential unless properly installed. Please read through this
manual fully. It will help you optimise the performance of the system.
B&W distributes to over 60 countries worldwide and maintains a network
of dedicated distributors who will be able to help should you have any
problems your dealer cannot resolve.
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A 3-way speaker intended for front left and right channels,
one placed in vertical orientation at each side of the
A full range surround speaker that may operate in either
2-way dipole or 3-way monopole mode.
A 3-way centre channel speaker that is acoustically
similar to the CT8 LR, but designed with a more
symmetrical drive unit layout so that it may be used in
horizontal orientation immediately above or below the
A subwoofer that may be added to any or all the above
three models to extend their bass response well below
the accepted lower limit on human hearing.
CT8 XO Mk2
An active, line-level crossover/equaliser that:
is required for each CT8 LR, CT8 CC and CT8 DS
and must be configured to the particular speaker
provides active filtering between midrange and
bass drivers and between bass drivers and
CT8 SW (if used).
controls whether a surround speaker operates in
dipole or monopole mode and, in dipole mode,
controls the direction of the positive and negative
polarity lobes. d) provides high and low-frequency level control,
plus three adjustable parametric equalisers to
adjust for speaker/room interferance effects.
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Although the speakers are semi-active and require an active crossover, all
power amplification must be separately sourced. Each CT8 LR, CT8 CC
and CT8 DS requires two channels of power amplification, or three if used
with a CT8 SW subwoofer. This allows the user maximum flexibility in
choosing these components.
The CT8 SW subwoofer, unlike the majority of subwoofers currently
available, does not contain its own power amplifier and is used in a
different manner than is usual. The original concept of home theatre
based on various Dolby Digital and DTS systems advocates five or more
main channels plus a single Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel. The
main channels contain full range signals and the LFE channel contains
special effects up to approximately 140Hz. Recognising that many people
do not want five or more full-range speakers in one room, Dolby Digital
and DTS systems allow for the main channels to operate with small
speakers having a restricted bass extension. The lowest frequencies from
these channels are filtered off and added to the LFE channel to be
reproduced by a subwoofer. The filter cut-off frequency is normally set at
around 80Hz, the rationale being that sound gets progressively less
directional the lower the frequency and localisation becomes less
important. This is true to some extent, but the ears can process directional
information at very low frequencies and the more the bass of the main
channels is extended, the more realistic the sound stage becomes. Many
high-end processors offer lower filter cut-off frequencies for this very
Safety Warning!
A CT800 system is capable of producing very high sound
pressure levels. Prolonged exposure to high sound levels
can lead first to temporary and later permanent hearing
damage. Do not exceed recommended Leq (equivalent
sound level) exposure levels, for example, those specified
in ISO 1999:1990.
To preserve this directional information, a CT8 SW may be added to each
of the main channels as desired, extending the frequency response well
below 20Hz. The minimum recommended configuration is to assign one
subwoofer to each of the front left and right channels, restoring some
directional information to the action directly on the screen and full
directional information to 2-channel audio programme. The sense of
spatial acoustic improves as more subwoofers are added to the remaining
channels. If higher sound levels are required for larger listening
environments and greater realism, up to two subwoofers may be added to
each main channel. (It should be noted here that the addition of more
subwoofers to any single channel requires an adjustment of the subwoofer
output level of that channel’s CT8 XO in order to restore the correct tonal
balance.) The LFE channel is then distributed to all the main channels that
have a subwoofer assigned by the simple action of configuring the
surround processor as if there were no subwoofer present and specifying
where the LFE signal should be routed. Strictly speaking, the phrase “no
subwoofer” here means “no subwoofer dedicated to the LFE channel”.
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Planning the Installation
Figure 1
Figure 1
Check the contents against Figure 1
Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
45, 7pt
7 x 7 mm
pacing: 7 x 7 mm
Figure 5
Figure 5
Planning the Installation
Because of the built-in nature of the installation, the planning stage is of
the utmost importance. Any need to adjust speaker position, for example,
is a much more involved process than with free-standing speakers. Care
must also be taken to construct proper support for the speakers. It is all
too easy to induce the panels of custom furniture to vibrate and colour the
sound unless precautions are taken to prevent it.
Speaker Position
Figure 2
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 3
Figure 1
Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
Figure spacing: 7 x 7 mm
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 3
Figure 6
For successful operation of the surround speaker, CT8 DS, in dipole
Figure 7
mode, it is important that all listeners sit within the speaker’s
Figure 7 null zone.
This is the 60° wide zone of low direct sound level created by the opposing
polarity drivers on each side. You will notice from figures 3 and 4 that for
6.1 and 7.1 systems, the side speakers are shown in line with the centre of
the listening area. This is suitable regardless of whether these speakers
are used in dipole or monopole mode. However, for 5.1 systems,
~60o the two
surround speakers should be placed somewhat behind the listeners for
effective results in monopole mode, or if you wish to switch between
monopole and dipole modes for different types of programme. If you only
ever intend to use them in dipole mode, the two surround speakers should
revert to the in-line position. Please read the discussion on surround
modes in the next section for a clearer understanding of the benefits of
each type.
