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Bowers and Wilkins 700 series

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Bowers and Wilkins 700 series has arrived

The  Bowers and Wilkins 700 Series incorporates both brand-new technologies and trickle-down tech from the well-received 800 Series. This is something that Bowers and Wilkins excel at. Their reference speakers are the thing of dreams and represent some of the finest products in the marketplace and the 700 series is the first chance for most of us to share some of that stunning tech.

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The new tweeter design is dubbed Carbon Dome, and is designed to deliver cleaner, sweeter high frequencies than the outgoing CM Series’ Aluminium Double Dome tweeter. The company claims it’s the best-performing ‘non-Diamond’ tweeter it’s ever produced. In our short experience with the new 700 series we can confirm that this is very true!

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The tweeter comprises two sections: the front portion, a 30-micron aluminium dome, is stiffened by a carbon coating, while the second section is a 300-micron Carbon Ring. This is then bonded to the inner surface of the structure. B&W is attributing exceptional rigidity and a first break-up point of 47kHz to this design.

Technologies adopted from the 800 Series include the use of B&W’s proprietary ‘Continuum’ material midrange driver, which Bowers suggest is its cleanest and most transparent midrange cone design yet. The Continuum cone’s design is based on controlled flexibility and the avoidance of too abrupt a transition from pistonic to break-up modes of behaviour.

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Those models that include bass drivers use a tweaked version of the Aerofoil profile driver first seen on the 800 Series. It uses a paper, rather than a carbon fibre, skin and has differently specified material as the filling in the ‘sandwich’. This design makes it lighter, faster and more responsive.

A loudspeaker is the sum of its parts

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This has never been truer than in the new Bowers and Wilkins 700 series! Our limited listening so far indicates huge reaches in detail and performance without the “brightness” that marred the outgoing CM series.

But back to the range…

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The smallest and most affordable speaker in the range – the 707 S2 – has the biggest model number. It’s also the model you can read What Hi-Fi? s review of it here.

The range breaks down like so: the 707 S2, a two-way vented design with 25mm tweeter and 13cm mid/bass driver, costs £800 per pair. The 706 S2, which ups the mid/bass driver to a 16.5cm design, is £1100. And the biggest stand-mounter, the 705 S2 (pictured above) is a tweeter-on-top design with the same driver array as the 706 S2 – it comes in at £1800 per pair.

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The tweeter-on-top models feature Solid Body Tweeter technology derived from the 800 Series. The tweeter is sited in a solid aluminium housing weighing over a kilo – which almost by definition is exceptionally inert.

The floor-standers start with the 704 S2, a three-way vented box design with 25mm Carbon Dome tweeter, 13cm midrange driver and a pair of 13cm bass drivers. They’re £2000 per pair.

Then comes the 703 S2, which ups the driver dimensions to 15cm for the midrange and 16.5cm for each of its bass drivers. A pair will set you back £2400.

The range tops out with the 702 S2 (pictured above), another tweeter-on-top design with the same driver proportions as the 703 S2. They’ll set you back £3300 per pair.

The range (or, at least, the stand-mounting element of the range) is finished off by the dedicated FS-700 S2 speaker stands. Available in black or silver, they’re £399 per pair.

Finish options are gloss black, satin white or ros-enut finishes – and they’re all available now.

Our conclusion

Often manufactures bring out ranges that are re-styled, re-jigged and more of the same. In this instance Bowers and Wilkins have reached into technology developed and proven for a higher performance speaker range. They’ve done so before but this is the first instance where it has paid off supremely well; the new series is a revelation!

Open extended treble that is detailed but never bright. A mid-range unit which is already proven to be one of the best on the market and bass performance that is surprising in it’s depth and agility. If you sense that we really like this range then you’d be right!