Bowers & Wilkins has taken the wraps off its latest 700 speaker series, which consists of eight models in total: three floorstanders, three standmounts and two centre channel speakers.
This third generation of the 700 range has, according to the British brand, been reworked throughout since the last update in 2017, integrating more technology than ever before from the flagship 800 Series Diamond range in a bid to deliver higher performances at lower prices.
The entire 700 S3 series has been redesigned with a slimmer cabinet and a subtle curve to the front baffle in an effort to reduce diffraction. This should mean you hear less of the speaker cabinet's effect at play and more of the music itself. This is further aided by the drive units being mounted in external 'pods' – a technical and visual nod from the 800 Series Diamond.
B&W's iconic Solid Body Tweeter-on-Top arrangement with a carbon dome tweeter is now available in half of the 700 S3 models: the 702 S3 and 703 S3 floorstanders, the 705 S3 standmount and the HTM71 S3 centre channel. Milled from a single, solid block of aluminium, this distinct tweeter-on-top design has been revised for the 700 S3 series. Bowers has lengthened the enclosure to further reduce distortion and deliver an even cleaner performance, while also isolating it from the loudspeaker cabinet more effectively.
The rest of the range, which sees tweeters traditionally mounted inside the cabinet, hasn't been neglected; they also enjoy an elongated tube-loading system that similarly aims to minimise distortion.
The three-way models (the three floorstanders plus the HTM71 S3 centre) incorporate B&W's innovative Biomimetic Suspension, which was introduced in the latest 800 Series Diamond range last year. Replacing the fabric spider suspension found in most conventional speakers, this system aims to improve the midrange cone performance by reducing air pressure and unwanted noise as the cone moves. The models with mid/bass Continuum drive units also benefit from an update, specifically new motor systems and improved chassis.
The latest generation of B&W's Aerofoil Profile bass cone technology makes an appearance too, and all models feature an updated bass reflex port (Flowport) with a larger diameter to produce a bigger, more expansive sound. The top 702 S3 floorstander now has a downward-firing port for the first time (similar to the 800 Diamond), promising an even more powerful low-end response.
You also get upgraded floor spikes across the floorstanding models, while the optional FS-700 S3 stands (£800 / $800 / €900 / AU$1399) for the standmount and centre speakers have also been aesthetically redesigned to match the new slimmer and curved cabinet profiles.
Curiously, there's no new subwoofer in this new range. B&W says that its existing DB4S subwoofer (£1399 / $1899 / AU$2799) is the best sonic and aesthetic match for the 700 S3 series for those wanting to create a 5.1 surround sound home theatre system.
The full 700 S3 range breakdown and pricing is as follows:
702 S3 floorstander (with tweeter on top) - £5500 / $7000 / €6500 / AU$10,500
703 S3 floorstander (with tweeter on top) - £4200 / $6000 / €5000 / AU$8000
704 S3 floorstander - £3000 / $4000 / €3500 / AU$5500
705 S3 standmount (with tweeter on top) - £2600 / $3400 / €3000 / AU$4499
706 S3 standmount - £1650 / $2200 / €2000 / AU$2999
707 S3 standmount - £1300 / $1800 / €1500 / AU$2499
HTM71 S3 centre channel (with tweeter on top) - £1700 / $2500 / €2000 / AU$2999
HTM72 S3 centre channel - £1000 / $1500 / €1200 / AU$1599
The third-generation 700 series is available now in a new Mocha wood finish alongside the usual Satin White and Gloss Black options. A fourth Rosenut finish is exclusively available in Asian and Pacific territories.
So, how will the 700 S3 speakers perform? Will the new elegant profile and flagship-inspired acoustic technologies deliver the right balance of sound quality for the money? We can't wait to find out in due course.
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