For larger audience sizes, a more even coverage of the surround sound
Figure 7
Figureif7the surround speakers are elevated above ear
field may be obtained
height, as in a commercial cinema. In that case, the speakers may be
raised so that the midrange/tweeter array is approximately 60cm (2 ft)
above seated ear height.
For correct operation of the CT8 DS in dipole mode, it is important not to
obstruct the side firing drivers. The speaker should be mounted with at
least the front portion containing the side-firing drivers protruding into the
room and any customised covering should be acoustically transparent.
Figure 4
Figures 2 to 4 show the recommended locations in plan view for the main
speakers in 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 channel installations. Some dimensions are
Figure 5
marked ~, indicating
that5 there is some latitude allowed each side of the
figure, and some have a recommended range for optimum results.
Subwoofers should be placed close to the main speakers to which they
are assigned.
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Surround Speaker Dispersion Mode
Surround speakers generally fall into two main types – those that one
might describe as ‘normal’ speakers - so-called monopoles, where the
sound comes from a set of drive units mounted on the front of the
enclosure - and those that give a more diffuse sound field, such as dipoles.
Each type has its advantages.
Most multi-channel music is recorded with home entertainment in mind
and is monitored using monopole surround speakers, whatever the multichannel recording format. This enables better location of side and rear
images, although the formation of such images is never quite as precise
as it is between the front speakers.
Most films are originally balanced for cinemas, where a large number of
speakers spread around the auditorium are used to create the surround
sound field. In that case there are more surround speakers than there are
discrete channels of information and a less precise image is created that
gives an all-enveloping effect. Dipoles and similar diffuse speakers are
better at recreating this type of sound field in the home, but using fewer
speakers to do it. Image positioning with these types of speaker is never
as precise as it can be with monopoles. However, they do have the
advantage of making it easier to balance the system for a larger listening
The two bass drivers operate in both modes. In monopole mode, they
cross over to the midrange and tweeter drive units on the front face and
the speaker is acoustically similar to the CT8 LR, but without the swivelling
head. In dipole mode, the bass drivers cross over to the six side-firing
drivers. The drive units on opposing sides are connected out of phase
with one another, which creates a wedge-shaped null zone, approximately
60o wide, at right angles to the wall. If the listeners sit within this zone, they
become less aware of the location of the speakers and hear more reflected
sound; hence the diffuse nature of the sound field. (figure 5)
You may well receive conflicting advice from different sources on the best
type of surround speaker to use. The truth is that there is no one perfect
Figure 3
solution for all situations and the final choice for any given application will
be influenced by personal preference.
The CT8 DS is a specialist surround speaker and has the advantage of
offering a choice of both monopole and dipole operation. The mode of
operation is set by a relay inside the speaker, the state of which is
controlled from the CT8 XO crossover/equaliser assigned to the speaker
via a cable connecting the 3.5mm sockets on both products. If this
cable is not fitted, the speaker will only operate in monopole
mode. On the CT8 XO is a switch used to select the mode. In the
monopole position, this switch may be overridden by a 12V trigger signal
from the surround processor. Some surround processors can recognise
the type of programme being played from a code on the disc and allow
you to assign a 12V trigger to this code. Some other processors allow you
to assign a 12V trigger to the input selection and you may, for example,
use a different disc player for audio and movies and set the trigger
accordingly. In both these cases, you may choose whichever type of
operation best suits the conditions of the listening room, the size of
audience and the type of programme being played. Indeed, you may even
change the characteristic for different types of programme and, as the
total energy into the room is the same in both modes, no recalibration of
the installation is necessary when switching between them.
Figure 6
Figure 5
Figure 7
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Mounting the Speakers
For optimum performance, it is important that the speakers are firmly and
securely mounted. All the speakers may be mounted directly at floor level,
but, as mentioned above, it can be beneficial to raise the position of the
surround speakers and, if the screen is high, it may also be beneficial to
do the same with the front speakers. In that case, the supporting structure
for the speakers should be substantial. If constructed of wooden studding,
the framework should be arranged to be directly beneath the feet of the
speaker. (figure 6)
Figure 6
Figure 6
Figure 5
All the speakers are equipped with roller glides on the base panel. These
allow the speakers to be easily pushed into place in custom furniture. In
order to position the speakers accurately, we suggest you create circular
recesses 15mm (5/8 in) diameter in the support surface to locate the
To avoid rocking when the speakers are in position, it is
important that these recesses are accurately positioned
and a foot-positioning template is supplied for this
Figure 7
The shaded area at the front of the template is to allow clearance for the
movement of the bass cones. For the CT8 DS, the side-firing drive units
require free acoustic access into the listening room, indicated by the
shaded area of the template extending round the sides. The CT8 DS will
normally have the front half of the cabinet protruding clear into the room.
It may, however, be built in to a false pillar, but this must be acoustically
transparent at the sides, as well as the front, as indicated by the shaded
If the speakers are to be inset in a false wall, a front template is provided
for guidance in cutting the aperture. The template is the same size as the
speaker, so remember to leave some clearance. The height of the template
includes the roller glides.
If the speakers are to be mounted in custom furniture, you should also
ensure that it is substantially built and not prone to induced vibration. It
should be braced where necessary and it may be beneficial to glue
bituminous damping pads, similar to those used in motor vehicles, to
large unsupported panels. Such pads need to be thicker on wood than
metal and a minimum of 6mm (1⁄4 in) should be used.
