As recipients of many of the flagship 800 D4 line, the new 700 S3 loudspeakers promise to deliver high performance at a more affordable price point.
With the catchcry “Bring Studio Sound Home” the new 700 S3 speaker line makes a big call. However, going on past experience and the superb performance offered by its inspiration, the 800 D4 line, the 700 S3’s potential is significant. Especially given the arduous three-year development period.
For starters, half the 700 S3 range now features the Bowers & Wilkins iconic Tweeter-on-Top configuration. The stereo-centric range starts with the 707 S3 2-way standmount (AU$2499) which is followed by the slightly larger 706 S3 (AU$2999). The 705 S3 introduces the Tweeter-on-Top technology (AU$4499) to the model which also rounds-out the 2-way standmounters. The smallest floorstander is the 704 S3 3-way (AU$5500) and employs a conventional tweeter arrangement. The next model is the 703 S3 3-way (AU$8000) which now adopts the Tweeter-on-Top configuration while the line’s flagship is the substantial 702 S3 3-way (AU$10,500). The line is completed by a pair of centre channel speakers (one model with Tweeter-on-Top) and bespoke 703 speaker stands (AU$1399).
The entire line has been extensively re-engineered with new drivers and new cabinet construction. The carbon dome tweeter has been enhanced via an improved voice coil system and venting scheme while the magnet motor has also been upgraded. An improved Tweeter-on-Top bullet-shaped enclosure is milled from solid aluminium, has been elongated to further control the back-wave and employs a superior two-point mounting/decoupling system. The conventionally-mounted tweeters also gain the motor system upgrades.
The 3-way loudspeakers now adopt the simple yet ingenious ‘Biomimetic Suspension’ system first used in the 800 D4 line. The Continuum midrange drivers are now fully decoupled from the cabinet while the aluminium chassis employ tuned mass dampers in order to control resonance distortions. Improvements in the motor systems and chassis have also been applied to the mid-bass drivers in the 2-way models.
The floorstanding 3-way models feature Bowers & Wilkins’ Aerofoil Profile technology for the bass drivers. The Aerofoil drivers are stiff and light sandwich constructions featuring variable thickness diaphragm profiles and are said to exhibit less distortion and provide a cleaner sonic presentation.
The 700 S3 range also features improved enclosure design. The slimmer cabinets now have subtly curved front baffles in order to further improve diffraction effects, control cabinet resonance and internal square waves while also looking more graceful and elegant. The drivers are mounted onto external ‘pods’ which also serve to isolate the drive units from the cabinet proper.
The line also introduces Mocha veneer, a gorgeous new finish which features heavy grain patterns and a warm natural tone. Bowers & Wilkins’ established Rosenut veneer is also available while Gloss Black and Satin White round-out the colour options. An improved spiking system applies to the entire line.
Bowers & Wilkins Director of Product Marketing and Communications Andy Kerr told SoundStage! Australia, “We’re hugely proud of our new range. By introducing some of the reference- quality technologies of our 800 Series Diamond range into the latest generation of 700 Series, we’ve made studio-quality sound more accessible than ever.”
SoundStage! Australia was invited to the official pre-launch event for a touch, feel and listen to the entire new range. It was a delight to hear the significant refinements and tonal improvements of the new models over my experiences of the previous gen, as good as that was within its space. The models with the Tweeter-on-Top showed their superior imaging and soundstaging powers over their stablemates’ very same tweeter when incorporated within the confines of the cabinet. No baffle interactions translates to much, much grander soundfield capabilities. We were particularly impressed with the 705 S3 and the flagship 702 S3, both exhibiting excellent low-end depth and power. Vocals too were crystal clear and very present. We look forward to formally reviewing key model/s in the near future.
Sound United Australia’s Director of Sales John Martin told SoundStage! Australia, “I think our engineers have done a terrific job of cascading the 800 series tech into the more affordable platform of the new 700 Series 3. It really is a complete makeover from the Series 2 predecessors and it carries across all the models.”
The new Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 line is available now via importer Sound United’s established Australia-wide specialist dealer network.
Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series 3 Loudspeakers
Price: See Copy
Australian Distributor: Sound United
+61 2 9196 8990