Bowers & Wilkins Unveils New 700 Series 3 Loudspeakers

Bowers & Wilkins’ award-winning flagship 800 Series Diamond (D4) loudspeakers are the toast of the town, but not every audiophile can afford to swallow their rather dramatic asking prices. The Bowers and Wilkins 700 Series 3 Loudspeakers might start to make their pricier siblings feel a tinge of jealousy based on our recent experience at Sound United earlier this month.

There are eight new models in total designated as S3, which includes three floor standers, three stand-mount speakers and two center channel speakers. All of the models replace and improve upon both the previous generation 700 S2 (2019) and 700 S2 Signature (2020) lines.

  • 702 S3 – $7,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 703 S3 – $6,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 704 S3 – $4,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker
  • 705 S3 – $3,400/pr – Standmount with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 706 S3 – $2,200/pr – Standmount loudspeaker
  • 707 S3 – $1,800/pr – Bookshelf/standmount loudspeaker
  • HTM71 S3 – $2,500/ea – Center-channel loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • HTM72 S3 – $1,500/ea – Center-channel loudspeaker
Andy Kerr, Bowers & Wilkins Director of Product Marketing & Communications demonstrates improvements on 703 S3 loudspeaker
Andy Kerr demonstrates improvements on Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3 loudspeaker

We got a first look at the new 700 S3 loudspeakers last month during a press briefing at Sound United headquarters in Carlsbad, CA. Not only is this new loudspeaker range improved in just about every way, but it borrows key innovations from the 800 Series — effectively narrowing the performance gap for a fraction of the price.

Andy Kerr, Bowers & Wilkins Director of Product Marketing & Communications, meticulously guided us through every change; the tweeters, woofers, crossovers, cabinet design, and construction are all-new. The iconic Tweeter-on-Top topology (on select models) is still there, but the housing and components are completely new.

Commenting on the new range, Kerr remarked, “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.”

Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 Tweeter-on-Top Parts Exploded

What’s New

The Tweeter-on-Top form itself has been comprehensively re-engineered in the new range. Machined as ever from a single, solid block of aluminum, the new 700 Series 3 Tweeter-on-Top enclosure has been significantly lengthened, reducing distortion and ensuring an even cleaner presentation.

This longer form is further enhanced by the introduction of improved two-point decoupling that better isolates the assembly from the loudspeaker cabinet, ensuring a more free and open soundstage.

Beyond these mechanical improvements, the Tweeter-on-Top diaphragm retains the Bowers & Wilkins Carbon Dome tweeter, with its 47kHz first break-up performance, coupled to improved, vented voice coils with new, upgraded magnets. Even models that feature tweeters mounted in the baffle – 707 S3, 706 S3, 704 S3 and HTM72 S3 – benefit from all these changes, alongside a significantly elongated tube-loading system that, as with the Tweeter-on-Top, works to reduce distortion and ensure a cleaner sound.

Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 vs 705 S2 Loudspeakers
Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3 (left) vs 705 S2 (right) Loudspeakers

In a first for the 700 Series, the new range introduces slimmer cabinets featuring a curved front baffle and drive units mounted in external ‘pods’ that form a direct visual and technical link to the 800 Series Diamond range. This revised form dramatically reduces the impact of the loudspeaker baffle on sound quality by minimizing the ‘cabinet diffraction’ effect, and as a result, the new range is better than ever at ‘disappearing’ acoustically, so you can just concentrate on the music, rather than the sound of the loudspeaker cabinet.

In all three-way loudspeakers in the new range, Bowers & Wilkins has introduced its revolutionary Biomimetic Suspension – first revealed last year in the new 800 Series Diamond range. Replacing the conventional fabric spider found in the suspension of almost all loudspeakers built over recent decades, the Biomimetic Suspension dramatically reduces unwanted noise from the output of the spider as the midrange cone operates.

Used alongside all of Bowers & Wilkins other proprietary midrange cone technologies – including decoupling for the entire midrange assembly, an aluminum drive unit chassis featuring tuned mass dampers for reduced resonance, FST™ surround-less suspension and of course the famous Continuum™ cone material – the result is simply astonishing midrange transparency.