If it is desired to remove the roller glides, use the Torx® key supplied with
the speaker to remove the retaining screws.
An optional, spike foot kit is also available (Part No FP22359). The kit
contains 4 heavy-duty feet that have 40mm (1.6 in) of vertical adjustment,
allowing tilt up to 8 o if desired. This tilt is in addition to that offered by the
adjustable head unit of the CT8 LR and CT8 CC.
The feet are reversible, having a spike for carpets on one end and a rubber
pad for vulnerable surfaces on the other. Fitting is most easily accomplished
during unpacking, when the underside of the speaker is exposed.
(figure 7)
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Note that if the optional feet are fitted, or if the speaker is
tilted, appropriate allowance over and above that allowed
Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
for in the template must be made when cutting anFigure
spacing: 7 x 7 mm
in the wall.
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
The threaded bosses that hold the feet have a large conical shape on one
side of the flange. For maximum height, fit the bosses with the conical
shape towards the floor. (figure 8) For minimum height, have them pointing
into the speaker. (figure 9)
Screw in the feet close to where you think the final adjustment will be, with
the spikes or the rubber ends outermost as appropriate to the floor surface.
Figure 8
If you do not intend to tilt the speakers, orient the bosses with the cones
inwards and leave just enough thread
to fit
Figure font:
Helv 45,
7ptthe locking rings. Fit,
Figure spacing: 7 x 7 mm
but do not tighten the locking rings.
Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
Figure 9
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 11
Figure 14
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure spacing: 7 x 7 mm
Stand the speaker upright and adjust the feet using the metal bar provided
to give the amount of tilt required and to take up any rocking. (figure 10)
Finally, tighten the locking ring against the boss, again using the metal bar.
(figure 11)
The tweeter drive units are fitted with a protective clear plastic cover Figure
on 10
delivery. This is to avoid the danger of damaging the dome when installing
the speakers. Once installed, the protection cover should be removed by
Figure 8
simply pulling it away from the speaker.
Figure 9
Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
Figure spacing: 7 x 7 mm
Figure 14
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 14
Figure 14
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Figure 13
CT8 DS Only
Installation into drywall only. (figure 12)
So that it can be sunk into a standard drywall up to the level of the sidefiring drivers, the CT8 DS has a relatively shallow cabinet for its height and
is front heavy. To maintain stability, it is equipped with a bracket that
enables the rear of the cabinet to be anchored either to a wall surface or
the internal studding of a drywall.
In existing construction:
Use a stud finding tool to locate the position of the vertical studs and
ensure that the speaker is positioned between them.
If the speaker is to be mounted above floor level, cut into the drywall panel
to expose the stud frame sufficiently to allow the insertion of a crossbrace at the appropriate height to support the speaker.
Safety Warning!
Ensure the cross-brace is level and fitted strongly enough
to take the substantial weight of the speaker. The
speaker can be supported by the cross-brace and the
retaining bracket alone if desired, or a more complex
support structure may be constructed, for example to
hide the underside of the cabinet.
Using the front aspect template provided, mark round the outline at the
desired position of the speaker. Allow a little for clearance.
If mounting the speaker at floor level, allow extra height if there is a
horizontal stud at floor level.
Cut out the aperture for the speaker
Using the front aspect template provided, mark the centre line of the
retaining bracket on the inside surfaces of the two vertical studs either
side of the speaker position.
Screw the two angle brackets (A) to the inside face of the vertical struts.
Attach the wall bracket (C) to the angle brackets (A) using machine screws
(D) and trapping the stud plate (B) in position.
Patch the drywall as necessary.
Figure 12
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CT8 DS Only
Installation to wall surface only. (figure 13)
Using the front aspect template provided, mark the centre line of the
retaining bracket on the wall.
The two angle brackets (figure 12 - A) from the kit are not required.
Offer the wall bracket (C) to the wall and mark the screw positions at each
Drill and plug the wall to take screws in the range 5mm - 6mm (No.10 to
Screw the wall bracket to the wall, trapping the stud plate (B) in position.
Figure 13
Figure 12
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CT8 DS Only
...continue for all cases
Figure 14
Connect the signal and trigger cables to the speakers.
Using the allen key provided, remove the aluminium facing plate on the
front of the speaker, taking care that the tweeter protection cover remains
in position.
Fit the guide tubes (F) into the two through holes.
Offer the speaker into position, ensuring that the guide tubes (F) locate
over the studs of the bracket (B).
When the speaker is fully in position hard against the wall bracket,
withdraw the guide tubes.
Using a 1/4 inch socket drive with extension and the 13mm socket
provided, fit the two flanged nuts (E) onto the threaded studs and tighten. If the socket drive does not have a nut retaining feature, we recommend
the use of a small piece of Bostik® Blu-Tack® or similar reusable adhesive
to prevent the nut falling out of the drive during this operation. Replace the facing plate on the front of the speaker and remove the
tweeter protection cover.
