Bowers & Wilkins DM22 fix cabinet, filters, grill clothing

Found these speakers for a handful of euros so i bought them with the idea of cannibalise them for the tweeters to use for a pair of tweeterless DM5. But turns out that while the DM5 run a TW20 tweeter, the DM22 run a TW26, so the transplant is not going to happen for incompatible donor. What is going to happen instead is that I will sand a bit the cabinets because over time discolored in some places and probably have been toasted by sun rays in other spots making them a three-color thing.


It’s visible that these two come from 1981.

Since they sound a bit muffled i decided to go with recapping, not that hard, except that sourcing these component it’s not gonna be easy. Reader, if you know what’s best to replace these capacitors, please let me know, my knowledge in these things is not good enough for me to take a decision, only thing is that i would like to stick to the original design as much as possible.


Speaking of sticking to the original design of the filters, i just found out that my filters look different than the ones in a picture i found in the original B&W DM22 Brochure See following picture

Screen Shot of the original B&W brochure
It is visible that this filter has an extra capacitor, compared to mine. Screen Shot of the original B&W brochure








Cabinets are a disaster, the plan is to give them a light sand with some 400 and 600 grit sandpaper using a machine to have it flat and the most even possible.


remove interior insulation

Remove filters (dam hard, b&w i hate you)

removing the plastic connector bay: it took a while to understand that that’s glue so hairdryer did the job in few minutes and no efforts or damages to the parts were made.

These speakers are weird because on the top side there is an extremely crappy piece of wood with some grid clothing on top has been glued to the top side of the cabinets with a metal insert carrying the b&w printed badge. I wonder what’s behind these choice? We need to remember that 1981 was (together with the previous decade) continuous R&D in audio speakers, because of new materials coming out both for the cones and also for the electronics, just think to miniaturisation and the new materials cones were starting being made of. Also one of the R&D areas at the time was the research around the making the tweeter more spacial to make them appear coming from a wider place than a tweeter. At that time also Bose or B&O, can’t recall exactly who, introduced some deflectors for tweeters in order to widen the sound a bit more. In other B&W model you can find the most exotic ways of achieving this to the point of using sponge outside the cabinet just to absorb part of the sound coming out of the tweeter (see B&W DM6).

So i removed them, removed the grid clothing which, by the way, doesn’t smell exactly good 😉

Now sanding process, then impregnating with linoil and terpentine.   <- Not gonna do this as it stinks for the rest of the life

Meanwhile i ordered some meters of grid clothing off ebay also to be used with a pair of gorgeous DM10s waiting for recapping.


Turns out they were not painted at all but wrapped in transparent vinyl:

b&w dm22 vinyl wrap removal
b&w dm22 vinyl wrap removal
b&w dm22 vinyl wrap removal
b&w dm22 vinyl wrap removal

It took some minutes sanding to realise that that was not lack, probably because it was a very very good material, even after 40 years.

It all came  off easily using a regular hairdryer and some accurate pulling.

It’s also kinda awesome that being transparent, while ageing it gets yellowish, giving the wood a nice tone.

The wood was sunburst  all over the cabinet anyway, which meant sanding it a bit. Well… not exactly a bit, because in order to merge the two different colours took some effort despite the electric sander I’ve been using.

I sanded the first time with 200 grit, then 400 grit and by hand as last 600 grit. The material is something in between particle board and plywood ~1.8Cm thick , with a layer of a very very hard wood on top.

for this reason and also because they look awesome, I decided not to lack the cabinets at all but instead to treat them with danish oil.

Today I’m going to look after the capacitors for the filters in a local shop, here in Haarlem, I also received the grill clothing I’ve ordered off ebay. I did not want to go with the original colour because it does not look good IMO, so i went for black. These speakers are not exactly ageing friendly as much as any other B&W because this particular thing that they have this grill cloth on their top side, on an extra panel glued to the cabinet together with a metal thing with the B&W badge. This is potentially a smell catcher (smoke, kitchen, etc) and hard to clean etc. Initially I was thinking to fill, sand and paint this top panel black, but they are not really meant to be seen, so the black grill clothing will do. I’m going to paint the metal black but for completeness i either need to recreate somehow the B&W badge on them.


Capacitors were found:

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Author: Giuseppe Urso

Giuseppe lives in Haarlem now with his shiny dog, Filippa In 1982 received his first home computer, a Commodore 64, followed by Datasette and a 1541 Floppy Disk Drive. In 1999 he installed his first Linux distro (LRH6). In 2006 he switched to Debian as favourite OS. Giuseppe Urso actively sustains the Free Software Fundation and his founder Richard Mattew Stallman, he speaks to people trying to convince them to join the fight now, and about how important is to use Free Software only. He has a job as Infra Specialist at Hippo Enterprise Java Cms an Open Source Enterprise class Content Management System, one of the coolest company ever, in Amsterdam. He's always ready to install Debian on other people computers for free.

One thought on “Bowers & Wilkins DM22 fix cabinet, filters, grill clothing”

  1. Looks awesome! I was wondering if you could shed some like on the capacitors you found. I just acquired a pair of DM22’s for free! One of the tweeters is blown so I am in search of a good replacement pair. So I figured I would also re-cap them when I replace the tweeters. Any tips you have on re-capping would be most appreciated!

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