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Models with mid/bass drive units – 707 S3, 706 S3, 705 S3 and HTM72 S3 – have been upgraded too, with new motor systems and improved chassis for cleaner output.

Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3 Loudspeaker in Mocha
Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3 Loudspeaker in Mocha

Bass performance is improved with the latest generation of Bowers & Wilkins famous Aerofoil™ Profile bass cone technology, based around a composite ‘sandwich’ of materials with a carefully formed variable profile aimed at delivering cleaner, lower distortion bass.

Optimizations

The new 700 Series range introduces upgraded speaker terminals that feature more substantial contact connections and are better laid out for use with spade-terminated speaker cable. These feed carefully upgraded crossovers that continue to use Mundorf capacitors as before, enhanced with multiple bypass capacitors and improved heatsinking for even cleaner performance.

Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2, 705 S3 vs. 707 S3 Rear
Left to right: Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2, 705 S3 vs. 707 S3 Rear

All models in the range feature updated, larger diameter flowports that offer a more substantial output, ensuring a bigger and more expansive sound. In the 702 S3 floorstander, that approach is taken one stage further – and even closer than ever to the configuration of 800 Series Diamond floorstanding loudspeakers – thanks to the re-orientation of its port to fire downwards on its integrated plinth. The result is a substantial and powerful loudspeaker that is, at the same time, easier than ever to integrate into your home.

Finally, all floorstanding models feature significantly upgraded spikes to anchor them to the floor. On 704 S3 and 703 S3, stainless steel M6 spikes are included with their integrated plinths: on 702 S3, heavy-duty M10 spikes are provided.

Even stand-mount models in the range benefit from similar mechanical upgrades, thanks to the FS-700 S3 floor-stand, which has been visually upgraded to match the slimmer, curved profile of the new cabinet design, while also offering acoustic improvements thanks to the introduction of those stiffer M6 spikes.

Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 vs 702 S2 loudspeakers
Bowers & Wilkins 702 S3 (left) vs 702 S2 (right) loudspeakers. Plinth accounts for height difference.

Improved Sound

During our brief listen at Sound United, we got to hear A/B demonstrations between some of the outgoing models with the new ones. We heard the stand-mount 707 S3 and 705 S3 models powered by the new Marantz Model 40n, while the largest floorstanding 702 S3s were driven with the Marantz PM-10 integrated amplifier. Only the speakers were manually swapped in/out.

As we moved up the line and switched to the Tweeter-on-Top models (705 S3 and 702 S3), the changes to each loudspeaker were quite audible; there was an increase in detail, resolution, presence, and a much wider sounding soundstage.

We’re expecting to get at least one stand-mount model in for a full review, so expect a more detailed analysis in the months to come.

Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3, 705 S3 and HTM71 S3 Loudspeakers for Home Theater in Mocha
Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3, 705 S3 and HTM71 S3 Loudspeakers arranged for home theater in Mocha

For Home Theater

With two center channel speakers to choose from, the 700 S3 range is perfectly suited for home theater. The larger HTM71 S3 features the Tweeter-on-Top technology. This means, for the first time in the 700 Series range, owners have the option of building a complete 700-Series home theater system featuring Tweeter-on-Top throughout.

New Finishes

The new cabinet forms are not only more svelte than before – they’re also offered in an all-new Mocha finish, a beautiful, highly grained wood that perfectly complements the revised proportions and premium detailing of the new 700 Series cabinets. Mocha joins the Gloss Black and Satin White finishes previously offered to complete the range of options for most markets globally; Rosenut will also be offered exclusively in Asia and markets such as Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.

Price & Availability

The new Bowers & Wilkins 700 Series (S3) loudspeaker range will be available from September 21, 2022. 

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  • 702 S3 – $7,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 703 S3 – $6,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 704 S3 – $4,000/pr – Floorstanding loudspeaker
  • 705 S3 – $3,400/pr – Standmount with Tweeter-on-Top
  • 706 S3 – $2,200/pr – Standmount loudspeaker
  • 707 S3 – $1,800/pr – Bookshelf/standmount loudspeaker
  • HTM71 S3 – $2,500/ea – Centre-channel loudspeaker with Tweeter-on-Top
  • HTM72 S3 – $1,500/ea – Centre-channel loudspeaker

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