If the speaker is mounted on the floor and recessed into a drywall having
a horizontal stud member on the floor surface, the height difference may
be taken up by fitting the optional spike feet in place of the two front roller
glides (figure 14). Only one Spike foot kit will be required for each pair of
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Connecting the System
Figure 9 The Speakers
Figure 15
All the speakers are provided with a comprehensive choice of connection
Figure 9 methods. Binding posts accommodate 6mm (1/4 in) or 8mm (5/16 in)
Figure 15
spades, 4mm banana plugs and bare wire ends and a Neutrik® Speakon®
socket provides a professional industry standard multiway connection
Figure 9 that makes it easy to make a connection in confined spaces, especially
when it is sometimes difficult to see what you are doing.
For all models except the subwoofer CT8 SW, there are two input channels,
one for bass and one for midrange/tweeter, requiring two channels of
Figure 11
power amplification. In all cases, ensure that the positive terminal of the
speaker is connected to the corresponding positive output connector of
the power amplifier. Failure to observe this will result in impaired tonal
Figure 11
balance and imaging. Figure 15 shows a typical connection method using
binding posts and figure 16 (a & b) the wiring convention for the Neutrik®
Speakon® plug.
Figure 11
CT8 DS Only
In addition to the audio signal connections, the CT8 DS terminal panel
has a 3.5mm stereo jack socket (figure 17) to input two 12V trigger
signals from its CT8 XO unit. Use a stereo coaxial cable terminated at
each end by a 3.5mm stereo jack plug to connect to the complementary
output socket (TRIGGER OUT) at the rear of the CT8 XO.
Figure 15
Figure 16a
Figure 16b
Figure 16b
Figure 16b
Figure 17
Figure 17
Figure 17
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The CT8 XO Mk2 Crossover/Equaliser
The CT8 XO is designed for 19-in rack mounting. If housed in an enclosed
structure, proper ventilation must be supplied as stated in the in the safety
The CT8 XO is connected between the surround processor and the power
amplifiers. The CT8 XO signal input and output connections are made
through balanced XLR connectors.
The wiring convention for XLR connectors is:
Pin 1: Ground
Pin 2: Live (+)
Pin 3: Return (-)
If 12V trigger switching of the dispersion mode (monopole/dipole) of the
CT8 DS surround speakers is required, the assigned 12V trigger output
from the surround processor is connected to the 12V trigger in of one
of the CT8 XO units assigned to a CT8 DS. The other CT8 XO trigger
inputs are connected daisy chain fashion from the trigger LOOP
socket of one to the trigger in of the next. The trigger out sockets
are connected to the relevant CT8 DS speakers. The TRIGGER IN and
TRIGGER LOOP sockets are mono 3.5mm jacks with the positive (12V)
wire connected to the tip of the plug, whereas the TRIGGER OUT socket
is a stereo 3.5mm jack on both the CT8 XO and CT8 DS loudspeaker.
Figure 18 shows the wiring diagram of a typical 5.1 CT800 system having
two CT8 SW speakers, one assigned to each of the front left and right
CT8 XO MK2 Rear Panel
Figure 18
Front left
Front right
To MF/HF of left CT8 LR
To LF of left CT8 LR
To LF of right CT8 LR
To right CT8 SW
To left CT8 SW
Rear left
To MF/HF of right CT8 LR
Rear right
To MF/HF of left CT8 DS
To MF/HF of right CT8 DS
To LF of left CT8 DS
To LF of right CT8 DS
To trigger of left CT8 DS
To trigger of right CT8 DS
Centre channel
To MF/HF of CT8 CC
To LF of CT8 CC
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Description of Controls
The unit features a comprehensive set of controld to tune the performance
of each speaker according to the conditions of use. The response may be
shaped by a combination of three parametric equalisers, each having a
switchable range of +3dB, -3dB and -6dB, and low- and high-frequency
contour controls, the effects of which are illustrated in figure 19. Selection
of the subwoofer low-pass filter frequency also provides some response
adjustment. In addition, level controls are provided to compensate for any
differences in gain between both the subwoofer and LF power amplifiers
compared to the MF/HF power amplifier. Figure 19
LF Contour
To access the front of the unit, remove the decorative face plate by
removing the Philips screws at either end.
Refer to figure 20 for the layout of the inputs and controls, which have the
following functions:
To switch between test and normal
To connect external signal generator.
To switch between front, centre and
surround channels.
To select appropriate positive lobe
orientation for left and right surround
channels in dipole mode.
Selects HF eq options. ±4dB. See
figure 19, bottom graph.
Selects LF eq options. ±6dB. See figure 19, top graph
None, one or two.
Selects subwoofer filter frequency. 40Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz.
Enables or disables LF and
subwoofer gain adjustment.
Adjusts LF gain.
Adjusts subwoofer gain.
Engages number of parametric filters
in circuit. None, one, two or three.
Selects gain of parametric filter 1. Figure font: Helv 45, 7pt
Figure spacing:
-6dB, -3dB,
+3dB.7 x 7 mm
Adjusts Q of parametric filter 1
0.3 to 4.
Adjusts frequency of parametric
filter 1. 25Hz to 500Hz.
Selects gain of parametric filter 2. -6dB, -3dB, +3dB.
Adjusts Q of parametric filter 2
0.3 to 4.
Adjusts frequency of parametric
filter 2. 25Hz to 500Hz.
Selects gain of parametric filter 3. -6dB, -3dB, +3dB.
Adjusts Q of parametric filter 3
0.3 to 4.
Adjusts frequency of parametric
filter 3. 25Hz to 500Hz.
