Bowers & Wilkins 700 New Series 3 vs 2 Listening Comparison

gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Sound United recently invited us to their headquarters in Carlsbad, California for a sneak peek at Bowers & Wilkins’ new 700 S3 Series of speakers. The new 700 S3 Series comprises eight models: three floor-standing speakers; three stand-mounted speakers, and two center-channel speakers. With a new cabinet design, midrange and bass driver mounts, plinths, crossovers, downfiring ports and many other changes over their previous models, did Bowers and Wilkins change too much for loyal customers or get it just right?

We got a chance to listen to the 700 Series 2 vs the new Series 3 to better understand the performance differences.

bw700s3.jpg


Read: Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 Demo Report
 
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ryanosaur

ryanosaur

Audioholic Overlord
While I previously haven’t been a fan of what I’ve heard in the lower tiers, I appreciate what goes into their designs.
I hope you guys get to do a review of some of their new gear!
 
mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
While there very reasonably priced, for people in the USA,.. There really getting out of reach, value wise, for the Australian buyer, with the 702 nudging close to $11000 a pair. At the present time the Australian dollar is only worth 65 cents us, and it's predicted to go even lower. Importing and buying from the American market is out of reach for most people, What with high freight costs and import taxes. Even buying from an Australian distributer, Costs have risen dramatically.

MBL have just announced a drastic increases in there product pricing for the US, which will have to carry over to the rest of the worlds buying price.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic Samurai
It would be interesting to see if they have improved on the challenging impedance and phase curves that some models are known for. The few B&Ws I have heard sounded pretty good but I have not heard any of the newer towers of late.
 
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dutchholic

Junior Audioholic
"Already formidable predecessors". I couldn't agree less. I owned the whole serie with the 702 S2's as front speakers, the HTM71 S2 as center and the 707 S2's as back.

B&W speakers sure do look great and they probably have the best marketing of all brands. But man I'm happy that I sold my set and switched to Revel. The best choice I ever made in audio!

B&W speakers are showroom speakers, they look great, when you listen to them for a short demo they will reveal a lot of detail in music, you will hear details in the music that you don't hear with most other speakers. The looks and the attention to those details draw you to buy them.

But once you got them home, you will find out that they are everything but accurate and that you want to turn down the volume after a couple of minutes because of the sibilance. The highs are way to pronounced, they sound almost hollow, I just couldn't get them sound correct. Yes with some specific songs they sound well but not with everything, not even 30% of my collection. Overall I recommend you guys to look for neutral speakers, then everything just sounds as it's meant to be and don't fall in the same trap that I did.
 
mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
But once you got them home, you will find out that they are everything but accurate
I think what you really need to consider is your amplification, Some work well with B&W, some simply don't I'm not talking about there entry level lines, but there top of the line models. The Rotel Mitchi, give a good representation, Others are Krill, entry level Boulder, etc But your not going to get anything worth while using an AVR regardless of cost. B&W are power hungry,
 
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dutchholic

Junior Audioholic
I think what you really need to consider is your amplification, Some work well with B&W, some simply don't I'm not talking about there entry level lines, but there top of the line models. The Rotel Mitchi, give a good representation, Others are Krill, entry level Boulder, etc But your not going to get anything worth while using an AVR regardless of cost. B&W are power hungry,
I have 5, one of the most powerfull monoblocks standing here. Based on one of the best measured amplifiers in the world according to ASR. And with all due respect: amplifiers don't change speaker sound signatures/frequency responses (except broken or tube amps maybe, mostly in a negative way).
 
mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
If your amplification is under powered you will get "clipping" which can manifest in various forms, low volume, humming, crackles etc. As for measurements, frankly that's food for the gullible, No amount of measuring is going to tell you what the performance of the sound is like. And if your going to quote ASR, there really is little hope for you. But each to his own

one of the most powerfull monoblocks standing
I very much doubt that. Lets start talking Gryphon Mephisto, we won't enter the world of Gryphon Apex. Then there's Boulder 3060. Dan Dagostino [any and all models] MBL. Etc. Just perhaps you would like to comment on there performance.
 
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dutchholic

Junior Audioholic
"And if your going to quote ASR, there really is little hope for you. "

Not sure what you meant with "little hope for me"? It's not a religion that we're talking about here, so I'm not sure why there is no hope for me in life anymore? This sounds kind of sad to be honest...

I'm just talking about audio measurements to be clear. Those are great on this site(I actually prefer the reviews here, since there is also a bit more "side information" about the product itself), on ASR and on some others sites too, it are just measured facts. But I mentioned ASR because my amps are measured there and not here. Not sure what I did wrong by mentioning that and why all of the sudden all hope for me is lost.