HF Contour
Figure 20
C1 C2
T1 S2 S3
C3 C4
S4 S5 S6
C5 C6
S7 S8
C7 C8
C9 C10
Figure 21 21
S1 Input switch
T1 Test input socket
S2 Speaker select switch
S3 Dipole select switch
C1 High-frequency contour
C2 Low-frequency contour
control S4 Subwoofer selection switch
S5 Subwoofer filter switch S6 LF/Subwoofer fixed gain C3 LF Gain
C4 Subwoofer gain
S7 Parametric filter
S8 P1 Gain
C5 P1 Q
C6 P1 Freq
S9 P2 Gain
C7 P2 Q
C8 P2 Freq
S10 P3 Gain
C9 P3 Q
C10 P3 Freq
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Figure 20
Figure 20
C1 C2
T1 S2 S3
C3 C4
C5 C6
S7 S8
S4 S5 S6
AC voltmeter
Signal generator capable of outputting a sine wave up to 2V RMS
Small and medium size flat bladed screwdrivers to select the
switch positions and adjust the rotary controls of the CT8 XO.
Figure 21
And to adjust the equalisers to optimise the in-room response:
C9 C10
Setting the LF gain
Equipment Required
C7 C8
Laptop PC with WinMLS 2004 (or later version) software installed
External sound card
Measuring microphone
WinMLS may be purchased directly from the software supplier, in
which case it should be WinMLS 2004 or later and be to level 3 license. It should also include the specially created “B&W CT800” measurement
module. Early versions of the software did not include this module, but
the latest version may be downloaded from www.winmls.com.
However, a special package that includes a suitable microphone, USB
sound card and a cut-down version of the software that includes
everything required for tuning a CT800 system may be obtained
directly from B&W. Contact your country distributor for details. These illustrations on the following pages refer to the B&W version of
the software. The standard version will differ slightly.
Disconnect the speakers from the power amplifiers.
Connect the MF/HF power amplifier to the LF output of the unit.
Set the output level of the oscillator to zero and connect it to the test input
socket T1. Select the test input by switching the input switch S1 to
Set the oscillator frequency to 100Hz.
Enable LF gain adjustment by setting switch S6 to “LF”.
Connect the AC voltmeter to the output terminals of the MF/HF amplifier.
Raise the output level of the oscillator until the meter reads 2 volts.
Substitute the LF power amplfiier for the MF/HF power amplfier. Do not
alter the output setting of the oscillator. Adjust the LF gain control (C3) until the meter again reads 2 volts.
Setting the subwoofer gain
Disconnect the speakers from the power amplifiers.
Connect the MF/HF power amplifier to the Subwoofer output of the unit.
Configuring the CT8 XO to the speaker
Set switch S2 to select the type of speaker assigned to the CT8 XO. If the
speaker assigned is a surround speaker, set switch S3 to select left or
right dipoles as appropriate to each speaker’s position in the room (figure
21). if the surround speakers are to be permenantly in monopole mode,
the position of switch S3 is immaterial.
Set switch S4 to select the number of subwoofers connected to the
Set switch S5 to select the subwoofer filter frequency. Set the S5 initially
to 50Hz. The 40Hz or 60Hz options may be selected if appropriate when
fine tuning the installation. Configure the unit to the gain of each power amplifier
Set the output level of the oscillator to zero and connect it to the test input
socket T1. Select the test input by switching the input switch S1 to
“Test”. Set the oscillator frequency to 25Hz.
Enable subwoofer gain adjustment by setting switch S6 to “Sub”.
Connect the AC voltmeter to the output terminals of the MF/HF amplifier.
Raise the output level of the oscillator until the meter reads 2 volts.
Substitute the Sub power amplifier for the MF/HF power amplifier. Do not
alter the output setting of the oscillator.
Adjust the Sub gain control (C4) until the meter again reads 2 volts.
During this process, the parametric equalisers should be bypassed by
setting switch S7 to “None” and the LF and HF contour controls, C1 and
C2, set to zero.
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Configure the Equalisers
Sensible correction of the in-room response requires the ability to measure
the acoustic frequency response of each speaker individually. The
measurement microphone does not need to be expensive and suitable
electret microphones are widely available. If the appropriate measuring
equipment is not available, we recommend that the parametric filters be
bypassed by setting switch S7 to 0. Setting of the low- and high-frequency
contour controls may be attempted by ear to the user’s preference.
To avoid errors from airbourne background noise and electrical
interference, switch off all sources in the room such as air conditioning,
refrigerators etc.
Correcting for room resonances requires thought, skill and patience. It is
not sensible to attempt to fully equalise response dips, as this may lead to
system overload. Fortunately, dips are less objectionable than peaks. For
this reason, each parametric filter allows just 3dB of boost, but 6dB of
Run the laptop from its battery and disconnect its transformer power
supply when taking measurements. This will prevent noise being
generated by electrical grounding mismatches between the laptop,
sound card and CT8 XO. Make sure the battery is fully charged before
starting the measuring procedure. It is also not advisable to make corrections to a single position
measurement. The response of the speaker/room combination can differ
considerably throughout the room and it is all too easy to worsen the
response in one position whilst making it better in another. An average of
several measurements taken at different positions throughout the room
should ideally be used to ensure an overall improvement in all listener
Open the “Sounds and Audio Devices” window in “Control Panel”. Click on the “Sounds” tab and select the “No Sound” option in the
“Sound Scheme” drop-down menu.
The Method
We suggest taking measurements at each seat position and at several
points outside the immediate listening area. Point the microphone towards
the speaker being measured.
The resonances change with height. Often seats will be at the same level,
so put the microphone at a typical ear height. If the home theatre room is
like a mini cinema with regular rows of raked seating, measure at each
seat at the likely ear height. Do not hand hold the microphone during
measurements. Use a tripod or other means of holding it still. It is advisable
to make the last measuring position n (the one used for subsequent
equalised measurements) the primary listening position.
Laptop computer settings:
Click on the “Volume” button in the “Sound Playback” section and
make sure the Microphone “Mute” box is checked to prevent
feedback. Click on the “Audio” tab and then on the “Volume” button in the “Sound
Recording” section. Set the volume slider to maximum and make sure
the “Select” box is checked. Select the test input by switching the input switch S1 to “Test”.
Setting switch S7 to “None” to disable the parametric equalisers and set
the LF and HF contour controls, C1 and C2, set to zero.
Connect the output of the sound card to the front test input socket of the
CT8 XO and the microphone to the input of the sound card.
Open WinMLS2004
From the menu, select Setup…Load… and load the setup called “B&W
CT800” from the “Sound System” folder.
Click the button to open the “Volume and Input Levels” window. Figure 22
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 16
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Place the microphone at the chosen measurement position that is closest
to the speaker under test (where it will measure the highest sound pressure
level). Set the “Input Ch.1” slider to maximum.
Set the “Output” slider to zero and switch on the test signal by
clicking the button. Increase the output level until the “Input Ch.1”
level meter just goes into the red zone. Decrease the “Input Ch.1” level
until the signal peaks between the -6dB and -3dB marks.
Close the “Volume and Input Levels” window and click
switch off the test signal.
the button to
Make sure Plot…Overlay is checked to show the frequency response
screen and enable several responses to be viewed simultaneously.
Figure 23
Press the F7 key to bring up the Measurement Settings window. In the
‘‘Levels’’ box, set the sine sweep to -40dB FS (full scale). Perform a number of measurements in different positions by clicking
button (or pressing the F2 key). Make the last measurement
you take close to the centre of the listening area and leave the microphone
exactly in that position for subsequent measurements.
Since Plot…Overlay is checked, the curves will be plotted on top of each
other and, when finished, there will be n curves displayed.
In the example shown in figure 22, n = 10.
Figure 24
Click the button to display the mean value on top of all the plotted
curves. The average room response is then calculated (figure 23). This is
the response we want to equalise.
Un-tick all the plots except the mean response. (figure 24)
Press CTRL+ E to save this mean result in the “Tune EQ” folder (if this
folder doesn’t exist, create it in C:\Program Files\WinMLS2004\Set EQ).
Then click Save and name the file, for example, Average_resp.txt
(figure 25)
Figure 25
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 17
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To set this curve as a multiplier, press the F5 key. In this dialog box, select
the file you just saved (Average_resp) and, under ‘Compensation of
Level’, check the ‘Tune EQ (multiply)’ box as shown (figure 26). This
curve is now the reference and all subsequent measurements will be
multiplied by this response.
Figure 26
Click OK. The graphs will change, but ignore these changes.
We now need to set division by the measurement performed in this last
position with no equalisation (Rn ).
Press Ctrl + F and make sure this last measurement is selected as shown
in figure 27 (in this example #10 was the last measurement position and
that is therefore set as reference).
Figure 27
Click OK.
The graphs will change, but ignore these changes.
neq m
Rmeqwe now
perform another measurement with the equalisation
applied (R neq ), the
software will calculate the quantity: In our case the original measurement at position #10 is R n.
Figure 28
Now it is time to clean up the display. Make sure the following button is
turned off:
To remove the measurements we used to make the reference, click the
erase button
and select the settings shown in figure 28 (this will
remove all the curves in the plot and remove the measurements from
There will now be no plots showing on the screen. Make sure the
Overlay button
is in the down state.
(or press the F2 key) to re-measure the response at the last
position. This time on the screen, you will be presented with the mean
Examine this mean response and consider the optimum target to aim for.
A flat in-room response is not desirable. Studies show that a more suitable
target is a response that is flat up to 100Hz and then falling uniformly by a
total of 6dB by 10kHz.
Tune the parametric filters first before using the low- and high-frequency
contour controls.
There are three filters, each having adjustable centre frequency, gain and
Q. Aim to suppress peaks first. Only if there are fewer than three significant
peaks should you consider filling in dips.
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 18
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Specify the number of parametric filters required by selecting “1”, “2” or
“3” on switch S7.
The markings on the filter control dials are approximate and for guidance
Set the individual filter gain controls (S8, S9 & S10) to -6dB.
Set the individual filter Q controls (C5, C7 & C9) to 4.
This enables the centre frequency response of the filters to be seen.
Set the individual filter frequency controls (C6, C8 & C10) initially to 25Hz. This keeps the filters away from the frequency range of interest until they
are tuned one at a time to compensate the frequency response. NOTE:
The P1, P2 and P3 frequency controls work counter-clockwise to allow for
ease of setting.