Just to be clear; my amplifiers can amplify the 702 S2's 3 times at max. power. So there was zero clipping going on as you could have understood from my initial post.

"one of the most powerfull monoblocks standing"

Let me correct that then: I have 5x one of the most powerfull monoblocks standing that make SENSE standing here. Dan Dagostino have more power then a jet engine, such amp's don't make sense to me and are only there for marketing or maybe powering speakers for a concert hall. I don't own such a large space.

"And with all due respect: amplifiers don't change speaker sound signatures/frequency responses (except broken or tube amps maybe, mostly in a negative way)."
I think that we can both agree with this or not?
 
mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
I'm just talking about audio measurements to be clear. Those are great on this site(I actually prefer the reviews here, since there is also a bit more "side information" about the product itself), on ASR and on some others sites too, it are just measured facts.
So lets get this clear, you do all the measurements possible collect data, graphs, etc. THEN WHAT. All the measurements in the world don't have any effect on the performance of the amp. Your stuck with the measurements the instruction manual list, and these can't be changed or modified. So It's a marketing ploy from the manufacturers to the intended buyer or user.

Just to be clear; my amplifiers can amplify the 702 S2's 3 times at max. Power.
So lets get this straight, which amplifiers are we talking about. Please list make and model, which will allow the reader to understand just what your talking bout All through your replies you seem to have avoided, any information on your amplification

You say that Dan D's amps have more power then a jet engine, Do you have first hand experience with such models ?? This might be correct, but they will handle a 2 ohm load without clipping, or simply shutting down. There are such loads in some speakers One such brand the Apogee Scintilla which operates at 1 [one] ohm and dips to point 85 of an ohm. The 1 ohm setting is very vicious indeed, it has been reported that a Krell 250a expired whilst trying! The top of the range Wilson Audio are configured to operate at 2 ohms loads, what would you suggest the amplification should be , to drive such loads
 
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dutchholic

Junior Audioholic
"THEN WHAT. All the measurements in the world don't have any effect on the performance of the amp. "
I don't understand this. When you have the measurements you know what the performance of the amp is, that's why measurements are so relevant. So I'm not sure what you try to say here?

"which amplifiers are we talking about. Please list make and model, which will allow the reader to understand just
what your talking bout All through your replies you seem to have avoided, any information on your amplification"

What's the relevance? So you can judge it? I replied on your comment: "But your not going to get anything worth while using an AVR regardless of cost. B&W are power hungry". My amps have more then enough clean power to drive the 702S2's as I said.

Just because you're so interested; I have 5 monoblocks similair to: Theta Digital Prometheus. As I said, more then enough clean power.

"And with all due respect: amplifiers don't change speaker sound signatures/frequency responses (except broken or tube amps maybe, mostly in a negative way)."
I think that we can both agree with this or not?


Not sure why you didn't reply to this, because this is the main point here. B&W's are designed to sound the way that I described, amplifiers don't change this. When a amplifier is good enough then they all sound the same, despite what happens between your ears or what the audio salesman tells you, that are just staight facts.
 
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mono-bloc

mono-bloc

Audioholic
You really should have told me you where an advocate of class D and I would not have bothered replying

I have 5 monoblocks similar to: Theta Digital Prometheus.
So there not a Theta brand, there home made copies. It just gets worse.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Ninja
You really should have told me you where an advocate of class D and I would not have bothered replying



So there not a Theta brand, there home made copies. It just gets worse.
What's wrong with class D? There are current modules that operate at 2ohm and measure better then most all class AB amps, if not all.
 
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dutchholic

Junior Audioholic
You really should have told me you where an advocate of class D and I would not have bothered replying
So there not a Theta brand, there home made copies. It just gets worse.
Sorry but all your replies simply don't make sense to me: "little hope for you"(why? there is nothing wrong with measurements), "home made copies, it just gets worse"(why? the hardware is the same, a brand logo and a high price doesn't change the output, only the implementation does), "you're an "advocate" of class D" (how couldn't I be? price/performance wise it's a great choice in 2022), "All the measurements in the world don't have any effect on the performance of the amp" (I still don't get this at all). I just read your replies again and my conclusion is that your way of thinking is not rational. It's not possible for me to follow it. I don't think that you understand the basics of what this site is all about: "Pursuing the Thruth in Audio". It's a difficult/maybe impossible goal(and that's what makes it fun!), but you need to have some logic to get close to that.

@everettT Thanks, exactly my point.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Mono-bloc is a salesman in a "high end" audio store and has absorbed much nonsense from what I can gather.
 
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