Turn the filter frequency controls (C6, C8 & C10) to the centre frequencies
of the peaks or dips to be equalizsed. This is an approximate initial
Take repeated frequency response measurements to see the effects of
the adjustments you are about to make. Every now and then you may
wish to discard plots and this may be done by unchecking those you do
not need on the plot list to the right of the screen.
Adjust the filter centre frequencies until the measured dips in the response
line up accurately with the centres of the peaks or dips originally in the
Adjust the filter gain switches (S8, S9 & S10) so that the response at the
centre frequency of each filter is at the target level (the desired smoothed
Lower the filter Q controls (C5, C7 & C9) to broaden the range of the filters
until the response is as smooth as possible.
The controls are to some extent interactive and it may be worthwhile going
round the loop of checking the control settings a second time.
Adjust the LF and HF contour controls, C1 and C2, as appropriate.
Additional low frequency response adjustment may be achieved by
altering the subwoofer gain (C4) and filter frequency (S5). Additional low/
mid frequency adjustment may be achieved by altering the LF gain (C3).
If you need to equalise another speaker, you must reload the
CT800 setup within WinMLS and repeat the above process.
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 19
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Running In and Ancillary Equipment
Ancillary Equipment
Speakers of this ability deserve signals of the highest quality. Choose your
electronic equipment and interconnecting cables with care. We can give
guidance on what to look for when choosing ancillary equipment, but
cannot recommend specific items. The standards of such products are
improving all the time and your dealer will be able to demonstrate a variety
of suitable up-to-date products.
The speaker cabinet surfaces and the casing of the CT8 XO usually only
require dusting. If you wish to use an aerosol cleaner, remove any speaker
grilles first by gripping round the edges and gently pulling them away from
the cabinet. Spray onto the cleaning cloth, not directly onto the cabinet.
The grille fabric may be cleaned with a normal clothes brush whilst the
grille is detached from the cabinet.
In the specification we recommend a range of amplifier powers. The
higher figure is defined by the power handling capability of the speaker.
When calculating the power handling, it is assumed that the amplifier is
not run into clipping, which distorts the frequency power spectrum of the
signal, and that the signal is normal programme material. Test tones from
oscillators and the like are not applicable. The lower figure is the minimum
we consider necessary to achieve reasonable listening levels without
audible distortion in the smaller room (less than 60 m3 or 2000 cu ft). The
higher the power you use, the less likely you are to experience amplifier
When replacing grilles, ensure that the pegs are correctly aligned with the
receptacles in the cabinet before pushing into place.
Avoid touching the drive unit diaphragms, especially the tweeter,
as damage may result.
You can often tell how good an amplifier is at driving complex speaker
loads by looking at its power rating into both 4Ω and 8Ω loads. The nearer
the ratio is to 2:1 the better, as it indicates a good current capability.
In order to reduce the effect the cable has on the frequency response of
the speaker to inaudible levels, the impedance of the cable at all
frequencies (measuring both positive and negative conductors in series)
should be kept as low as possible and certainly below 0.1Ω. At low
frequencies, the DC resistance of the cable is the dominant factor and you
should choose a gauge of wire sufficient to achieve the impedance
requirements over the length of cable you need to use. At mid and high
frequencies the inductive component of the impedance can dominate the
DC resistance. This and other properties influenced by the detailed
construction of the cable become important.
Running In
The performance of the speakers will change subtly during the initial
listening period. If they have been stored in a cold environment, the
damping compounds and suspension materials will take some time to
recover their correct mechanical properties. The drive unit suspensions
will also loosen up during the first hours of use. The time taken for the
speakers to achieve their intended performance will vary depending on
previous storage conditions and how they are used. As a guide, allow up
to a week for the temperature effects to stabilise and 15 hours of average
use for the mechanical parts to attain their intended design
However, longer run-in periods (as long as a month) have been reported
and there is evidence to suggest that this has little to do with the speaker
changing and more to do with the listener getting used to a new sound. It
is especially so with highly revealing speakers such as these, where there
may be a significant increase in the amount of detail portrayed compared
to what the listener has previously been used to; the sound may at first
appear too “up front” and perhaps a little hard. After an extended period
of time, the sound will seem to mellow, but without losing clarity and
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 20
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3-way closed-box system
3-way closed-box system
Drive Units
1x Ø32mm (1¼ in) metal dome high-frequency
1x Ø32mm (1¼ in) metal dome high-frequency
1x Ø150mm (6 in) woven Kevlar ® cone FST™ midrange
1x Ø150mm (6 in) woven Kevlar ® cone FST™ midrange
2x Ø250mm (10 in) Rohacell cone bass
2x Ø250mm (10 in) Rohacell® cone bass
Frequency Range
-6dB at 23Hz and 40kHz
-6dB at 23Hz and 40kHz
Frequency Response
29Hz - 24kHz ±3dB on reference axis
29Hz - 24kHz ±3dB on reference axis
Within 2dB of reference response
Horizontal: over 60º arc
Within 2dB of reference response
Horizontal: over 60º arc
over 10º arc
over 10º arc
93dB spl (2.83V, 1m) (mf/hf)
93dB spl (2.83V, 1m) (mf/hf)
Harmonic Distortion
2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m)
2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m)
<1% 45Hz - 20kHz
<1% 45Hz - 20kHz
<0.5% 55hZ - 20kHz
<0.5% 55hZ - 20kHz
Nominal Impedance
8Ω (minimum 4Ω)
8Ω (minimum 4Ω)
Crossover Frequency
300Hz, 4kHz
300Hz, 4kHz
Recommended Amplifier Power
500W - 1000W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
500W - 1000W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
Max Recommended Cable Impedance
1100mm (43.3 in) (without spike feet)
325mm (12.8 in) (without spike feet)
325mm (12.8 in)
1100mm (43.3 in)
550mm (21.65 in)
550mm (21.65 in)
85kg (187 lb)
85kg (187 lb)
Cabinet: Black
Cabinet: Black
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 21
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3-way monopole/2-way dipole selectable closed-box
Closed-box subwoofer
surround system
Drive Units
1x Ø32mm (1¼ in) metal dome high-frequency
1x Ø380mm (15 in) carbon fibre/Rohacell® sandwich cone
6x Ø100mm (4 in) midrange/high-frequency
1x Ø150mm (6 in) woven Kevlar ® cone FST™ midrange
2x Ø250mm (10 in) Rohacell® cone bass
Frequency Range
-6dB at 26Hz and 40kHz (monopole mode)
-6dB at 13Hz and 40kHz
-6dB at 26Hz and 22kHz (dipole mode)
Frequency Response
31Hz - 22kHz ±3dB on reference axis (monopole mode)
18Hz - 35kHz ±3dB on reference axis
31Hz - 18kHz ±3dB power averaged over front hemisphere
(dipole mode)
Monopole mode: Within 2dB of reference response
Horizontal: over 60º arc
Within 2dB of reference response
Horizontal: over 90º arc
over 10º arc
over 90º arc
Dipole mode: horizontal figure of eight
Effective null zone ±30° (250Hz - 18kHz)
93dB spl (2.83V, 1m) (mf/hf)
90dB spl (2.83V, 1m) (mf/hf)
Harmonic Distortion
2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m)
2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m)
<1% 45Hz - 20kHz
<1% 30Hz - 500Hz
<0.5% 45Hz - 300Hz
Nominal Impedance
8Ω (minimum 4Ω)
8Ω (minimum 4Ω)
Crossover Frequency
300Hz and 4kHz (monopole mode)
300Hz (dipole mode)
Recommended Amplifier Power
500W - 1000W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
500W - 1000W into 8Ω on unclipped programme
Max Recommended Cable Impedance
1100mm (43.3 in) (without spike feet)
475mm (18.7 in) (without spike feet)
325mm (12.8 in)
475mm (18.7 in)
250mm (9.85 in)
475mm (18.7 in)
75kg (165 lb)
35kg (77 lb)
Cabinet: Black
Cabinet: Black
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 22
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CT8 XO Mk 2
CT800 system active bass management controller
Bass/midrange crossover
Subwoofer/bass crossover
Low-frequency roll-off alignment
High frequency roll-off alignment
3 parametric equalisers
Subwoofer in/out
Level adjustment for number of subwoofers
12V trigger switching for surround mode
Line In (XLR)
12V trigger (3.5mm jack)
MF/HF Line Out (XLR)
LF Line Out (XLR)
Subwoofer Line Out (2 x XLR)
12V trigger (3.5mm jack)
Rated power consumption
44.5mm (1.75 in) 1U
483mm (19 in)
155mm (6.1 in)
3kg (6.6 lb)
Front panel: Anodised Aluminium
Chassis: Black
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 23
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EU Declaration of Conformity
B&W Group Ltd.
whose registered office is situated at
Dale Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN11 2BH, United Kingdom
declare under our sole responsibility that the product:
CT8 XO Mk2
complies with the EU Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive
2004/108/EC, in pursuance of which the following standards have been
EN 61000-3-2:2006 + A2:2009
EN 61000-3-3:2008
EN 55020: 2007 + A11:2011
EN 55013: 2001 + A1:2003 + A2:2006
and complies with the EU General Product Safety 2001/95/EC, in
pursuance of which the following standard has been applied:
BS EN 60065:2002 + A12:2011
This declaration attests that the manufacturing process quality control
and product documentation accord with the need to assure continued
The attention of the user is drawn to any special measures regarding the
use of this equipment that may be detailed in the owner’s manual.
G Edwards
Executive Vice President, Operations
B&W Group Ltd.
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 24
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CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 2
18/10/13 09:27:38
B&W Group Ltd
Dale Road
Worthing West Sussex
BN11 2BH England
T +44 (0) 1903 221 800
F +44 (0) 1903 221 801
CT800 Mk2 OM Iss7_EN.indd 25
UK Group (UK Sales)
T +44 1903 221 500
E uksales@bwgroup.com
B&W Group North America
T +1 978 664 2870
E marketing@bwgroupusa.com
B&W Group (Asia) Ltd
T +852 3 472 9300
E info@bwgroup.hk
Copyright © B&W Group Ltd. E & OE
Kevlar is a registered trademark of DuPont
Rohacell is a registered trademark of Röhm GmbH
Printed in China.
Issue 7
18/10/13 09:28:07
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